Are you trying to grow your business? Of course, we all are! One of the best ways to attract new customers is to offer a promotion, but word to the wise, make sure your promotion matches your business goals. For example, if you just want to get more customers and you create a promotion to offer $10 off every purchase, it may certainly get you more customers, but if your profit is usually only $5 per item, then you’re losing $5 on every new purchase.
Make sense? Basically, you just need to make sure that your overall business goals are being met with every promotion you create. So, how do you do it?
1. Identify your Business Goals
Identify the goals you want for your business and make sure the promotion is a compliment to those goals. As I mentioned earlier, don’t give up profits if you can’t recover that revenue in future sales.
2. Provide Customer Value
Remember that any promotion you do should provide value to the customer. Of course your business should benefit, but customers purchase for their benefit and if you can provide value in saving time, money or just something that makes them feel good, then the more successful your promotion will be. Crystalyn of Crystalyn Kae handbags offered a 15% discount on all purchases when we featured her and her products during our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway this last year!
3. Have an End Date
Ensure that your promotion has a specified duration...a start and an end. The key is to spark a sense of urgency so your customers will buy during the promotion knowing it won’t last for long. Promotions that last too long make the customer think they should receive that price all the time and they begin to expect it thus eliminating your profits. For example, we featured a Byte-Syze Learning on creating MOO business cards and the folks over at MOO were generous enough to offer a discount on every purchase until March 1, 2010...this is still good so hurry while it lasts!
4. Confirm your Execution
Make sure all the pieces are in place to execute the promotion. For example, if you offering a "Free Shipping" promotion, confirm that your online payment system (i.e. PayPal) can handle it. If a customer makes the promotional purchase and your system can't do the payment calculation, you’ll have a big headache very soon!
5. Track your Progress
Remember to track and measure your promotion's progress so you can improve and adjust the next time. Use your sales reports to see the results during the promotional period and measure it against your typical sales to see if there was a difference. Did it increase your sales? Did you add new customers to your database? Did it drive more awareness of your products? Using these results will help you plan a more targeted promotion in the future.
6. Promote your Promotion
Every promotion needs to be promoted. So, share your promotion with your friends and family as well as your current customers so they can spread the word. Post the promotion on your Facebook wall and tweet about it on Twitter. Etsy provides a promotions forum where you can post your promotion's information. The key is to get the word out and it all starts with you.
So, now that you understand the things to remember when creating a promotion, let’s talk about some of the ways you can do it: In no particular order, here are some ideas for your next promotion:
- Freebies: Give small stuff away to get visibility your other products.
- Holiday Promotions: Think about having a promotion around certain holidays when everyone is in the mood to buy.
- Buy 1, Get 1 FREE: Says what it is...just make sure you can afford it.
- Package Bundle: Promote a bundle of products so customers save and you sell.
- Monthly Raffle: Create a contest around your products so you sustain traffic and visibility of your business.
- Free Shipping: This is always a great one...people love not paying for shipping.
- Discount: This can be a percentage or dollar off...it's simple and effective.
- Business Card Promotion: With every sale, include your business card or promotional card to get them coming back.
- Cross Promote: Consider partnering with others to promote and bundle your products.
- Email Campaigns: Email your customer list and spread the word on your Facebook, Twitter & Flickr accounts to encourage visits.
- Charitable Promotions: Give a percentage of your sales to a designated charity. It's a win-win-win for everyone involved!
We hope this helps you understand a little more about the importance of promotions and how they can be effective. Please share your current promotions with us and any new ideas for promotions you might have and we'll be sure and spread the word!