Who doesn’t love a good sale? The answer is no one — except for maybe the brand or business hosting the sale if and when it’s not designed correctly. Run a promotion with plenty of press and exposure, and you’ll boost the revenue it earns. Launch the same promotion without those things and it will be a bust — maybe even losing you money in the long run.
On average, coupon users spend 24 percent more than regular shoppers. In addition, 97 percent of consumers search for deals when they shop, while 92 percent say they’re always on the lookout for them. Obviously, there’s a lot of revenue potential in promotional offers and discounts if handled properly.
How do you efficiently promote a discount or sales event — on the web no less — so it doesn’t cut into your profits?
1. Incentivize Referrals
You might already deliver special promotional offers or discounts to customers who bring in more business. To really pump things up, you can run an incentivized campaign alongside your major sale. For example, consider launching a referral contest that offers even more benefits to customers who bring in the most business. If they refer a certain number of friends, family or colleagues, then they get a juicy bonus.
This strategy relies on two important customer experience elements: rewards and loyalty. Of course, it will only be helpful if you have a product or promotion to offer that warrants sharing, which is important on your part.
While not a promotional event, Dropbox offers a referral system for customers that provides 500MB of additional storage space for each contact that signs up based on their recommendation. Through this program, customers can acquire up to 16GB of additional storage space for free.
2. Tell the Press
The internet is abundant with informative and helpful sites, including blogs, magazines, news feeds and even social networks. Many sites and social pages will share particularly lucrative deals or rewards, which you can bank on. Before running a promotion, give a heads up to some of your favorite press contacts, hopefully enticing them to write or blog about the event.
A variety of sites are focused on deals, such as TechBargains, Slickdeals and Ideaing. Use this to your advantage by reaching out to the related teams, in order to get your sale or promotion featured.
3. Incorporate in Web Design
Initially, when designing a site or building a new theme, you spend time preparing for the future. One of the things you should do is find a way to maximize exposure for future sales and promotions. It’s a great idea to incorporate or dedicate some design space to promotions and events. Create a special slider or featured image section just for major deals and events. You can also find a way to embed promotional posts throughout your page that only show up when a deal is live.
Wing Tactical uses its main slider as a featured promo during major sales. This is a great way to boost exposure and keep your audience paying attention.
It’s much easier to do this sort of thing while you’re already working on the design, as opposed to changing or shifting elements around later. Besides, adding new content to an existing design that already works great can have negative side effects. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to right your wrongs, especially on a live site.
4. Share the Event
This tip is a bit obvious, but it’s still important to note. Before, during and after an event, be sure to mention it across your social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any others you use regularly. This will bring in customers from those particular channels, but it also has an added benefit of increasing traffic naturally. It’s likely you already know all about SEO or search engine optimization, and it just so happens that certain social media posts — especially about relevant events — can take precedence.
Vancouver-based clothier Ryu Apparel used its Instagram account to run a unique promotional campaign, involving the hashtag #whatsinyourbag, which coincided with a contest. By sharing their experiences —and what they got during a visit to the local store — customers were entered for a chance to win a complete styling kit.
5. Targeted Ad Campaign
Networks like Facebook and Twitter have unique promotional opportunities that allow you to run advertising campaigns to audiences across the platform. However, they’re not the only place where you can host and launch a targeted ad campaign.
Plan accordingly and run a targeted ad throughout the length of your event, in order to boost traffic and exposure.
6. Set up a Local Shop
A local or pop-up shop is one that is quickly set up for a limited period of time. This is a great way to build exclusivity around your products and services, and also build a rapport with local customers. Be sure to promote the location and time you will be available to maximize business and exposure.
Just because a majority of your business is facilitated online does not mean you have to avoid the traditional brick-and-mortar route. In fact, it might get your business or brand name in front of people that wouldn’t otherwise know where or how to find you.
Amazon Treasure Truck is the ideal example of this in action. Though the retailer is largely online and digital-based, it sends out an exclusive truck that offers deals and promos to local customers.
7. Email Campaign
Platforms like MailChimp allow you to build, automate and schedule email newsletters for a variety of events and activities. Email is the second most effective customer acquisition channel, right behind organic search, which makes it crucial for online business. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s only useful during regular campaigns or scheduled times, but you should also use email marketing to blast offers, promotions and the launch of major sales. Your customers will appreciate hearing the news, especially if they’re in the market for one of your products already.
Get It Out There
You’ll notice the underlying patterns for most of these tips is to get the news about your promotion or event to the masses. After all, if no one knows what’s going on, it’s not likely you’ll generate good business or traffic.
Use a mix of paid and free promotional strategies to spread the word before, during and even after a large sale. Customers will be looking for similar events into the future, even if they miss the current one, and that’s exactly what you want. You want them to be engaged, interested and involved.