How to I pull off the sales event of the year?
February 3, 2006 4:02 PM   Subscribe

How do I pull off the sales event of the year? I have been put in charge of my company’s fiscal year end sale/open house. The purpose of this event is to generate sales (both immediate and future). We sell specialized machinery to hobbyists and professionals. This will be an opportunity for our local customers to come and see our show room and get great end of the year deals. This will also be marketed to our national customers. They will be able to call in and get the same deal as someone attending our event. We have the opportunity to market to several types: people in our database that have purchased a tool from us in the past, people in our database that have a deposit on a machine, people in our database that have expressed interest in our machinery in the recent and far past. I have several questions that hopefully this knowledgeable group can answer.

The event is in 35 days. When do I start marketing this? I don’t want to ruin the deals people have going now by having them wait to purchase the machinery at the sale. What is the best way to get the local people to attend…and buy? How do I market to and attract people nationwide to call in on the day of the event...and buy? E-mail blasts will be the medium. Should I also get my sales guys on the phone to start mentioning the event to local customers? To sum up…how do I get people here (or on the phone) and spend their money? All advice is greatly appreciated. The last thing I want this to look like is a hokey department store sale.
posted by ieatwords to Work & Money (6 answers total)
How about you start publicizing the year end sale with a special coupon that says something like "If you spend more than $x prior to the sale, you can get another 10% off during the year end sale" That would let people know about the year end sale, while also hopefully promoting sales before then.

Send an email to your list. Advertise in hobby or pro magazines / newsletters / websites. Do some Google ads.

(Finally, learn how to use the more inside functionality of this site, and use some paragraph breaks, you'll get better answers).
posted by visual mechanic at 8:08 PM on February 3, 2006

Mod note: I "more insided" part of the post, please carry on with the answers
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:16 PM on February 3, 2006

For the event: Sale prices, technical classes in using these tools and contests. Advertise via email, local paper and radio and direct mail, to the extent you can afford all of these. Release a story to the local paper about the open house and all of the cool educational opportunities there will be there. Can you make it a family event too? As for deals now, you could give rebates to people who attend the event and purchased something in the last 30 days at a higher price. That gives them an incentive to attend and doesn't screw-up the current purchase.
posted by caddis at 8:23 PM on February 3, 2006

Advertise, advertise, advertise. Start publicizing with percentages off (even percentages off during the sale - "Get an extra 5% off your total purchase!"), including information on the upcoming sale with purchased items now ("You can save even more during our annual sale!"). When it gets closer to the event, release sales in the newspapers (especially if you have a Pennysaver sort of newspaper that's free to all), radio, whatever medium you feel is appropriate.
posted by itchie at 10:25 PM on February 3, 2006

35 Days doesn't leave you much time.

You have time to get a last-minute mailing out and a few ads in the paper. Not knowing your product or your overall promotion strategy, It's kind of hard to give much advice.

Are you building awareness of your product, or is it already well known? How is your competition promoting similar products? How much product do you need to move? Is it slash inventory time, or are you fishing for new business / new customers?

Other posters are suggesting discounts and advertising. Ask yourself first, are these discounts going to bring in more people? Will they make the overall effort more profitable? A niche product easily differentiated from the competition doesn't need to compete on price. Consider smaller disounts, and free options or discounted add-ons for a limited time. Sometimes your customers just need a little push like this. They were going to buy your product anyway, and a little carrot can sometimes put them over the hump. Don't give away more than you have to!

As far as your mailing, maybe buy a zip-code targeted list of subscribers from a hobbyist magazine that you advertise with? Most niche publications offer this sort of thing.

Also consider doing a separate mailing to your existing customers. Something exclusive that builds loyalty, offering them a slightly better than the deal you are giving the new customers. Be sure to let them know they are getting a better deal.
posted by freq at 9:07 AM on February 4, 2006

The other thing is you can publicize the event without giving away the deal for the first week so as to not cut into current sales.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:17 AM on February 4, 2006

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