6 Holiday Sales Promotions that Work for Membership Sites
Can you believe it?
In a year that feels a bit more like a decade, the holiday season is
just around the corner (scratch that) here.
If you’re anything like us, you’re already seeing a few “Black Friday” promotions creep into your inbox. While it may seem a bit early for these offers, the fact of the matter is this holiday season will be unique – to say the least.
Due to the global pandemic, many of our plans and expectations for the holidays – personal and business – will need to shift in one way or another. While you may feel like throwing in the towel, popping open that bottle of champagne you’re saving for New Year’s Eve, and finally re-watching Lost… there are still a ton of amazing opportunities waiting for you here in 2020.
In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Google, 69% of Americans plan to do more of their holiday shopping online than ever before. On top of that, nearly 33% of the thousands of people surveyed indicate they’ve already bought something from a business that was brand new to them.
As an online business owner, this is great news for you. It means that people are more open to trying new things and more likely to find those things online.
Because of that, we’re excited to share this special blog post with you. In it, we’ll show you how you can capitalize on this opportunity by creating special sales and offers for your membership site. Our goal is to help stack the deck in your favor and give you a reason to celebrate when the clock strikes twelve in the new year.
So put that champagne bottle back in the fridge and get ready to learn how to:
🎁 Create coupons, gifts, and special offers for your existing customers
👤 Acquire new members with deep discounts and enticing promotions
📈 & Increase revenue during the holiday season
Here are 6 sales promotions you can use for your membership site:
1. Flash Sale
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned sale? Running a flash sale is a great opportunity for you to offer a limited-time discount on some or all of your products and services. The time-sensitive nature of a flash sale helps build hype around your business and can lead to a healthy spike in revenue.
When executed correctly, a flash sale can work wonders for your membership site. If you have a list of leads or prospective customers who are on the fence about joining your membership, a time-sensitive discount could provide the perfect motivation for them to join. For example, you could run a special promotion discounting your membership by 20% for all new members.
A flash sale is a valid strategy to employ with your current members as well. If you offer products such as video trainings or digital courses in addition to your membership, a limited-time discount on these products could be very attractive to your current members. By selling additional products to your existing members, you can increase the lifetime value of your customers and overall profitability of your business.
Running a flash sale is easy with MemberMouse. To set one up, all you need to do is create a coupon to be applied to the product or membership of your choosing. When you create a coupon for your flash sale, you have total control over which products are discounted and for how long the sale lasts. That means you can run the flash sale for any and all of your products or memberships for any length of time.
Once you’ve created the coupon for your flash sale, you can deliver it to your customers however you’d like. If your flash sale is targeting prospective customers, you can either send them the coupon code for them to input during checkout or you can simply send them a quick link that takes them directly to the checkout page and automatically applies the discount. Or if your flash sale is targeting your current members, you can choose to display the coupon code anywhere on your site (such as their member homepage).
2. Buy One Get One…
There’s nothing like getting something for free (or half-off for that matter). A “Buy One, Get One” sale is a time-tested promotional strategy that can be easily applied to your subscription business. Think about it: have you ever been enticed to buy something simply because you were offered an additional product for free? What’s more, sometimes the appeal of a free product is greater than the appeal of a discount. So let’s take a look at an example of how you could implement this in your membership site.
Imagine that you offer both a la carte products and memberships on your site. If you are trying to sell an a la carte video training or online course, you could sweeten the deal by packaging it with a free month of your membership. If someone is on the fence about buying your course or training, the added incentive of a free month of your membership could encourage them to buy.
The same scenario also works in reverse: If your main offering is your membership, you could create a more compelling offer by including your standalone course to buyers for free. However you decide to package the offer, remember that giving away something for free or extending a discount to a related product goes a long way in increasing the desirability of your promotion.
Setting up a “Buy One, Get One” offer with MemberMouse is rather straightforward. For this example, let’s imagine that you want to give everyone who becomes a Gold Level Member your video course for free. Here’s how to do it:
- Create a free coupon for your video course
- Generate a link to your video course using the coupon code
- Set up a Push Notification to send an email to all customers who become a Gold Level Member
- Include the link you generated in Step 2 in the Push Notification email
And there you have it! Whenever someone purchases your Gold Level Membership, they’ll be able to access your video course for free. Now you can promote this offer to your current or prospective members. If you ever wanted to stop this promotion, simply deactivate the Push Notification and set the end date for that specific coupon code. Easy as pie! (Mmmm, pie…)
Keep in mind that “Buy One, Get One” promotions don’t have to offer only free products. You could choose to offer a discount instead. The possibilities for implementation are endless, and you are in full control of how you set up and execute this type of promotion.
For more detailed, step-by-step instructions, check out this article: “Create a Buy One, Get One Promo”
3. Give the Gift of Your Product or Membership
We’re just about to enter the biggest gift-giving season of the year. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for you to encourage your current customers to give your products or memberships away as gifts to their friends, family, or colleagues? By empowering your current members to purchase your products or memberships as gifts, you improve your chances of capturing profits hidden within your business.
Well, we’ve got some good news for you. There is an easy way for your current members to buy any of your products or memberships and send them to their friends and family as gifts.
Be sure to read this article that goes in-depth about our gifting functionality. But to get you started, here are a few key things to keep in mind when setting up your products or memberships as gifts:
- A member can purchase any paid membership or bundle on your site as a gift
- To do so, your members just need to be logged in to your site
- Your members do not have to be a member of the membership level they are purchasing as a gift, nor do they have to own the product they plan on gifting
- Gifts can be redeemed one of two ways: either by the link delivered on the confirmation page after your member buys the gift or via your member’s My Account page.
Now you can run a special promotion to your members encouraging them to spread the love and give your products or memberships away as gifts to their friends and family this holiday season.
4. Discount for a Set Number of Buyers
This promotional strategy is similar to the flash sale, but with a twist. Here, you’re extending a special offer such as a discount for a set number of buyers only. The hype and sense of urgency that is created with a standard flash sale can be significantly multiplied when you limit the total number of people who can take advantage of the offer. Here’s how you can apply this sales technique to your subscription business:
Picture that you’re just about to launch a new product or membership level. And, you want to generate some energy and excitement around your offer. As part of your launch sequence, you could announce to your members that the first 100 buyers of your new offering will receive a $100 discount. What’s great is that MemberMouse gives you the power to limit the total quantity of coupons used. So, you don’t have to worry about turning off the coupon once 100 people have used it. MemberMouse takes care of the automatically for you. Let’s take a look at how you could do this.
The process for creating a special discount for a limited number of buyers is just like creating any coupon. The key difference here is that you choose how many times you’d like the coupon to be used, and put that number in the Limit Quantity field. In our case, we want our offer to be valid for the first 100 buyers only. So, that’s the number we’d insert into the Limit Quantity field.
Limiting the total number of people who can take advantage of a special offer is a tremendous way to build engagement around a sale or promotion.
5. Deep Discount on an Introductory Offer
Do you have an introductory product or membership level that you use to get customers in the door? Maybe it’s a low-priced course or bottom-tier membership level. These types of offerings are often referred to as “tripwires” in the digital marketing world.
The idea here is to make an inviting, low-risk offer that converts prospects into paying customers. If you do have an introductory offer that you pitch to prospective customers, running a special deep discount promotion can be a great way to acquire a fresh set of new customers. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, you have the perfect opportunity to implement such an offer.
For example, let’s say that you have a Beginner’s Video Training that you normally sell for $20. As a special promotional sale, you could offer this training for $1 instead. Even though you may sacrifice some initial revenue on the front end, you create the possibility of bringing many new customers in the door. Then, when they’ve had some time to get to know you and explore your site, you can offer them an upsell to your core products or memberships.
How To with a Product:
While you can accomplish this with a coupon, we’d first like to share how to do this by creating a new product. The benefits of creating a new product are that you can track the sales of this product against your full-priced one as well as later on easily assess the LCV of customers who purchased this product.
- Create a new product for your $1 ‘Beginner’s Video Training’
- Be sure to set the associated access to the original ‘Beginner’s Video Training’ bundle
- Copy the purchase link for you new $1 product
- Use that purchase link wherever you intend to promote your offer (in emails, on sales pages, etc.)
- And if you like, change the product to be inactive when the promotion is over.
How To with a Coupon:
You can also accomplish this by creating a coupon with these parameters:
- Create a coupon for your $20 ‘Beginner’s Video Training’, and apply a $19 off discount
- Apply the discount to the first charge only — *Please review Important Reminder section below
- In Valid Products, select only your ‘Beginner’s Video Training’
- And if you like, set the start and end date for the coupon
Now you can run a deep discount promotion on an introductory or ‘tripwire’ product. This is the perfect promotional strategy for Black Friday / Cyber Monday type sales events.
6. Create a “Virtual Gift Card”
As a membership site owner, the holidays are not only a good time for you to run sales and promotions for your business, but also a terrific time to give back to your own members and customers. In that spirit, why not consider giving some or all of your members a gift card they can use on your site?
Imagine how cool it would be for your members to see a gift card pop up in their members’ area the next time they log into your site. With MemberMouse, you have the ability to create a “virtual gift card” that dynamically displays to the members of your choosing. That means you can create different gift cards for each one of your membership levels. Or, you could simply create one gift card to be sent to all your members.
While creating a true gift card with MemberMouse isn’t technically possible (meaning crediting money to a member’s account), there is a way to create a virtual one. With our coupon functionality, you can create one-time-use coupons with a specific dollar amount that can be applied to a future purchase.
If you’d like additional implementation options and more detailed step-by-step setup instructions, review this article: “Virtual Gift Card How-to: 3 Methods Explained”
For this example, let’s say that we want to send all of our members a $25 coupon for them to use on any future purchase. Here’s how you’d do it:
- Create a coupon with a $25 discount
- If you want to apply an expiration date to the “gift card,” set the end date for the coupon
- Send the coupon code out to all of your members!
Now if you want to get really fancy, you can style a graphic that looks like a gift card. Then you could use the Member Decision SmartTag to dynamically display the gift card graphic linking to the coupon code anywhere SmartTags can be displayed on your site. And that’s how you create a “virtual gift card” for your members.
Now, before you go off creating a bunch of new promotional offers to test this holiday season, there is one thing we need to remind you of: If you have a product or membership that starts with a trial period, the $0 charge for the trial is considered the first charge. That means when you create coupons for products with free trial periods and choose “apply discount to the first charge only” in Subscription Options, the coupon’s discount will only be applied to the $0 charge for the trial.
What we’re trying to avoid here is having your customers be charged full price for a product they thought they were getting a discount on. If you don’t want to apply a coupon’s discount to all future charges, all you would need to do is create a new product without a trial period for your members to purchase. This way the coupon will take the discount off of the first full-price charge.
Are you inspired to create a special offer for your membership site this holiday season? We hope so! It’s our mission to help you build powerful and profitable membership sites. If you do implement any one of these strategies, we’d love to hear how it went. Leave us a comment below and share your success with our readers. We wish you much success in this upcoming holiday season.
Matt is an enthusiastic Marketing Associate at MemberMouse. Originally from Chicago, Matt now resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and cat. He loves reading, writing and getting outdoors.