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How to Host Your First Flash Sale

Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin

Are you looking for a way to see explosive sales and lead generation results? Flash sales are an effective, flexible solution.

Would you like to dramatically improve sales and brand awareness in a short amount of time? Flash sales can help you reach your goals, plus they are a great way to secure new customers and grow your business. 

Essentially, flash sales are limited-time events where companies offer exclusive discounts or gifts to their customers. The goal is to get more people to try your brand for the first time and convince people on the fence to invest in your product or service. 

The tips below apply to companies selling physical products and digital products, like software. It doesn't matter what industry you operate in; flash sales can yield big results.

Let's take a look at the five steps required to run a successful sale. 

Step 1: Decide on an offer.

There are several different types of promotions you can use, depending on your industry and inventory. You'll see marketing teams offer a flat rate off of a purchase or a discount on select products in many instances. For example, if your email marketing firm wants to quickly sell software, they could offer 50% off the top tier plan. Similarly, a business selling physical goods can create bundles featuring a mix of top-rated and new products. Or, if you have an online pet store, you can create a discounted bundle featuring your most popular cat food and a new treat bag.

If users take advantage of this offer and find that their cat loves the new treats, they will likely become repeat customers for that specific product. Take your time and review your sales analytics when you're coming up with your offer. Once you decide what you want to sell, it's time to move on to the next step. 

Step 2: Choose the time frame. 

The time frame you choose for your event can have a significant impact on sales and conversions. A typical flash sale lasts from 24 to 72 hours, with limited exceptions. 

When you're thinking about starting one of these sales, there are several factors to keep in mind as it relates to the time frame. 

First, ask yourself if you have enough inventory to support a long flash event. Some businesses go all out and hold a 72-hour event. But as it turns out, they didn't order enough inventory to meet demand. The consequences of this mistake could be the loss of consumer confidence, more refunds and lack of interest for future sales. 

You also want to think about your employees. Flash sales usually lead to an influx of customer support inquiries, contact form submissions and emails. You need to have people in place who can handle the extra traffic and requests. If you leave it up to your existing team to handle the workload, you could end up with disgruntled and stressed employees. Taking the time to consider workload and inventory before launching your sale can save you trouble during the sale. 

Step 3: Promote your deal early.

One of the keys to having a successful flash sale is awareness. If people don't know about an upcoming event, they will not make it to your site while the sale is happening. Promoting your deals early through your website, social media and email can dramatically improve your chances of success. 

For context, over 3.8 billion people use social media platforms. You have an excellent chance of reaching your target and spreading awareness before your sale goes live. 

Create ads and posts for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms you frequently use so more people anticipate the sale and will be there on day one of the sale. 

Similarly, contacting email subscribers in advance can have a significant impact on the performance of the sale. In most cases, email subscribers consist of your most dedicated customers and those who subscribed but haven't followed through with a purchase. Enticing both sets of users with an irresistible offer in advance can get them in the mindset to shop with your company once you launch the sale. 

Step 4: Use marketing platforms throughout the event. 

Now that your sale has gone live, you want to focus on marketing strategies to help you get more sales and spread brand awareness. We suggest using the same platforms you used in the last steps, but with a twist. 

Email marketing, for instance, can be an excellent tool for enticing users to make a purchase once the offer is live. Create a drip campaign that starts with introducing the sale and updates customers several times throughout the event. 

You want to send an email for each day of the sale, and let users know exactly when the sale ends. This strategy uses FOMO, which is also known as the fear of missing out. Consider extending this strategy when you post updates on your page and advertisements. Let users know that now is the time to take advantage of this offer. 

Spend plenty of time promoting your deals during the flash sale period. You don't want to rely solely on your presale outreach to drive sales during the event. 

Step 5: Review your results. 

Finally, the sale is over. You can sit back and relax, right? Well, there's more to it than that. Now that you know the results of your flash sale, it's time to review your analytics. Your on-site Google Analytics account, as well as email and social media analytics, can offer you a wealth of information about what you did right and where you can improve. 

Let's suppose that, overall, sales were fine, but you noticed that one of your products barely saw an increase during this period. That factor should send a clear message that other products could benefit more from being on sale. If you make a change during the next flash sale, you can gauge your results and determine which strategy worked best. 

Hosting flash sales are an excellent way to boost your profits and generate more happy customers. Like most marketing strategies, they require testing and fine-tuning. As your business grows and you get new customers, you may notice your old strategies don't work as well as they used to, and that's OK. Your audience will change over time, which means people will have different opinions on your products, services and brand. Use all of the information you gain from these events to continuously grow your business and host even more exciting sales next time. 

Image Credit: Sitthiphong / Getty Images
Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin Member
I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.