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Loyalty Programs: What is the Return on Investment (ROI)?

Here's how to calculate the return on investment of your loyalty program. Calculate the expected ROI of your loyalty program, or your past ROI.

Francesca Nicasio

Content Strategy Manager

Every business owner understands it’s easier to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. That’s why many merchants use loyalty programs to incentivize customers to come back and spend more with them. When done right, loyalty rewards, discounts, special early access, etc. can help to drive incremental revenue and maximize your customer lifetime value (CLV).

All that being said, it’s important to remember that loyalty or reward programs are long-term undertakings. Yes, they’re super beneficial to your company, but to reap those advantages, you need to periodically evaluate your loyalty program performance. Some consider loyalty programs to be money pits — and they can be if you don’t keep track of your loyalty program ROI.

So, let’s back up a bit: return on investment (ROI) is a financial metric that evaluates how profitable an investment is. To calculate the ROI, you need to divide the net profit by the cost of the investment, and express it as a percentage. The greater the ROI, the more profitable the investment.

To get a handle on your loyalty program’s success, you need to measure its ROI. The results will help you decide if your loyalty strategy is working or not. If it’s working, you can continue what you’re doing and double-down on your initiatives. On the flip side, you can rejuvenate poorly performing loyalty programs by optimizing offers, running referral programs, or getting customer feedback.

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How do I calculate ROI for my loyalty program?

As with any business initiative, the success of a loyalty program can be measured by its ROI. The formula to calculate it is pretty straightforward.

Return on Investment = (Total Revenue - Total Cost of Running the Loyalty Program) / Total Cost

download free loyalty program roi calculator

Loyalty program ROI calculation: A real-life example

Here's an example from a merchant we have been working closely with. I'm not going to share their name, but I can share their anonymized results so you can see how we assess the impact of their loyalty program.

Real life example (1)

Challenges in measuring loyalty program ROI

The formula for calculating your loyalty program ROI is simple enough to understand. However, there are a few challenges that can make it more difficult to accurately measure your ROI.

Attributing revenue to the right sources

One of the biggest challenges lies in capturing key metrics and pulling the necessary data from various sources — such as your marketing, sales, finance, tech teams, etc. You need to make sure that you’re attributing your revenue gains to the right sources.

For example, your regular customers are your most valuable ones, with or without a rewards program. How can you be sure their value is attributed to your loyalty program?

It can also be tricky to figure out if a purchase was triggered by loyalty program benefits or if it’s just a customer’s normal buying behavior. You need to have the right tracking mechanisms in place to be able to accurately calculate a loyalty program’s ROI. 

Some of the ways to do this include using robust loyalty apps (like Marsello), discount codes, coupons, etc. to track customer behavior that can only be attributed to loyalty programs.

With Marsello, you can track the metrics like change in repeat purchase rate and increase in turnover from loyalty members, as we've done above. This will get you a much more accurate picture of your return.

It takes time to see results

Not only will you need considerable time to gather the data required to calculate the ROI, but it may also take time for your points programs to show results. Customers must first be aware of such programs, engage with them, and rack up enough points on their loyalty cards. It may take months (or more) for your loyalty program to start paying off, so you won’t know your true ROI right away. 

💡 Pro tip: Rather than committing to a 3 month trial across all your sites, commit to one site for at least 1 year (expanding to other sites if you see results earlier). Starting with fewer sites but allowing for a longer time period will give you a much better indication of the impact of the program for your business.

Metrics to consider when measuring the impact of your loyalty programs

Beyond the ROI calculation above, there are many ways you can measure the impact of loyalty programs. You can look at how they affect your revenue, customer base growth, and engagement, among other things.  

You could choose to measure success purely based on financial returns or through KPIs such as engagement rate, brand awareness, etc. Here are some of the data points you may need to track.

  • Transaction volume
  • Average order value
  • Total revenue
  • Cost of loyalty program memberships
  • Marketing cost
  • Purchase frequency of members and non-members

The key is to track these over time. Remember, it takes time to build loyalty, so running a successful rewards program is a marathon, not a sprint. 

And before you calculate the ROI of your loyalty program, make sure you’re clear about your business objectives. What are your specific goals? Do you want to increase revenue by a certain percentage? Reduce your marketing expenditure while boosting sales? Grow your repeat customer base?

This will be essential for setting targets for your loyalty program and understanding its impact on your bottom line.

download free loyalty program roi calculator

Direct ROI of loyalty programs

Direct loyalty program ROI can come in several forms, including:

Increased sales and revenue from repeat purchases

A loyalty program can significantly contribute to a business' goal of increasing revenue and profit. According to a 2023 report by Gitnux, the likelihood of selling to a new customer is less than 20%. Conversely, this probability rises to nearly 70% for an existing customer.

By enhancing customer satisfaction, fostering brand loyalty, attracting new customers, and gathering important customer data, your loyalty program can lead to tangible financial gains. You can also make informed decisions about product development and marketing strategies, further amplifying revenue.

Ultimately, loyalty programs serve as strategic tools for driving sales, revenue growth, and long-term profitability in any business endeavor.

Just ask Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty, which was looking for an email marketing solutions provider when it came across Marsello. Very quickly, the business realized the full potential of Marsello’s tools and decided to also set up loyalty programs. This resulted in Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty unlocking new audiences, increasing its customer engagement, and doubling its revenue.


Reduced marketing costs through targeted promotions

Acquiring new customers through marketing efforts and sales outreach can be resource-intensive, consuming both time and funds. Customer acquisition costs pile up especially when leads opt for competitors.

Since loyalty programs help drive sales from existing customers, they enable your brand to mitigate the expenses linked with customer acquisition.You spend less to drive sales, which leads to a higher bottom line.

Indirect ROI of loyalty programs

Now that we’ve covered the direct ways to measure ROI, here’s a look at the indirect metrics that you may want to track.

Improved customer retention

When customers feel valued and content, they are more inclined to remain loyal and make repeat purchases. Implementing a loyalty program can significantly contribute to this effect.

For instance, imagine being a long-term participant in a supermarket’s loyalty program, accumulating rewards for discounts or free items. Such incentives foster loyalty, encouraging folks to continue supporting your brand despite alternative options.

Enhanced brand loyalty and customer satisfaction

Loyalty programs enhance customer appreciation by rewarding purchases with discounts or complimentary items, fostering a sense of value. Tailoring rewards based on individual preferences demonstrates care and enhances the shopping experience.

This helps to elevate customer satisfaction levels. Satisfied customers are more likely to return, which just goes to show the role of customer loyalty programs in enhancing overall satisfaction and fostering repeat business.

Positive word-of-mouth and referrals

Referral marketing, aka word-of-mouth marketing is a highly effective and sought-after strategy for customer acquisition. Recommendations from friends and family, along with good reviews on social media carry more weight than brand messages.

This is one of the most significant gains from loyalty programs — devoted customers become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences and benefits received from your business. Through their advocacy, your company can gain new customers organically, without incurring any additional costs.

Data collection and insights for better business decisions

Understanding customers is crucial for business success. Rewards programs offer valuable insights into loyal customers, including their personal details and preferences. This enables businesses to enhance customer experiences and satisfaction by tailoring their services to meet individual preferences.

Bonus points if your loyalty program works across multiple channels. Going omnichannel with your loyalty efforts means you can collect data from all customer touchpoints, while providing a seamless experience no matter where or how they’re shopping.

Fashion label ALPHA60 was looking to improve its customer-first marketing efforts by providing all its customers with the same great experience. ALPHA60 brought in in-store and online sales data into Klaviyo, allowing the brand to display points balances, segment customers, and send personalized emails, no matter how customers shop.

Alpha60 earn options

By using Marsello for loyalty and marketing, ALPHA60 was able to attain a repeat purchase rate of 70%, wildly surpassing what is considered to be a good repeat purchase rate in the industry (between 20% and 40%).

Tools to track your metrics

Loyalty program solutions like Marsello give you a whole host of tools required to track metrics related to loyalty programs. 

The platform's built in marketing analytics capabilities can shed light on which channels and strategies yield the best results. Plus, you can track your loyalty program performance overtime, so you can improve both in the short- and long-term. 

Final words

Loyalty programs can offer substantial returns on investment for your business. The right program can enhance customer satisfaction, drive repeat purchases, and boost retention rates. It also provides valuable data and insights for informed decision-making and optimized marketing strategies. 

That’s why it’s so important to invest in the right solution AND track your return on that investment. Measuring your loyalty program ROI helps you improve, so you can continue to delight customers and keep them coming back.

Need help doing just that? Check out our ROI Calculator to see how your loyalty programs are performing or talk to an expert to discuss opportunities for revenue growth.

Frame 6 (4)download free loyalty program roi calculator


Get advice from a loyalty expert and start driving repeat sales.

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Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

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    5 Social Media Tips For A Scary Good Halloween 2023 Campaign

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    Halloween is the perfect opportunity for retailers to prime their audience for the upcoming sale season. Here are 5 social media tips for Halloween 2022.

    For retailers, Halloween is the perfect opportunity to prime your audience for the upcoming sale and holiday season (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas).

    Here are 5 social media tips for Halloween 2023 that can help you get more conversions.

    Quick Links:


    1. Encourage User-Generated Content

    User-generated content (or UGC) is one of the most powerful tools that marketers can use to drive engagement. Not only is it more authentic and relatable, but it’s also more efficient—it’s free and can generate more engagement than your own branded content.

    You can encourage people to share their photos or videos, and tagging your brand. For example, competitions or challenges. Ask them open questions and play around with their answers. Feature the best or funniest answers. 

    Looking for an even simpler competition? Ask your followers to tag their friends and share your contest post on their Instagram or Facebook story.



    Make the most out of your social media marketing; you can use marketing automation to schedule your content strategy ahead of time. Set posts across several platforms in a single calendar or even repost good user-generated content across different platforms.


    2. Get creative with social media posts

    Think about your brand and what kind of content and campaigns might work best. You could include Halloween-related images with your product, or it might just make sense to offer your audience a holiday discount without adding spooky flair to your brand creative.

    Halloween is the perfect holiday for Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty—who supply makeup and beauty products to the TV, film, and theatre industries.



    Every year, they make the most of the promotional period with a carefully planned calendar of social posts, email campaigns, and automations. Their in-store artists are also available to guide and advise on Halloween costume make-up and products.


    "Halloween is a huge selling month for us. Since using Marsello, our online sales over this period have increased dramatically as have our in-store sales – a lot of these purchases are from an average customer, not a student or pro makeup artist as well."

    Hollie, Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty


    If your brand is not so closely Halloween-related, you can still run photo contests on your Facebook page and encourage users to upload images. Encourage your followers to share pictures of themselves dressed up, or their kids’ trick-or-treat costumes. In exchange for their contribution, you can share their content on your page, reward them with a discount, and ask them to share the contest on their blogs.


    All your Halloween marketing. In one place.
    Manage all your Halloween campaigns in Marsello. Drive repeat sales with loyalty, send email & SMS campaigns, set up automations, and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial


    3. Give discounts or promo codes

    A Halloween sale or discount code can be a great way to draw in new customers ahead of Black Friday / Cyber Monday. You can host a Halloween sale on your website and promote it across your email campaigns, social accounts and even SMS.

    Remember: You don’t have to alter your brand to fit with Halloween theme! You can simply run promotions and add emojis in your captions for holiday flair.



    4. Use UTMs to track sales and run retargeting


    Track sales made across your Halloween social media posts and campaigns. The sales data you gather through UTM codes can also be used for retargeting. 

    Insert UTM parameters on your sale URLs and include them in your social media bios or link in bio pages. This allows you to create custom audiences for your retargeting efforts.  

    Using ads, you can retarget your website and visitors on social media. You can also see whether they make a purchase or not. In this case, the focus should be on communicating the right message to your audience and experimenting with different approaches. For example, you can vary your copy and imagery.


    5. Use TikToks and Reels

    Video marketing (for example, on Instagram Reels or TikTok) is a powerful social media marketing medium. It’s a great way to attract attention and engage with your target audience.  

    Videos can also be an excellent medium to authentically and genuinely connect with your audience. Break down your brand’s key messages, describe individual products, add value by creating how-to content and reviews.

    Your Halloween-themed videos don’t have to be complex. For example, create a how-to video that shares a fun technique for Halloween decorating. You can present your audience with several possibilities for decorating their homes or offices.

    Remember: UGC content works best, so if you’re creating TikToks or Reels, keep this in mind. Create videos and ads that look like they’re made by a user, not by a brand.


    All your Halloween marketing. In one place.
    Manage all your Halloween campaigns in Marsello. Drive repeat sales with loyalty, send email & SMS campaigns, set up automations, and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial


    Final words

    Halloween is a time that allows business owners to promote products and services. You can use user-generated content, discounts, and promo codes to generate engagement. You can also generate sales from social media by using UTM codes and retargeting. 

    Have you tried any of these tactics? Let us know!

    Read next: Social media planning for BFCM - 7 Best Practices to Implement


    Marsello: All your marketing, in one place.

    • Schedule social posts
    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Track the direct impact of your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial


    5 TikTok Trends Retailers Should Be Using This Black Friday

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    Need inspiration for your Black Friday TikTok posts? We have put together a list of 5 tried-and-tested TikTok formats that we see working over and over...

    The opportunity for sales through TikTok is colossal. 67% of TikTok users say they feel an impulse to shop while scrolling through their feed. 20.6% of consumers who have bought products through social media say they frequently purchase on TikTok.

    In addition, TikTokers use the platform as a search engine; TikTok crawls comments, tags, and captions for keywords to provide highly relevant search results.

    This illustrates a rapidly growing preference for organic, user-generated content over keyword-stuffed blog posts in traditional search engine results.




    As Black Friday approaches, users jump on the app to find deals and see what their favorite TikTokers are buying. It’s no wonder TikTok is the place every retailer wants to be this Black Friday…

    Quick Links:


    Why User-Generated Content Works Best

    TikTok is all about authenticity.

    TikTokers are more discerning than any other social media user. They’re social natives, raised by influencer culture and reality TV, so they know when someone’s there to sell them something.

    On the other end of the authenticity spectrum… you’ve got traditional, big-box, branded Black Friday campaigns.

    But that doesn’t mean you can’t harness the power and influence of the For You page to stand out from the crowd this sale season.

    The key? User-generated content, or UGC.  That’s right, you want to make content that looks like it was made by one of your customers, NOT by your marketing team.

    Let’s dive in!


    Top 5 TikTok Trends To Use This Black Friday

    These are not new or fleeting trends. (Nope, we’re not going to make you edit corn into your next collection promo video).

    TikTok moves fast, so trying to plan out content ahead of time can be a headache. You don’t want to awkwardly miss the beat on a trend, it’ll be very obvious. For quick, hot-and-fast trends, you want to jump on them right away.

    Once you’ve spent a bit of time on the platform, you will get a pretty clear idea about what kinds of trends will last a few days or weeks, and what will stand the test of time. 

    If you aren’t super au fait with TikTok just yet, never fear. We have put together some tried-and-tested successful formulae that we see working over and over again. With these trends, it’s all about creating a hook that entices the user and gets them to stop scrolling.

    1. Black Friday Hauls

    Create a video of someone shopping online or in your physical stores, then cut to them showing all their new products. Walk the viewer through the discounts, bundles, and deals.

    Example of a Black Friday haul:


    Some hashtags to add: 

    #blackfridaydeals #blackfriday #haul #christmashaul #shoppinghaul


    2. Deals You Need To Know About

    Create a video showcasing your brand’s deals. To level up the authenticity, promote some complementary deals from brands you collaborate with too. It’s all about community!

    Example of a deal finder:


    Some hashtags to add: 

    #cybermonday2022 #blackfriday2022 #blackfridaydeals #christmasgiftideas #giftguide2022


    3. Unboxing Experiences

    These work particularly well if they’re ‘oddly satisfying’ or ASMR inspired. You can add a mention that the product was on sale on a Black Friday deal.

    Example of an unboxing:

    @dermalogica Our limited-edition holiday kits just hit the site and they won't last long. 💙 #dermalogica #skintok #unboxing ♬ The Lost Stray Dog - Official Sound Studio


    Some hashtags to add: 

     #unboxing #blackfriday #ASMR (if applicable)


    All your Black Friday marketing, in one place.
    Manage all your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns in Marsello. Drive repeat sales with loyalty, send email & SMS campaigns, set up automations, and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial

    4. Get Ready With Me (GRWM)

    Make this trend Black Friday relevant with a “GRWM: Black Friday edition” showcasing all your Black Friday deals. Mix and match with non-sale items, or do a full ‘on sale’ promotion. This works for clothes, make-up, beauty, accessories… get creative!

    Example of a GRWM:

    @merrell Take yourself out on a cute lil park date with your hydro mocs like @The Halliday Twins #hydromoc #merrell ♬ original sound - merrell


    Some hashtags to add:

    #outfit #winter (or any applicable season) #grwm


    5. Come shopping with me

    If you have a bricks and mortar store, bring the viewer "shopping" with you. Take a timelapse of walking into your store from the street, looking around, then slow down to pick up products and deals. Show the viewer you’re adding it to your basket, all while showcasing your in-store experience candidly.

    Example of a shop with me:


    Some hashtags to add:

    #comeshopwithme #mallshopping #shoppingaddict


    Dos and Don’ts for Black Friday TikTok success


    Don’t brand your videos.

    Use TikTok’s native fonts, instead of your own branded fonts. This will give your content a much more organic feel, and won’t stick out as “marketing” content on TikTok’s For You page.

    TikTok’s native fonts include Proxima Nova Semi Bold, Kaufmann Bold Script and Georgia Bold. You can mix and match fonts and styles.

    Do make sure your videos are well lit.

    Good lighting is essential for creating high-quality content. Every successful TikToker has this down. If you can, film in good natural light (but not direct sunlight). Golden hour (when the sun is setting) will give your content a warm, radiant glow.

    As a second-best alternative, invest in quality artificial lighting, such as a ring light. 

    Do get creative with transitions.

    If you’re feeling confident, try some creative transitions between shots. TikTokers are known for using manual camera tricks to enhance the overall feel of their videos.



    Do get familiar with editing apps.

    If you’re creating content in advance, TikTok’s native editor is not ideal. Use an editing tool like CapCut to get a cleaner final result. You can download it for your phone, tablet or desktop.

    Don’t try and tell your whole brand story.

    While it can be tempting to start talking about how great all your products are and listing all the benefits, stick to the short, hook-based formats above.

    All your Black Friday marketing, in one place.
    Manage all your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns in Marsello. Drive repeat sales with loyalty, send email & SMS campaigns, set up automations, and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial


    Don’t use muffled audio.

    If you’re doing voice-over style videos, it’s important to get crisp, clear sound. Invest in a small microphone you can clip to your clothing, like a lapel mic, that plugs into your recording device (i.e., your phone). These are affordable and easy to find online. 

    Most TikTokers find it’s simple and effective to record straight into Voice Memos or similar. Your phone’s inbuilt voice recording app serves the purpose just fine.

    Don’t spend thousands on equipment.

    I can’t iterate this enough. Even the best quality user-generated content doesn’t need anything more than good lighting, good audio, your smartphone (as long as it has a decent camera), and a tripod.

    Do have fun with it!

    Express your personality, and have fun—otherwise, it will become just another marketing chore, and that won’t produce good content. Making TikToks is a creative process, so enjoy it!

    Read next: Social media planning for BFCM - 7 Best Practices to Implement


    Marsello: All your Black Friday marketing, in one place.

    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Schedule social posts
    • Track the direct impact of your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial


    5 Tips for Tracking Social Media Sales

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    In this post, we’ll shed light on the key steps and best practices you must take to effectively track and measure sales you’ve generated via social media.

    Fact: social media is a major part of the lives of today’s consumers. No matter what type of business you run or who your target market is, chances are you have customers using various social apps and platforms.

    Social networks are so embedded in our daily lives that people are increasingly using apps like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to discover — and ultimately purchase — products. This is particularly true among younger consumers. Industry data shows that 55% of social media users ages 18 to 24 have purchased something through a social channel. 

    Social media is clearly a solid vehicle for sales, and if you’re active on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, then you’re likely attracting customers and sales through these channels.

    The question is, how many of your sales are actually coming from social media?

    If you find yourself shrugging your shoulders to that question, keep reading. In this post, we’ll shed light on the key steps and best practices you must take to effectively track and measure sales you’ve generated via social media

    By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of the different ways to track sales on social, and you’ll walk away with tips and tools to do it right. 

    Let’s dive in.



    Quick Links:


    Why should you implement sales tracking on social media?

    As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Actively implementing sales tracking on social media enables you to improve in the following ways.

    You can allocate resources more effectively

    Running social media accounts can take a significant amount of resources. Even if you aren’t actively spending money on ads, you and your team likely devote quite a bit of time and energy planning your posts, creating content, and publishing said content on social platforms. 

    Tracking your sales enables you to hone in on activities that are driving a positive ROI, so you can focus on doing more of what works. 

    That way, you can ensure you’re spending more time (and money) on sales-generating activities.

    It helps you refine your strategy

    In addition to enabling you budget resources more effectively, tracking your sales on social media helps improve your overall marketing strategy. 

    Let’s say you post a mix of Reels, Stories, and static photos on Instagram and notice that certain types of posts are better than others at generating sales. You can use that insight to create more content that resonates with your audience. 

    Measuring your social media sales can also tell you which channels are effective at generating revenue. If you find that you’re getting better results on Instagram versus TikTok, for example, then you can start prioritizing Instagram in your sales campaigns.

    You’ll grow your social media presence

    All of the above benefits lead to a stronger social media presence overall. When you’re able to focus your efforts on the platforms and tactics that matter, you’ll naturally connect better with your audience and gain more fans and followers.


    5 tips for tracking sales on social media

    Now that we’ve covered the why behind social media sales tracking, let’s look at how you can go about it. Here are a handful of tips to ensure your sales tracking efforts are successful.

    1. Start with a plan

    It can be tempting to just start posting straight away and seeing if any sales come through, but a haphazard approach to social media tracking could lead to missed opportunities, inaccurate data, and wasted time. 

    If you want to get the most out of your efforts, you need to lay the groundwork and plan accordingly. 

    Here are some of the details you need to iron out before launching your social media campaigns. 

    Time period. Map out the dates and times you’ll be running your campaign. This will make it easier to attribute sales that come through via social media. 

    Products and assets involved in the sale. What items will you be promoting? Do you have photos and videos of those products? Make sure you have the necessary assets ready beforehand so you can launch you campaign without a hitch. 

    Type of activities. Identify the specific activities or campaigns you’ll be running. Will you be working with influencers? Are you running an exclusive sale? Is it a “new arrival” type of campaign? The right method for tracking your sales will depend on the type of initiative that you’re running. 

    Social networks involved. Get clear on the social network (or networks) that you’ll be using. If you’re leveraging multiple platforms, you’ll need to tailor your efforts accordingly. 

    Resources spent. It also helps to track the time and money you’ve spent on your campaigns. Doing so will enable you to measure your social media ROI and determine whether or not the campaign is worth the effort and resources spent.

    All your marketing, in one place.
    Manage all your marketing campaigns in Marsello. Drive repeat sales with loyalty, send email & SMS campaigns, schedule social posts, set up automations, and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial


    2.Track social media sales using a special promo code

    A good way to measure social media sales is to use a dedicated promo code. This tactic is best used when you’re running a sale or partnering with an influencer to promote your products. 

    To implement this tactic, come up with a promo code that’s unique to a particular campaign or influencer and make sure the code isn’t used on other channels. These codes should be fairly easy to generate and track if you have the right ecommerce platform or marketing solution. 

    Once you launch your campaign, start looking out for transactions that contain the promo codes you created and use that data to track your sales. 

    We can see this in action in Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener, a company that makes sugar-free sweets. Lakanto teams up with influencers like Nicole Cogan (@nobread on Instagram) to promote its products. 

    To attribute sales generated through this partnership, a specific promo code (i.e., “NOBREAD”) is used, and Nicole’s followers will get a discount when they enter the code at checkout. Meanwhile, Lakanto can track sales that resulted from the campaign by taking note of how many people entered the promo code on its website.

    no bread instagram post

    Promo codes are simple and easy to use (both for customers and the merchant). Just bear in mind that these codes also have some shortcomings. 

    For starters, promo codes may not always paint an accurate picture of sales. 

    If someone sees your product on social media but doesn’t use the code at checkout, then your system won’t be able to properly attribute that transaction. 

    In addition, if one of your brand partners decides to share their promo code outside of social media (e.g., their blog or during an in-person interaction) then this may distort the data around social media attribution. 

    Also, you can only use promo codes as a tracking tool if you’re running a sales or promotion. Customers typically expect discounts when entering a code at checkout, so if you aren’t running a sale, then you can’t really use promo codes as a tracking tool.

    💡 Pro-tip: Add promo codes to your social media posts in Marsello as one way to track sales and measure the dollar impact of your posts.


    3.Use special links and UTMs

    If you’re using Google Analytics to measure your web traffic, then UTMs (Urchin Traffic Monitor) can help you see which sources or campaigns are driving traffic to your site. 

    UTMs make use of parameters like website source, medium, and campaign to pinpoint where your visitors are coming from. These UTMs come in the form of special tracking codes that you attach at the end of a URL.

    They look something like this:


    In the example above, the source of traffic is social media, the medium is Instagram, and the campaign is holiday products. 

    When you log into Google Analytics, you’ll be able to drill down on how many visitors are attributed to these parameters. 

    You can generate a UTM by heading to Google’s Campaign URL Builder. Just fill out the required fields and the tool will generate the link for you. You can then use that special URL in your corresponding campaigns and then start tracking.


    utms for sales tracking in social media

    If you aren’t using Google Analytics, you can opt for personalized social links instead. 

    Marsello enables you to create a custom “link in bio” page that you can include in your social media profiles. You can then track the number of people who clicked on the link to determine how many followers visited your site.

    link in bio marsello

    Links and UTMs allow you to measure page visits without the use of a promo code, so they can be helpful tracking tools when you’re not running a promotion. 

    However, one limitation of UTMs and links is they only track page visits, not sales or conversions. They can tell you how many people landed on a page and where they came from, but they won’t show you how many users completed a purchase — unless you’re using a tool like Marsello to track the entire buying journey.


    4. Ask your customers

    You can glean social media sales intel simply by asking your customers. At the checkout page, add a form field asking shoppers where they heard about you, and then have them select from a range of options. 

    From there, tally up the number of people who selected social media (or a specific social network — i.e., Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc.) and use that information to track your sales.

    This tactic is easy to implement, but it also has some downsides. For one thing, having an extra form field on the checkout page adds friction to the buying experience and may turn off some customers. 

    Additionally, some shoppers may opt to skip the question, so won’t be able to capture all the data you need.

    All your marketing, in one place.
    Manage all your marketing campaigns in Marsello. Drive repeat sales with loyalty, send email & SMS campaigns, schedule social posts, set up automations, and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial


    5. Use sales tracking tools

    While you can certainly track sales manually — i.e., by counting promo codes or tallying survey results by hand — these processes are cumbersome and can lead to human error and inaccurate data. 

    You’re far better off measuring social media sales with tools that can automate the process. Marsello, for example, streamlines social media sales tracking by connecting your POS and ecommerce sales data with your social media accounts. 

    From there, Marsello attributes a percentage of your revenue to a social media post containing a tagged product, UTM, or promo code.

    sales tracking marsello

    Here’s how it works:

    • Connect your social media accounts to your POS or ecommerce platform.
    • Create posts across Instagram, Facebook and TikTok then tag your products.
    • Use Marsello track and measure sales for a given time period.


    💡 Pro-tip: Measure revenue, orders, and average spend in Marsello to give you a clear picture of what social activities are actually contributing to your bottom line. This, in turn, helps you make smarter decisions that lead to more sales, profit, and followers.


    Bringing it all together

    You and your team likely spend a great deal of time and energy on social media, so you must ensure your efforts are put to good use. The best way to do that is to actively track your social media sales, so you can refine your efforts accordingly. 

    Need help doing just that? Marsello Social provides you with tools to easily publish social media content and track sales.



    Marsello: All your marketing, in one place.

    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Schedule social posts 
    • Track the impact of your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial


    How To Turn Social Media Engagement Into Sales

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    Here are three strategies you can use to take that engagement and convert followers into paying customers.

    Does your engagement convert? Learn how to find out 👇

    Social media engagement is a great metric for measuring the buzz around your brand. The average Instagram engagement rate across all businesses is around 1-2% per post (depending on where you look).

    So, if you’ve got 5,000 followers, the average business could expect around 50-100 likes on any given post. Video content generally sees a much higher engagement rate—that same business could be seeing around 300 likes on a video post. Carousels also receive higher engagement, as Instagram’s algorithm will show the same post more than once to the same follower.

    But engagement is not revenue, and it doesn’t necessarily even convert to revenue in the long run. If your posts don’t drive action, generate exclusivity, or create urgency, your audience may engage with you without ever making a purchase.

    So your next question should be: how do I turn engagement into dollars and cents?



    Quick Links:


    How do I turn engagement into revenue?

    When I talk to merchants, there's one thing I hear a lot: "My posts get lots of comments, good reach, and heaps of likes, but I just don't know if I'm seeing sales from them." It's a common concern—you're putting all this time and effort into creating content, but it's really hard to make that content sell.

    Here are three strategies you can use to take that engagement and convert followers into paying customers.

    1. Use Product Tagging to drive social sales

    To convert followers into customers, you want to take away every possible barrier to purchase. Don’t make your followers Google your website, then manually type a product into the search bar. Every time there’s an extra step, a percentage of followers will drop off the buying journey.

    Product Tagging is perfect for this. It doesn’t have to be on a “product launch” type post either, you can tag products on lifestyle imagery, competition posts, and more. You can even use “product” stickers to tag products in your Instagram stories too.

    Take advantage of every opportunity to tag a product.



    💡 Pro-tip: Using Product Tagging means you can measure the direct impact of your social posts on sales. To see it in action, connect your social accounts, POS and/or eCommerce platforms to Marsello and instantly see how your last 100 posts have contributed to sales.

    Learn more


    2. Create a custom link in bio landing page

    When you only get one link, make it count. Drive followers to your store with a branded link and customizable landing page for Instagram and TikTok.

    Having a centralized landing page means you can drive all your traffic to one page with multiple products, promotions and calls-to-action. There are lots of tools out there, from free, basic products to tools with advanced features and customization. The most sophisticated tools have the ability for merchants to add forms, buttons, media and more to a fully branded page.

    link in bio marsello

    Premium link in bio features.
    Marsello’s very own link in bio feature brings all the advanced customization you’re looking for to keep brand experience seamless.

    Learn more


    3. Plan campaigns and posts ahead of time

    Sometimes, even the best post with the most amazing offer and relevant call-to-action just won’t work. 

    Imagine this. You’re a retailer selling mountain bikes. You’ve also got a workshop and you sell replacement parts and accessories. It’s the middle of winter and things are quiet, but you know come spring all your customers will be wanting to replace their knackered bearings to hit the trails as soon as possible.

    You make a post offering half price bearings in-store hoping to see some service bookings off the back of it (thinking that you’ll be able to upsell when people are in the right frame of mind). But you don’t see any uptake so you assume you were wrong, and that the idea was a flop.

    Here’s how you could do it differently:

    You want to target existing customers, but also other riders in your local community. You know the large portion of your social followers are local mountain bike riders. So plan and schedule a series of posts each with different creative, and do a candid video post on your stories too. 

    You could build the hype by sending out an email or two as well to your local database. 

    Create a discount code people need to use in-store so you can track the impact of the campaign (I’ll get to that shortly). It might even make sense to send an SMS out as well, driving people to one of your social media posts for more info.


    All this planning can be on the back of an envelope:

    • Insight: There’s always a spring rush for parts and servicing because people leave it til the last minute, and the workshop is really busy
    • Objective: Sell bearings, drive foot traffic, and get people thinking about booking in a service early
    • Offer: 50% off all bearings (put a time limit on this for urgency-for example, “This month only”)
    • Target audience: Customers and other local riders
    • Channels: Social media, email and SMS
    • Success measure(s): In-store bearing sales, foot traffic increase, service bookings

    Once you’ve got your basic campaign plan, spend a couple of hours getting everything set up.

    • Create a discount code and/or UTM to track bookings from your campaign.
    • Use a social media scheduling tool to schedule campaign posts over your campaign time period.
    • Schedule an email blast to customers, and maybe a reminder email or two.
    • Schedule an SMS to reach people directly to their mobile (around 98% of SMS messages are opened, so it’s a great channel for a short, snappy and time-sensitive campaign).

    Taking a step back to plan means you can get your channels working together to increase the impact of your social media posts, and drive more sales.

    How do I know what posts generate sales?

    To understand how your engagement converts, you need a way to track sales that come from your social posts. This can be a bit tricky, so I've pulled together a handy list of ways to measure your results.

    Get a social media analytics tool to track sales

    The easiest and most effective way to track sales made from organic social media is to use analytics software that connects your POS, eCommerce, and social media data (you can do this all in Marsello).

    This doesn’t just track when someone clicks on a tagged product, it also tracks if someone likes, comments on or shares a post with a product tagged in it, and buys it later. This is called organic social media sales tracking.

    sales tracking marsello

    Using a tool like this, you can see:

    • What posts have generated the most revenue
    • Which creative type (images, videos, etc) leads to more sales
    • How many orders you get from social media over a certain period of time
    • Which social media platform works best for your business
    • What percentage of revenue comes from organic social media

    By tracking sales and revenue, and seeing what kinds of social posts and which channels work best, you can improve the performance of your accounts over time.

    Convert social followers into customers.
    Schedule, tag, post, sell. Start a free trial today and see it in action—Marsello automatically syncs your last 100 posts. Simply tag products in your posts, and see how many sales came directly from social.

    Learn more

    Include discount codes in social posts

    Discount codes are one of the simplest ways to see where traffic and sales are coming from. These have become popular for tracking sales from organic social media posts and campaigns, as merchants struggled to see the impact of their efforts in Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc.

    Simply create a unique discount or offer code for each channel, and you’ll be able to track how many sales you generated from those posts.


    Use UTMs to track links back to your online store


    What is a UTM? UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) are short bits of code you can use to track how effective a campaign is. UTMs can track up to five parameters (aspects): campaign, source, medium, content and term.

    That might sound complex, but UTMs are actually incredibly easy to use. And unless you’re drilling into deep testing and measuring, you really only the first three parameters.

    The easiest way to show you how to build a UTM is by using an example.

    Say we are running a campaign that goes to http://marsello.com. We are using Facebook ads, and the campaign is to get sign ups for our social media scheduler.

    Let’s put that in simple terms:

    Campaign: Social Media
    Source: Facebook
    Medium: Paid Ads

    When you build your link, make sure you don’t use spaces. Instead, replace your space with a dash symbol (-). Aside from that, use only plain text for labeling (avoid hashtags, ampersands, percentage symbols or anything else that could break the link).

    Campaign: Social-Media-Sign-Ups
    Source: Facebook
    Medium: Paid-Ads

    Now, we want to add these to the link in UTM format.

    1. First, add a question mark (?). This indicates that the body of the link is complete, and Google Analytics, or your tracking tool, should read the following part as tracking information.
    2. Add “utm_campaign=” then your campaign name.
    3. Add an ampersand symbol (&). This tells your tracking tool that your campaign name is complete.
    4. Add “utm_source=” then your source. 
    5. Add another ampersand symbol (&).
    6. Finally, add “utm_medium=” then your medium. 

    It’s that easy! Here’s how ours would look:


    For each different source or medium you want to differentiate, change the UTM parameters. For example, you might differentiate visitors coming from a Facebook source by medium. You could state “utm_medium=organic-post” or “utm_medium=story-video” to separate traffic coming from different parts of the platform.

    The more specific you go, the more you know what particular channel, content and post type works best. But it’s always good to have broader parameters too, for example, you will still want to be able to compare all Facebook traffic from all Instagram traffic.

    Final words

    If you're putting a lot of resource into social media, but aren't sure if all the likes and comments are actually growing your business, you're not alone.

    Start making your social media work harder by taking away barriers to purchase (product tagging, using a link in bio, etc) and track the results directly using UTMs, promo codes and sales tracking.

    It's also important to have a clear plan, while leaving some wiggle room in your calendar for jumping on trends as they come up.

    Looking for an all-in-one social planning, scheduling and sales tracking tool? Marsello provides you with tools to easily create, schedule and publish social media content.



    Marsello: All your marketing, in one place.

    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Schedule social posts and track the impact on sales
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial


    Social Media Planning for BFCM: 7 Best Practices to Implement

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    We’ve put together a list of the top social media planning practices your brand should follow to attract and retain customers in the 2022 holiday season.

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend is coming up fast (just where did 2022 go?) It’s high time for brands to begin planning for this massive, revenue-generating shopping event.

    179.8 million unique shoppers shopped in-store and online during the BFCM holiday weekend in 2021, despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    With 2022 seeing record rates of inflation and more cautious consumer spending, brands will need to pull out all the stops to wow customers this holiday season.

    Although still associated with shoppers streaming into store locations, BFCM weekend is becoming increasingly digital and mobile-first. According to Nosto, mobile outperformed desktop at 69% versus 31% when it came to product discovery and browsing, where social media emerges as a key channel. In fact, 54% of Gen Z shoppers and 58% of Millennials say that social platforms are better than online search for finding products and brands.

    In sum, a robust social media strategy is now essential for a profitable BFCM weekend.

    We’ve put together a list of the top social media planning practices your brand should follow to attract and retain customers this holiday season — and how Marsello’s brand-new social media toolkit can help.



    Quick Links:


    1. Use data to inform your BFCM initiatives and planning

    Not sure where to begin with your social media planning? A good place to start is to look into what strategies worked for your brand last year — and what didn’t. 

    Social media metrics such as engagement, impressions, click-through rate, website traffic, and conversion rate will help you to gauge the performance of previous initiatives and where you can build on this success. Likewise, learning from past mistakes, such as posting at the wrong time of day for your audience, is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a profitable BFCM period.

    social-launch-email-campaign-marsell-app-functionality-screenshotsArtboard 2 copy 2

    Using Marsello, look back on what kinds of posts generated the most sales over past campaigns.

    In addition to using your own data, don’t ignore the power of industry trends. Knowing what’s hot with social media users is a great way to stay innovative and serve up the content consumers want to see. 

    For example, short-form video is gaining traction across all social platforms in 2022, with 26% of social media marketers investing more in short-form video than any other content format. If your target customer belongs to the Gen Z demographic, this should definitely be in your BFCM toolkit.


    2. Iron out the BFCM promotions you’ll be running

    Running seasonal promotions is an essential part of BFCM, and your followers will expect you offer some compelling deals and discounts throughout the weekend. To maximize engagement with your social content, make sure you’ve planned out all the core details of your promotions, such as:

    The type of content. Are you using a single image, carousel, or video to publicize your promotion?

    The type of promotion. The size of the discount/offer, what products are included/excluded, etc.

    Length/timing of the promotion. How long the promotion is valid and whether you might extend it to increase conversions

    However, be careful not to make your social media feeds too promotion-heavy. Constantly pushing discounts over BFCM weekend can become boring and repetitive for your followers. Consider mixing up your feed with other types of content and putting aside some time to plan out your content streams. This includes promotional offers, gift inspo, and user-generated content.

    examples of holiday instagram posts

    Starbucks is a great example of a brand that posts a careful mix of content during and in the lead-up to BFCM. In addition to posting about their seasonal drinks range and limited-edition holiday cup promotions, its social media feeds also include user-generated content and question prompts designed to encourage engagement.


    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Add Marsello to your store now, and kickstart your Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns with email campaigns, SMS, automations and more. Track the impact of all your marketing on sales, and measure your return on investment.

    Start free trial

    3. Create compelling images

    Consumers’ newsfeeds and inboxes are being inundated by promotions and discounts during BFCM weekend, trying to persuade them to drop everything and shop right now. But don’t join the race to the bottom by choosing the steepest discount possible; focus on creating eye-catching visuals that entice consumers to stop scrolling and check out your offer.

    To tap into those short attention spans, your images need to have a “wow factor” that’s pleasing to look at and primes people to explore what you have to offer.

    anthropologie example of a beautiful holiday post

    Known for its stunning social media feeds, Anthropologie does a great job at putting its followers in the mindset of holiday shopping ahead of BFCM. This fun visual swipe post allows Anthropologie fans to “turn on” the Christmas lights at one of their flagship stores — a clear sign of more holiday-themed content to come.

    💡 Pro-tip: You can crop and edit images right inside Marsello to create compelling, attractive content for your social media campaigns.


    4. Use a calendar to track and schedule your BFCM content

    It can be tempting to post all your social media content on the fly. But while there’s room for spontaneity in your content (for example, jumping on a trend while it’s still viral) you don’t want to leave your BFCM content to chance. 

    Peak season is a busy time for brands, and it’s time-consuming and stressful to plan and post content as you go. More importantly, a scattergun approach also runs the risk of missing key promotional opportunities during Thanksgiving weekend.

    Using a calendar tool is a great way to maintain control over your BCFM social media planning. Marsello allows you to add individual social posts to your calendar and add relevant information such as launch dates, copy, or associated promotions, ensuring that your team always knows what’s in the pipeline.



    5. Keep your marketing collateral organized

    BFCM is one of the biggest revenue-producing periods of the year for retailers, so your business is likely to be using more social media collateral in the form of graphics, videos, and product photography during this period to increase engagement. 

    With so much revenue on the line, it’s vital to make sure your marketing team has a system to store and organize these assets. After all, nobody wants to lose a vital photo or video right before posting!

    social-launch-email-campaign-marsell-app-functionality-screenshotsArtboard 2 copy 3-1

    The Marsello media library is an excellent way to keep all of your BFCM collateral in one place where it’s easily accessible to your team. The media library connects seamlessly with all major storage systems, including Google Drive and Dropbox, so you can retrieve your assets as you need them for emails, social media, and other campaigns being run by Marsello.

    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Add Marsello to your store now, and kickstart your Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns with email campaigns, SMS, automations and more. Track the impact of all your marketing on sales, and measure your return on investment.

    Start free trial


    6. Keep your BFCM initiatives consistent across all platforms

    If you’re planning on running a big promotion (or several) over BFCM weekend, it makes little sense to only publicize your offer on a single platform. To drive as much traffic as possible to your website and storefronts, all of your marketing channels — including social media, email, and even your store signage — need to be working together in harmony. 

    It’s easy to say that the more channels you use, the stronger your promotional strategy will be. But it’s not quite that simple; more channels also means more time spent making sure that your messaging stays consistent. 

    Here is a great example from Sephora, which successfully reinforced last year’s Cyber Monday sale across email and social media by using the same graphic and messaging:

    sephora cyber monday sale post

    sephora cyber monday sale campaign

    Marsello’s campaign calendar makes it easy to achieve coordinated campaigns like Sephora’s. Social media, SMS, and email can be planned within a single dashboard to streamline your social planning and ensure consistency across channels.

    7. Optimize your BFCM social media accounts for sales by leveraging built-in social selling features

    Social media is no longer simply a marketing channel designed to direct shoppers to where the action takes place. Thanks to the birth of social commerce, many platforms now boast a range of tools that enable users to purchase products directly within the app.

    Social commerce has a range of benefits for both shoppers and brands during BFCM. If prospective customers see a great holiday gift option, they’re going to want to move fast. By shopping directly within an app, consumers only have to tap the product tag to be taken directly to the product page and checkout. Redirecting shoppers to your ecommerce website, where they’ll need to find the product themselves and place it in their cart, takes extra time and effort and may result in them abandoning the purchase.

    In addition to speeding up the checkout process, social selling makes your product catalog easy and seamless to navigate. For example, Walmart has created a range of collections in its Instagram store to address different shopper needs:.

    walmart instagram store collections

    Collections have a ton of applications for BFCM weekend. Consider catalogs such as “‘Top holiday picks for under $30”’ or “‘red-hot Black Friday deals” to optimize your sales strategy and drive consumers toward high-value merchandise.

    💡 Pro-tip: Tag products and collections in your social posts in Marsello to see potential generated sales.


    Final words

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among one the most important holiday shopping weekends on the calendar, and brands need to begin their social media planning early to maximize the promotional opportunities available. By following the social media planning tips above and utilizing Marsello’s social media tools, you’ll be well-placed to make your BFCM 2022 the best yet.



    Marsello: All your Black Friday marketing, in one place.

    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Schedule social posts
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial


    Cutting Costs? 3 Marketing Strategies You Can’t Afford To Drop In A Recession

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    Marsello CEO Brent Spicer discusses the state of the global economy, and how a market slowdown presents opportunities for independent businesses.

    We talked to Marsello CEO Brent Spicer about the state of the global economy, and how a market slowdown presents opportunities for independent businesses.

    Merchants, particularly small business owners, want to know: what will a recession mean for my business?

    There’s no doubt about it—the economy is very volatile at the moment. We’re feeling the effects of this through high inflation.

    The rise has been in large part driven by pent-up consumer demand after the pandemic and supply chain issues caused by China’s lockdowns and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    “These events have caused global inflation rates to spike,” Marsello CEO Brent Spicer explains. “Central banks worldwide have a singular objective at the moment: to control and limit inflation. This reduces market liquidity. As interest rates rise, the cost of borrowing goes up. Before, capital was effectively free. Now, it is very expensive.”

    Spicer believes the global economy will continue to slow, but the question is—how much and for how long?

    This slowdown is only just starting to cut through to the general economy and consumers. As we are all aware, this will have a big impact on consumer spending and, in turn, retail and hospitality businesses.

    Adding to this, low unemployment is making it really difficult for these businesses to attract staff. “We’re seeing signs of this already,” says Spicer. “Hospitality businesses and retailers offering well above minimum wage, but still struggling to get job applicants. The problem we’re seeing is not the pay, it’s a labor shortage.”

    All this means small businesses are in for some challenging times.


    Quick Links:


    How can my business thrive through a recession?


    Put simply, brick-and-mortar businesses have been through a lot in the past few years. Lockdowns and staff illness have forced shop closures and put pressure on margins.

    To make it through, businesses had to adapt, pivot, and try new sales and marketing tactics—fast.

    We saw so many different innovative approaches come out of the pandemic. 

    Hospitality businesses took the opportunity to expand to e-commerce, subscriptions, and home deliveries. Retailers pivoted to create new products (such as masks!), run virtual product demos, and set up processes for contactless pick-up and delivery. Others focused on buckling down and building their brand’s community, looking ahead at the long-term game.

    We’ve learned a few things from past recessions too. We know for certain that there will be business who come through stronger than ever. 

    So what will it be that sets them apart from the rest? How will they not just survive, but thrive?

    1. Future-proof with technology

    Independent retailers and hospitality businesses taking advantage of technology will be the ones who thrive.

    Back in 2008, the Global Financial Crisis accelerated the growth of e-commerce. As e-commerce platforms became more accessible, smaller businesses were able to leverage online ordering—rather than needing huge budgets to build custom websites.

    E-commerce gave consumers a way to find better deals further from home, and have them delivered within a few days. So it was the perfect storm for e-commerce, and those consumer habits just took off.

    “The Global Financial Crisis hugely impacted the mindset of consumers,” says Spicer.
    “Consumers were extremely price-sensitive, substituting premium goods for cheaper-name brands. Luxury goods were out of the question for the average household. Shoppers wanted value, and they started shifting online to find the best prices available.”

    From the GFC, a whole new breed of small business was born: small business that was tech-forward, even tech-led. This quickly became the norm—Shopify (e-commerce), Lightspeed Retail (point-of-sale), and Xero (accounting software) were among some of the tech companies that helped these businesses thrive. 

    And those who saw the opportunity in software for small business and leaped on it were in a better position to recover and grow as consumer confidence improved.

    Looking ahead, we predict a massive opportunity for businesses to lean on AI and algorithmic learning. For example, ​​algorithimically-determined product recommendations make up around 35% of Amazon’s total revenue.

    Even the simplest AI tactics can be very effective at generating revenue. In Marsello, we have a template product recommendation block merchants can drop into email campaigns and automations. If you’re paying to send emails, text messages or ads, you want to be delivering the most targeted, personalized content to make every dollar count.

    We’re also seeing massive opportunities for businesses to get a full overview of their data. That means streamlined, consolidated tech stacks, that house data in one, central place. This reduces the risk of creating “data silos”. A data silo is created every time you introduce a new tool that takes time and resource to export data and re-upload it somewhere else. For example, if you have to manually export your sales data and upload it to your email.

    2. Double down on smart marketing

    Most companies cut costs during a recession and marketing is usually the first chop. But now is not the time to ditch the marketing efforts.

    According to Harvard Business Review, businesses who spent more on marketing actually did better through the GFC

    It makes sense—if you can maintain your marketing budget (or even increase it) while others are cutting back, your comparative marketing impact will increase by default.

    However, your marketing does need to get smarter.

    There’s a term that merchants, entrepreneurs, and business owners need to get familiar with: capital efficiency. That is, any activity you’re putting dollars into needs to generate a return on investment. 

    Measuring your activity is extremely important—it will help you reallocate budget to get the best results from your dollar. If you can’t measure the direct impact of marketing on sales, you risk cutting marketing spend on channels or tactics that are actually delivering return.

    The problem is that revenue generated from marketing is notoriously difficult to track and measure. Merchants often have to rely on vanity metrics to prove their marketing works—metrics like the number of Instagram followers, email open rates, or Facebook engagement. 

    Smart marketing, on the other hand, is directly attributable to sales. It means your marketing tools and sales platforms (point-of-sale and e-commerce) are all sharing data with one another.

    It also means collecting details from every person who makes a purchase, so those sales and marketing data points can be connected to a customer profile. At every opportunity, you should be adding customers to your database.

    “This was proven to be particularly important through COVID. Our top-performing retailers through the height of the pandemic were those that had the biggest databases that they could re-market to, especially when stores were closed consumers could only buy online,” says Spicer.

    3. Build relationships with your customers

    Independent businesses who prioritize customer relationships will fare better through a recession, and will see much faster recovery down the line.

    Brands competing on price to survive a recession will lock themselves into a dangerous loop. 

    First, they’ll struggle with tight margins as they cut prices to be competitive with retail giants. Second, they will attract customers who make purchasing decisions solely on low prices—these customers will not be interested in building a loyal, long-lasting relationship with them. This will make post-downturn recovery hard too (price-sensitive consumers are fickle and will happily shop elsewhere, rather than sticking around to help small businesses grow).

    “Businesses who are able to maintain and nurture their customer relationships through a recession generally have less debt going into the downturn,” explains Spicer. “Merchants who are highly indebted will be hit too hard with interest rates and will have to make concessions in customer experience—simply because they need to cut costs.”

    But those merchants who can strike a balance between strategic investment and servicing their debt will see faster recovery as the economic conditions settle.

    Here are a few ways you can invest in your customer relationships:

    • Keep your focus on knowing exactly who your customers are, why they chose your brand. Asking for feedback is a really important part of this. Feedback gives you insight into your overall customer sentiment, and shows you how that’s tracking over time.
    • Be true to your business’s core values and mission—conscious consumers will stretch budgets for a greater cause if they can afford it, even if times are tough.
    • Reward customers who keep coming back. Did you know that around 80% of a business’s revenue comes from the top 20% of their customers? All the more reason to start a loyalty program, leverage the value of your existing database, and offer incentives for repeat purchasing. 
    • Engage your customers and wider community on social media. Keep activity consistent by posting regularly, running polls or competitions, and sharing more candid video content on TikTok or Instagram stories.

    Key takeaways:

    • Invest in technology to future-proof your business. Find ways to streamline, personalize and automate marketing with technology. For example, consolidate all your marketing tools, or leverage technology such as AI for advanced product recommendations.
    • Double down on smart marketing. Make sure you can track and report on sales generated by every marketing activity as much as you can. This will help you work out where you can cut costs. If you don’t have visibility on results, you might be cutting a key lead generator that could cost you in sales down the line.
    • Keep your focus customer-centric. Don’t lose sight of what’s most important—building a database of loyal customers who come back again and again. Action points might include: implementing a loyalty program to reward your top customers, asking for feedback after a purchase, and leveraging social media to engage with your community.                                                                                                        

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