For many e-commerce business owners today, promo codes are a necessary evil. You have to create discounts and post them on coupon sites in order to keep up with the competition, and there’s no way around it.
But promo codes don’t have to be all about sacrificing revenue to encourage sales. If you use your promo codes strategically, they can help drive major sales growth — even if you’re offering a big discount.
You just need to leverage social media to gain more traction with your audience and really stand out. Here’s how to do it.
(Check our advice on Pinterest vs. Instagram for ecommerce for further thoughts)
Define your goals
Just as with any marketing endeavor, you must first define your goals before you create your ecommerce social media promotion campaign. Promo codes aren’t just used for attracting new customers. You can also encourage customer retention when you share them with your social audience.
Your goals will ultimately determine what kind of promotion you want to offer. For example, if you want to clear out overstocked items, you might offer a buy one get one free promo. If you want to encourage customer retention, you might set up a weekly or monthly promo cycle that your social audience can look forward to.
If your goal is to find new customers, then you might offer a discount on the most popular item in your shop.
Choose an offer that makes sense for your specific goals:
- Percentage off a product (e.g. “10% off all bohemian skirts”)
- Percentage off cart (e.g. “10% off your cart at checkout”)
- Dollar off product (e.g. “$7 off your first cleanser”)
- Dollar off cart (e.g. “$10 off purchases of $100 or more”)
- Free shipping
- Buy one get one free
Bonobos is an example of a brand that regularly promotes unique promo codes for their products, product categories, and whole store on social media:
Don’t offer promos for the sake of promotion. Identify a marketing gap you want to solve and then develop the perfect promo to work towards that goal.
Create your promo codes
Once you know what kind of promotion you want to do, you’re ready to create your promo codes. This is easy enough to do using your e-commerce platform native features (on Shopify or Bigcommerce, etc.).
You might also opt for a third-party tool that has extra features that suit your e-commerce marketing strategy. If you’re registered in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program, they now offer a promo code feature specifically for social media promotions.
Rignite is a social media management platform that makes it easy to create promo codes, share them on social media, then track and analyze your results. You can also set a threshold number of followers who need to RT your campaign posts before a promo code becomes available.
Snipcart is another popular tool to create custom promo codes for your marketing campaigns.
However you create your promo codes, just make sure you’ll be able to track them to monitor your campaign and analyze results later on.
Create your social posts
Once you have your codes, you’re ready to create the social posts you need to promote them. When you create and schedule these, make sure they go live during the promotional period you set when creating the codes.
Make it visual
Visual elements are a must if you want your posts to stand out in busy news feeds on social media. If your promo code is a discount for a specific product, make sure it shows up in your image so your audience easily sees the value of your promotion.
You should also include the promo code itself in two places:
- In your promotional image, using big block text that’s easy to read, and
- In the text of your post, so people can easily copy and paste it.
Add a sense of urgency
Social media is fast paced, so when someone comes across your promo code, they’re not likely to look at it again once their feed refreshes. Instead of hoping they’ll return and convert on their own, you can encourage your audience to act now by adding a sense of urgency.
This is pretty easy to do with promo codes. Offering a promotion for a limited amount of time, or offering a set number of promo codes is all the urgency you need.
Just make sure you highlight this sense of urgency when you share. Post regular updates reminding your audience how many coupons are left, for example.
Use relevant hashtags
Couponers don’t just turn to the likes of Groupon or Dealspotr to find coupon deals. Social media is a prime place to find the latest deals directly from brands.
To make your promo code posts easy to find for couponers, use relevant hashtags like #coupon #promotion #deals #sale.
You can also create your own unique promo hashtag to help you track your campaign and create buzz. Here’s an example from #SoundcloudPromo:
If your goal is to improve holiday sales, you should also take advantage of hashtags like #blackfriday #thanksgiving, etc. Use any relevant hashtag to broaden your promo code’s potential reach.
Use social media advertising
If you want to get some extra reach for your promo code posts on social media, you can always pay to promote the post. Social media platforms like Facebook (Boost Post) and Twitter (Promoted Tweets) allow you to target very specific audiences outside of your main follower base.
Just make sure your post is promoted during the same time period as your promotional sale. Keep a close eye on your promo codes during the promotional period to ensure you don’t run out.
Beyond boosting your page posts, Facebook Advertising is a great way to get extra reach for your promo codes. Label your ad as an “Offer,” then you’ll be able to upload your series of coupon codes to promote in the ad. Helium 10 offers a detailed walkthrough of how to set this up.
Partner with micro-influencers
Influencers can be a great tool to help your promo codes reach a larger, more targeted audience. Micro-influencers are social media users who have a small but engaged niche audience. For a small fee, you can have micro-influencers promote your product and promo code with their audience.
Here’s an example of an Instagram influencer promoting a promo code for Daniel Wellington watches:
The real benefit of micro-influencers is that their audience is made up of peers who take their recommendations seriously. Having an influencer recommend your product instead of targeting your audience directly through a promoted post gives a sense of authenticity to the recommendation.
Micro-influencers are easy to find if you use an influencer marketplace to connect with them. Dealspotr is a platform like this, designed to help brands broaden the reach of their promo codes by partnering them with powerful influencers in their niche.
Dealspotr is a hybrid coupon site / influencer marketing platform, giving you an easy place to both promote your promo codes on the web, and partner with influencers to promote those codes.
Create a branded video
YouTube is an often overlooked platform to promote e-commerce promo codes. But if you create the right kind of branded video, it can be the perfect tool to help you drive new sales.
Say, for example, you run a kitchen supplies store that offers a tomato strainer. You could create a “how to make pizza from scratch” tutorial using your product. Then include a promo code for it in the video description.
Or better yet, work with a YouTube influencer to create the branded video and share it with their audience. Provide them with the promo code that they can then promote on YouTube and their other social platforms along with the instructional video.
Famebit is a popular YouTube influencer marketing platform that will help you connect with YouTube micro influencers to create branded videos:
Track and measure ROI
If you’ve gotten this far, you already know there are a lot of different ways to promote your ecommerce store’s promo codes on social media. But if you want to get the biggest return on your investment, you should always monitor your efforts to see which are most effective.
Some important questions you’ll want to answer include:
- What kind of promo codes are most popular with my audience?
- Which social platforms are the most effective at driving conversions?
- Which paid promotions work best?
- Which influencers drive the most conversions?
Luckily, promo codes are inherently trackable, so you can probably get a deep look at which strategies work best using the ecommerce platform or third-party tool you used to create the codes. If you’re working with different influencers, you should definitely create unique promo codes for each so you can track which ones are most effective.
Once you have these insights, you can then focus more time and money on the social promotion strategies that are the most effective for your eCommerce store.
Social media really has become a prime place to drive business goals using promo codes, especially with the rise of influencer marketing. Instead of reaching bargain shoppers with the likes of Groupon and Coupon.com, you can instead target the perfect audience of potential buyers who just need a little incentive to purchase your high-dollar items.
Remember these tips and strategies to start promoting your eCommerce store’s promo codes on social media and see the results for yourself.