How to Create a Successful Promotional Strategy that Maximizes Sales Potential

Looking to boost sales and get more traffic to your website? Try a promotion. When marketed well, promotions are ideal strategies for reaching out to existing and new customers.

A promotion gives your audience an explicit incentive to buy. It creates urgency for casual browsers to convert. It attracts value-seekers and nudges fence-sitters to finally click “buy now.”

A promotion also helps you achieve long-term growth. With the right marketing plan, your promotion can capture a new cohort of shoppers and nurture them into long-term customers. But first, you need a strategy for creating and publicizing your promotion.

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8 Tips for creating a strong promotional strategy

Most promotions have 2 primary goals: to increase revenue and maximize market exposure. As you create a strategy geared toward those goals, remember the following tips.

1. Keep promotions simple

You’re likely to get a high response rate if your promotions are easy to understand and redeem. The simplest strategy is to discount the item for everyone. If you strike out the original price on your website and display the new price, perhaps in a bolded font, people can easily see the benefit of the promotion.

Another option is to use promo codes. When you go this route, you need to make sure that the promo code is straightforward to use. Don’t make it so that people have to hunt down the code once they’re on your website.

If you’re sending an email, display the promo code prominently so people can go back and find it if they forget to copy it. Consider publishing the code on your website for easy access, too.

2. Bundle products together

One way companies sell more products is through bundling—offering 2 or more products for a combined cost that’s less than the total cost of the individual items when purchased separately. Merchants often use this strategy to move a product that isn’t selling well by pairing it with a popular product.

Say that you’re a jewelry retailer with earrings priced at $20 a pair and bracelets at $10 a pair. Your earrings are flying off the shelves, but no one’s biting at the bracelets. By offering a bundle of one pair of earrings with one bracelet for $25, you could move your bracelet stock and potentially get more loyal followers in the process.

One famous example comes from Nintendo, which sold 100,000 more consoles and more than a million game cartridges when bundling the 2.

3. Reward customers to boost orders

You can increase the average value of your orders (AOV) by offering a freebie when a customer reaches a certain purchase threshold.

One popular version of this strategy is conditional free shipping—the “Free Shipping over $X” offer. One article explains that free shipping would increase the likelihood of an online purchase for about 80% of US customers. If you have a lot of orders totaling $60, consider offering free shipping at $75.

If you can’t afford to offer free shipping, that’s okay. Choose a small complimentary item to offer when an order reaches a certain threshold.

4. Reward top customers with special offers

Some data analytics indicate that existing customers spend 31% more than new buyers, and they’re 50% more likely to try a new product. You can boost that loyalty by rewarding your highest spenders with customized offers.

To get even more out of this strategy, encourage your rewarded customers to share their good fortune on social media. This is a great opportunity for a referral bonus.

5. Re-merchandise your product and homepage

Many retailers think of merchandising as a brick-and-mortar strategy, but it’s just as important for e-commerce. Your customers get used to seeing your page as it is. When you mix it up and add new visual elements, you draw attention to your promotion.

Consider remarketing your homepage and product pages when you start your promotion. A good way to start is by revamping your homepage, placing promoted products front and center. You can also revitalize any category and individual product pages, highlighting not only the promotion but also any accessories, add-ons, or popular related products.

6. Seed product reviews

Reviews matter to many customers. One study shows that close to 95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. On the retailer’s end, showing 5 reviews compared to no reviews for a product can increase conversions by up to 270%.

Before you run your promotion, make sure your products have good reviews. Meanwhile, start collecting original reviews. One particularly effective technique, especially for new product launches, is to send products to customers and ask for reviews. Then, with their permission, you can post them to your product pages.

Buyers can give you reviews as well. Mailchimp makes it easy to collect reviews from current customers through automated product follow-up emails. All you need to do is add language requesting a review of a recently purchased product, perhaps with a link to a review submission page on your website.

You can link to third-party review sites, too. Don’t worry if not all of the reviews there are glowing—research shows that negative reviews help to build trust and can lead to as many as 85% more conversions.

7. Test out different promotions

Different audiences respond to different promotions. Consider conducting A/B testing, an easy and effective way to understand how your audience engages.

A/B testing sends out 2 versions of a campaign—a percent-off promotion versus a dollars-off promotion, for example. Mailchimp offers A/B testing as a feature available in all paid plans, so you can easily refine your strategy and optimize your results.

8. Stay memorable

Consumers have promotions coming into their inboxes and social media feeds every day. It’s important for you to stand out as a brand, preferably with a personal touch. Consider adding a thank-you card or free sample item in the package to delight your customers.

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Promote your promotion

Now that you have the insider knowledge to create a strong marketing promotional strategy, you can focus on publicizing the promotion. Build awareness to maximize your revenue potential.

Don’t worry—Mailchimp is here to help you every step of the way.

First, make sure your online store is connected to Mailchimp. With a connected store, you can unlock the e-commerce tools, insights, and data you need to sell more stuff—even with our free plan. Use Mailchimp's powerful tools to promote your promotions, and let their robust analytics show you which tools contribute most to your sales.

Email

Email marketing may have a decades-long history, but it hasn’t lost any of its clout. One research study from 2015 showed that for every dollar spent, email campaigns could get up to an average $38 return on investment.

Promotions make your emails even more attractive to consumers.

Mailchimp makes it easy to send professional-quality promotional emails with their easy-to-use email builder. No need to spend time creating emails from scratch when Mailchimp's tool functionality and beautiful templates make the process a breeze.

Expert tip: As an added perk, give your most loyal customers early access to the promotion.

Social media

Social media ads and organic posts can publicize your promotion to new and existing customers. Target existing customers and find new customers with similar interests. And best of all Mailchimp makes it easy to build engaging ads. Your customers are on social media, so make sure that you don’t miss a sales opportunity to highlight your offers.

Retargeting

In the age of automation, it’s easy to set up messages to retarget customers who have gone astray. Maybe someone filled up a shopping cart and then decided against the purchase, or maybe they just browsed and then changed their mind. A promotion can get many of these people back on board with your company.

Mailchimp makes it easy to send customized abandoned cart and retargeting emails. Then, those people get special emails inviting them back to complete their purchase.

Postcards

In today’s digital world, postcards can make a big impression. Mailchimp makes it easy to create and send promotional postcards to your most loyal customers. A postcard won’t get lost in their email inbox, and the sensory engagement factor will make shoppers feel special. Postcards are also a great way to target a select audience with personalized offers.

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Turn first-time customers into loyal customers

Promotions are time-tested strategies for acquiring new customers, but you don’t want to stop there. Now that you know how to get people buying, it’s time to turn them into regular customers.

Loyalty is a key driver of repeat purchases. Here are some important tips that can help you turn new buyers into loyal customers.

Tag new customers

The more you know about your new customers, the better you can personalize messaging for them in the future. Make sure you’re tagging all of the new customers who visit your site during your promotion. Tag them based on what they shop for, and consider adding an Engages with Promotions tag.

Expert tip: For better conversions, use your audience tags to personalize future communications. Segmented, targeted, and personalized emails could generate a meaningful amount of revenue, and conversions can go up even more with more personalized pageviews.

Send welcome emails

Welcome emails are a great way to build relationships. If you’re not already doing it, add an option on your checkout page where customers can give you their email address and opt in to future messages. Get a welcome message out to everyone who signs up. Think of what a great first impression you’ll be leaving with your new customers.

Expert tip: If you set up an automation that sends out welcome emails to new customers, you can be sure those messages will go out consistently. Even better, it’ll happen without any ongoing effort on your part.

Keep communication going

Your new customers should keep hearing from you after the promotion is over. Use the tags you set up for those customers to send out personalized product recommendations.

Through your connected store, Mailchimp can help to predict what your customers will like, so you can send emails with product recommendations to encourage them to keep shopping.

Put your newest products and best-sellers front and center to drive interest. This refreshes customer engagement and keeps your brand at the top of buyers’ minds, helping you drive conversions.

Expert tip: Make sure your ecommerce store is connected to Mailchimp so that you can unlock even more tools to better target your customers.

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Getting started with your promotion

With these tips in your knowledge toolbox, you’re ready to start designing your promotion and getting the word out about it.

If you’re already a Mailchimp user, you have plenty of tools at your disposal. Start with your audience dashboard. Look at who your customers are and what segments you might want to reach with your promotion.

Next, go to your website and start adding promotional content. If you have a site with Mailchimp, you can create unlimited landing pages for the promotion.

If you want to run a promotion and don’t currently have a website, don't worry—Mailchimp has you covered. Leverage their beautiful templates to quickly create a shoppable landing page so customers can purchase your products.

Mailchimp makes it easy for you to create effective multichannel marketing campaigns. With our reporting functionality, you can take these campaigns to the next level. You learn where you get the most engagement, who’s responding to you, and what your customers have in common. By reviewing this information after your campaign, you can continue to optimize promotional strategies.

Promotions are an impactful way of driving sales. The key is to create an attractive offer, market it smartly, and follow up in a way that earns the loyalty of both old and new buyers.

Your customers are waiting. It's time to start creating the kind of promotion that they can't resist.