Lots of signs saying sale and percentage off

Creating content for sales and discounts

We all get tempted by special offers and sales. If you have a product-based business, then it is often an essential part of your strategy for keeping stock moving and selling on items that aren’t doing so well. For service-based businesses, it can also be a useful way to attract a new audience and warm up those cool leads who are on the fence about buying from you.

Whilst it is not my specialist area, it is important to first consider why to have a sale or discount. So many business owners jump straight to the marketing bit …the shouting loudly about money off bit!!! …before really considering their strategy, their goals, the implications and what they hope to achieve from having a sale.

Therefore, whilst I do cover some wording and content considerations below, let’s first explore a little bit about why and when to have a sale or offer a special discount.

When to have a sale or offer a discount…and why

As you can imagine, there are lots of reasons to have a sale. It can quickly draw in some cash and it’s a great way to move on old stock that’s taking up space.

A sale, discount or limited time offer can also be a great way to launch a new service and to draw on the tactic of scarcity or urgency marketing.

Depending on who you make the discount available to, it can really draw sales from loyal customers or subscribers. Or, alternatively, it can be used as a tactic to specifically attract new customers.

These are all positives…however, do consider the negatives and the messages you are conveying too.

For example, primarily, you are selling your products or services for less than what you think they deserve or are worth.

An item or service on sale can convey a sense of concern over the quality of your products. If you set a precedent for regular sales or discounts, potential customers may wait for these rather than purchasing at full price – can your profit margins and cash flow take this? (…no-one buys a DFS sofa at full price, right?)

Sales or discount offered only to new customers or subscribers can damage your relationships with existing customers – both those long-term supporters and those who have ‘just’ bought from you at full price.

These ‘negatives’ are not to put you off doing a sale or offering a discount…but it’s to make sure that you think about all sides and what you hope to achieve, both short term and long term.

Take a look at this useful blog for more considerations: https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/should-i-discount-my-product

What to consider when planning a sale, special offer or discount

A sale or discount offer should not be done on a whim. As well as creating essential marketing assets to ensure you make the most of this marketing tactic, take a bit of time to consider some business implications too.

Here is a short list to help you clarify your objectives and some finer details. Having all of this decided and written down will also help with your content creation and messaging:

  1. Be really clear why you are doing the sale or offering the discount and what you want to achieve – write down your reasons and your sales goals, as well as your marketing goals.
  2. Specify exactly what will be included in the offer and for how long – know why this is.
  3. Consider positive and negative effects of the sale or discount – as mentioned above, consider the positive psychology of the offer vs how you could handle any negative reaction too.
  4. Decide exactly who is eligible and how long the offer will last – sales can be time specific, or you can always have a sales page/section of your shop, for example. Discount codes could be ongoing for all new customers or subscribers or limited to a short time after sign up, but ensure you are clear.
  5. Do the ‘legal bit’ – as you have probably experienced with high street shop sales etc, consider your terms and conditions and refund policy and if it will be different for sale items …this is not my area of expertise so do seek advice if you need to, especially for selling off samples or damaged items, for example. Furthermore, there are some legal elements about what can be classed as ‘on sale’ vs how long something was available at full price, so do your research and ask the experts if you need to.
  6. Evaluate your sales strategy and consider any follow up plans – if your sale is a success and you have lots of new customers, consider your retention strategy. Also consider if and when to do something similar or to try something new next time if you it didn’t meet your expectations.
Will your marketing assets ensure your sale is a success?

Content to create to make a big impact

Now, you’ve done all of the planning and evaluation, let’s get back to content!

Here is a list of content items you may wish to create to help promote your sales and discount.

Imagery and assets

Consider what imagery you want to promote your sales or discount – you may just want to have a consistent banner or badge to add to the included items or services. You may have different colours for different ‘bands’ of discount. You want to make sale items eye catching.

Landing page

You may decide to have a specific web page to send people to, to help explain about your special offer or discount event. It may be even be a protected page for only certain customers to be able to access.

Website updates

Consider what additions you want to make to your website generally. This can include pop ups or new sections on your home page, as well as other temporary additions on relevant pages. Remember, if your sale or discount is only available for a short time, make a plan to not only make the additions live but also to remove them again.

If you have a product-based online shop, you may need to add specific words and assets to individual product pages – again, make a clear note of when these need to be updated and taken away again.

Email marketing

Email is a great way to let customers and clients know about an upcoming sale.

You can also offer a discount as a lead magnet to encourage new subscribers. Ensure all of the functionality is working on your website to allow your new subscribers to receive the code once they have signed up and they are working at checkout, etc.

You can also advertise ‘pre-sale’ events, just for your subscribers, to let them have first peek at your sales items before it is open to the ‘general public’.

Again, plan these emails, create sequences, and segment your subscribers, if necessary, too.

Social media posts

Depending on the type of sale or discount, social media may be a big element of marketing your sale or discount to your followers. Social media is a great place to convert cool leads in to paying customers who may be finally encouraged to visit your website and buy from you, when something eye-catching like a sales notification post pops up in their feed.

Consider if your sale would benefit from some paid advertising or if this would just eat in to any small profit you hope to make.

Make sure the assets you create for social media are varied, planned in advance and schedule what you can. You could even do some teaser posts.

Messaging and wording

Finally, using the information you’ve curated above about ‘what and why’, ensure your messaging about the sales or discount and the wording about what is on offer is really clear in all of your marketing.

Convey the benefits of taking advantage of your sales – again urgency and scarcity can work well …”limited time offer”, “low stock”, “act now”, etc.

However, ensure the copy is honest, clear and truthful. There’s nothing worse than taking advantage of an offer only to find it was a bit of a con. I genuinely believe people are quite savvy about offers and deals so respect that. The words you choose really matter.

Act now…do a sale…but only for the right reasons

Sales and discounts are one of the oldest marketing tactics around and are still used regularly by large corporates and high street organisations (Black Friday, anyone?!), so it makes sense that they will work well for many businesses.

However, remember to consider their purpose in your business. Plan them in advance giving you enough time to create high quality marketing assets and messaging and evaluate their effectiveness and outcomes, in line with the goals you originally had in mind.

If you want to discuss content for your upcoming sale, offer or discount, why not book a Power Hour. We’ll come up with lots of ideas in 60 minutes. Book now for £75.

Leave a Comment