How To Run Effective Promotions: A Guide For Small Businesses

Promotions are a key tool for small businesses. Done right, they can effectively attract new customers, reward loyal ones, and ultimately drive sales. 

But with so many businesses offering promotions, it’s important to stand out from the crowd.

In this post, we’ll explore why promotions are so useful for small businesses. We will also share six tips for running effective promotions that you can start applying immediately. 

4 Reasons Promotions Are So Useful

There are many different ways to run effective promotions. This includes what you give away, who you target, and the extra value you decide to give away.

We will dive into specifics in the next section. For now, here are four benefits you can expect to experience through a promotion well-done.

Attract new customers

Every company wants more customers. Thankfully, promotions are a great way to meet this goal. That’s because a solid promotion will put your brand in front of a bunch of new people who may not have otherwise discovered your business. By offering a discount or free item, you can entice potential customers to try your products or services for the first time.

Reward loyal customers

What about existing customers? Well, promotions are great for those too. One with enough value is a great way to show appreciation for people that have already bought from you in the past. Indeed, by offering exclusive discounts or rewards, you can foster a sense of loyalty and keep customers coming back.

Increase sales volume

One of the best ways for a company to become more profitable is to get customers to spend more on average. This is where promotions can play a big role. By incentivizing customers to make larger purchases (or buy more frequently), promotions increase your overall sales volume. Here’s just one example to get you thinking creatively: a special discount for customers who have spent over a certain amount. They feel appreciated, and you make more money. It’s a win-win.

Build brand awareness

Lastly, effective promotions build brand awareness. As we discussed in the first point, that’s a result of promotions (done well) going out to a certain number of people that have never heard of your brand. While this does indeed result in more sales, brand awareness has many more implications. Bigger and better brand awareness results in more positive word of mouth marketing, a higher number of reviews, and more opportunities for bigger brands.

As for how you actually  set up effective promotions to experience these four benefits? 

While there are a number of different factors to consider, read on for our six main tips to effective promotions.

6 Tips for Running Effective Promotions

1) Define your goals 

Before launching any promotion, you need to have specific goals. Different promotions will vary widely on their “end goal” depending on the company running them. It’s worth the time spent reflecting on what exactly you want to achieve, because that will affect almost every decision you make along the way. For example, are you looking to simply increase the number of sales? Or perhaps you are trying to add new email subscribers to market to them later. Regardless, don’t skip this first step!

2) Know your audience

Who are you trying to reach? Or put another way: who is your audience? To create a promotion that resonates with your target audience, you need to know who they are. You also need to have a good read on what motivates them. How you get this knowledge? Conduct market research to understand your customers’ needs and preferences. You can then tailor your promotion accordingly.

3) Offer bonuses

This is one of the most important steps in running an effective promotion. Often, it’s not enough to simply run a promotion and hope for the best. Plenty of other companies are competing for your audience’s attention. Bonuses or incentives are how you “sweeten the deal.” This might take a little creativity. What is something that you audience would find a lot of value in, and what is something that makes sense to market alongside your promotion? This is a good place to start.

4) Time it right

Timing is everything when it comes to promotions. Launching a promotion at the wrong time can result in lower sales or a missed opportunity. For example, launching a summer-themed promotion in the middle of winter? Not the best idea. You might also consider the last time you ran a similar promotion. Your audience can get “promotion burn out”, which is another consideration you have to make when it comes to timing. Check out this guide for more information on timing a promotion right.

5) Set a clear timeframe

Urgency is one of the most important parts of an effective promotion. Simply put, people won’t act if they have too much time. That’s why having a very clear timeframe for your promotion is so essential. Of course, be sure to communicate the dates straight from the beginning. People need to know how much time they have to buy.

6) Create effective marketing materials

A promotion will flop if it’s not marketed properly. It doesn’t matter what you are promoting, how good of a deal it is, or how targeted your audience is. The fact is, good marketing is essential. That’s where “eye-catching” marketing materials come into play. What exactly these are? Could be anything from a great ad, to a descriptive sales page, to a convincing email sequence led by storytelling. Regardless, remember that your promotion won’t market itself!

Are you an enterprise, nonprofit or small business looking for help on your website? Give us a shout! We provide a free consultation. Email us at or call us at (718) 855-1919!

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