Sales promotions are exciting. For businesses, there’s the rush of serving enthusiastic customers, getting tons of orders, and making a nice profit. For customers, there’s the bliss of buying something new and the satisfaction of getting a great deal on something they wanted or needed. When a sales promotion is successful, these are the gratifying results. But that raises a question. How can you make sure that your promotions are well-received and get you a great return on investment (ROI)? Consider the below 8 best practices.
Before anything else, you need to know who you’re targeting. Will your promo appeal to your entire audience? In some cases it may but that won’t always be true. Within target audiences there are specific subsets with different wants, needs, and motivations.
Take, for example, a business that’s known for selling several brands of certain products. Naturally, things like quality and price vary between those brands. Therefore, the business will attract a variety of people who are more concerned with one element than the other.
What that business would offer, then, would depend on whether they’re targeting the penny-pinchers or those who are willing to pay more for top-of-the-line products.
What kinds of customers does your business primarily attract and what will entice them specifically? The answer will give you your promotion idea but what do you do with it?
Once you know what your sales promotion will be, you’ll need to set clear goals. Not only will they help you to assess your results, they will also improve the outcome in the first place. How so? By setting targets for yourself, you’ll have clear in mind what you wish to accomplish, as well as what it’ll take to succeed.
So think about how many new contacts you’d like to gain, what consumer behaviors you want to change, how much you’d like to sell, and so on.
As you put together your game plan to reach the objectives you’ve set, you’ll need to think about the way you present yourself to customers. Even if your goal is to get x amount of new customers, you shouldn’t come across as interested only in that goal for the benefit of your company. No one likes the “used car salesmen” approach!
Instead, find a way to be sincere, natural, and personable while also working toward your objectives. The things people appreciate most are the things that are genuine. If you display this quality, the sales will follow!
When considering when your sales promotion will be offered, and what it will be, it’s best to avoid predictability. Why? Think about a couple of examples.
If you hold a different sale every Thursday, many of your customers may simply wait until that day, causing you to miss out on full-price sales that you deserve and perhaps need desperately. This example can be taken even further, though.
Let’s say that you have a semi-annual sale where popular products are 30% off. The sale is always the same, everyone knows the time of year it’ll be rolling around and, again, many people wait until then to make their purchases. How is this different from the first example?
By doing the same thing at the same time like clockwork, you could actually diminish the effectiveness of other sales promotions you have throughout the year. Customers may begin to think, “Why use this 10% off coupon when I could wait until the upcoming 30% off sale?” You don’t want to work against yourself so be a little unpredictable.
Scarcity—when the right thing is being offered—can create an insane demand and increase the value of a product, service or experience. How can you leverage scarcity? By placing limits on your sales promotions, making them available:
These restrictions can persuade people to buy now, buy more, and take other actions that you want them to take.
Speaking of the limitations that activate the fear of missing out, they can be used in another way as well. Restrictions can make a select group feel special and privileged if only they have access to certain promotions.
Therefore, you may want to consider “gating” some of your promotions to really boost enthusiasm and sales.
Granted, it’s not appropriate in all cases but it can be good to offer freebies, even if in limited quantity. Whether it’s a free consultation, a free product, a free trial, free shipping or free returns, people can’t seem to pass up things that are zero dollars!
If other tactics don’t push potential customers over this edge, a freebie just may be the thing to tip the scales in your favor.
Last but not least, you’ll need to spread the word about your “too good to miss” promotion. Otherwise, people will miss it because they don’t know about it! You’ll be happy to know that promotion doesn’t have to be hard or costly either.
Draw attention to your latest sales promotion with storefront signage, in-store signage, announcements on your website, ads in the local paper, posts on social media and so forth. Such free and low-cost methods of advertisement help keep expenses to a minimum and help you get the maximum ROI possible.
Whether you previously struggled to create successful campaigns or simply want to enhance the positive results you’ve already seen, these best practices will help. If you put them to good use, you’ll be able to reach and even surpass many of the sales goals you set.