A little background:
Last year I organized a joint-venture project with a group of 7 online English teachers including myself and we did a week-long fire sale (a fire sale is a short time and low price) at EnglishPowerPack.com. The sale did really well with just 4 weeks of preparation (about $45,000 in 7 days). This is a post to reflect on the marketing that I did around that first sale, updated for the next sale.
I used social media and email for marketing. I did not spend money on ads, although I will note below where I recommend spending. I’ll break down the strategies by social media and email below in a timeline in relationship to the sale launch days.
Note that the marketing efforts start one month before the sale. This was crucial. The affiliate participants in the sale with the most sales started their efforts early.
If you don’t want to get overwhelmed (or overwhelm your audience), you’ll want to focus on the days that have the most impact. The most important points on the timeline are minus 30 days from the sale start, minus 14 days, minus 1 day, and day 6 of the sale. I’ll explain why below.
Personally I am a heavy user of YouTube and Facebook. The rest are secondary. Do what works for you and where your audience is! Some may have success with LinkedIn, for example, but I haven’t been using it for a long while.
Create videos for YouTube / Google+, Facebook, etc.
Create images and text for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Add sale banners and/or sidebar widget to your website
Create blog posts for your website
Timeline and messaging
Days -40 to -30 before sale starts:
This is an excellent time to add people to your email list. This is the only time that I recommend spending money in the form of a promoted post to reach more people.
Days -30 to -20 before sale starts:
“I’m so excited about this upcoming project!” Drop hints of excitement to your audience. Let them know something special is coming.
Day 30, or between day minus 30 and minus 14, is very important to start whispering to your audience that you have a special secret project coming up… you can’t tell them too much yet… but it’s going to be awesome.
I would suggest adding some P.S. notes to your regular value-packed email correspondence with your audience, but don’t make the emails all about this awesome thing that is coming up. That may turn people off thinking that you wasted their time with an entire email to hype up a future product that is not even available for purchase yet.
Days -20 to -10 before sale starts:
“Guess who?!” Try to get some interaction and build the mystery / excitement with your audience. Share a behind-the-scenes look into your work behind the sale. It could be as simple as sharing, for example with the English Power Pack, that you are talking with 6 other online English teachers… can your audience guess who?
Day 14 is important because you want to start building excitement and get people to mark their calendars for the sale start. You could do this anytime between day minus 14 and minus 3 before the sale shopping cart opens.
Days -10 to -2 before sale starts:
“What is the English Power Pack?” Start to educate your audience about what exactly this project is that you’re part of. Remember that you know, but they don’t.
At this point you can also begin a countdown from day minus 10.
Day -1 before sale starts and first day of sale:
Send out reminders that the sale will start tomorrow / starts today. This is an important day because you will remind people that tomorrow is the big day. Also, depending on your audience many people don’t check their email every day (shocking, I know).
This is an important day because the first day of the sale you should see a spike in sales from the early buyers.
Days 1-7 of the sale:
Educate the buyer about the sale, what they can expect, how it works, etc.
Eliminate their reasons not to buy. Common ones to address are: “No money,” “No time.”
Remind your audience that this is their one chance to buy — this special sale will not be repeated and will close in x days.
The most important email you can send is to remind potential buyers one day before the sale closes. In this example, it’s day 6 of the 7 day sale. This is an exclusive opportunity that they don’t want to miss out. Most people actually appreciate the reminder.
Days 1-7 of the sale emails should be all about the product. In contrast to the Days -40 to -1, there is no hinting here. The emails should be clear, direct, leave no guessing that it’s time to buy.
Day 1 post-sale:
You may want to send a sale closing email to eliminate any doubts about whether they can still buy. If they did not buy, you may want to ask them why. This is optional.