When they first appeared on the scene, online auctions were used
mainly by people looking to get rid of old heirlooms or
collectors in niche markets (stuffed collectibles, etc.). Now,
it seems like everyone is participating in online auctions.
People are also beginning to realize that auctions can be a
great way to promote a business and test products.
I have to admit it -- I'm an eBay junkie. I'm probably on their
site at least 4 or 5 times a week, looking for items to add to
my various collections, and the more I visit, the more I'm
seeing businesses using online auctions in creative ways.
For instance, there are many people who have started to make
their living solely through online auctions. However, if you
don't want to become one of these "full-timers," you can still
use online auctions to help you with your business. Here are a
couple of thoughts on ways to do that:
* Use auctions to gauge new products. If you are considering
adding a new product to your business, auctions are a great way
to see what kind of demand there might be for it. Do an
experiment -- put one of the products up for auction and see how
many people bid on it (you might even be able to track how many
people look at the auction without making a bid.) If you have
good response from the auction, it can be a good indication that
you should add the product to your inventory.
* Use auctions to determine prices. One question that I get a
lot from clients is, "How much should I charge for so-and-so?"
If you have this kind of question, auctions can be a great way
to gauge prices. Put your item on auction and see how much
people are willing to bid on it. Don't just look at the high bid
-- remember that there are some "insane bidders" out there --
rather, look at the maximum bids from all bidders to get an idea
of what customers are willing to pay for your product.
* Link your auction to your business. Now, before I go any
further, I have to warn you to read your auction service's
policies CAREFULLY -- many services will not allow you to put a
direct link to your web site in your auction description.
Even if you can't put a link directly in your auction, you might
still be able to promote your business. For instance, many
services will have an "about me" page where you can put a link
to your business. Also, there is nothing keeping you from
linking the sites in the other direction -- putting a link to
your auctions on your web site, for instance.
One of the things that has always impressed me about the so-
called "net gurus" is their ability to be creative in their
advertising and promotion efforts. Online auctions seem to be a
great candidate for that type of creativity.
About the author:
Ron Sathoff is a noted speaker and manager of DrNunley's
http://InternetWriters.com He provides copy-writing, marketing,
Internet promotion, and help for business speakers. Reach him at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-328-9006.