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Keeping the members happy

Private Sale sites that adopt innovative marketing strategies can attract high numbers of potential customers

Private member sites are increasingly popular in the fashion sector. But gaining customers by means of standard marketing tactics can be a huge challenge without the usual benefits of direct linking and search engine optimisation (SEO) because of the closed nature of the sites. Luckily, there are ways to overcome this.

One of the most successful private Sale sites is Vente-privee.com. With more than 350,000 members it has found ways to reach its audience using various techniques. For example, it uses an ‘About us’ section that explains the concept of Vente-privee and the benefits of becoming a member. The site also has a video that shows prospective members just how easy it is to use.

Andrew Robb, managing director at private member site Cocosa, says a landing page with little content can still drive members. “We want anyone landing on Cocosa.com to get a sense of its luxury positioning along with intrigue and excitement about what is inside and what is on Sale today,” he says.

Not being able to publicise brands to protect their integrity is another challenge for these sites but Cocosa tackles this by giving bloggers a number of free invitations to offer to their readers.

This serves not only as an encouragment to bloggers to write about the site, but it also gives their readers a sense of being included in a private members’ club by a trusted source.

Private Sales site Secretsales.com has its own blog to attract new members and to help with its SEO strategy. Chief executive Nish Kukadia says: “We’ve put a lot of effort into it and keep the content fresh. Each of these pages can be indexed outside of the closed landing page and are built with the correct meta tags, URLs, content tags and other features to really push visibility.”

Social media tools can also be a highly effective way to communicate and engage with customers as well as encouraging them to share the message with friends and family.

So while private Sale sites certainly face challenges when planning their marketing strategies, the use of innovative approaches can be effective in attracting high numbers of new registrations. Concentrating on the exclusive community element will always appeal to new customers and the discounts available enhance the proposition.

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