Running a Sale – Using discount Codes Effectively

using discount code tips

Having a sale or offering a discount code is a brilliant way to attract new customers and entice existing customers to buy. Running a sale is easy with Folksy as you can use our simple discount code feature and you can set up lots of different codes to use in different ways. People love to know they’re getting a discount and this feature can be a great way to attract new customers and reward loyal customers too.

You need to carefully plan your sale or discount strategy, so read through our tips on how to run a sale and use discount codes.

Can you afford a sale?

A sale is a great opportunity to look more closely at your pricing strategy – can you afford a discount or would it wipe out all of your profits?

Is your sale worth running? If you offer 20% off everything will you make any profit at all? Are your products under-priced, leaving you no room at all to offer a discount – read our pricing tips here.

There’s no point selling an item if you don’t recoup at least the material costs, unless you are selling old stock that you really need to clear to make way for new stock or create funds for new materials.

real men have great beards printReal Men Have Great Beards Print – Hannah Stevens Illustration

Is it a genuine sale?

If you run sales too frequently people can become bored with constant social media spamming of 15% off this, 20% of that and perceive the sale price as the true cost of the item rather than it being a genuine bargain offer. We are all aware of the furniture sale adverts which hoik prices up only to drop them a few weeks later in a ‘half price sale’. Make your sale a genuine opportunity for fans of your work (new and old) – who perhaps have yet to take the plunge and actually buy an item – to save a little money or pay no postage.

How can you use discount codes?

  1. A flash sale to attract new people to take a look at what you have on offer
  2. A seasonal sale such as a ‘January Sale’ or ‘Summer Sale’ to encourage people to buy in less busy periods or to buy old stock.
  3. A thank you discount code for a new customer to encourage a repeat purchases
  4. A thank you discount code for signing up to your newsletter

1. Flash Sales

These sales need to be time limited (as the name suggests). For example a 24-hour sale or a Bank Holiday Weekend sale where you offer a percentage off your shop listings.

The key to making a flash sale work is effective promotion across all the various channels you have available to you. You want this discount code to be shared and you need to think of ways to maximise reach. You should use your newsletter and all social media channels, schedule tweets and posts throughout the short duration of the sale to maximise reach. Spend time planning your messages so they don’t just become a stream of adverts. Use images with a little text showing the code (rather than just text alone) to excite people and make posts shareable – Picmonkey is great for this.

alphabet HI print with camera flash bulbTypographic Print from Adam Regester Art & Illustration

One great way to boost reach is to team the flash sale with a giveaway, for example a like and comment promotion on Facebook – the prize needn’t be huge, just something small from your shop that will encourage people to enter – you can use simple tools like Google Forms to embed entry forms into a blog post, and ask people to share the post for an addition entry, or use software like Rafflecopter.

We regularly retweet sellers on Folksy when they have a sale on! Here is an example from Folksy shop By Charlie’s Hand

2. Old Stock Sale

This type of sale is usually longer and often you will only apply this to a certain number of products. For example, Christmas products you want to sell after Christmas or an old product range which doesn’t reflect the new direction of your shop. You can create a sale like this by using the category feature. Create a new category where you add in all the stock you want to sell and make it clear in the category title that these items are discounted. Simply calling the category ‘Sale – 50% OFF’ or something similar will encourage people to take a look.

Schedule posts and tweets and add links to blog posts that go directly to this category link.

3. Customer Thank You Discount

Include a code or news of a sale in your packaging or in your email communications when someone buys an item from your shop – this is a great way to thank a customer and encourage a repeat visit. Perhaps you could ask the buyer to mention it to their friends? Just 5% could be enough to entice a sale. However, you don’t have to do this and it’s not something that’s expected – just a nice treat perhaps for customers who buy higher-priced items from your range.

Thank you card autumn leavesThank You Card – Funky Fossil

4. Thank You for Subscribing to your newsletter

If you’re a blogger or use social media you can encourage people to sign up to your newsletter by letting them know they can get a discount code. This is a great way to build up email subscribers. We know from experience that direct email is a fantastic way to share your latest products and keep people interested in your brand – people love our weekly Folksy Finds email full of lovely Folksy goodies. You can use blogging as a way to find potential customers who you can convert into newsletter subscribers – read how to make your blog into a powerful marketing tool here.

Create an automated email that is sent out when a new subscriber signs up to thank them for signing up and give them an opportunity to take a look around your shop knowing they have a special code to save money. You can set up these automated emails when you use newsletter software like Mailchimp. Make sure the discount code is limited to expire after a week or month to give these new subscribers a reason to use their code sooner rather than later.

card togethernessTogetherness Card – Hannah Stephens Illustration

Cross Promotions with ‘Partners’

Network with other craft sellers or bloggers from all different areas to cross promote your sales. Our Folksy forums would be a great place to find people who wanted to work together – it needn’t be limited to just two of you, create a team who all share a similar audience and really multiply the reach of your sale or special discount code.

Look at ways you could work with others to reach a bigger and new audience. Perhaps you both have a newsletter or Facebook pages and could send out a message with details of each other’s discount codes. This is great for your subscribers/fans as it offers them something new and can help add value to your emails and posts. You will also reach a new audience when your partner shares your discount codes. Collaborating with others who sell products or services (or just bloggers who want to boost traffic to their site with a promotion) within your target market is a brilliant way to boost the reach of your sale.

Let us know if you have questions and tag us if you decide to run a flash sale so we can share the news!

(Featured image: Ring by Becky Pearce Designs)

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