Pump up the promotions

Why sales promotions are more important than ever, and how the right promotion can put your sales growth in high gear

By Hannah Massen

Sales promotions can do more than boost awareness of your business. A well-developed promotion can provide the incentive many people need to try a product or service. Not only can a great promotion drive potential customers right to your door to take advantage of a limited-time offer, but effective promotions can both boost your sales growth and build repeat business. Simply put, if you’re ready to enhance your bottom line, launch a new product, or create a buzz about your business, it’s time to pump up your promotions. 

Although they may seem similar, promotions are not to be confused with marketing or advertising. Think of marketing as your overarching umbrella. It encompasses all of the strategies, activities, campaigns, and outreach efforts your brand executes to raise awareness about your business. Advertising is a single strategy meant to call attention to a particular product or service. While businesses may use ads to announce deals, the goal of a promotion is to bring in business. This usually involves the use of an incentive to boost purchasing motivation. 

It isn’t hard to get stuck in a sales promotions rut, especially if your business has a new sale every week. Once your messaging starts to sound the same, customers will tune out your on-air ads or mark your newsletters as spam.

These creative sales promotions strategies will help you increase revenue and maximize your market exposure.

Go for the upgrade

Everyone loves a good sale, but savvy shoppers are especially skeptical of “one time only” offers and recurring sales. Instead of marking down your products or services, offer an upgrade (the “premium” package sold at the “basic” price). Another option is to bundle your products with exclusive add-ons. Try selling two complementary products together for a slight discount or including an access code to free printables, instructional
videos, or other helpful downloads. 

A little freebie goes a long way

You can increase the average value of your orders by throwing in a free gift when your customers reach a certain price threshold. For instance, if you have a lot of orders totaling around $50, consider offering free shipping at $75. If you run a brick-and-mortar business, choose a small item to give away instead, like samples
or merch – which doubles as advertising for you.

Amp-up your social media

Speaking of free advertising, creating engaging social media content is a low-cost, highly effective way to promote your business. With people spending more time online than ever, now’s the time to make your online presence a priority. Make sure you focus your efforts on the two or three platforms where your audience spends the most time and stick to your brand’s unique voice. Replying to comments, launching polls, and spotlighting customers increase your engagements and give you the opportunity to talk to them directly about what your business is doing next. 

Make the VIP list

Customer loyalty is key, and many businesses garner it through creating a rewards program. But you can’t expect to gain members overnight; you have to promote your loyalty program and make it worth your customers’ time. The perfect example here is Costco, and if you’re a member, you’re well aware of the perks: you can use their gas stations, buy items in bulk, and receive free samples every time you shop. They also limit the hours that non-members can shop, making the flexibility of shopping early in
the morning or after work worth the membership fee. 

Hyper-targeted sales

Your promotions typically won’t appeal to every type of customer, but in the age of data-driven personalization, launching hyper-targeted sales has never been easier. Start by segmenting your customers based on their needs and shopping habits, then create tailored content to send to each group. You also can create discounts for top customers, based on their purchasing history. 

Support a local cause

Sponsoring or supporting a local cause is a great way to get your name out there or make a positive impact on your community. Customers are more likely to buy from brands with similar values, so donating a portion of your sales proceeds to a nonprofit is a win-win for everyone. Make the experience interactive by hosting a (virtual) fundraiser or class. This doubles as the perfect photo-op for social media and beyond.


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