If you’re running a sales campaign, consistency is critical. You may think your campaign looks uniform and complete across channels. After all, you planned it. But most customers will only see a part of your communication. Put yourself in their shoes.
Editor's note: If you're reading this article around the Q4, check out our guide to holiday marketing campaigns.
How many of them follow you on every social media channel, read your blog, open your emails, and read articles arranged by the PR department? How many of them see your every ad, take part in webinars, or attend your event?
Always send the same message on every single channel. If you’re not consistent, people will start perceiving your brand as ingenuine, lazy, and unreliable.
To help you with that, I prepared a 5-step guide with a neat infographic and a checklist.
Step 1: Plan your calendar.
Plan ahead. Think about special days and holidays relevant to your ecommerce customers. The sooner you start planning, the better. Almost every day, week, and month celebrates something. Search on pages like “Days of the year” to find interesting, funny, or bizarre days that can become a starting point for your sales campaigns.
By the way, did you know that April 7 is a "No Housework Day"? You’re welcome!
To make your life a bit easier, we prepared the 2019 Holiday Retail Calendar. We've gathered all those special days, holidays, and sales seasons in one place, so you don’t have to.
Step 2: Prepare a simple key visual and a headline.
It's a good idea to separate regular messaging from seasonal communication by using a standout visual theme and headline. This will highlight the uniqueness of your offer. It's also a great way to let your customers know that something exciting is going on.
When I worked in ecommerce, we had a blueish brand identity, but sometimes we played with colors. We used red for Free Shipping Day, black for Black Friday, and our Christmas Sale had this ugly Christmas sweater-like ornaments.
The important thing is not to lose your brand identity while playing with the logo. Juggle the colors, background, and decorations, but be careful not to accidentally "rebrand" your business.
My favorite example of a logo that keeps on adjusting to the occasion is Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election logo.
By simple design changes, the logo was repeatedly modified but remained recognizable anyway.
Step 3: Make a list of promoted products.
Make a list of products that you’re going to highlight. It could be 5, 10, or even 20 products. It all depends on you, your design ideas, and your offer. Use two criteria: relevance to the customers and price reduction. These are the main products that you’re going to show off, so choose wisely.
So, how do you do that? First of all, choose one primary product that’s interesting to your target audience and prepare a significant discount. This will be your magnet, or bait. At the same time, it's not about profit. You want to attract customers to your store, and grab their attention. The profit’s going to come with other products in the cart as they complete their order.
Next, pick 4 to 6 attractive products. Choose from different store sections to cover the whole range. These will be your frame. Show products from various categories that also might grab your customers’ attention.
Finally, you can select some fillers – products that will complement the promoted offer. That's an option, but you can play with them on social media and newsletters that you’ll send to different segments.
Here's an example of a discount structure for ecommerce sales that ran:
Frame: 30 – 45%
Fillers: 15 – 25%
Step 4: Map your channels.
You should launch your communication at the same time across platforms. To do it right and fast, you have to prepare. Map your media for every channel and make a list of all graphics, videos, and ads you need. Don't forget to include dimensions, file sizes, and maximum copy length.
The next thing is to categorize your channels. You can use the Top Conversion Paths report to check your customers’ common pathways, from attraction to purchase. Use this knowledge to tweak your communication a little bit. Channels in the first stages should be more striking and attention-grabbing. Those that lead straight to conversion should focus on the product and have a very strong CTA.
Step 5: Start work.
OK, so now it's time to wrap things up and get them done. To help you with that, I’ve prepared a checklist. Here are all the crucial steps for the preparation stage and main channels of communication:
[ ] Analyze previous year’s sales.
[ ] Analyze previous sell-outs.
[ ] Plan your yearly activities using a retail calendar.
[ ] Search for other extra sales day opportunities.
[ ] Set a timeframe for each day and season.
[ ] Map your channels. List all needed media along with dimensions, file sizes, and maximum text length.
[ ] Check Top Conversion Paths to tweak the design for different channels.
[ ] Prepare key visual ideas for each campaign.
[ ] Choose products that you’re going to promote.
[ ] Send requirements, KV ideas, product, and media list to a designer a month before sales day.
[ ] Prepare a landing page with discounted/promoted products.
[ ] Change sliders in your store.
[ ] Put promoted products on your homepage.
[ ] Set up in-store banners.
[ ] Publish a related article on your store’s blog. Link to your offer.
[ ] Prepare a sales email template.
[ ] Prepare messages for each customer segment. Structure products from your list according to segments’ preferences.
[ ] Schedule your emails.
[ ] Include keywords related to the holiday campaign.
[ ] Set up ads.
[ ] Direct ads to a promotional landing page.
[ ] Schedule search ads.
Social ads and Google Display Network:
[ ] Choose ads’ audiences for a campaign.
[ ] Set up ads using prepared graphics and video.
[ ] Direct ads to a promotional landing page.
[ ] Schedule social ads.
[ ] Prepare social posts for each channel.
[ ] Schedule Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn* posts.
[ ] Change your cover photo on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn.
[ ] Change profile pictures on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn*.
[ ] Publish Instagram Stories/Facebook Stories* during the campaign.
[ ] Inform about sold-out products.
[ ] Check your sales report.
[ ] Check acquisition reports.
[ ] Check conversion reports.
[ ] Check ad reports and insights.
[ ] Make a summary of all gathered data.
[ ] Conclude and make improvements for your next campaign.
*delete as appropriate
So here it is. Your guide to sales campaign planning. Just remember that every business is unique. These steps may be a little different for your store, but I'm sure that if you remain consistent, you’ll find your way to success.