January 15, 2016
5 Tips For Running A Successful Promotion

Running a successful promotion takes more than inserting a coupon into the Val Pak or putting an ad in the newspaper. It’s more than clever wording, mascots, or even having the lowest price. Ultimately, a successful promotion motivates your target market to shop with you because it’s in their best interest. Read the following tips to find out more about how to do just that.

Pay Attention To What Other Companies Do
This isn’t a “keeping up with the Joneses” strategy. This is a matter of interacting with other small business owners nearby and understanding your competitors. If you’re a small business owner who wants the community to shop locally, coordinate with other small business retailers for a mutually beneficial promotion. Have a promotion theme that is consistent across multiple local businesses: Christmas in July, Black and White Sale, Shop Local Festival, etc. Sharing a promotion theme means you can also collaborate on marketing materials: posters, email blasts, etc. Add to the success of the promotion by working together to offer customers additional discounts. For example, offer an additional 10 percent off if a customer shows a same-day receipt from a fellow participating small business.

At the same time you’re coordinating with other small businesses, you’re competing with others for the same customers. In a world where price match guarantees are king, having a low price doesn’t guarantee additional customers. Instead, differentiate yourself by providing a unique customer experience. Remember, the purpose of a promotion is to motivate customers to shop with you. If you provide them with a memorable customer experience, they’ll be more likely to be motivated.

Use Analytics And Numbers To Make Your Decision
If your company is a baby boutique, it doesn’t make any sense to offer a promotion for hunters and fishermen. As with all good marketing, a successful promotion requires you to have identified a target. Based on that target market, you need to determine your targeted effort. In other words, what specifically do you want the promotion to accomplish? Do you want new customers, more spending from current customers, or a traffic boost during lulls?

To determine whether or not your promotion is successful, you have to have measurable goals. For instance, maybe you want to increase overall sales by 8% over last year at the same time or you want to sell 25% more of a specific product than you did last month. Those goals are measurable. The numbers will either support the promotion or tell you to go back to the drawing board at the end of the promotion. Another thing to consider is inventory. If you were to meet the goals of your retail promotion, do you have enough inventory on hand to fulfill those goals?

Analyze the ROI for any promotion. Let’s say you choose to run a promotion that marks down prices throughout the store 15% in hopes of increasing traffic and overall sales by 30%. Can you afford for that promotion to be successful, or might you lose money in the process? It’s possible to over-promote an event to the point that the costs of marketing exceed the profits from the promotion. Run the numbers first.

Set A Specific Timeline
Price reductions, discounts, coupons, and special events should all have something in common: a designated timeline. Your promotion should have a very specific start time and a clearly communicated end time. These times should go so far as to be more specific than dates, especially if your promotion extends to online shopping. Specify the times and the time zone so you don’t have to honor old offers long after the promotion ends. The timeline is essential for getting accurate numbers on the success of the promotion, too.

Motivate Customers
How will you motivate customers to participate in your promotion? Retailers in the past have used coupons, low prices, free samples, or a charity event to encourage customers to act. Having a themed event without an incentive will likely not give you a good ROI for the promotion. What motivates your target market?

Running a promotion that is a “limited time offer” or that exists “only while supplies last” is one way to motivate customers to action. This is part of the reason for the specific timeline mentioned above. Sometimes customers need a little nudge to commit to the purchase.

Market Strategically
In a digital age, quality imaging and graphic design is key to any good marketing campaign. Spend the extra necessary to hire a professional for the best results. Have them create a timeless design you can reuse in the future if marketing dollars a minimal. The design should work to coordinate both online and offline marketing efforts seamlessly. Knowing your target market and your target goal for the promotion will dictate where and how you publicize the promotion.

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