We’ve all heard the old adage that you have to “spend money to make money,” but do you have to spend money on advertising to have a successful holiday sale?
One objection I’ve heard from business owners in the past is that they don’t have a big budget for advertising a sale, so they’re not sure it will be worth it. Or they’re worried that they’ll spend so much on advertising, it will eat into their profits from any sales they do make.
Any time you run paid advertisements, it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend to acquire a lead or make a sale so that the costs don’t eat up your profits.
But beyond that, is it totally necessary to pay for advertising to have a successful sale?
I say no.
In fact, my main strategy for sales and promotions has always been centered on email marketing — not paid advertising.
With that in mind, I’ve put together some marketing ideas for you below. I’ve also curated a 7 Day Holiday Sales Challenge that can help you get ready for your holiday promotions like a pro. Click here to download it now.
Marketing your sale
Even a sale or promotion with the best discounts or incentives in the world can fall flat if no one knows about it!
That’s why putting together a marketing plan for how you will attract attention to your business and your offer is essential. Marketing not only lets your customers know there is action to be taken, but encourages them to take it right away.
When you’re thinking about how you will reach your customers with your holiday offers, consider these FREE marketing ideas:
- Theme your homepage. Decorate your homepage for the holidays, change your “hero” image, and make sure your copy reflects the promotion.
- Add a countdown timer. A timer can communicate that there is a deadline and encourage shoppers to take immediate action.
- Provide holiday themed content on your blog.
- Update product descriptions to include language about the holidays or gifts.
- Suggest upsells and cross sells to create bundles of related gift items.
- Add holiday greetings to your “shopping cart” page as well as suggestions of other items they might be interested in.
- Add language to encourage people to add items to their “wish list” (even if your website doesn’t have that functionality — they can still wish!).
- Create “gift lists.” You can feature gift lists on your home page or your blog, suggesting “gifts for mom,” “gifts for your sweetheart,” or “gifts for the guy on the go,” etc. These are also great to share on social media.
- Highlight your return policies. Emphasize how easy it is to do business with you so that customers shop with confidence.
- Include last minute shipping options.
- Add testimonials. Highlight testimonials, even on your checkout page, to increase customer confidence.
- Create “coupon” pins with the sales message in the image. Link pins to the sale page.
- Create a “holiday” or “sale” board that outlines all the products included and the details of your promotion.
- Pin attractive photos of your products with keywords people are searching like, “gift for mom” or “holiday gift.”
- Update your cover photo with details of your sale and call to action.
- Post 3–4 times a day promoting the sale with unique images and a strong call to action.
- Do a Facebook Live ahead of your sale. Get creative! You can do product demos, show your inventory room, do Q&A, chat with customers, even do live sales.
- Share video testimonials and unboxing videos of your products and use the text description section to remind people about the sale.
- Share content like gift ideas and gift lists in groups as appropriate and allowed.
- Run a contest or giveaway. Maybe you offer a special discount to some or all of the people who upload photos of themselves using your products.
- Share user-generated photos of your products.
- Update your profile image to a sale themed or related image.
- Link to your sale pages in your bio. You can also use services like LinkTree to link individual products to specific posts.
- Create a sale graphic that uses your entire grid. This is a great way to launch details of your sale.
- Use holiday themed imagery with sales details imposed over the image.
- Post with holiday themed hashtags like #blackfriday.
- Create your own holiday sale hashtag and encourage people to use it when they make a purchase.
- Create testimonial images or share user-generated images. Testimonials increase consumer confidence.
- Use Stories to share promotional messages, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, quick demos and Q&As, product spotlights, etc.
- Update your header and profile image to match your sale and give a call to action.
- Tweet out your coupon codes (if applicable).
- Use trending hashtags like #blackfriday or #cybermonday.
- Use keywords like “gift” or “handbag.”
- Tweet out beautiful promotional images with your sale details in the image.
- Include a “click to Tweet” option on your order confirmation page for customers to share what they purchased.
- Start a Twitter thread to explain the theme of your sale, all the details, or how you’re giving back.
And all this is before we even get into email marketing to your list — which is your single best way to make more sales, as I discuss more thoroughly inside the “Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales and Promotions” Destination Guide inside Business Class.
So, do you have to add paid advertising to this list? Absolutely not.
However, if you have the budget to invest even minimally in paid advertising, a very targeted advertising campaign can have a big effect on your promotion’s success. You might start by advertising the sale only to people who already know you (ie: those who like your profile, have visited your website, or are already on your email list). A retargeting campaign that shows ads to people who have already visited your site or put something in their shopping cart can be an extremely effective way to improve your sales even more. And running reminder ads on the last day of the sale can drive those last minute shoppers to take action.
Whether you decide to run paid advertising or not, get started on your holiday promotion plan today with our free 7 Day Holiday Sales Challenge — click here to grab it now! It’s a condensed version of the overall strategies and tactics included in the “Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales and Promotions” Destination Guide available only to members of Business Class.