We all love promotions and discounts. They not only allow us to save money, but also feel like we’re grabbing a great deal. So it’s no surprise that retailers regularly prepare various promotional campaigns.
However, even the most attractive promotions will not reach the customer unless we help them do so. Just as stationary stores create newspapers or discount coupons, online stores need to look for channels through which they could communicate with customers. That’s why they encourage their customers to sign up for newsletters, manage social media accounts or use CPC ads.
However, is this enough? What to keep in mind when creating a promotional or discount action? How to make sure that we achieve the intended results and the promotion encourages customers to buy our products?
To boost the effectiveness of promotional campaigns, we need to get them ready properly and, besides planning the advantages that will encourage customers to make purchases, we should thoroughly think through the communication of our promotion.
How to communicate promotional actions in an e-store?
- Plan promotions beforehand
Having been in the e-commerce business for years, we see that a common problem is a lack of time caused by a flurry of tasks, unexpected situations and small tasks that do not necessarily bring visible results, but need to be done. Lack of time results in missing out on some of the opportunities that we could use to increase sales – we forget about them or they are postponed until the last minute.
In such cases, of course, planning is very helpful. It’s impossible to plan everything, but the recurring annual holidays and various occasions are things we are aware of in advance. That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down once a quarter, half a year or a year, review the moments worth exploiting and at least pre-plan them.
When planning, think about what type of promotion you will carry out, how you will communicate it, what materials you will need (banners, graphics for ads, content), who will be responsible for each task and by their deadlines.
This will put the team’s overall activities and resources into perspective. It will also reduce the stress and nervousness associated with the lack of time – everyone will be able to spread out their responsibilities, and if it is impossible to do everything at once, you can always prioritize activities and drop the least important ones.
Also remember to determine the way you will measure the effects of the campaign. Usually the easiest way is to create a promotional code – all you need to do is count how many codes have been used afterwards.
Planning promotional activities in advance gives you the space to take care of the details, such as clearly describing the rules of the promotion or creating rules and regulations, which is especially important for contests or campaigns in which the customer must meet some conditions, such as making purchases for a certain amount.
We wrote about how to prepare for the e-commerce holiday season in the article “How to make the most of the holiday season in your online shop“.
- Learn about your customers’ preferences
Looking for inspiration in the market is worthwhile, but what works in one industry or even for your competitors may not necessarily work for you. Therefore, find out what type of promotions and campaigns will attract your customers. The fastest way to do this is to ask your customers to fill out a survey to learn about their preferences. Remember to keep the survey short and don’t force the customer to provide too much information about themselves – ask only about their preferences. It is also good practice to offer even just a tiny freebie for completing the survey.
Be sure to analyze the answers, draw conclusions and observe how performance-based campaigns work.
On the other hand, if you don’t yet have a large number of customers or newsletter subscribers, then test different types of offers one by one, such as a special deals night, limited-time free delivery or a major sale. Again, always analyze the results and repeat those actions that had the best results.
Photo: Special deals night – endo.pl
- Ensure visibility
As we mentioned in the introduction, for a promotional campaign to be successful, we need to inform customers about it. They won’t find out on their own, and waiting only for those who visit the store’s website during the campaign misses the point.
Determine, therefore, how you will inform regular and potential customers about the promotion. Because, after all, not each type of promotion you will want or be able to promote using the same channels – Facebook, for example, will not allow you to promote all products.
Determining exactly how you will announce the action will also allow you to prepare for it, for example, specifying what graphics and content you will need.
How to inform about the promotion?
First of all, use your e-store webpage. On the home page, place a banner redirecting to a website describing the terms and conditions of the action and showing the products included in the promotion. You can place similar banners on category pages, drop-down menus or other places in the store that are visited by customers and at the same time do not have any other purpose (e.g., a banner on a subpage for newsletter sign-ups may not be the best idea). If the promotion requires the use of a discount code, make this clear on the banner, and make the code itself easy to remember and enter in the right place in the shopping cart.
Photo banner with code on the homepage – Estyl.pl
Photo banner on the category page – euro.com.pl
Also remember to use the store’s social media profiles. On Facebook, for example, a post about a promotion should be pinned so that it is always visible first. Also make use of the background photo, which is a great spot to announce important things. On Instagram, on the other hand, you can tell about the promotion in an interesting way using Instastories and remind people about it from time to time by showing products included in the promotion.
Also send a newsletter to subscribers. Make sure it links to a page describing the promotion, and if the promotion isn’t addressed to the entire customer base, separate the appropriate target group from it and only send the newsletter to them.
You can also consider partnering with influencers. This will probably involve some extra costs, but you can also look for influencers who will be willing to work with you on barter or percent of sales. In the latter case, generate a unique code for them, based on which you will count how many sales the influencer has produced.
Working with influencers is not only about extra reach, but also about brand credibility, increased visibility in Google with links redirecting to your store, and additional promotion channels.
- Limit products availability
This method takes advantage of the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) effect, or fear of missing out on opportunities. In addition, as humans, we assign more value to things we perceive as rare, hard to find.
You can limit availability in two ways – either by holding promotions that last for a few days or by announcing a limited number of available products.
In a previous article on e-commerce promotions, we mentioned that the duration of a promotion has a huge impact on the speed of a purchase decision. The customer, seeing that the promotion is about to end, feels time pressure and decides to make a purchase faster.
Place information about the duration of the promotion or low availability of the goods in prominent places, so that the customer can see that he has little time and may not have time to make a purchase if he does not make it right away.
Photo: Information on the banner on the e-store’s homepage about the limited time sale – dotti.com.au
An interesting example is the Tatuum.pl e-store. They created a promotion in which, as the days passed, the size of the discount on the products included in the promotion decreased.
Photo: Decreasing discounts – Tatuum.pl
- Invest in an ad campaign and target ads accordingly
The organic reach of Facebook and Instagram posts is negligible compared to what we can get by paid advertising. Therefore, in order to reach more observers, as well as new people, amplify their reach with paid advertising.
Remember, however, that not only reach matters, but also a well-chosen target audience. Don’t target ads to a very wide group of people who may not necessarily be interested in your products. This will allow you to increase its effectiveness while reducing costs.
Also keep an eye on your advertising budget so that you don’t spend more on advertising than your profit from the promotional campaign itself will be.
Photo: Supporting advertising posts about the sale – decathlon.com
- Drive more purchases
To increase the value of the shopping cart, do more than a just simple price cut. Once a customer makes a purchase decision, it’s much easier to convince them to spend more – especially if their benefits are also greater.
A good example is a special discount in the Pandora store – the more products a customer buys, the bigger the discount they will get. Another mechanism could be a promotion combined with free delivery or freebies, which are given to customers when they exceed the corresponding value of the shopping cart.
Photo: Special deal in Pandora e-store – the more products purchased, the bigger the discount
- Automate the campaign
Make your job easier by using the capabilities of marketing automation, which we wrote about some time ago.
First of all, make sure you have automation set up for abandoned shopping carts – configuring new automations is a good opportunity to test the ones already in place.
In addition, configure remarketing on Google and social media covering the promotion’s landing page – displaying ads to people who visited the promotion’s page but did not make a purchase.
On the other hand, you can schedule a follow-up, i.e. a reminder email, to people who did not open or click on the newsletter informing them of the launch of the promotion. Encourage them with an additional discount to increase the chances that they will make a purchase.
Photo: Extra discount at the end of the campaign – 24S.com
- Add campaigns to websites aggregating promotions and discount codes
There are many websites that gather all sorts of special deals and ongoing promotions at online stores. Usually their business model is based on payment per click and user’s redirect to the store’s website. Therefore, these services are keen to reach as many Internet users as possible with information about promotions, and then make them use the promotion.
To this end, they provide users with mechanisms to keep track of promotions that interest them. For example, at Pepper.pl, it is possible to set up alerts that send an e-mail or browser notification when a promotion meeting certain criteria shows up.
Photo: Mechanism for setting alerts at Pepper.pl
Although it is true that the presence of your offer in this type of websites will be associated with additional costs, but on the other hand you give yourself a chance to make more sales. You simply share the profit. In addition, you have a chance to reach new customers who would not reach your store on their own.
- Create a website with current promotions
Many Internet users search the Internet for discount codes before making purchases. Some use the sites mentioned in the previous paragraph, others enter phrases like “store/product name+discount codes” or “store/product name+promotion” into Google.
Help them and yourself. Create a separate subpage in your e-store with current promotions. Let the page be visible to Google at all times, so it can be positioned well. Optimize it for SEO, including a friendly URL, such as name_shop.pl/promotions.
This kind of website has a chance to get a higher position than discount code sites in Google search results, making the user visit your website straight away, and you will avoid the redirecting costs or sales commissions.
As you can see, there are many ways to increase the effectiveness of promotional campaigns, and certainly more than we described in our article. However, applying these will allow you to achieve better sales results. Finally, we will once again pinpoint the importance of preparing for the campaign beforehand, as well as taking some time to measure the results and think about the things you can do better next time.