As a maker and shaker and online business owner, you put plenty of thought into your prices, what you sell, and the marketing that goes along with it – all on a regular basis.
But from time to time, it’s nice to shake things up with a sale or special promotion that extends a limited-time offer to your customers.
There are a ton more benefits to launching a sale than you might realize! And today I’m going to walk you through exactly how to make your next promotion a successful one.
It’s time to plan + set some goals, and I’ll be right there with you!
#1. Ask yourself why you’re holding a sale.
This is an easy step to rush through or skip altogether, because it’s tempting to simply say, “I’m holding a sale to make more money, of course!” and move right along.
But there are several different reasons you might be launching this specific sale, and zeroing in on your motivations will matter later when you get deeper into the planning process.
Which reasons apply to your sale?
- You want to unload excess stock.
- It’s an end-of-season sale.
- It marks a celebration of some kind.
- You want to promote a new product or service, or maybe one you know has potential but hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves..
- You’d like to attract new visitors/customers.
- Or some other reason entirely!
Knowing the reason for your sale will help you determine your sales offering, timing, and length of the sale.
#2. Decide when you’ll hold the sale.
When it comes to when exactly to hold your sale, holiday periods might be the first option that jumps out at you. But keep in mind you’ll also be up against some of the biggest companies out there, so it also can be wise to choose a period outside of holiday time.
Instead, you might celebrate your own birthday with a sale, or perhaps the anniversary of your business. If you sell a seasonal item (holiday wreaths or outdoor wind chimes for summer days, for instance) you can launch a sale as your customers begin to plan and make purchases for the season ahead.
#3 Pinpoint what to offer.
Will you be promoting certain items or the entire shop? It makes the most sense to put certain items on sale if you’re looking to clear out room and refresh your inventory, while putting your whole shop on sale can be a powerful way to raise brand awareness as you bring in new customers who can’t resist such a great deal.
#4 Figure out how long to run your promotion.
It’s of course important to give your sale a specific deadline – countdown timers can be great for this. It can be especially powerful if you’re launching a flash sale, which is a very quick sale (sometimes a matter of hours) that usually features steep discounts. Flash sales often take customers by surprise – in a good way, of course.
You might also decide to make the terms of your promotion “while supplies last” and offer the discount as long as you still have the inventory you’d like to unload, or until you reach your target goals. Is there something specific you’re raising money for, or an income goal you’d like to achieve? Keep the sale going until you reach it!
#5 How to promote your sale.
Make use of your email list.
For example, if you’re planning on doing a special promotion for a new product you’re launching, be sure to mention it in your emails leading up to the launch. This way when the sale happens your customers feel comfortable and familiar with the product – and maybe more likely to make an impulse purchase.
During your sale period, you might be emailing your list as much as once a day! To make sure you’re being respectful of everyone’s inboxes, it’s a great time to use email segmentation.
An example for a 3-day sale could be:
- Day 1: Email your entire list (but not people who have previously purchased the same item that’s on sale.)
- Day 2: Email only the people who opened the email day 1.
- Day 3: Email the entire list once again.
See what I mean? You’ll need to consider a lot of different elements, but some of these ideas can get you started!
Use Facebook ads.
You can create a Facebook ad campaign that links directly to your sales page. A good start for retargeting might be, for example, a custom audience full of previous visitors to your website. You can then set the campaign to expire when your sale does.
Fire up your social media accounts.
Create a sales hashtag! Experiment using a variety of hashtags, including classics that get plenty of searches, like #holidaysale, along with original hashtags specific to your business. Once you’ve found what works, stick with it and use that perfect combination of hashtags across all your social media platforms.
You might also announce that you’ll be having a sale weeks ahead of time across your social media sites – just don’t tell your followers when exactly it will happen. Your followers will be checking your feeds so they don’t miss out.
#6 Consider how you’ll follow up.
Sales are such a powerful way to raise brand awareness – are you prepared to follow up, now that you have so many new customers?
You might, for example, consider having upsells for the people who make a purchase during your sale. A simple way to do this is to place a sales funnel behind your sale offer so that any smaller sales have the potential to become bigger ones.
There are many different ways to follow up, but whatever you do, don’t simply go silent.
Your sale likely got you lots more attention, followers, and customers. Follow up to keep these new people engaged!
And how often should you plan on holding a sale? This will vary based on your business, but definitely no more than once per month. If you launch special promos more often than that, you’ll train your followers to expect discount constantly. The result? They won’t buy anything at full price, since they’re counting on that discount. You won’t want to harm your long-term business growth because of too many sales.
And finally…don’t forget to be ready yourself!
Sales will often cause the numbers of orders you receive to skyrocket. That’s an amazing problem to have, right? Just make sure you have a good handle on your inventory so you have enough to fulfill all those orders.
Also be prepared for all the shipping you‘ll have to take on (depending on what you’re selling, of course).
You’ve probably noticed customers are expecting faster-than-ever shipping these days. The important thing is not to promise shipping times if you can’t realistically make them happen.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you ever held a sale? How did it go? Got any advice to share? We’d love to hear more!
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