3 Steps to Ecommerce Promotions that Drive Traffic and Customer Loyalty

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Are your ecommerce promotions performing as well as you had planned? It’s possible that even if you feel you’re doing well, your numbers may indicate otherwise. A little ecommerce education, even if you’re a savvy business owner, can help to make sure you’re working smarter, not harder, to grow your business.

We’re finding through many client interviews, blog comments, social media chats and even marketing consultations, that many online store owners are not fully aware of how much time and money they’re spending on promotions. Most online store owners either do not evaluate the return on investment or misunderstand the full impact a promotion has on their bottom line.

The race is how do you get those consumers engaged and ultimately staying with your site.

That said, there is much to leverage when you’re able to facilitate successful promotions to your online store. If done right, you can tap into your existing client base in a smart and meaningful manner and attract new, high-converting shoppers to your business at the same time.

“The key now is how do you drive loyalty on a year-round basis, not just around price, but around value,” Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Marketing Group, told Inc.com. “The race is how do you get those consumers engaged and ultimately staying with your site.”

For many online stores, the struggle to generating traffic and encouraging loyalty is due to a lack of a formula that works well across all industries and customer personas. In my nearly two years consulting and educating clients on everything ecommerce, I’ve come to find that running a successful online promotional campaign is a place where most clients discover they’re wasting money or misunderstanding what is truly effective.

These expert store owners contribute more than 30% of their profits to promotions.

Taryn McCracken, owner of online store Picture it Creations, came to realize that she had trained her customers to look for and engage with her next promotion, rather than with her site – a potential downfall of running promotions too frequently. Since then, she has pivoted her focus to bringing her loyal customer-base back to her site with the emphasis on natural engagement vs. constant promotions.

In all, it’s a game of trial and error, which can prove both frustrating and challenging. Sure, a promotions strategy can be a pricey tactic – but it doesn’t have to be. Here, these expert online store owners, some of which contribute more than 30% of their profits to promotions, walk you through their successful promotion strategies that both built up their existing customer base while still maintaining a high level of customer loyalty.

Step 1: Planning an effective promotional strategy

First things first, an ecommerce promotional campaign is not just about sprinkling in some social posts or simply tossing an email or two to a list you’ve collected. A successful promotional campaign requires a well thought-out strategy that targets every potential customer touchpoint, from top of funnel through to delivery of the product.

Figuring out the right strategy for your business size and needs can be tough, but these 10 proven steps for planning promotions that drive sales is a great start to getting your thoughts in order. In this video you’ll find tactics to help you determine your promotional goals, prepare the front and back end of your website and effectively spread the word to get the most from your efforts.

Step 2: Using segmentation to deliver maximum results

By segmenting and properly targeting your clients or prospects from the start, you can boost your revenue, increase brand awareness and create life-long customer advocates.

According to online store owner Melissa of Mel Jens Designs, running a successful promotion is all about finding that delicate balance between audience segmentation, great timing and setting the perfect price or placing the perfect offer. It makes no sense to promote a campaign to people who are not in the least bit interested.

The following video focuses on email marketing specifically, but will provide you with a plethora of ideas to help you segment and target specific offers to the right people at the right time for the best results.

Step 3: Evaluating issues and troubleshooting solutions

This is the vital step which both online store owners Melanie of Poppy Sports and Jennifer from The Eczema Company stress, and the one most often missed by online store owners (myself included). After all, a successful promotional campaign is a balancing act of audience segmentation, timing and pricing. If you get one of these elements incorrect, all of your hard work could be wasted. Understanding how to evaluate your promotional campaigns based on items including shopper behavior, your profit margin or even desired customer engagement can make a huge impact. Watch and learn how to spot an issue with your campaigns and figure out how to best remedy it.

Let us know your thoughts and tips on this topic in the comments section below or feel free to tweet at @Bigcommerce to suggest topics we can tackle to help you sell more online.

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