As an ecommerce business, online sales events are crucial for ramping up your customer base quickly. Whether you’re participating in peak season sales events like Black Friday – Cyber Monday deals, or launching your own custom promotions, running online sales can help you market your brand to new customers and nab more sales from existing ones.

That said, it’s important to create a good online marketing strategy that will help you make the most of your sales and convert your new customers into loyal fans.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • How to promote an online sale
  • Scaling effectively for a limited-time event
  • Converting new customers into lifetime fans

How to promote an online sale

In order to drive demand for a limited-time sale, it’s important to promote the event heavily to your existing and potential customers before the sale starts.

Target your existing email marketing list, SMS subscribers and social media followers with content around the sale at least a few days in advance of the promotion. You can target your existing audience with personalized ad campaigns designed to appeal to their preferences, by using their behavioral data to build customized messaging for them. 

For example, you can segment customers who’ve purchased Birkenstocks from your online shoe store with an ad featuring the latest Birkenstocks color release, with a promotional discount to take 20% off the purchase price of those shoes or any other product. By appealing to them with content relevant to their interests, you’ll be able to capture their attention and encourage them to click on your product pages again.

Using pop-up ads is also an effective way to target any customers who visit your homepage or product pages in advance of a sale. Adding a pop-up window with a few details about the promotion and an opt-in button will help you collect additional customer information so that you can alert your audience when the deals go live.

ecommerce sales

To make the most of an online sale, though, it’s also important to expand your marketing efforts to reach new customers who haven’t engaged with your brand before. You can use a variety of paid digital marketing tactics, including PPC ads that incorporate target SEO keywords, Facebook ads, and Google ads to bring potential customers to your online store.

Make sure that you’re targeting an audience that fits your ideal customer: You can create buyer personas in advance to more clearly define the characteristics of the customers you’re aiming to appeal to, and build different ad creative for each audience segment designed to appeal to them, spotlighting the product pages that are likely to be most relevant to each group. You can create retargeting sequences to continually display variations on your ad campaign to each group, increasing your conversion rates over time.

Make sure that all of your digital ads, email marketing campaigns, and social media marketing are optimized to be mobile-friendly. Most of your prospective customers are likely to be viewing your ads and content from mobile devices, so it’s critical to deliver a seamless interface that will be intuitive for them to use.

Scaling effectively for a limited-time event

Most high-value offers aren’t likely to run for long—at most, you’ll likely want to keep a generous sale going for around three days, though you may extend the offer on certain items that you’d like to fully liquidate.

During the period of the sale, you’re likely to see your site and app traffic escalate substantially over your normal volume, so it’s important that you have the infrastructure in place to help you scale effectively.

Using an ecommerce platform like Shopify can help you ensure that your brand has the bandwidth and uptime to handle large volumes of customers without impacting site performance. Shopify offers a secure point of sale solution that can easily be accessed from either mobile or desktop, and even be used in-store, and can handle multiple payment options including credit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, and others.

You can also set up themed product pages specific for your flash sales, enabling a faster checkout experience by disabling some of the features that you don’t need.

Set up third-party integrations that can help you scale your operations effectively, such as adding chatbots to automate customer support without adding staff, using drag-and-drop web design tools to help you quickly update your product pages and landing pages, and using a 3PL to help you manage your shipping and logistics process.

Converting new customers into lifetime fans

If you’re offering deep discounts, you may not be making particularly high profit margins on your sales in the first place. So the ultimate goal here isn’t just making one-off sales—it’s generating repeat customers.

Beyond focusing on a one-time promotion, it’s important to nurture your customer base to encourage repeat purchases over the months and years to come. Once you’ve gained new customers through your promotional marketing efforts, you can leverage ongoing marketing strategies including email marketing, SMS marketing, social media, and content marketing to build brand trust and familiarity. By using your CRM to nurture each new customer’s relationship with your brand and provide them with timely, relevant messages and offers, you’ll be able to deliver a great customer experience that encourages them to continue shopping with your brand.

It’s also important to consider the post-purchase experience as another opportunity for nurturing the customer relationship. If a shopper sends back an item because it doesn’t fit or they don’t like it, they often request a refund—and that marks the end of your relationship with that customer.

Instead, by using a returns management solution like Loop, you can optimize for exchanges or store credit towards a future purchase, encouraging your shoppers to explore your entire inventory to find a product they’ll love. They can swap out their return for another item without returning to their shopping cart, even if the price is different, facilitating a smooth and seamless transaction that will help build customer loyalty and encourage your shoppers to give your brand another shot.

By using returns as another opportunity for customer conversion, you can increase your pool of repeat shoppers—ensuring that your online sales promotions lead to a growing, loyal customer base.

Want to learn how Loop can help you convert one-time shoppers into lifetime customers? Get a demo today.