Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday . . . . We’re about to enter the holiday sales season!
I have seen so many brands crash and burn when it comes to holiday sales. Either they do no promotion at all or they go overboard and spend a fortune promoting the sale. You don’t want to do either! Sales should be organized, promoted, and measured. Never wait until the last minute to plan your sale! And remember that you have to budget for the whole season: you should never throw all of your holiday budget into promoting your Black Friday sale, for example.
I’ll let you in on a secret: you can learn a lot from your competitors! What are their promotions like? How far in advance did they begin promoting the sale? What discounts are they offering? Do some research and see what the norms are for your industry.
On to the nitty-gritty! Here are seven big questions you should answer.
1. What is Your Goal?
What are your desired results from this sale? Do you want to reach new customers or gain exposure? Do you want to make room for new inventory? Do you want to make money? This will affect the details of your sale, like prices and discounts.
2. Does Your Sale Revolve Around the Price or the Product?
“But wait,” you say. “Don’t sales involve both?” I’m talking about discounts versus bundles here. Are you offering your merchandise at a blanket discount (“20% off the whole store!”) or are you grouping products/services into bundles (“Buy One, Get One half price!”)?
3. How Will You Measure Success?
Determine what metrics you will use to gauge your success. One thing you should absolutely find out is the total amount grossed from the sale, minus the total amount spent on promoting the sale. Other metrics might include counting unique website visitors, new email marketing subscribers, or social media engagements.
4. Where Are You Going to Promote It?
You should definitely advertise your sale on social media, but how do you choose which platform? The obvious answer would be: the platform which is most frequently used by your target audience. Boosted or sponsored posts on the right platforms are crucial!
5. What is Your Promotional Budget?
Speaking of sponsored posts, you’ll need to determine your promotional budget. What will you spend on ads and boosted posts? For online merchants who also have brick and mortar stores, will you be making any physical materials like flyers or signs? Keep in mind that this might not be the only sale you will have during the holiday season–budget accordingly!
6. What is Your Timeline?
This not only includes the time of the sale itself, but the lead-up to the sale. How long will the sale itself last–a few days, one day, a few hours? A good timeline is thorough! You should include deadlines for writing ad copy, designing visuals, and placing advertisements; additionally, you need a deadline for sending your website or IT team the necessary codes and information for the website! As I mentioned above, you should look at your competitors and other companies in your industry to determine discounts, duration, and other specifics.
7. Is Your Website Ready?
The doomsday scenario for every online merchant is a website crash on the day of a major sale! Don’t let this happen to you! Consult with your website design team to double check that your online store is stable and ready for an influx of customers. Contact your web host to ensure that their servers can handle the anticipated above-average volume of traffic. If possible, ask your IT person to be on standby during the sale–especially for weekends or holidays, but expect to pay for their time–in case of emergency issues.
There you have it! These will help you plan the holiday sale–without losing your holiday cheer! I’ve learned from experience that there’s no such thing as a stress-free sale, but these questions will help keep you focused!
Do you need marketing help for the holidays and beyond? Contact us today for a free consultation!