How to Create a Successful Online Auction?
Posted on June 17, 2021
Auctions have been one of the most effective fundraising strategies. Traditionally live auctions were organized by nonprofits where the donors were invited to the venue where the auctions were held. As the internet became a predominant aspect of our lives, online auctions made a foray into the world of charity auctions. Virtual auctions were slowly and steadily making a place for themselves. And, when the pandemic struck, they became the only way to hold charity auctions.
The nonprofits that had already adopted online auctions were able to adapt to the changing ways of working in 2020.
What is an online auction?
An online auction is held virtually. The items for auction are displayed on a website with the starting bid prices. The bidders can send in their bids through the website. The nonprofit holds a virtual meeting with all the bidders after the last date of the bids. The winners are announced in this meeting and the items are delivered to them.
Online auctions offer several benefits over traditional auctions. These auctions can attract bidders across the globe, unlike the physical auctions where participants were restricted because of their geographical locations. Also, it is easier to maintain the confidentiality of the bids. Online auctions also reduce the efforts required in terms of setting up the logistics such as finding the venue, arranging food, beverages, etc. for the event.
If these are not required, then what is required to create an online auction? is the first question that comes to mind.
The building blocks of an online auction are:
These are websites that are created specifically for hosting online auctions. There are several auction websites listed on the internet. It is recommended that you compare all sites and choose the one that best meets your fundraising goals.
Remember to choose an auction website that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The choice of the website will also depend on the type of products you want to auction.
When organizing an online auction, make sure that you select the items you want to auction carefully. Do your research to find out the type of articles donors will be interested to bid for. Finding out what items are listed on competitor websites will give you a fair idea of the type of items you could consider listing.
Customized Retail Store
You will need to set up a retail store on the auction website that is customized according to your brand. In other words, the retail store must include your brand’s logo and color scheme. Make sure to post high-quality pictures of the original products on the site. Include descriptions and details about the product on the site. Create an attractive store that is easy to navigate and bid. Ensure that you include a secure payment gateway that can be used by donors from any country.
Let’s now delve into how to create an Online Auction?
Step 1: Establish your Fundraising Goals
The chief objective behind organizing an online auction is generating funds for charity. Therefore, you will need to determine exactly how much amount you expect to generate through the auction.
Step 2: Determine your Budget
Decide exactly how much you propose to invest in the online auction and allocate specific amounts for different activities. This helps to keep a check on the expenses incurred in organizing the event.
Step 3: Select and Procure the Items you want to Auction
Find out what type of items your donors will be interested in bidding for and choose them. Procure the items from vendors/sponsors.
In an online auction, you will need to work out the logistics for the delivery of products. Delivery is easier if the products can be transferred electronically or through the mail.
However, the choice of the items for auction will depend largely on the purpose of the fundraiser, the interests of the donors, etc. Your focus should be on quality and not quantity while choosing the articles.
Step 4: Choose a Cloud-Based Auction Website
Auction websites like iConnectX are a perfect choice for creating an online auction. This is because they offer a single platform for all stakeholders to collaborate.
iConnectX is a platform that implies the process of planning, managing, and processing both in-person and online events. This platform streamlines the process of hosting an online auction.
This platform facilitates:
- Setting up an auction website
- Listing items for auction
- Mobile Bidding
- Offers a secure and integrated payment platform.
iConnectX is a user-friendly platform that can be used easily for hosting different types of online events like peer-to-peer fundraising, etc. It also makes it easier for different stakeholders to collaborate.
Step 5: List the Items on your Retail Store on the Auction Website
Listing the items on the website entails posting quality pictures of the products, their descriptions, and minimum bidding prices.
Make sure that you post HD pictures of the actual product instead of similar products. The description of the product must be precise and must include details of the products. The description must be written in a manner that engages the audience. A catchy headline for the product helps attract donors.
Step 6: Promote the Auction
You will need to create awareness and generate the interest of your audience for the online event. Digital marketing strategies are the most effective in connecting with your niche audience.
Optimize your website with relevant keywords so that it has good exposure and ranks high on searches. This makes it easy to attract traffic to your brand when someone types in search phrases like “online auction sites near me” or “free auctions near me”, etc.
Make sure that your website clearly communicates the mission and vision of your brand. Besides, it should be easy to bid for the listed items on the site. It is recommended that you include a section on “how to bid in an online auction site” to make the task easier for your bidders.
Create a buzz on social media to connect with your audience. Make sure that you post regularly on social media to engage your users. Use social media campaigns to tell the story of your brand to your audience. Connect with your audience to build trust. Social media campaigns also help you build a sense of urgency about the event. Posts like, “last few days left, etc.” are quite effective for lead conversions.
Email marketing is another effective strategy that helps you build a personal bond with your subscribers. You can communicate effectively through emails to generate interest in the event.
Step 7: Host the Online Auction
Host your online auction on an auction website like iConnectX.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create auction sites on iConnectX:
- Register your nonprofit on iConnectX.
- Upload a description of your nonprofit on iConnectX platform.
- List the items on auction with high-quality pictures, descriptions, and the minimum bidding amount.
- Add the event(online auction) with a link that drives the audience to your website.
- Include forms on your site to gather necessary data about your visitors.
- Post updates about your event on iConnectX platform.
- Take advantage of the iConnectX follower list by promoting your online auction to millions of followers in the iConnectX marketplace.
- iConnectX also provides you a comprehensive report of the bids and the funds raised.
Here’s how it works for bidders:
- A bidder can search for an auction website by typing relevant phrases like, “online auctions near me” or “live auctions near me.”
- The search engine will display a list of online auction websites. Bidders can select a website that is aligned with their ideas of donating.
- Bidders will view the list of items on the site.
- They can make their bids using any device of their choice. There is no platform fee for making a bid.
- They will receive automated notifications regarding their bids, outbidding, and winning the auction, etc.
- Winners receive the articles they have won via mail or doorstep service or can pick it up from the nonprofit.
- The funds generated are used by the nonprofit to support charities.
This is an overview of how nonprofits can create successful online charities to raise funds for charities.