As a shopper there’s nothing worse than thinking something you want is on sale and going to the trouble to find it on a site and add it to the cart, only to get to the checkout and discover that the promotion doesn’t apply to that specific product. It’s frustrating and it feels dishonest – like the website you’re on was trying to use a bait-and-switch tactic. Shoppers are most likely not going to buy the product if this happens. Instead, they’ll go elsewhere and buy what they want from someone else that they don’t feel like has wronged them. This means that your business will not only miss out on that purchase, but may also suffer down the road if consumers swear off your brand for good due to their poor initial experiences.
2. Have a Set Timeframe
In the same way that you’ll want to indicate what the sale applies to, you’ll also want to lay out when it ends (with a date and time). This prevents shoppers from missing out on the sale and sets the expectation that it’s a limited-time offer so that people don’t get disgruntled when they can’t receive the sale price or offer later.
3. Reiterate it on the Homepage
When shoppers hear about your big sale, they’re going to head to your website to shop… or at least that’s the plan. The first thing that they should see when they get there is that sale being reiterated. Using the same verbiage, font, images and other branded materials to advertise that sale regardless of the platform creates an association between wherever they first learned about it and your website. This association encourages the sale by making shoppers feel more at ease about buying from you online.
4. Specify a Way to Redeem It
Getting shoppers excited about your offer is great, but it doesn’t mean much if they have no idea how to redeem the offer. Some sales require that shoppers enter a promo code, while others automatically discount products at checkout.
More complicated offers will require even more of an explanation, so having a separate page to answer offer-related questions is a good way to address these nuances without cluttering up emails, your homepage, or anywhere else that the offer is mentioned. Depending on the nature of the offer (like limited quantity offers or free gift promotions), you may also need a bunch of legalese to back it up. This page is the perfect place to house of the required lawyer-speak!
5. Use a Catchy Name
Sales are great and sales with catchy names are even better. This is why you tend to see promotions called things like “Summer Super Sale” and “Black Friday BOGO.” Giving the sale a clever name makes it easy for shoppers to remember and share on social media or in person with friends and family. If your sale will use a promo code, be sure to have the code reflect the name and mature of the sale. For instance, in the examples above, you could use promo codes like “SUMMER” and “BFBOGO.”
6. Cross Promote It
Having a sale isn’t going to be especially effective if no one knows about it. So instead of just promoting your sale on your homepage, be sure to incorporate it onto all of your marketing channels. Push the sale on social media, integrate it into your email campaigns, incorporate it into your paid search ads, and use it anywhere else your business advertises locally or nationally. Marketing cross promotion is the key to making your sale a big hit!
7. Remind Your Audience
For one-day sales there isn’t time to remind your audience that your sale is occurring, but for longer sales (say weekend-long, week-long, etc.) you should tell your audience when the sale is starting and when it’s ending. When the sale kicks off, announce it and encourage followers, subscribers, and searchers to visit your website to check it out. As the sale is winding down, count down the time remaining for your audience so that they don’t miss out on the deal.
8. Don’t Overplay It
Some companies find success running an online sale, and then they get hooked and overdo it. Offering sales too often can end up hurting your profits and also your brand image. You don’t want to give shoppers the impression that if they miss a big sale another one will be following immediately after. This can cause shoppers to delay purchasing and look for deals elsewhere.
9. Deliver Goods/Services as Promised
A sale is great at getting new shoppers in the door to make a first purchase, but it won’t keep them around. To encourage customer loyalty, you’ll need to deliver the goods or services that consumers bought as promised to meet, and even exceed, their expectations. This means getting items shipped or services performed quickly and providing the follow-up that shows that your company cares.
10. Analyze the Results
Assessing the outcome of a sale is the only way to hone in on what works so that you can run an even better sale the next time around. This means identifying and tracking metrics that will speak to the success of the sale as aligned with your overall business goals.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!