It can be challenging and overwhelming to plan for promotions. We provide a complete guide on promotional planning in 2021 to ensure promotions are strategically timed and produce strong conversion results.
What is promotional planning? Why is it important?
Promotions are helpful to inspire action within a target audience. According to Harvard Business, about 30,000 consumer products release annually (1). As such, it’s imperative that advertisers properly plan their promotions to ensure they get in front of their target audience at the ideal time.
Promotional planning is when an advertiser organises marketing tools, strategies, and resources to promote a product or service. Promotional planning is essential for creating and maintaining a competitive advantage in the market.
Steps in promotional planning
1. Define the target audience and product value proposition
It’s crucial to define the target audience and product value proposition before constructing a promotional strategy.
Advertisers should consider: -
- Which audience segment they are building the promotion for?
- What is the value that this product is bringing to the audience segment?
Google Analytics is an excellent resource to use for defining potential target audiences. Audience segments will allow advertisers to deliver content that truly speaks to them. Advertisers can segment their audience by geographic location, demographics, and psychographics. Here is a step-by-step guide on how advertisers can segment their audience.
2. Determine brand communication channels
Once the target audience is defined, advertisers can create affiliate groups that can serve the target audience. The target audience can then contact the group of affiliates to set up bespoke campaigns.
When creating affiliate groups, advertisers need to perform diligent research to ensure their audience aligns with their target demographics.
3. Determine brand objectives and goals of the promotion
What do you want to achieve through this promotion?
- New customer acquisition: If the goal is to drive new customers, advertisers should craft their promotions to include education on the product or service. It should also highlight the advertiser’s competitive advantage and unique value proposition. Promoting new customer codes through the affiliate channel is an excellent strategy for driving new customer acquisition.
- Create awareness: An excellent way to drive brand awareness is to work with influencers through an affiliate program. Driving brand awareness through the affiliate channel is also the most cost-effective way to approach this goal, as advertisers only payout on sales.
- Retaining loyal customers: Promotions can also prevent customers from switching brands. A great way to do this is to highlight product improvements and the advantages over competitors. Incorporating a loyalty program in the promotion and partnering with loyalty and cashback affiliates is a great strategy for maintaining customer loyalty.
- Pushing specific products and moving inventory: Advertisers can also leverage promotions to move out inventory. A common and effective way to move inventory is to provide a significant discount and distribute it to affiliate partners to promote. Advertisers can also offer a bundle promotion with other product SKUs (stock keeping unit) to preserve AOV through the promotions.
After defining the goal and objective, advertisers need to ensure a clear call to action.
4. Decide how to measure campaign performance, learn and repeat for next time
Advertisers should define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that they want to use to measure the success of promotional campaigns. Here are a few examples of KPI’s that advertisers can track for different situations:
- KPI for following new customer acquisition is the number of new customers driven through a promotion.
- KPI to track customer awareness is clicks or conversions coming from new customers.
- KPI to track customer loyalty and retention is the number of returning customers to the website.
- Finally, for moving inventory, the KPI will be the amount of the product SKU sold.
It’s imperative that an advertiser’s tracking in their affiliate program reports back data on specific KPIs. Affiliate networks can track new vs return customers and cart level data, but the additional setup is required to ensure the data is coming through the program.
Advertisers will want to look at both website analytics and the analytics of their communication channels used for the campaign to understand the promotion’s success.
Effective ways to promote a product
1. Invoke an emotional response
For advertisers to stand out in a saturated space, promotions must evoke an emotional response from their target audience. By invoking an emotional response, the advertiser’s message easily resonates and connects with the audience. Here is a guide from Hubspot on Emotion Marketing
Personalisation allows advertisers to reach specific audiences easily. Over personalisation can make an audience feel like their privacy is being violated, and under personalisation won’t connect with the target audience. A great way to create personalization in promotions is to leverage customer data and tailor promotional content that aligns with the target audience’s purchasing behavior.
Another tool to create a more personalised experience is to secure exposure within eDMs (Electronic Direct Mail) that target specific audience segments. According to a study by Marketo, 79% of consumers say they are more likely to use an advertiser’s promotions when they tailor them to previous interactions they had with the company (2).
3. Create promotional content ahead of time
Gift guides are a great way for advertisers to showcase their product offering and show their audience how their product can play a part in their lives. It’s important to plan these ahead of time as advertisers will need to monitor inventory changes to ensure that the products included will be in stock. If products are not available by launch, then advertisers will need time to make any relevant changes. Once they create the gift guide, advertisers should distribute these guides through the media library in their affiliate program and work closely with key affiliates to create content around the guides.
Offers are a great way to drive sales through to an advertiser’s promotion. Offers can include a percentage off of the basket value, bundles, free delivery or a gift. Advertisers need to plan offers to ensure they align with key dates, preserve margins, and are seasonally relevant.
4. User-generated content
According to BigCommerce, 92% of people trust friends and family’s recommendations over any other type of advertising. User-generated content is a powerful form of communication promotions (3). Advertisers who can leverage partnerships with influencers through their affiliate program can generate word of mouth advertising for their promotions. One of the strongest methods for doing this is influencer video content.
In summary, advertisers should use data to identify the audiences they want to reach, craft promotions based on their goals, and choose a strategic mix of communication channels to deliver their promotions. They should also plan their promotions with ample time for the opportunity to hit all of their targets. The Commission Factory provides the tools and reporting capabilities to drive strong engagement for promotions and measure these campaigns’ success. For more information, contact us or speak to your Commission Factory contact.