By Stephen Beasley, head of digital at Euro RSCG KLP.
Online sales promotion is complex and ever changing, but successful campaigns have tended to borrow heavily from traditional direct response techniques.
These principles have been extensively tested, re-tested, and proven to be effective over time.
1. Open your ‘store’ doors – and convert visitors into buyers
Would a brand build a store and never open the doors? Creating an online promotion is just one part of an overall online marketing process, and without knowing how to convert visitors into buyers, brands will never be able to recoup their investment.
2. Reward frequent shoppers
Online sales promotion has provided brands with the opportunity to increase sales in much the same way as conventional methods do for traditional businesses. E-vouchering is often to reward frequent shoppers when they reach a certain level of value or purchases, through to encouraging shoppers to return with coupons towards future purchases.
3. Offer incentives
Incentives have been used to encourage customers to purchase immediately rather than waiting for a better deal, or shopping elsewhere. First time customers are offered special deals in order to help turn them from browsers into purchasers, whilst subscriber-only deals are used to encourage customers to sign up, helping build customer databases which can then be used for future activity.
4. Consider sampling
Some brands successfully allow users to sample products prior to purchase. For example many software companies provide free demo downloads that expire after a period of time, upon which the user can choose to purchase the full product.
5. Competitions attract visitors
Other brands have effectively used competitions, which generally require some level of skill, or sweepstakes, which just involve a pure chance draw for the winner, to attract visitors and keep them returning.
6. Make the most of best-sellers with aggressive promotion
Many brands make the most of their best-sellers by concentrating on their key products and promoting them aggressively. This often means developing special promotions and reasons to order using benefit-oriented copy and short deadlines to create urgency and encouraging customers to act immediately.
7. Cross-sell – but beware how you do so
Cross-selling is also proven to increase the average order size, but smart brands don’t let cross-selling interfere with the sale of a product, but instead give their customers a chance to step up to the next level of quality or utility.
8. Analyse what’s worked for you before
The successful brands that have used online SP effectively have capitalised on past successes by analyzing past results to discover what techniques should be continued, which need enhancing, and which should be abandoned completely. These conclusions have then been integrated into their overall online marketing strategy, and even applied to their offline efforts.
9. And study your rivals’ strategies
They also understand what their competitors are doing by studying and identifying their strengths and weaknesses to make sure that their brand has the strongest sales position. They then emphasize what makes them different by developing unique positions, which are designed to set them apart and create stand out.
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