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7 Key Steps to a Successful Online Promotion

If you sell online, chances are you’ve set up discounts and promotions for your products before. Maybe you’ve mastered it already, and managed to find that sweet spot of timing, marketing and choosing a discount that makes sense for your product. If so, you probably don’t need to read this post. Go away, overachiever. Run a sale or something.

 

However, if you’re like us, you’ve seen successful promotions and less successful ones. Maybe you haven’t been able to nail down what makes them that way. Or, maybe you’ve never run a discount before and you don’t know where to begin. You’re the ones we wrote this post for.

 

This week, we’re going to use an analogy again. This time, we want you to think about your promotional campaign like going fishing. There are some steps you can take to do better when you go out to catch fish, right? And sure, some of it is beyond your control… but a lot is down to skill and knowledge.

 

So let’s get going.

ONE: Set a goal

Just like you need to plan if you’re fishing for big fish (a wimpy rod won’t do), the same goes for discounts. Try to think of a goal for each campaign, even if it is just simply “making more money”. Some of the main reasons you’d run a promotional campaign are to:

  • Bring in New Customers
  • Reward Loyal Customers
  • Kickstart a new product line
  • Gather Reviews
  • Take advantage of a seasonal uptick in buying

 

TWO: Timing is everything

 

Different fish are more active at different times. The online shopper is the same.

A while ago, we wrote a blog about the most popular times for online purchases in terms of days of the week. Did you know, for instance, that each device (desktop, mobile and tablet) has its own peak days for sales?

At the same time, it’s of course worth considering what time of year to run your promotions – remember that people are looking for discounts around the holidays. Check out the graph from Google trends, which shows interest over time for “online discount” (blue) and “Amazon discount” (red) throughout the last year. Notice the spike? That happens mid November.

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Beyond the fact that people are looking for discounts, statistics show that consumers are so overcome with holiday joy that they are often willing to try new brands, with 73% of consumers buying from a new store or online brand in the months of November and December. And, it’s always worth considering trying to hop onto the Prime Day Bandwagon, early.

 

THREE: Learn from the past and look to the future

If you caught three massive trout at a particular spot last year, wouldn’t you come back? Is there a pattern to success in your past discounts? If you don’t have previous experience with discounts, consider looking at other areas of your business, like ad campaigns, emails or social media postings, as a possible source for timing and targeting.

FOUR: Market, market, market

If we continue with the fishing analogy (sorry), then we’ve reached the point where you need to entice the fish… or your customers. A good marketing campaign is the shiny, fluorescent lure. You should always plan at least a basic marketing campaign around any discount. No matter how awesome your product, how many customers you have, or how jaw-dropping your deal, you can’t expect people to buy unless you tell them about it.

FIVE: Run those Facebook ads, baby

These days, targeted ads are getting better and better. As Shopify reports, one successful brand called Pigtails and Ponys has built 70% of their customer base up through Facebook ads. While you may not see something so dramatic as this out there, Facebook ads are an excellent way to build up your customer base in general. In terms of discounts, the same rules apply – the narrower the audience, the more likely you’ll get clicks (and sales!)

 

SIX: Run it across all channels

While it may be easier to stick to one sales channel, it’s generally best to coordinate efforts across many channels. The only exception is if you’re trying to drive sales to your own online store or bump up sales on a particular channel.

SEVEN: Let Amazon mix it up!

While the backend of Amazon can be a challenge to wrangle, one thing that they do offer is a variety of discounts. You can, of course, go for the classic % off route. It’s also worth trying the favorite BOGO. Another new option is the tiered promotion, where a customer gets a larger discount for buying more products. This is a great option for consumable goods.

 

We’re constantly thinking about discounts and how they might help our clients. Since we work with so many different types of products and companies, we know there are really no hard and fast rules for discounts. Whether or not you choose to work with us for your ecommerce needs, we’d love to hear from you about your best and brightest ideas for promotions... or fishing.