4 Steps To A Profitable Flash Sale

fireworks_splash2Way back when I worked at Pepsi, we used to run Flash Sales on close-dated pop…

Whenever we found something that was close to going out of date, we’d slap a sticker on it for 50% off and push it in a cart up to the registers in the front.

Within a few days, all the close-dated pop would be gone, and I didn’t have a manager breathing down my neck anymore…  Problem solved.

The very first time I got an email announcing a “Flash Sale,” that’s what I thought of…  And since then, it seemed that everyone and their brother was doing these ‘timed sales’, which tells me one thing…

They work!

So, we started running our own, in lots of different niches and on lots of different products…  All with fantastic success!

And when you think about it, GroupOn and Woot have used this idea of a Flash Sale to build their entire business model!  And don’t get me started on Black Friday…  Black Friday is a collection of Flash Sales, all day long!

I share all this to say…

Flash Sales should be a part of what you do.  There are plenty of benefits to a Flash Sale, and by the end of this post you’ll have a great idea of how to get one launched in your business…

Why Flash Sales Work

The whole goal of a Flash Sale is to get a prospect to take action, using scarcity and discounts as the motivational tools behind it.

If you know you only have 3 days to make a purchase for an extreme discount, then each day that passes makes your action more and more urgent – if you want what they’re selling of course!

For instance, over the weekend, Woot had a FitBit wristband for sale.  I saw the email, but didn’t take action.  I logged in this morning (knowing of course that it’d be gone), and it was…

And I kicked myself for not checking the site sooner!

The same thing will happen with your customers.  They’ll understand that you’re giving them a HUGE discount.  They’ll know that they have a few days to buy.  If they don’t, they lose out!

Fear of loss is a very powerful motivator.

Now, there’s a reason why we see Flash Sales all over the place.  Honestly, it’s not about the income they produce (especially if you’re selling a digital product).

If you have a video course that’s $47 and you discount it to $7 for a 3-day Flash Sale, that’s a big break for your customers.  But…  If you sell 100 copies, you’ve only made $700.

The REAL reason you run Flash Sales is to get more of your customers into an upsell funnel.

If you have a $7 front end offer and then the next offer in the upsell funnel is $47, you might have 30% or 40% who take you up on that!

And, if there’s a second upsell at $197, you might have 10% who take you up on that!!

So, the $7 front end product is really more about qualifying buyers than anything else, and moving them through your upsell process.  If you want to move more of your prospects to buyers – run a Flash Sale!

Closing The Flash Sale Down

At the end of the Flash Sale, you need to shut it down.

That means you can stay up until when it’s done and redirect the page, or you can employ any one of the countdown widgets to redirect the page for you.

Personally, I use the OptimizePress template which has a countdown widget as part of it.  Once the clock hits zero, the page redirects somewhere else.  Usually, to a “Thanks, but you missed it!” page.

You might get some emails about extending the sale for a customer due to some special case, but that’s for you to make the call on…

You just want to make sure that publicly, the page is closed when you say it’s going to be!

Executing Your Flash Sale

There are 4 steps to running a highly profitable, highly motivating Flash Sale.

They aren’t tricky and most of the complicated work is probably already done for you…

Really, it’ll involve changing the price of one of your products, figuring out how long your Flash Sale should be in place for, and letting your audience know about it!

Choosing Your Offer

You can choose any front end product or service to do a Flash Sale with, but the best ones are always your newer offers or the one that stands out as your best.

If you’re releasing something new into the market, a Flash Sale might be a great way to get it out there and generating some sales quickly, or…

If you’ve got a flagship, lower end product that always serves as one of the best in terms of moving folks from being prospects to paid customers – use that one.

You want to be able to offer it at a substantial discount, so the publicly available price should be $37 or more…

Maybe you have a video course that sells for $67 or an ebook that sales for $47…  It doesn’t matter how much it normally sells for – you just want the discount to be pretty substantial!

Nothing get’s people’s attention more than an email email that says, “Get 80% off today!”

Putting A Time Limit In Place

When putting together your Flash Sale, make sure to put a time limit in place.

We’ve found that 3 days works the best for digital products, physical products and software.  If you’re promoting a service, you might need a little longer.

One of the reasons we keep it to a multi-day process is to make sure that everyone on the list sees the email at least once…  If we make it 12 hours or 24 hours, there’s a good chance that folks on your list won’t see it!

The 3-day Flash Sale also allows for folks who aren’t quite as diligent about checking their email or who are really busy…

At the end of the day, remember that every single one of the emails you send out is going to a real, live person who has their own commitments, obligations and lives of their own!

Letting Your Audience Know

Of all the ways to drive traffic to a website, there are very few as dependable and quantifiable as sending out an email to your list!

Your email list is made up of people who have expressed interest in you and your products at some point in the past – it only makes sense that they’d be interested in a Flash Sale!

Use the Flash Sale announcement as a reason to communicate with them, even if you haven’t had that much interaction with them recently…

You’ll be surprised how many of your prospects will jump into your fold once they learn about the discount that you’re giving (and the fact that it’s going away in so many days!)

The Final Push

It’s easy to forget sometimes, but the last email on the last day that you send is what will drive 70% of your sales…

4 or 5 hours before the promotion is set to end, email your list one last final reminder to jump in.  You’ll notice a steady stream of buyers come in the hours between when that email is sent and when the offer closes.

That means, more people in your upsell sequences where you can really start bumping up the average customer value of your buyers!

Launching Your Flash Sale

Inside Scriptly, there’s a Flash Sale Autoresponder Template waiting for you to use…

It’s a 4 email, 3-day template that you can use to promote a Flash Sale to your list.  Included in the template are:

  • Directions on when to mail it out
  • The exact subject lines that have been proven to increase open rates
  • Email body copy that’s more effective in getting someone to click to a Flash Sale
  • The “Final Push” email that engages your last minute shoppers

All you have to do is generate your Flash Sale Template, copy and paste it into your autoresponder software, and you’re all set to start mailing!


  • Steven Lucas

    Reply Reply January 29, 2016

    Hi Jason,
    What a great article. I’d never even considered running a Flash Sale of any sort. Now I can see it is worth while making it a regular consideration in my marketing efforts.

    Do you add extras or other bonus items, or do you just leave the products ‘as-is’ and merely reduce the price? Have you tried both, and if so, which works best?

    Hoping to see more of your stuff like this.


    Steven Lucas

    • Jason Drohn

      Reply Reply January 29, 2016

      Hi Steven!

      We do add extras on occasion! Sometimes, we’ll add a bonus report or video course to really amp up the sales. The big thing really is the discounted front end offer to help spur sales.

      If you have physical products, you can even consider a free product with paid shipping and handling (this works really well for small items and books). Of course, you’ll want to have an upsell in place on the backside..

      Talk soon,

      — jason

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