10 Ways To Promote Your Promotions

I originally posted this article last October with the title “Free Shipping: Got It? 10 Ways to Flaunt It.” With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I wanted to remind you that no matter what your promotion is (free shipping, flat rate shipping, gift with purchase, free ship-to-store, free returns, 20% off etc), you want to make sure your offer is clearly reinforced at every touch point. Remember you can substitute “free shipping” with whatever your value proposition is in all the following:

1. Meta Tags and Descriptions

Famous for its Free Shipping Both Ways & 365-Day Return Policy, Zappos used to include its value proposition in its title tag and meta description tags. As I blogged about back in August), this can help achieve higher click through on your listing than search results above you.

As I mentioned in the blog post, people do search for “keyword + free shipping” in search engines, and including your offer in your title tag is crucial to optimize for these searches.

Interestingly, since August Zappos has changed its tactic to simply “Free Shipping.”

Before I say this is a bad idea, the simpler message may be easier on the eyes and there may be a good reason for the switch (like testing, for instance). Unfortunately, Google doesn’t hand over click-through data for organic search like it does with…

2. Search Ads

It’s a bit easier to test click-through rate for shipping offers in search ad headlines and body copy, since Google reports impressions and clicks for each ad you test:

Since most people scan headlines first, don’t you think “Auto Parts Free Shipping” would stand out?

Judging how long it took me to find an example of a retailer bidding on “keyword + free shipping” – it tells me this is a valuable keyword many aren’t taking advantage of.

3. E-mail Marketing

Test free-shipping calls to action in e-mail subject lines, but always repeat the offer in your e-mail creative and landing page. Examples from this summer include eBags’ “Pain at the Pump? Stay Put. We’ll ship it to you for Free” and Macy’s “Gas prices got you down? This week clearance items ship for only 99ยข.

4. Data Feeds

Take advantage of optional promo fields. Many comparison-shopping engines like Shopping.com and PriceGrabber allow you to flaunt your special offers through these fields. Other comparison engines allow shoppers to select the term “free shipping” from a menu of predetermined promotions, or include a Free Shipping section – like Yahoo Shopping. Your listing may even include a “Free Shipping” icon or appear higher in results when users sort by total cost (inclusive of shipping), depending on the engine.

5. Affiliate Promotions

If you’re offering free shipping for a limited time only, make sure your affiliates are notified in advance, and that all coupon codes work before you post them or send them out.

6. Offline Advertising

Mention your free shipping offer in radio ads, direct mail, in-store signage, on sales receipts and any other offline ads. Don’t forget to state your restrictions clearly.

7. Homepage

Devote significant homepage real estate to the free-shipping offer, including delivery date cutoff times as the holidays draw nearer, in addition to banners at the top of each individual Web page.

8. Category Pages

Endless.com shows “Free Overnight Shipping” below each product thumbnail and price on its category pages, communicating the value proposition to visitors who land on the category page through search and ignore the call-out at the top banner (banner blindness), and reinforcing it for customers already exposed to the offer.

9. Product Pages

Mentioning a product’s free shipping eligibility on the product page (near the price or “add to cart” button) also is useful, for the same reasons as noted above.

10. Shopping Cart

If you offer free shipping above a threshold, use a “carrot” that reminds customers “You’re only $X away from free shipping!” and a “continue shopping” link. Most online retailers who offer free shipping above a certain cart total don’t do this.

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5 Responses to “10 Ways To Promote Your Promotions”

  1. Ohad says:

    Great post Linda. I especially like the bit about bidding on “product+free shipping” and including free shipping in the headline as opposed to the 2 description lines. I will test it with some of the high profile e-commerce accounts that we handle and see how it affects the CTR.

  2. Amazing info as usual Linda. Put the “free shipping” in the title tags. Simple and effective.

    Sometimes I cant see whats in front of my face and I need you to point it out to me!

    Thanks

  3. I’d suggest considering video as well…
    …of course I’m biased ; )

    Seriously, regardless of whether you opt to use our solution or not (…and I’m proud to announce we just got CoffeeForLess, one of the America’s top 500 online retailers as a client http://bit.ly/qPvrQ) you should be aware that Youtube is already the world’s 2nd most popular SEARCH ENGINE.

    Mike
    http://treepodia.com
    @treepodia

  4. Daneka says:

    Linda, I read your site frequently and also link to it from our company blog because I think your advice for online merchants is sound and right on the nose. I love the tip about Metadata, it’s so simple, and probably is one of the best ways to squeeze as much as you can out of organic search results. Thanks!

  5. Daneka says:

    By the way, you can read us if you are so inclined at http://blog.adsmarket.com

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