How to make sure your auction really takes off.
Selling a website is like selling anything else really. You need to market it to attract attention, and then you need to convert those eyeballs into buyers. Yes, there is work involved! Just when you thought you could dust your hands off your website and live off the sale money on a beach in Bali, you find that there’s more work for you to do.
Just because you’re listing your site on Flippa doesn’t mean everyone who visits Flippa will see it. You can’t just set up an auction and sit back waiting for the bids to roll in. You need to actively market it and attract attention to it. If your website is good, people will bid on it, but you first need to show them that you have a site up for sale.
The more views you get, the more bids you’ll get. The conversion rate of views to bids depends on your sales skills, but the volume of views depends on your marketing skills. Here are some strategies you can use to really show off your auction.
Spread the word – This one is a no-brainer really. You shouldn’t have to be told to spread word of your own auction. That doesn’t just mean making a mention of it on Twitter of Facebook. Think out of the box. Blog about your auction and tell your readers to go and view it. If you have a mailing list, shoot a mail to your subscribers and notify them. Go to relevant forums and online communities and make a mention of the auction. You can even write a guest post on another blog. It’s like marketing any other site really.
Keywords and such – Think of Flippa as a search engine for website auctions, and what do search engines love? That’s right, lots of content with relevant keywords. Don’t randomly stuff your auctions with any keyword that comes to your mind. Try to think of what people would type into the Flippa search bar to find your auction. When setting up your listing, fill out all the fields and be as descriptive as possible. There are way too many auctions out there with one-line descriptions and empty niche fields. On the other hand, the auctions that do really well are the ones that have every single field filled out and a maxed out ‘Description’ field with sub-headers and bullet points. Now that’s legit.
Engage – The comment section is really useful too. Engage prospective buyers by responding to their questions and generating a healthy discussion about your auction. Not only does this build trust, it also gives the impression of a lot of activity and this adds social proof to your site. Any passerby who sees an active comments section will immediately think there’s something interesting going on and will place your auction on his/her watch-list.
Cross-sell – This works if you have multiple auctions on at the same time. Multiple auctions and past successful auctions, means you are probably a trusted seller and not peddling BS websites. It also means you can mention one auction in another so that viewers of the one are redirected to the other. If you look at some successful auctions, you’ll see sellers saying things like, “We’re selling a part of our portfolio to free up time. Check out our other auctions <here> and <here>.” Smart sellers will spend a lot of effort popularizing one auction and then using that popularity to highlight some of their lesser-known auctions.
Most Active Listing – Lots of bidding activity on an auction pushes it into the Most Active Listings section. This is another example of social proof and will attract other viewers who are curious to see what the fuss is all about. Things like low starting prices, low reserves and short deadlines can influence prospective buyers into bidding right-away instead of waiting for later. Maintaining some activity throughout the lifecycle of your auction will ensure that your site is on top of the list. At the start low starting prices will get bids because your site is cheap. Towards the end, with the auction end approaching, viewers will bid so as not to lose out on the auction. The middle period can get a bit quiet but a low reserve might induce some bids, as prospective bidders might want to get in on the action once the price has passed that reserve.
Featured Listing – There’s always the paid marketing strategy. For a reasonable fee you can feature your listing on Flippa. This means it will be seen at the top of the list and won’t get lost under all the other auctions on Flippa. If you think your auction can sell for thousands, then the fee is insignificant compared to the additional bids it could draw in. If it can only sell for a couple of hundred dollars then the featured listing might now be worth it.
Now remember, this is a lot of hands-on work to get people to see your auction, so don’t slack off. There’s still more after this because you need to convert those viewers into bidders. By using these strategies you’ll have a larger audience to sell your site to and that’s always a good thing. If you’ve ever wondered why your amazing website auction never got the response you thought it should have, it’s because you missed out on some of these tactics. So the next time you decide to sell make sure you’ve covered all these steps. And if you have any other secrets to marketing your auction, do share it with us!