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One size doesn’t fit all: Tailor your message to your audience

NewMediaRules Blog - Wed, 2014-06-11 14:09

This article ran in the June/July issue of Auctioneer Magazine. Used by permission.

Imagine walking up to a bidder and saying, “Hey, let me tell you how we’re going to make you pay more today.” Or pulling a seller aside and saying, “We’re really going to sell your stuff at rock bottom prices. Bidders are going to have a field day.”

It rarely happens, for reasons that are obvious to every auctioneer. It’s just common sense to tailor what we say to the person to whom we’re talking.

But when it comes to our advertising, web site and other mass communications, common sense often goes out the window. Instead, many seek to be efficient. They want to save time and avoid duplication. They give everybody the same message.

It’s a mistake that can torpedo an otherwise effective campaign. It can cause prospective bidders to lose interest in an auction, or a prospective seller to look for another auctioneer (or another sales method).

A better approach is one that goes by many names. In some circles, it’s called audience segmentation. During the 1980s, we fancied it up and talked in terms of stakeholder communication.

In plain language, I usually call it targeting, and it comes down to this: Knowing who you’re talking to.

We pretend that a “one size fits all” message will work for everybody. So we create expensive corporate brochures and web sites that throw around high blown terms like “state-of-the-art” capabilities and “experienced staff” but add up to little or nothing.

We even do it in advertising for upcoming auctions, using the same copy and photos for use in very different venues. I’ve often had the challenge of promoting a group of properties with a wide range of diverse assets. Occasionally, I’ve seen an auctioneer use the cringeworthy phrase, “something for everybody.”

The people who are looking for nothing in particular are generally the ones you find at garage sales and flea markets. They may be good bidders at a low-end personal property auction, but they tend to be bargain shoppers. So if they’re buying much, your sale probably isn’t going well.

The reality is that different groups need to know and hear different things. Let’s say you’ve got a house to sell. Someone looking for a “starter home” might be interested in knowing that property values in the area have consistently risen for years, but he might be turned off by knowing what homes are renting for. That’s the kind of stuff an investor wants to know. A flipper probably is looking for things that can be easily upgraded to bring a higher price at resale.

So we need to have some idea what “market” a given advertising medium is reaching. What is the newsletter, magazine or web site about? If it’s full of tips for homeowners and handymen, your best pitch may be aimed at the flipper or the guy buying a home for himself. But if its focus is on investments, you may do better by focusing on rents, cash flow and taxes.

You can’t do this on autopilot, and we all have to be learning constantly. It’s common to have transitional land of one sort or another, such as farmland that might eventually be used for development, or recreational land that includes a great site for a new retail property.

Hunting and development don’t mix all that well. Maybe you need to choose to market the property to one or the other. Or maybe you need one set of ads for publications reaching hunters and another for potential developers.

The need for such audience segmentation comes up constantly. When you’re buying space on websites or in newsletters, it’s pretty easy to target. But what about the lists you use for mailings and e-mail blasts? If your lists are typical, they’ve been compiled over the years from numerous sources – call-ins for previous auctions, previous bidders, or purchased lists.

Imagine (with the benefit of hindsight) how much more useful those lists would be if, long ago, you had added a field or two further segmenting their interest. Then your e-mail blast could emphasize the assets – or the aspects of the property – specifically of likely interest to those.

Maybe there’s not much you can do about your old lists, but it’s never too late to get better targeting data on those you continue to add. And you can always ask them. Send them a very short poll asking them to check their areas of interest on a postcard if you’re using traditional mail and via a polling website for those you’re reaching out to via email.

Improve your aim. Trust me, it’s worth the trouble.

Auctioneer June/July 2014


Categories: Carl's Blogs

Dirk’s Vodka first in Texas made from grapes

NewMediaRules Blog - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:57
Release Date: Monday, April 14, 2014 – 15:48 Client: Kiepersol Enterprises

TYLER, Texas (April 14, 2014) – The Distillery at Kiepersol opens its tasting room and releases its first product, Dirk’s Vodka, this week in Tyler, Texas. The focus will be on both the vodka and the Kiepersol heritage from which it has grown.

The new vodka is named for Dirk de Wet, who believed that “everything worth having is simple and within reach.” That outlook – passed through generations of the de Wet family who now guide the Kiepersol Enterprises team – is reflected in both the vodka and the way the distillery is operated.

“Our approach to creating Dirk’s reflects the way I was raised, and the way my father ran his own business. We believe that when people discover the clean, crisp taste of our vodka, they’ll tell others, and demand will grow. That will open doors for us. We’re taking it slowly and – of course – keeping things simple,” said Pierre de Wet, founder of Tyler-based Kiepersol Enterprises, which includes the distillery.

Over time, the de Wets and others who make up the Kiepersol team have been developing the businesses into a destination, where people can now come to enjoy not only the vodka, but the Kiepersol Estates wines, the hospitality of the bed & breakfast, and the fine dining at the steakhouse restaurant.

“There’s no substitute for experiencing Kiepersol. We’ll be opening for tastings for on-premises consumption starting this week, and customers can sit on the veranda overlooking the vineyards that serve both the winery and the distillery,” said de Wet.

Grapes from the Kiepersol vineyards are used to make Dirk’s, one of the few American vodkas made using grapes rather than wheat, barley, potatoes and other more common ingredients.

While Dirk’s is currently available only at the distillery location, de Wet expects that to change. “We are hoping to have distribution channels in place very soon to make it more widely available throughout Texas and beyond. Production will be limited at first, but we will be able to quickly ramp up to 20,000 bottles per month based on demand,” he said.

The water available in the area is ideal for making vodka, he said. “The water comes from a unique geologic location, yielding a water low in mineral content that we use both for the irrigation of the grapes and for blending Dirk’s.”

Kiepersol Enterprises is a diversified family business that also includes Kiepersol Estates (estate-grown Texas wines), the restaurant and B&B, as well as other operations. The distillery is located at 4120 FM 344 E, Tyler, Texas, 75703. Individuals seeking additional information may contact them at or call 903-894-8995.

Categories: Carl's Blogs

Couple to auction land adjacent Clear Creek Monastery

NewMediaRules Blog - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:45
Release Date:  Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – 14:39 Client: Schrader

WAGONER, Okla. (April 16, 2014) – For years, Dale and Sue Nichols have made their home in the woods and rolling hills of Cherokee County, where Sue was born. But now in their 60s, with their children and grandchildren living elsewhere, they’ve decided to offer their 438-acre estate at auction.

“I’m spending much of my time working in Houston, and this is just too much for Sue to maintain with me gone for days at a time.” said Dale. “We’re keeping some land here, but we want to be free to move closer to our other family members,” he said. Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company will handle the auction, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, at Sequoyah State Park.

“Dale and Sue just wanted to go ahead and get this sold,” said Brent Wellings, Southwest manager for Schrader. “An auction can get it sold on one date, as opposed to a listing, which could take much longer.”

The estate, part of which borders land owned by Clear Creek Monastery, includes recreational land with abundant deer and wild turkey.

The land will be offered in 13 tracts, with the 4,340-square-foot main house selling in a 115-acre tract that also includes horse stables, a studio, a garage/shop building and a dog kennel.

“The whole area has a calm beauty about it, and the monastery no doubt has had an influence, as some neighbors moved here specifically to be near it,” said Nichols.

Wellings said bidders will be able to bid on just the tracts that meet their needs, making offers for individual tracts, combinations and the entire property. “There are tracts of eight, nine and 10 acres that would be beautiful home sites with such features as meadows, mature hardwoods and even a creek. One tract of 15 acres has the two-bedroom home where Sue and Dale lived for many years. Given the variation, it makes sense to offer these in tracts,” said Wellings.

Schrader personnel will be available at the property from 4 to 6 p.m. April 23 and May 7 to accommodate inspections and provide detailed information about the property. Individuals interested in additional information may visit or call 800-451-2709.

Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, based in Columbia City, Ind., is a leading auctioneer of agricultural land throughout the United States and is a four-time USA Today/National Auctioneers Association Auction of the Year Winner, as well as a two-time winner of the Grand Champion Marketing Award of Excellence.


Categories: Carl's Blogs

Undeveloped Roanoke County land bordered by Tinker Creek to sell in Woltz auction

NewMediaRules Blog - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:43

ROANOKE, Va. (April 23, 2014) – A 14.89-acre commercial property in Roanoke County bordered by Hollins Road and Tinker Creek will sell at auction Tuesday, May 20 – possibly at a price that’s more than 40 percent below its tax assessed value. Woltz & Associates will manage the sale.

“This is an incredible opportunity on a commercial property that combines approximately 460 feet of frontage on Hollins Road, easy access to Interstate 81, stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and frontage on Tinker Creek,” said Jim Woltz, president of the Roanoke-based auction company.

“Most importantly, someone could have this incredible piece of land for far less than its assessed value. The owners have agreed to sell it to the highest bidder over a published minimum of $299,000, even though its tax assessment is for $522,100,” said Woltz.

Approximately 7 acres of the land have already been graded, he said.

“At one time, Fellowship Baptist Church had plans for building on the site, and it was cleared for that purpose. However, that never came to fruition. It is currently zoned C-1S, Office District, and was previously I-1. It has water, sewer, electric, gas and telephone readily available. I can envision this becoming a church, offices, a private school, a retail property or any of a number of other uses,” said Woltz.

The property will be offered in two tracts, of 8.9 acres and 6.0 acres and may be purchased as a whole as well.

The auction will begin at 1 p.m. at Fellowship Baptist Church, 929 Murray Ave., Roanoke, Va., 24013. Woltz personnel will be available at the property to provide detailed information and guide inspections from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, and Tuesday, May 13.

Individuals seeking additional information may visit, or call 800-551-3588.

Woltz & Associates, based in Roanoke, Va., is one of the nation’s leading auctioneers of homes, land and other high-value properties throughout the United States, with an emphasis on the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Categories: Carl's Blogs

Home in New Orleans’ popular Bywater district to sell in auction

NewMediaRules Blog - Thu, 2014-05-08 07:40

Release Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – 09:30
Client: Head Auctions

NEW ORLEANS, La. (April 22, 2014) – The New Orleans Bywater neighborhood has emerged in recent years as one of the city’s most desirable communities, as well one where folks tend to approach things in a creative way. And the owner of a home in the heart of the Bywater is offering it at auction, with Head Auctions & Realty managing the sale, which includes both online and live bidding.

Online bidding will begin on Thursday, May 1, followed by a live auction at the home beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 10.

“This home really captures the feel and spirit of the Bywater – built in the 1930s but remodeled from top to bottom in the past few years, with a new roof and up-to-date fixtures and appliances, yet true to its original Arts and Crafts design and the character of the entire district,” said William Head, president of the auction company.

While the neighborhood is primarily residential, the home is zoned commercial so that the current owner could rent it out from time to time. “There was always strong demand for renting it, because people just love being part of an edgy, artistic community that is also within walking distance of the French Quarter,” said Head.

Another factor in the Bywater’s emergence as a “hot” neighborhood may be its higher elevation and the natural levy provided by the Mississippi River. “The Bywater Historic District was spared much of the flooding that devastated the city,” said Head.
The three-bedroom, two-bath home has a front porch looking out on Poland Avenue, as well as a three-year-old deck overlooking the fenced courtyard. The attic is floored and could be used for an additional loft bedroom or living area.

Online bidding will be begin at starting May 1, 2014 and will continue until 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10. One hour later, at 11 a.m. on May 10, the live auction will begin at the home, which is located at 1201 Poland Avenue, New Orleans. The home will sell to the highest bidder, whether online or live.

Head Auctions & Realty, based in Flora, Miss., conducts regular live and online auctions of real estate, personal property and other assets. Individuals seeking additional information about the company and its services may visit or call 601-879-3344.

Categories: Carl's Blogs

Auctioneer John Dixon looks ahead after successful auctions

NewMediaRules Blog - Wed, 2014-05-07 22:08

ATLANTA, Ga. – Coming off a two-week period that included five auctions resulting in the successful sale of scores of properties, John Dixon & Associates continues to see solid demand for all types of real estate. Events in Pensacola, Panama City, Atlanta and Loganville, Ga., during a two-week period in April resulted in sales totaling at least $8 million, according to John Dixon, president of the auction company.

Sales included office condominiums and commercial land in Florida, townhomes in Jackson, a gulf front home on Dog Island, and even a commercial building formerly used as a funeral home in Loganville.

With those auctions behind it, the company immediately turned its attention to upcoming events, which will include a multi-day auction in mid June, for which the company is currently accepting consignments.

“Many of our auctions are primarily for one or two sellers, but these events will offer virtually anyone an opportunity to get their real estate sold. Properties can include homes, condominiums, land, retail properties and virtually any other type of commercial or residential property,” said Dixon. Individuals interested in selling properties in those auctions may call 800-479-1763 or visit

“The real estate market is in a transition now, where we’ll start to see less emphasis on foreclosures and more on selling the considerable backlog of residential and commercial properties that took a back seat the last few years,” said Dixon. “While some of those properties are owned by individuals, there are many more held by institutions that have been holding onto them, waiting for a better market. That better market is here, so it’s a good time for them to begin selling properties that don’t fit their investment needs.”

John Dixon & Associates, based in Atlanta with offices in Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina, is one of the nation’s largest auctioneers of real estate properties.

Categories: Carl's Blogs

Auctions in Gainesville, Greenville and Savannah to feature quality commercial properties and land

NewMediaRules Blog - Wed, 2014-05-07 22:03

John Dixon
ATLANTA, Ga. (May 5, 2014) – A Hilton Head Island commercial office building. A medical office condominium in Greer, S.C. An industrial/warehouse building in Monroe, Ga.

These are just a few of more than 100 properties set to be sold in a series of auctions in late May in Gainesville, Ga., Greenville, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., with John Dixon & Associates managing the sales.

“We have some really special properties in these events,” said John Dixon, president of the auction company. “That Hilton Head commercial office building, for example, was just built in 2006, and it has 20,000 square feet and a two-story glass lobby in a great location. But really, if you take a look at the property lineups for each of these three days, you’ll find properties that would be of interest either in an investment portfolio or as a potential business opportunity for an individual or company.”

The auctions will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, in Gainesville, Ga. where approximately 38 properties offered will include commercial buildings and land, residential condominiums in Clayton, Ga., and other properties primarily stretching from Atlanta northward into North Carolina.

The following day, Wednesday, May 28, the series will resume at 11 a.m. in Greenville, S.C., with approximately 37 properties clustered around the Greenville and Columbia areas. That group will feature a medical office condominium in Greer, S.C., and a multi-tenant retail building in Chesnee, S.C., as well as homes and land throughout the area.

The series will conclude in Savannah Friday, May 30, with the 11 a.m. auction of approximately 38 properties stretched along the Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina coast. In addition to the commercial building on the south end of Hilton Head Island, these include several commercial buildings, townhomes, and waterfront home sites.

Individuals seeking additional information may visit or call 770-425-1141.

John Dixon & Associates, based in Atlanta with offices in Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina, is one of the nation’s largest auctioneers of institutional real estate properties nationwide.

Categories: Carl's Blogs