5 Tips for Running Effective Promotions

With the holiday season fast approaching and some of the biggest shopping days right around the corner, it’s time to make sure your year-end business goals are met. For most, this means offering promotions to help reach your goals. Promotions are one of the best ways to create excitement around your brand and build relationships with your customers. Here are some pointers for making your promotions more effective:

Plan Ahead

A general rule of thumb for planning your marketing promotions is three months ahead of the holiday. By planning in advance you can make sure to have enough inventory in stock, crunch the numbers on the discounts to ensure you’re still generating profit and that you’ve done your shipping research to guarantee the product arrives in time.

When planning your promotional campaign, your goals need to be more specific than just "increasing sales".

Determine Your Goal

When planning your promotional campaign, your goals need to be more specific than just "increasing sales". Be careful not to sacrifice revenue for additional sales. Instead of thinking only about what kind of promotion to offer, focus on what you want to achieve. Are you looking to attract new traffic, or is your focus more on customer retention? Do you want your customers to purchase more often, or do you need to make room for new inventory? If your goal is to move inventory, rather than offering a discount, consider a BOGO instead.

Target Your Audience

Consider sending out a survey to encourage current customers to share their demographic data. Offer an incentive up front to get them to participate. Once you’ve determined what kinds of people use your products, identify the problems your product can solve. Focus your promotion on those who are most likely to be genuinely interested AND most likely to buy! Analytics is a great tool for understanding how your audience engages with your site. This demographic data includes age, gender, location, lifestyles, what they are interested in purchasing and what types of device they are using to access your site. The more information you have about your visitors the better you can make decisions about how to appeal to them and attract more visitors like them.

If you aren't thinking mobile first, you won't be successful.

Prepare Your Materials

If you haven’t already done so, the first thing is to make sure your site is mobile friendly by switching to a responsive theme. If you aren't thinking mobile first, you won't be successful. Trends show that consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices than any other platform and are making their decisions utilizing their mobile devices. According to a forecast by 451 Research, the number of mobile transactions will surpass ecommerce transactions globally by 2019.

Make sure your promotions are cohesive across all avenues to achieve brand recognition. Match the imagery used on your website with any ads you are running, as well as posts and promotions offered across social platforms. By doing so, your audience is more likely to connect your ads to your business.


Use lifestyle-focused imagery to generate emotion, which is more relatable and influences your customer’s buying decisions. The example from Twinings tea here shows how to style a lifestyle photo shoot that portrays the feeling associated with this specific product. You can almost taste the tea and feel the Christmas spirit just by looking at the image.


Make sure ad copy and imagery feels familiar and relevant to the audience and includes specific calls to action. When visitors can see themselves in or can relate to the images, they have a higher potential of converting. As shown in the example above, vernacular and terminology customers are familiar with can have a great impact. Don’t forget to create a sense of urgency! It’s best to implement limited-time offers to encourage customers to act now.

Enable the social share buttons on your product pages. Facebook ads can be an effective way to reach beyond the people who have already liked your page. In addition to Facebook, try experimenting with Instagram and Pinterest. Ads created on Facebook are optimized to also display on Instagram (unless you edit the placement ad). When advertising on Facebook, make sure your Facebook Pixel is enabled and that you hyper-target your audience. By encouraging consumers to share your promotion with friends and family, trust and credibility will follow.

Email marketing is still one of the best channels for retail stores. Effective email marketing converts prospects into customers, and turns one-time buyers into loyal customers. Your emails should be visually heavy and conversion oriented. They can include promotional codes or flash sales, or used as an exclusivity tool.

Don’t forget to complete the Search Engine Optimization fields from your store’s dashboard. Implementing keyword-rich content into your category and product pages is key for Google to understand your page and increase the likelihood of your pages being results on SERPs.

How do your results measure up against your goals?

Monitor Your Results

Test different types of promotions to see what works best and utilize Google Analytics to monitor your results. Make sure to allow adequate time to pass before implementing changes into your strategy. The ROI Tracking functionality in the Volusion software is a great way to measure the effectiveness. Analytics reports help you analyze, understand and improve your efforts, making it easy to understand how your visitors are engaging with your site content so you know what’s working and what’s not. How do your results measure up against your goals?

Volusion has professional in-house designers and marketing specialists to assist you in reaching your goals. Don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know how we can help!