If the most important component of an auctioneers website is the upcoming auction calendar, the most important component of a new-media marketing campaign after his website is the Internet auction calendar.
The concept of an Internet auction calendar is an aggregation of auctions from many auctioneers in one place. The benefit to consumers is that they have a single portal to get information about auctions and search for the items within those auctions. The benefit to the auctioneer is the increase in traffic to his website from the listings and links on the auction calendars.
Here is a very short list of some of the more popular and well-known Internet auction calendars.
Not all Internet auction calendars are created equally. Most support HTML, the language of the web that allows links and images to be inserted into auction listings, and one – the NAA calendar – supports item-level listings. Some calendars are free, some charge the auctioneer a fee to post events.
The quality of the listings can vary greatly. The listing can be as simple as a date and time and address. Some auctioneers simply copy-and-past the text listing into the calendar. This approach is better than simply listing a date and time, but it still is a fairly low level of participation. For those calendars that allow HTML, pictures are quite valuable. If you have pictures of items on your website, you should have pictures on Internet auction calendars.
The best level of participation possible is item level. When you enter your inventory into a spreadsheet and upload the rows and columns and that data is parsed and sorted by the calendar, it’s uploaded at item level. To our knowledge, the NAA calendar is the only auction calendar that supports this feature at this time. The benefit of this type of listing is that it allows users to better search for items. The days left where buyers are looking for auctions are few; customers are looking for items and they rarely consider the auctioneer. An item-level calendar listing allows prospective bidders easier access to the item. An item-level listing allows a direct link from the item on the calendar directly to the page on your site that lists that item.
Many auction calendars syndicate listings. Global Auction Guide, for example, has many different websites that use the same data set so that when an auction is listed on one site, it’s listed on all of them. The National Auction List from Auction Services functions in a similar manner. Both also offer the capability to push auction listings to other calendars and services, greatly increasing the benefit of a one-time inventory upload or auction listing creation.
Regardless of the capabilities of the auction calendar, the benefits are more than simply facilitating item searches by prospective bidders. They also help search engines to know that your site is valuable. While SEO is certainly a snake-oil concept, there is definitely value in the number of links leading to your website. If you have a link to your website with each auction – or each item – listed on several different Internet auction calendars, the inbound links add up quickly.
While there is a large value in listing items and auctions on various Internet auction calendars, always remember that the goal should be to get the users to go to your website. You should always have at least as much information – if not more – listed for each item on your website. Don’t think that an auction calendar is a replacement for item-level inventory listings on your website. Your website is by far your most important and most valuable marketing tool, and all your advertising in print and on the Internet should have the goal of getting prospective bidders to your website where they can learn more about your items in your auctions and at that point make the decision to come to the auction.