As an online retail business, a large part of your marketing strategy surely revolves around promotions to drive product sales and acquire new customers; however, if a campaign’s exposure is not planned out, what good are its existence? The online world today presents many opportunities to get your special offers in front of the right people, but we mustn’t forget about some of the older “offline” techniques that continue to have a strong impact on shoppers. In a multi-device world, it’s only to be expected that a multi-channel strategy must be used. Let’s investigate how to maximize the effectiveness of your promotions using a mix of digital and traditional strategies.
When we consider digital strategies, email marketing immediately comes to mind, and it is indeed a powerful route to take. However, marketers beware of sending clutter versus relevant messages! Your subscribers are blasted with information daily, so a clear and well-organized offer needs to be presented along with a message that is personalized for the recipient…otherwise, you can surely expect to be sent straight to the dreaded trash folder. Personalization increases open rates by 26 percent; it can be as simple as using the recipients’ names in your subject line/greeting, or as complex as sending them only promotional emails regarding products they have previously shown interest in or are related to those they have purchased. Remember though, your emails need to be user-friendly across devices. Use responsive HTML designs and avoid the pitfall of sending emails that require zooming or scrolling to get to the call-to-action (CTA).
Another digital marketing route for promotions often used is social media. Many businesses struggle to use their social media presence successfully for revenue generation, but it’s important to remember from our previous blog that social media has great influence on purchasing decisions among Millennials, so this is no trivial matter. Leveraging social media requires that your brand build its credibility first, otherwise, your promotions will be no different than those abrasive, out-of-the-blue sales calls right as you’re sitting down to dinner. Spend most of your time posting content that adds something fresh to the conversation, builds up the value of what you offer, and creates emotional connections – only approximately 10 percent of your posts should be promotional. Next, your social media promotions need to have a clear CTA and must be enticing enough to make consumers act NOW. Creating a sense of urgency on an “exclusive” offer is a great way to get attention and attract shoppers onto your website. When customers get to the website, feed the created urgency with a countdown to the end of your offer. Social media marketing definitely has a wider reach than email marketing through the use of #hashtags and contributions to trending conversations, allowing you to get in front of prospective customers who are not in your current database.
This just goes as far as your feed though…what about the feeds of those in your networks and their network and so on and so forth? The most powerful trait of Social Media is the network aspect…the ability to light a global word-of-mouth wildfire. The idea is to create promotions that elicit emotion and the desire to share far and wide. When we think of this kind of promotion done right, we, of course, think of Coca Cola: the #ShareACoke campaign started as a small project in Australia and has since flourished into this ever-evolving consumer magnet that has a dedicated online store to handle its popularity! Sure, maybe your business doesn’t have the resources to inflate your promotion this much, but you can still create something impactful. Offer something worth sharing further: why not create contests to drive the use of your hashtag (and thank everyone who perpetuates it to make them feel good about the share) and thus drive more eyes onto your offering? Or offer a special discount to those who share your promo post within the next 24 hours? Ideas like these are endless and can create quite the splash at absolutely no monetary cost to your business. Sounds like a win-win situation…
Search or display ads via Google Adwords are also a widely used way of getting your business to appear before new potential customers in the digital landscape. Adwords actually showed a 19 percent increase in spending during Q1 this year (up from Q4-2016). That last statement should be read as, “your competitors are using paid digital ads, so these should certainly be part of your marketing strategy too!” This is a method that, when used intelligently, can help get your promotions in front of people who are looking for exactly what you offer. By tagging your ads with common search keywords that relate to your products, your website’s and/or promo’s link can appear at the top of relevant search results or in dedicated ad spaces on many websites. When we say tag your ads with search words that relate to your product…we really mean it. The idea isn’t to use all possible search words that could maybe, kind of, sort of be related to what you offer; this will just create interruptive and untargeted noise on consumers’ screens and your click rate will be…well…sad. So, the lesson? Don’t waste your time coming up with extremely creative tags to try to get in front of the most people possible. Be laser-focused and target those consumers who already have an interest in your offering, but just need a nudge in your website’s direction rather than landing on your competitors’.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the digital strategies for promotions, let’s shift our focus to something a bit more old-school: MAIL! That’s right, the post, snail mail…or whatever you might call it. If your promotions are working to bag some more of those all-mighty Millennials, take note that 64 percent of them claim to pay more attention to direct mail than to email. In an age where consumers, especially these 18 to 34-year-olds, are so connected and receive all their communications via digital avenues, getting something that they can touch will surely catch their eye more so than one of the many flat promo images in their inboxes. Personalizing these mail-outs gives even more oomph to your campaign – addressing the envelope with their name (as opposed to “Resident”), creating a personalized URL (PURL) for them to carry over this custom experience from paper to screen, and finally, offering relevant products that match their interests once they’re in your web store all contribute to that stellar shopping experience your business works so hard to achieve in the first place. In all honesty though, this will likely be the most expensive part of your promotion visibility strategy; thus, if you’re a business that’s just starting out, choosing a very targeted list of contacts to utilize this marketing tactic on is recommended. Set criteria to determine aspects of your contacts’ buying potential and send your direct mail campaign to the highest-ranking ones. You can choose the number of the highest-ranking contacts to send to, be it top 100, 500; whatever your budget permits. Once your business gains momentum, you can certainly ramp up your direct mail campaigns to reach a larger number of contacts.
All in all, a well-thought-out mix of these digital and traditional modes of marketing is the best way to maximize the visibility, and in return, the effectiveness of your promotional campaigns. Which mode takes what percentage of your budget really depends on the goal of your campaign. Social Media and even Search Ads are good ways to increase brand awareness in order to herd new customers towards your business, whereas email and direct mail might be more effective modes of promotions for existing customers to build brand loyalty.
Mediaclip develops tools, backed by over a decade of field expertise in marketing for personalized products, that augment traditional merchandising tactics. The solution allows organizations to further personalize the promotion experience by meshing consumers’ own photos on new products that they may be interested in. It can further be set up so that when this existing customer clicks on a specific product from the email or personalized landing page, they’re led directly into the designer tool with photos auto-populated within beautiful themes/designs, leaving the option open for further editing or adding straight to cart. Moreover, we also support the attraction of new customers via social media. The solution can make it possible for consumers to share their recent projects with their networks, allowing the web store’s brand to appear on the feeds of consumers to whom they did not previously have access. This is proven to cause a domino effect for driving traffic to the website, creation of new projects, increased sales, further sharing, more brand exposure, etc.
For more information on how Mediaclip can assist you in planning your promotions and add more of a personalized touch to your communications, reach out to the team via firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop by our booth at PRINT 17!