Planning successful eCommerce sales and promotions can be tricky and time-consuming! Deciding which promotional scheme to offer and how to promote it are crucial decisions. However, sales promotions are an integral part of any online store and, if done well, can keep the user interest engaged while gaining new customers in the long run.
Here are six steps to follow when planning a sales promotion for your small business’s online store:
1) Focus on the result
Before you begin any campaign, identify what is the objective. Is it to clear stocks? Then you could use discounts. Is it to build your email list? Then you could run promotions to drive traffic to your website and once the user is there, you could offer a one-time welcome discount in exchange of their email ids. Keeping a single focus area will ensure that your campaign is more effective.
2) Decide the theme
Leverage on various holidays and key events through the year to time your promotions. This will help you work with a theme for your campaign. If it’s Father’s Day, you can create a ‘Father’s Day’ gift box with an option to include a personalized Father’s Day card. While this will generate user interest, it need not have any discounts associated with it at all. In fact, if you are very confident of your offering, it’s an opportunity for you to charge a premium too.
This, bear in mind that sales promotions need not always mean selling at a concession; promotions can be a good mix of premium price offerings and discounted products.
3) Decide the scheme
Once you have your theme and objective in place, you should be able to figure what kind of scheme you want offer to maximize the impact of the campaign. You could choose from:
- concessions (Buy One Get One or free samples with each buy)
- discounts (products available at a reduced price, coupons, percentage off)
- promotions on shipping (free or discounted delivery if orders are worth XX amount)
Also decide on where you wish to display your offer on your website:
- a message pop-up
- a nudge on the cart page
- an email in case of an abandoned cart
- home page banner
You can add an element of fun to your promotions with an offer that gives a ‘surprise’ discount upon entering a coupon code. This surprise discount could be a random price off within a pre-specified range.
When using coupon codes, make sure you name them smartly. If you are running a Father’s Day discount promotion, creating a coupon ILOVEDAD will have a better impact than something like FD20. Also, meaningful codes are easy to remember.
4) Conceptualize branding and marketing
Think of the images and the colors that you wish to use to communicate the promotion. Match the colors with the season or the festival to add excitement. Also, think of a catchy headline to attract users. Include emotional cues in your copy and visuals for better success. Instead of calling it ‘Father’s Day Offer’, give it an emotional name such as ‘For the Best Dad in the World!’
Remember, with communication ‘less is more’. Follow this principle to ensure that your offer is not too complicated to understand. If your ‘Terms and Conditions’ list is longer than 5 points, it is indicative of the fact that your offer might be too confusing.
Give a clear call to action and make it memorable. If a potential customer is seeing your ad, they should know where to find you later. Here’s where having a .STORE domain can greatly benefit you. If you have a gifts store by the name Mary’s Gift Store, having a domain name marysgift.store will make it easy to remember, and give your store a strong brand.
You could also invest in a domain name for specific campaigns too. For example, fathersday.store or fathersdaygifts.store could be deep-linked to that page on your website which has the relevant promotional offer. This saves you from sharing long, awkward links and instead you can promote neat, branded links.
5) Create a promotional plan
Think of how you will communicate the promotional offer to your audience. It should be a good mix of social media ads and organic posts, email campaigns, PPC campaigns, app notifications, SMS, banners on the website, etc. Consider running a teaser campaign to build more excitement.
Create a well-defined execution plan to ensure there are no last-minute glitches. If you have run promotions in the past, analyze which communication platform turned out to be the most effective in driving traffic or sales. You can invest more resources towards those platforms to optimize the returns.
6) Monitor and analyze
Monitor the performance of the campaigns against the objective (and targets) defined by you initially. You can track website analytics, conversion ratio, key performance indicators, ads A/B tests (to figure which ad copy gave better results), etc
Record as much information as you can about the user behavior during the campaign so that you can determine if a promotion is working for you or not. This performance analysis is critical for your future promotions.
Taking data-driven decisions are important, especially for small businesses where resources are limited. Thus, step # 6 is vital for you right from the very first promotion you run. It will set the stage for all the promotions that you plan to do in the future.
With these steps, you would be able to not only plan and track your campaigns better but also impact your long-term sales promotions. These steps will help you optimize your resources and maximize your output.