Case Study: How I tripled our client's sales with a giveaway campaign

When IME Natural Perfume came to us, they were struggling to see traction with online sales, email list growth and return.

I was hired to change that.

I used a giveaway of $1000 worth of clean beauty products and promoted it organically on social media. With my campaign, I helped my client to:

  • Double the size of their email list
  • Gain a combined 1000+ new followers on Instagram and Facebook
  • Gain 1400 answers to questions which will help the company improve their future marketing
  • Triple their sales over the 18 day period

Other than my time, my client spent only $50 on marketing their competition.

In this blog post, I'm going to walk you through exactly what I did and by the end of this article, you'll learn:

  1. How to choose the right prize to entice your audience to enter
  2. How much time and budget you'll need for a campaign like this
  3. How to monetise your new audience with a consolation prize email sequence

Let's dive into it!

Step One - Strategy

Entry methods

My client wanted to boost sales and grow their email list for future monetisation, so I designed a campaign around that. I wanted our entrants to feel their best shot at winning was by entering their email and making a purchase, so I gave those entry methods more weight than other methods (like following social media profiles for instance).

As well as this, while talking to my client in the initial meetings for this project I realised how little I know about the customers for this business. Because of this, I included questions which would help us understand them better and would help drive the companies marketing in the future.

Choosing the right prize

In order to achieve my client's goals, I needed a prize that was worth the audience's time to enter. With the help of my client and Kristina Ioannou from We Are Eden, we worked together to organise the prizes and make sure that the brands posted in the required timeline.

 

We chose brands our client's customers would love to create a prize pack that would boost sales.
This campaign is another great example of how important it is to choose brand's that align with your target market. Otherwise, you end up with an email list that's useless.

How do you choose a prize that resonates with your target audience? It comes down your business and your product:

  1. Define 4-5 core selling points of your product (for example natural, plant-based, vegan, toxin-free).
  2. Find other brands using your product's selling points as hashtags on Instagram
  3. DM or email them and ask them if they'd like to be a part of it.

That's really how simple it is!

Timeframe

I already had a good idea of what the prize would be and I knew that while it wasn't a worth of a flash giveaway (1-2 days duration), a $1000 prize pack wasn't enough to warrant a one month long campaign either. It's always best to err on the side of caution when deciding on time frame, so I chose 14 days for this one. Not too short, not too long either.

Platforms for distribution

Before I start planning the content or setting up the competition, I need to know where I'll be distributing the content to promote the campaign. My client had a small budget, so I had to leverage as much unpaid advertising and marketing as I could to make sure it was a success.

In this case, I chose to use:

  1. Email - to re-engage their existing list in a fun, novel way
  2. Facebook - an existing channel that has decent engagement, but more manoeuvrability with advertising
  3. Instagram - the most active channel with the biggest sense of community
  4. Our brand partner relationships - these would help us reach new audiences without having to pay for them, much like an influencer.

If you have more budget, here are some other great ways to promote your campaign:

  • Work with related influencers who align with your brand to bring new leads to the competition
  • Use boosted posts to target new people outside of your usual audience
  • Use relevant and targeted Facebook groups and other online communities (like Reddit) to advertise the giveaway. This is a great way to build trust in communities which otherwise wouldn't let you advertise your products.

Step Two - Set Up

I decided to use Gleam to run the competition for three reasons:

  1. It's easy to track and validate entries
  2. It automatically opens and shuts the competition so you don't have to
  3. It integrates into websites easily so you can create a dedicated landing page for the competition (important if you're running retargeting ads for anyone that visits your site).

Step Three - Creating the pillars of content

When I plan a campaign, I like to think of it in four phases:

  • Launch
  • Build
  • Climax
  • Post

For each phase, I block out the core content I need to promote the campaign for each part. For this project, it looked like this:

Launch Phase

  1. 1 Tease Email
  2. 1 Launch Email
  3. 1 Launch Facebook Post
  4. 1 Launch Instagram Post

Build Phase

  1. 1 Reminder Email
  2. 1 Reminder Facebook Post
  3. 1 Reminder Instagram Post
  4. Use all of brand partner's posts during this phase to continue to drive traffic to the campaign

Climax Phase

  1. 1 Reminder Email
  2. 1 Reminder Facebook Post
  3. 1 Reminder Instagram Post

Post Phase

  1. 3 Consolation Emails
  2. 1 Winner Announcement Facebook Post
  3. 1 Winner Announcement Instagram Post.

From here, I know what I need to talk about when and I used the strategical structure of the campaign to drive the creative side.

Step Four - Creating the content

I like to start my campaigns by writing emails because these generally use the most direct language to achieve the goal for the email. I then repurposed this copy for the relevant social media posts and worked with my designer to create assets that would stop the user in the feed and encourage them to look at the caption.

Step Five - Deploying & managing the campaign

This phase is basically admin work and involves our team working to deploy the campaign across all of the channels I've chosen. I'll schedule posts and emails, apply boosts and set reminders for posts or emails that can't be sent with current data - for example, I wanted to send a reminder email halfway through the campaign to encourage those who hadn't entered to do so, but I couldn't set that up until we had a list of entrants that I could exclude from the recipients.

Aside from small tasks like this, a campaign will usually run itself fairly smoothly. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the reporting throughout as it can help you understand how it's performing and identify efforts which are and aren't working. For example, I used our campaign reporting to keep an eye on which brand's posts performed well so that I could identify the ones who's audiences were most aligned with our clients. With this information, I can approach these brands to work with them again on a more exclusive campaign.

 

A 41% conversion rate is fantastic and when you combine it with the boost sales, this was a hugely successful marketing campaign.
This is a great sign for the prize being the right fit for the intended audience. As well, in this graph you can see when our brand partners posted and which audiences responded well. This can help you organise campaigns with the same brands in the future.

I saw a consistent 41% conversion rate throughout the duration of the competition (this is an awesome result).

Step Six - Post Campaign

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking once a campaign is over, your work is done. The post campaign phase is my favourite because it offers the opportunity to activate your new subscribers (and non-winners) with a consolation prize.

That's exactly what I did for this campaign. I used 3 emails over a 48 hour period to provide our list with an offer and used the looming deadline as an incentive to act on that offer.

Sometimes the biggest boost sales is after the campaign has closed/
Here you can see the huge upswing in sales at the end of the campaign, which is when my closing email series fired. Powerful stuff.

When you do this for your own business, you'll need to make sure that you have your email provider set up correctly so that you only send the reminder emails to the subscribers who haven't purchased from the series.

Step Nine - Analysis

The final part of the campaign is going through the information I've collected, specifically focusing on the sales, email list growth and the questions answered by the customers. The biggest focus for this part is determining what the ROI was and whether it would be a good idea to run another campaign similar to this. For this project, the return was fantastic and I would highly recommend this client running more campaigns in the future.

Final Thoughts

With Christmas fast approaching, testing the waters with campaigns like this can be an effective and relatively cheap way to prepare for the busiest time of the year. A competition like this is simple to set up and could be run easily by your own in-house team (or even on your own).

But if you're not sure where to start or you just don't have time to organise something like this, send me an email and let's talk.

Here's what IME Natural Perfume had to say about working with us -

"Absolutely loved having you guys come on board for the campaign. It has been a huge help in getting my head around what was lacking and how I can make improvements. The work was completed above and beyond what I imagine".

My favourite part about marketing is running campaigns because a) it's easy to get a return for your business and b) it's a great way to give back to your community. That's how marketing should be.


Case Study: How I made $3k in 3 days with a flash sale

When I received an email from AfterPay about their millionth customer celebration, I knew I had to act. It was a great opportunity to run a flash sale alongside their promotion and if I timed it right I could run my company's promotion before any other businesses did the same. So I did and...

I sold $3000 worth of product in 72 hours

With an investment of $100 advertising spend and 3 hours of work.

In today's blog post, I'm going to show you how I did it and 4 core takeaways you can apply to your own business:

  1. How to recognise an opportunity for a flash sale
  2. How to structure a flash sale for maximum results
  3. How to pick which platforms to use for a flash sale
  4. How to present your flash sale to your customers

Let's do this!

The Opportunity

As a business owner and marketer, you should always be looking for opportunities to celebrate with your customers, whether that's giveaways, competitions or sales. That's why when you see an opportunity to celebrate, like AfterPay's millionth customer announcement, you must act to make something of it.

Here are a few examples of opportunities you could take advantage of:

  1. I regularly receive emails from a company we've purchased wholesale chocolate from. Whenever they run a sale or launch a new product, I buy enough units to run a Gift With Purchase campaign. This gives me leverage with their own marketing for a product launch or I get discounted prices which makes a Gift With Purchase campaign more feasible.
  2. I am often approached by brands and influencers to giveaway free product. I don't do this very often, but when brands that are larger than my company approach me and are negotiable with the marketing terms, I'll usually take the opportunity for the potential upside.
  3. I randomly throw #freemaskfridays where I send an extra mask with every order, just because. These are fun, easy to deploy and encourage spending on a day that is typically quite slow for eCommerce.
  4. At the start of every month, I check for obscure public holidays and peak shopping periods (like Black Friday or Mother's Day) to capitalise on.

Spotting these opportunities isn't difficult, all you need is a little preparation, creativity, and interest in seeing what you can create.

Taking Action

1. Creating a strategy

I knew that I wouldn't be the only business celebrating AfterPay's milestone and I wanted to get in before other brands sold to my customers. So I made a conscious decision to launch the sale before the official celebration dates.

Because there is very little complexity to a flash sale, the only things I needed to decide on were:

  1. How long the sale would run for
  2. Where I wanted to distribute the core content
  3. What offer I was going to give our customers

How to choose the timeframe for your sale

There's really no right or wrong answer when deciding on a timeframe. Most of the time, it comes down to your capabilities to deploy a campaign -

  • Do you have the time or resources to execute across multiple platforms?
  • How big your audience is on those platforms?

I usually do 48-hour flash sales because it's enough time to launch the campaign and send a follow-up email. In this case, I wanted to include a third email to touch base with anyone who hadn't purchased - that's why I decided to extend the flash sale to a 72-hour timeframe.

How to structure a flash sale for maximum results

With campaigns like this, email is a no-brainer. It's easy, it goes straight into your customer's inboxes and you can follow them up throughout the campaign duration with reminders about the offer and looming deadline. For the other platforms, it again comes down to your resources. How many platforms are you currently on and how well are they performing? There's not a lot of point advertising on your Snapchat if you only have a few views per Snap.

In our case, I had a small but engaged following on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat so I decided to use these plus our email list to promote the flash sale.

How to choose the right offer for your flash sale

Again, this comes down to your product and specifically, your margins.

What can you afford to discount or give on top of your customer's order?

Here are a few examples of what you could do:

  1. Run a Gift With Purchase campaign with a light item that won't blow your shipping costs out
  2. Offer a discount ladder - 10% on launch, 15% on the second day, 20% on the final day
  3. Offer one discount that is higher than you usually would

In this case, I chose to match AfterPay's discounts to merchants (15%) with no further increases. We very rarely did sales, so I knew that it was a great deal and my customers would act when I offered it.

At this point, I had the bare bones of the campaign planned out and the next step was to create the content.

2. Structuring the pillars of content

Once you've designed the structure of your flash sale, you need to build out the content of the platform you're executing on. I had Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Email to plan and this is how I laid it out.

Launch Phase

  • 1 Email
  • 1 Facebook Post
  • 1 Instagram Post
  • 1 Snapchat Series
  • 1 Instagram Stories Post

Build Phase

  • 1 Email
  • 1 Instagram Stories Post

Climax Phase

  • 1 Email
  • 1 Instagram Stories Post

You'll notice that I didn't include Instagram and Facebook posts in the last two-thirds of the campaign. I personally don't find blasting a flash sale with daily posts to be effective. Often times, you actually lose when you do this because people get sick of seeing your spam and stop engaging with your posts.

What has worked really well for us is putting advertising spend on the initial post and leveraging the other platforms in the campaign to continue promoting the flash sale.

3. Creating the content

A really important aspect of any campaign is the positioning or how you present your campaign to your customers. Here's what I mean by this -

I didn't say -

"We're running a flash giveaway to capitalise on AfterPay's milestone and save on a discount we'd usually have to pay for".

I said -

"We're celebrating AfterPay's milestone because we're proud to be a business who offers AfterPay (an amazing service) to our customers".

Both are true, but one is more customer friendly than the other.

But how do you know how to present your campaign to your customers?

It's really simple...

  1. What caused you to run this flash sale? Write this down.
  2. What are your business goals for running the campaign? Write this down.
  3. Look at the two different sentences and find a connection that's relevant to your customer.

In our case, AfterPay is a service that benefits both the business and the customer involved in the transaction, so the milestone they are celebrating is something everyone could be a part of, no matter if you're buying the product or selling it. This is what helped me to decide on our final messaging for the campaign.

Once I had the message, I wrote the content for the emails and used the same copy, albeit slightly altered for each platform, to power our social media posts. Then, I created assets that would stop our audience in their news feed tracks.

4. Deploying the campaign

The final stage of the campaign was deploying the posts. There was the scheduled content that we could set up and leave:

  • Setting up the email series to send the first email on launch day, second email 24 hours after and the last email another 24 hours later.
  • Scheduled the Instagram and Facebook posts and boosted them once they were live.

The other content on Snapchat and Instagram Stories could only be done manually, so every day I uploaded content to both of these to continue promoting the competition.

That's it!

The Analysis

First up, I'm going to go over the expenses for the campaign.

Expenses

  • 3 hours of time to create and deploy the campaign
  • $100 on a boosted post

Results

  • $2968 in revenue ($2768 from email, $200 from Instagram Stories)
  • 9% conversion rate on our store throughout the flash sale duration
  • For every 1000 subscribers on our list, we made $553 (you can use this as a benchmark to compare how your list is performing)
  • 18% conversion rate on our Instagram Stories posts

For 3 hours of work and $100 spent, this is a fantastic result.

What did I learn?

There were two core lessons that I took from this campaign:

  1. A third email on a slightly longer campaign timeframe was extremely effective in generating more sales because of the impending deadline reminders. On my next flash sale campaign, I would add a fourth email a few hours before the deadline as one last reminder to anyone who hasn't purchased.
  2. Using Instagram Stories for a targeted action such as swiping up to make a purchase was extremely effective. I have previously underestimated the channel and its ability to convert. After this flash sale, I will include it in all of my sales campaigns.

Final Thoughts

You might be thinking about running a flash sale like this in your own business. To that I say -

Go for it, but not too often.

Yes, campaigns, and particularly flash sales, are extremely effective in generating revenue. But they can also be detrimental to your business if you run them too frequently. Here's why:

  • Nobody likes being sold to constantly.
  • When we, the consumer, are sold to all the time, we stop listening and opening emails except when we want to buy. If you're trying to build a community that cares about your companies emails, this can be damaging.
  • When we, the consumer, know that a discount email is likely to come from a company, we sit back and wait for that email before purchasing.

Choose to deploy flash sales wisely and creatively.