How to Build an Effective E-Commerce Promotion

Katie Vaughan
May 29, 2020
Running promotions via social advertising, search engine marketing, or Amazon marketing? Set yourself up for success with our simple, data-driven tips.

The gift-giving (and buying) season is fast approaching! According to Statista, online retail is expected to double between 2016 and 2020. That also means the e-commerce realm is getting crowded. If you’re running promotions via social advertising, search engine marketing, or Amazon marketing, use our simple, data-driven tips to set yourself up for success.

Establish clear goals and objectives for your sale. Is there a certain amount of revenue you’d like to drive? A certain return on investment percentage you’re targeting? Are you trying to clear out stock for new products? Do you want your deal to be sitewide or just on certain products? Remember to incorporate your budgeted ad spend into your plan for the promotion. Will it drive enough sales to reach your goal? Know these goals beforehand, so that you can build your promotion and projections around them.

Make sure your offer is appealing! It may seem like a no-brainer, but not every deal will entice shoppers to buy. (For instance, don’t offer a BOGO deal on something nobody wants two of.) No need to offer deep discounts (10% can be plenty), but keep it simple, straightforward, and accessible. Here are some common promotions that perform well:

  1. Offer a % off
  2. Offer a $ amount off
  3. BOGO (buy one get one)
  4. Free shipping
  5. Get a % off if you purchase a certain $ amount

Give your sale enough time. Digital advertising is programmatic, which means that it needs time to gather data and optimize. (“Programmatic” means the ad buying is done via software, instead of the more traditional process that involves, you know...humans.) That means a one-day sale isn’t always your best bet for an e-commerce promotion. If you can run your promotion for a few days, you’ll be able to achieve more effective targeting and reach via digital advertising channels.

What about traditional one-day sales, like Memorial Day or Black Friday? If you can run the same sale for a full weekend or even a week, you’re going to see better results than if you run a promotion for just one day. (Cost per click also tends to spike on big e-commerce holidays like Cyber Monday, so be prepared to increase your ad budget, if you’re able.)

Make your discount easily accessible. Coupon codes are great, but offering a discount without a coupon code can be more effective and user-friendly. It creates fewer barriers within the checkout flow, which makes for more conversions. Most e-commerce platforms (Shopify, WooCommerce) allow you to set up automatic discount links with plenty of opportunities for customization.

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