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How to Run a Sales Event (& Different Types of Sales)

Reading Time: 7 minutes

No matter what industry you’re a part of, or what niche you occupy, it’s hard to deny how useful sales events are. Knowing how to run a sales event provides many boons for merchants—brand growth, an increase in customers, and more sales, to name a few.

However, running a successful sales event isn’t so simple as slapping on a discount and calling it a day. There are many ways to run a great sales event—and many more to fumble one.

There are some tools that merchants can use to make promotions progress smoothly. For example, using fine-tuned marketing automation ensures that any and all marketing reaches your audiences as intended.

Understanding how to engage with your audience with customer intelligence is also immeasurably helpful.

Here at Omnisend, we don’t just have the tools to help you succeed with promotions and sales events—we also have the know-how.

Let’s explore how to run a sales event, along with the different types of sales.

How to Run a Sales Event

Not every sale needs to come with bells and whistles. You don’t need the excuse of an international holiday to justify offering customers discounts, gifts, or other tantalizing incentives.

Take the practices we discussed with the biggest sales of the year and ask the question—why limit these to a one-time thing?

There are elements of sales and promotions that you can take and apply to your day-to-day business.

Naturally, you can’t just offer discounts every day. Not sales-worthy ones, at least, as discounts have their advantages and disadvantages.

However, there are practices from big events that are worth embracing on a more frequent basis.

Start Spreading the News

Regardless of whether a store runs a promotion or not, getting the word out is the key to increasing sales.

Becoming more active on social media is one of the best ways to do this. It allows you to actively engage with your audience and customers on a regular basis.

You can share news, promote products, or simply establish your brand.

Naturally, it comes with tools that some customers may consider essential. For example, live chat to handle customer inquiries.

Another great way of creating buzz with a big sale is to get big names involved. One of the most recent strategies that brands have been embracing has been working with influencers.

This doesn’t just involve models sharing pictures of their travels—every industry has its own niche influencers.

Simply search for your niche or your industry on platforms like LinkedIn. See who’s creating a lot of buzz or becoming a well-known and trusted voice.

Then, just reach out to them and see if they want to work with you.

Try to take what big brands do with sales and apply it to promoting yourself. Take Prime Day, for example. Amazon didn’t need promotions to be well-known, it was well before Prime Day.

However, their push for Prime Day helped to establish an event that customers around the world look forward to.

Embracing Your Brand

Some brands become known for their sales—but you don’t need to follow the same example. Begin embracing what makes your brand your brand.

A sale or promotion might kick start your desire to spread the word about your brand, but you can carry on this enthusiasm—even after a promotion has ended.

Sales allow you to see what your customers are engaging with. Discounts and free gifts are all well and good, but you’ll ultimately be able to see what is and isn’t selling—despite the sales elements.

The same is true of what marketing you use throughout the promotions, as you’re not just going to send one email about a sale.

See what your customers have engaged with—whether it’s after your big sale or a competitor’s. Take what you can from these sales and apply them to your brand, outside of discounts.

For example, to highlight a sales event, you started to embrace a vibrant color scheme and GIF animated elements in your marketing campaigns.

You stuck to this theme throughout your campaign of, say, four emails. You might notice that using interactive elements, such as bright CTAs, is seeing a lot of engagement and a higher than usual CTR.

This kind of engagement provides the opportunity to adapt, change, or double down on your brand. Your brand can be your greatest tool, regardless of sales or promotions.

Be sure to be proud of it and promote it at any and all times.

Good Planning Practices

Even with the greatest promotions, sometimes time can fly by too quickly. If you find that the rug’s been pulled beneath your feet and you miss a good window for a sales event, don’t lose heart—gain appreciation for good planning. 

It might seem like extra work on the pile but create a content calendar. This can make executing promotion plans so much simpler in the future.

They help prevent you from being caught flat-footed, as well as organizing your campaigns before they even begin.

It’s also worth remembering that, unless they’re extremely time-sensitive, promotions and sales events can always be recycled.

For example, if you’ve launched a Christmas campaign a week late and missed a lot of buzz, there’s nothing stopping you from launching it a few weeks earlier next year.

Engaging with Customers

Above everything else, the lesson to take away from any promotion is how to engage with your customers. This doesn’t just include offering clear messaging and great customer services—it’s knowing what your customers like and what they respond to.

Seeing what your customers enjoy about your big sales can yield invaluable insights into how to conduct business on a day-to-day business. 

For example, a campaign offers free shipping during a big sale, and people start responding to this well. Previously, customers wouldn’t even be able to get free shipping when making large orders.

However, a store could see a huge increase in sales during a free shipping campaign. This would suggest that offering free shipping on large orders could help avoid issues like cart abandonment.

Naturally, the same lessons can be taken from other big sales. Examine what previous year’s Black Friday sales or look at Prime Day sales do well from a customer’s point of view.

Without the sales and discounts in mind, think about what else you can take from them that your customers would want, need, and appreciate.

The Different Types of Sales

Not all sales are the same. Some offer customers unique offers, others grant discounts on a wide variety of products. Different types of sales achieve different goals, with tools making it easier to achieve these goals.

For example, a big sale can bring back old customers, which is improved with retention analytics. After all, using these tools makes it simple to craft promotions to the right audience. 

Ultimately, you should understand which type works with your store and industry before planning what kind of promotion to run.

Pre-event Promotions

These promotions are the kind that stores like to call ‘open secrets’. The ‘hush hush, wink wink’ type that will be shared with subscribers and recipients of a store’s marketing.

They usually prop themselves up as the smart option. They’re the ‘sale before the sale’ that adheres to the adage of “the early bird gets the worm”.

Naturally, there are more than enough worms in the ground before, during, and after these promotions—the proverbial birds often know this too. 

However, they still conjure a sense of excitement. They grant customers the sensation of snatching up a great deal and hitting the ground running during sales-heavy times like the holidays.

A great way of creating and catering to this excitement is by using smart segmentation and targeting your VIP customers. You can show them that you think they deserve to see your big sale first.

This alone is usually a great way to kick off a sale successfully, but all the more so when you give them an incentive to engage with it.

For example, a shoe store launches a pre-Black Friday sale exclusively for their VIP customers. Their VIP customers make up their subscribers who have purchased from the store at least once a month. They launch a ‘Red Carpet’ sale to drive home the VIP feeling behind the promotion.

During the promotion, they’ll stress that only their favorite, VIP customers will receive the chance to engage with a sale before anyone else. 

Limited Time

Promotions and sales aim to capture the feeling of opportunity—the opportunity to find a product at a special price at a particular time. 

This is why understanding how to use limited-time offers is vital. 

While all promotions and sales are active for a limited time, limited-time offers are specifically shorter in duration.

A prime example of a limited-time offer is a flash sale. A store will have large discounts on products for anything from a weekend to just one day. 

By relying on the scarcity principle, merchants can create buzz and excitement around their sales. Customers will recognize that a limited-time offer will bring them more bang for their buck than conventional sales.

For example, let’s say a florist is running a Valentine’s Day weekend-only sale. The sale is set for two weeks before Valentine’s Day, not the week before.

This means they aren’t relying on last-minute rush orders, as the weekend before might see. However, this weekend-only sale adds a free gift, a box of chocolates, with every order over a certain amount.

Customers seeing this offer might ascertain that they gain more for their money with this limited-time offer.

By incentivizing purchases with this offer, the merchant doesn’t need to rely as heavily on last-minute sales. It may also be the only sale being run at this time, instantly putting them above their competitors.

Tiered Discounts

There’s an art to offering discounts—they require a discount pricing strategy to be used wisely. All the more so when you’re using tiered discounts.

Tiered discounts essentially add stock to the adage of “you can never have too much of a good thing”. By offering greater discounts to greater numbers of products bought, tiered discounts can start to make the savings so good that some products are virtually free.

For example, a merchant adds an extra 10% off a product with each one purchased. With this discount in mind, after buying 11, the entire price of the first product is discounted.

This means customers could see it as free, despite having to spend so much to reach that point.

To encourage customers to buy more and spend more, tiered discounts focus on ‘buying more saves more’. Naturally, merchants should experiment with their tiered discounts. 

Offering small discounts after large orders may not be appealing enough. Offering large discounts after large orders certainly motivates customers to make large orders.

However, some stores and products work better with this than others.

Let’s look at two separate stores as examples of this. The first is a coffee store, one that naturally expects its customers to return to restock with coffee beans, filters, and so on.

It makes sense to offer a tiered discount promotion for this store. At $5 a bag of coffee beans, let’s call the first tier $12 for three, then $20 for six, and $30 for 10.

This seems like a good deal for customers, especially as they’ll likely continue to buy coffee beans regardless of a sales event. 

Then let’s say that our second store sells beds.

A sale that makes it cheaper to buy several beds might appeal to a small section of customers. For example, someone moving into an empty house. However, it doesn’t have the same benefits and widespread appeal that the coffee store has. 

Wrap Up

Running a sales event comes with unique challenges. However, having the right tools for the job makes handling sales much easier. 

For example, knowing how to successfully segment customers makes filtering your customers simple. Better yet, sales open the doors to retention marketing, something that Omnisend also helps with.

Make yourself familiar with Omnisend’s tools and the different types of sales. Weigh up whether your store works well with the likes of tiered discounts or opt for limited-time events.

Once you do, you’ll be in a great position to showcase your products to your customers.

To see how well Omnisend assists sales events, try out the get started with Omnisend for free today.

Tom Simpkins
Article by
Tom Simpkins

A proud member of the Omnisend team, Tom is a Content Marketing Manager with years of content, SEO, and marketing experience. When not at work, Tom is mixing up cocktails, cooking up a storm, or simply being a massive nerd with comics, books, and games.