Another month, another sale. This time it’s EOFY. So how do SMEs make the most of these sales? 

We know online shopping is on the rise. It’s anticipated that by 2025, nearly 8 in 10 Aussies will be shopping online. And while consumers are getting more cautious and less spontaneous, sales work.

While a focus on value for money is not a new trend, the economic uncertainty of the pandemic coupled with the rising cost of living has seen consumers becoming savvier with their spending, planning shopping sprees in advance and aligning purchasing decisions with e-commerce sales events to save some extra cash. 

For businesses, here are tips to make the most of any sales period.

Know your channels

Undoubtedly, social media has become a necessary marketing tool for those wanting to amplify their brand in the saturated online market, with almost all marketers stating that social media has helped to increase exposure. However, not all social media channels are built with the same purpose in mind, and each platform serves a unique purpose for businesses. 

Knowing what platform suits a brand best is more than just looking at the number of active users present. While Facebook might seem attractive with its 2.93 billion monthly active users, if a brand’s target audience isn’t using it, there’s not much point in sinking time and effort into targeting the wrong people. 

With this in mind, connect with your audience. Researching the key demographic of customers and correlating this with the user demographic of each platform will help businesses pick the right social media channel. Whether that be the predominantly female millennial audience on Pinterest, or the male-dominated Gen X on Twitter, knowing where your audience is spending their time will help guide how you spend yours. 

It’s also important to be selective in the channels you do use. Pick a few channels to advertise across instead of several to ensure you maximise your budget and impact. This way you can focus your attention on a couple of creatives and be sure the right amount of budget is put behind your ads so your message actually gets seen. 

Start early 

Once you have your audience and channels picked, start advertising your sales early. Sales periods like EOFY are competitive, with hundreds of brands vying for consumer’s attention as soon as the sale event starts, ,it’s important to get started early to get ahead of your competitors. Consumers are out researching and shopping early depending on the event or holiday, so marketing and giving discounts early can be advantageous.

Consider promoting flash sale days in advance with a promo code and offering email subscribers the chance to opt-in for early access. Simultaneously, this is a great way to drive revenue while also building out the newsletter base. 

It is also important to note that sales generally promote word-of-mouth marketing, think about anytime someone has told you about a sale or vise-vera. You should be incentivising people to promote the sale event to their persoanl network by offering an additional discount to those who do. When a sale is all about moving stock, this is a great way to lower costs through advertising and leverage some viral tactics. 

You don’t need sales to stand out from the crowd

While it can be smart to get ahead of the pack when it comes to sales, with a following of mindful customers, SMEs won’t need sales to stand out from the crowd and it’s still possible for these businesses to leverage their voice during sales periods, without lowering prices. 

Brands like gumboot retailer, Merry People, make a point about not going on sale by educating customers on why they won’t lower their prices for EOFY or other sale events. Likewise, instead of providing big discounts, thortful, the global greeting card business takes a more thoughtful approach to sales periods and instead provides free shipping to customers as a way of giving back to its community. 

While sales events are a sure-fire way of getting your brand noticed, making a point of not going on sale can be a way of getting noticed (and winning like-minded customers) too.

As the prominence of online sales events continues to rise, social media can play a critical role in helping protect SMEs from becoming frenzied by the culture of sales. Knowing your audience, selecting social channels wisely and getting promoting for sales events early can be a winning formula to make the most of peak retail periods, including this month’s EOFY sale.

David Weinberger is head of growth marketing at Metigy.