Inventory been sitting around for too long? Looking to clear stock for a new product?
Need to generate quick cash for your business? Special holiday coming up?
All of these are reasons to launch an attractive sale campaign to generate new sales and attract more business to your eCommerce store. As online shopping has become more and more popular, the eCommerce world has made it easier for businesses to push out sales, discounts, and other incentive programs.
We live in a world where you can brainstorm a sale and launch a campaign within the next hour. Even if you have the platform to do so, we highly recommend you take the time to plan the details, figure out execution, and establish a way to measure the results of your sales campaign. Taking the time to do it right could be a potential gold mine by giving you valuable data and results.
In this article, we’ll talk about the process you should take before launching your next promotion. These are all steps we take to make sure our clients are set up for success when launching sales campaigns.
1) Define the promotion’s terms and goals
Before you launch any sale, it is crucial that there’s a plan in place. A plan that is clear with what the campaign will look like from start to finish. As we said, it’s very easy to put together a “50% off” social media ad, blast it on all your platforms, and hope for the best. However, with the amount of competition and offers available in the eCommerce market, you’ll need to be strategic to rake in the highest results possible.
To start, you’ll want to establish the need for the sale to be able to define the terms and goals. Sales campaigns usually help get rid of sitting inventory, generate quicker income, and/or attract new customers. The key is to make sure every sale has a purpose, even if you decide to do it just because. Online sales work best when there’s very specific sales terms and that appeal to the target market. It is important that your sale is clear and easy to understand for the customer to feel encouraged to purchase. Having purpose behind your campaigns makes it easier to plan the terms and create powerful successful ad campaigns. The most successful sale campaigns are created to serve as a business solution or serve a very specific purpose. Some situations could look like:
- Having too many units sitting on the shelf and want to clear inventory to generate more sales?
- Run a 50% off clearance sale to move inventory faster and generate more profits
- Wanting to show customers your passionate for breast cancer awareness?
- Run specials through the month of breast cancer awareness to show customers you care
- Needing to increase profits and only specific products are selling while there’s more products to offer on the website?
- Set up a buy-one-get-one-free sale to encourage customers to buy other products
- Looking to see how many people are reading blog content?
- Offer a coupon code at the bottom of your blogs with a dollar amount discount on their next purchase.
This will generate more sales and you’ll be able to track the use of the code and know how many people are reading through. Winning the sale from customers who abandoned cart or have shown interest = run re-targeted sale campaigns with an exclusive offer to close the sale
Some of the most successful eCommerce sales campaigns are highly targeted around certain customers or groups of people. For example, creating email campaigns that offer an exclusive discount to customers who previously purchased from you. When planning your sale, consider if there’s a specific target market you could focus on to create campaigns that speak to individuals instead of the masses. In fact, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10% (Aberdeen). Look to segment your e-mail list to see what targeted messages, sales, or promotions can be directed towards them.
With whatever incentive you offer, you’ll want to make sure it’s attractive to customers, but also planned to help you profit and not lose money. At the end of the day, you want the sale to be clear, goal-driven, and traceable through its campaign cycle. Once the sale is defined, you’re ready to start planning how to execute the sale and begin to prepare the materials needed to promote the sale. In the next step, we’ll get into selecting the proper platforms and how to set up your campaign for success.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Study and identify a need in your business that could benefit from a sale, define the terms of the sale, and select when the sale will start/end. Give yourself time to create ads and schedule all your posts out so you can monitor the campaign with ease.
2) Choose your marketing channels and set budget
Now that we defined the sale, how are you going to promote the sale and where are the ads going to be posted? Successful ad campaigns have high visibility and traction, a coordinated strategy across several marketing channels will help spread the news and drive traffic to the website. Take the time to look at all the marketing channels at your disposal that can help promote the campaign. To help you get started, some of the most common channels are your website, social media accounts, e-mail marketing, ppc (pay-per-click) ads, blogs, and QR codes on print ads. Be selective on how you choose your platforms, not all channels have to be used for one campaign.
Is there a lot of competitors advertising in a certain channel?
What platform is going to give me the highest reach for my target and goals?
Are the ads related to your brand, platform, and intended traffic of the site?
These are the kind of questions that help measure which marketing channels will give you the highest return on investment. When it comes to online sales, the saying “you have to spend money to make money” reaches a new level of importance. It is not enough to just advertise using internal channels such as social media posts. To put your business in front of new eyes and new potential customers, you’ll have to pay for advertisement such as Google AdWords, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, YouTube ads, e-mail newsletters, and more.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Think about your sale campaign, your target market, and your goals. Create a list of different marketing channels that are available to your business.
Isn’t it easier to set the budget first then select the marketing channels that fit my budget? Not necessarily.
By taking the time to consider the target and goals of your sale you were more prepared to select the proper channels to promote the sale. This makes it easier to know your costs and create a budget that can make your marketing plan a success. In our world, we like to say “pay to play” simply because the higher your budgets the higher the traction your ads will have. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your ads are visually on point and your campaigns are set up properly on each marketing channel – we’ll get into this in the next step. To keep it short, if you want to reach more people and improve your visibility, you’ll have to increase your marketing budgets and monitor your campaigns closely.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Look at the list of the marketing channels you listed and look at your budget. Start to prioritize which channels need the most investment. Once you set your plan you can also have back up channels ready in case your ads aren’t converting the way you planned.
If you need help identifying what marketing channels can help you best, we offer thorough audits of your company where we look at your business, online presence, market landscape, and more to learn what areas you can improve on and where your marketing dollars should go for better results. Click here to learn more about our audits.
3) Create your ad content
You have an irresistible sale and all the platforms ready to launch it, so how will those ads look when they’re out to the public? BEAUTIFUL, PREMIUM, CLEAN, SHARP, ATTENTION-GRABBING, INFORMATIVE, LEGIBLE- these are the only acceptable answers.
For a successful online sale campaign, you simply cannot cut corners with your visuals. PERIOD.
Whether you want to invest in design, photography, videography, or any other means of content you need to understand that first impressions and visuals are everything in the eCommerce world. Think for a second, you are competing for people’s attention against hundreds of other posts, ads, content, and more. The amount quality content available has increased and people’s attention spans have decreased even more. If you want people to stop and read your ad, you’ll need to have eye-catching visuals that are easy to take in and evoke a motivating feeling. In the eCommerce world, your image is a great way to build reputation and value for your business. You can have an awesome offer and great marketing plan but with poor visuals it could cast doubt and become ignored.
One of the biggest hurdles as an eCommerce business is generating consumer trust for someone to order on your website. Having the proper visuals will let people know you mean serious business. A company that’s willing to invest in their image means they care about how they conduct business. Beyond aesthetic, you want your visuals to be legible and clear as to how the sale works. If your ads give off the wrong vibe or are too difficult to read people will easily move on to the next thing.
Now that you understand the need for good visuals, let’s talk about what makes visuals successful. The best ads create a feeling or emotion that inspires the customer to make the purchase. Well-designed ads take into consideration each marketing channel and is created so that it thrives in that world. Make sure all your ads are optimized to fit the requirements of each channel. You’ll want to make sure your ads display correctly. To give you an example, every social media platform has different sized post requirements, not only do the ads need to be sized correctly but the content can be arranged to catch people’s attention as they scroll through the feeds with the right imagery. Below is an example of a set of ads, we had various marketing channels, but you can see how the ads have a collateral look, yet the arrangement and information change based on the platform.
4) Launch sale campaign
- Define the sales terms and dates = check
- List available marketing channels = check
- Establish budget and select marketing channels = check
- Brainstorm and create ad content = check
Looks like we’re ready to launch the sale! Before you hit the red button, make sure to have an organized plan. Know how the campaign will roll out through its promotional period. You’ll want to set dates and times that fit your target market’s activity on the internet, it is important that you post ads during popular times so that you get the best visibility on your ads. Have all your ads created before you execute. You’ll want to be free to monitor your online sale while its live to the public.
We like to schedule everything ahead of time so that we can spend the time monitoring the sale. This is huge because you’ll want to know if your ad campaign is working, it’s hard to do that if you must post throughout the campaign since you can’t see the big picture.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Create a spreadsheet with your campaigns goals and decide how you want to measure the conversion rate. This will help you with the next step. It is important to execute your plan in a way where you can study how it matures. This is critical for future sales as it creates great analytical reports that can improve future sales.
5) Track, monitor, and analyze campaign
You always want to be in control of your business, especially how your sales perform. To do so, you need track and monitor your ad campaigns every day. Once your campaign launches, make sure you establish what conversions mean to you and how you want to measure it. Ask yourself, what exactly do you want to measure to determine the success of your campaign? It could be various factors: sales orders, newsletter subscriptions, follower count, downloads, or other measurements tied to the goals of your campaign. The conversion rate is the number of clicks it takes to achieve your target measurement. By monitoring this closely, you’ll be able to act through the sale to modify your marketing plan for ultimate success.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Once you launch your campaign, monitor the first days and weeks of your campaign. Take notes of the results of each channel and ad. Write these results down on a spreadsheet and start to look for any trends or patterns that can help you adjust your marketing plan for better results. You can fix the ads that are not performing and boost those that are performing better.
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER:
We know we basically laid out the key to success for online sales. If you follow these 5 steps, you’ll be able to create very strong promotional campaigns for your business. We also know that you can improve your results if you work with the professionals. While all these steps are self-discoverable, it’s important to consider investing in an experienced agency. One that can help you plan, create, execute, and measure your online campaigns. Hiring the right marketers can help you plan attractive campaigns that fit your products/services and ideal target market. Professional designers will create the best-looking ads that fit your brand and start to build a trustworthy identity. Social Media Marketing Specialists will help set up your ads to reach the right people on social media. As well as distribute your dollars to the right campaigns at the right times. SEO experts know which keywords are performing and can help monitor the success of your conversion rates on the daily. Combine all the expertise and you could be smooth sailing with your online business!