Everyone loves a good sale, it’s a great way to draw customers in. However, if you’re regularly relying on percent off or BOGO offers to get your products or services selling, you could be sacrificing your long-term business success for short-term gain.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that sales are bad...because who doesn’t love a good sale?! It’s just that if that’s all you’re doing, you may be sabotaging your success and not realize it. Businesses who are constantly running a sale or providing an offer end up training your customers to avoid shopping during normal times and to instead, wait for the sale. Which, unless you’re a retail version of Walmart where low price is your key differentiator, is a big no no. So, how can you get sales to roll in without offering a price cut all the time? Follow these steps below for ways to use action campaigns effectively without getting caught in the discount trap.
Awareness Campaign vs Action Campaign
First, let’s establish a few key marketing definitions. It’s important to understand clearly the difference between an awareness campaign and an action campaign.
Awareness campaigns - also referred to as “branding campaigns,” are dedicated to establishing a company’s position, increase awareness and change perceptions of the brand. These campaigns are best used to build familiarity and position a business in the mind of a consumer regularly and consistently. It isn’t necessarily used for an immediate sales boom.
Action campaigns - also referred to as “promotional campaigns,” are used to drive your audience to initiate a certain type of action over a specific time frame. Action campaigns are robust and provide an incentive to motivate consumers to take action right away. They are designed to supplement an awareness campaign, and in our opinion, must never be the foundational on-going campaign itself.
The Role of an Action Campaign
Think of an awareness Campaign like the fruits and vegetables of a healthy diet. You want a steady and consistent supply of them to build a healthy foundation for your body, keeping it strong and in shape. Action Campaigns are like chocolate cake or your favorite dessert. They are extremely delicious and perfectly appropriate...periodically. But you’d never eat chocolate cake as the main course of every meal. To do so is to invite trouble. The same is true of your advertising.
Action Campaigns work best when used for:
- An Upcoming Event: You’ll need to be thinking and planning ahead about how to drive ticket sales and remind your audience why they need to attend. Events need clear calls-to-action both online and offline to attract crowds.
- Introducing A New Product or Service: This is important for both new and established brands. Customers may be familiar with your brand, but maybe haven’t heard about your new offering. You’ll want to make sure you are educating your audience and then drive leads to get sales. Consumers may want an incentive to try something new until they become familiar with it and trust it.
- Have Specific Sales Goals: We know by now that every business needs to hit certain sales goals. Action campaigns can help improve quarterly or annual sales goals with the number and value of transactions. This doesn’t always mean discounting your product/services or running a sale. Retargeting tactics allow brands to reconnect with customers about options they have viewed on their site.
- Inventory Shift: If you sell items that have a shelf life, are perishable or seasonal...then it makes sense to offer incentives to stimulate sales so that you can turn over your inventory on a regular basis to make way for new items.
Be Aware of Value Perception
There is a perception of value associated with your pricing. People understand a periodic incentive, and will respond accordingly. But when that strategy becomes a regular part of your branding, you unwittingly create the perception that your products aren’t worth paying full price for. People will start to think that something is wrong with your product and intuitively not trust it...and by default...lose trust in your business. Preserve price integrity as much as you can...here’s how:
- Look for non-price incentives. Select a non-primary product or service to include as an incentive for purchase, as an alternative to cutting the price on your key products or services.
- If you’re going to cut...go big or go home. Limit it to a specific time frame and make the offer one that people will go out of their way to respond to. Don’t dance around with a 10% discount. For most products and services, 10% isn’t worth their time. Your results will be lackluster and you’ll end up frustrated. Instead, offer “50% to the first 50 people” or a “free service for today only.”
- Appeal to people’s emotions and sense of civic responsibility by partnering with a non-profit or a charitable tie-in. Tell consumers you’ll give a donation for every purchase made, or offer a gift-with-purchase for every donation that customers make. Often, the non-profit will assist in promoting the event, and you win new customers.
- Enforce a timeline. Make your offer good for 30 days or less. For bigger offers, limit it to a weekend, or a day. Then, go back to your normal branding campaign. Doing so teaches your consumers that, when you do offer a discount, they shouldn’t wait to respond. If they do, they may miss out.
What this Means
Awareness campaigns pour a solid foundation on which to build your business’ brand. Action campaigns are to be used sparingly and strategically. Understanding how and when to use each is integral when it comes to an effective marketing strategy.
If you’re unsure of how to approach each of these campaigns - don’t worry! Our team at fuze32 will walk you through every step of the way to achieve the best business results. Give us a call, we’re here to help!