Successful companies know that sales promotions are among the most effective methods of increasing sales and heightening brand awareness. Sales promotions have been used for decades with great success, and no matter your industry or the size of your business there are sales promotion techniques that can work in 2021 too.
With so many ways to promote your business, with or without money, there is no need to suffer from diminishing sales funnel while adapting to the “new normal”.
Sales Promotion 101
A sales promotion is any undertaking by an organization designed to increase sales or encourage the use or trial of a product or service. Sales promotions take many different forms, but they all focus on persuading a target audience to become customers of a business.
Sales promotions can be announced over channels like social media, email, or your website; or they can be the focal point of your paid advertising campaigns such as with LinkedIn ads or Google Ads.
An effective sales promotion uses imagery, effective copy, and logic to appeal to the needs, values, and emotions of your target audience, and invites them to purchase your products or services with an incentivizing offer.
Leverage deals and offers for your business
At first it might seem that offering promos and deals is a self-destructive behavior that shortchanges your business. In reality, though, your business benefits from sales promotions just as much as your customers:
- Retain customers: You could think of sales promos as a long-term customer relations strategy.
- Minimize risk: A balanced approach to promotions minimizes risk to your company. In other words, so long as you’re not offering endless, outrageous deals that wouldn’t be sustainable for your business, your promos are likely to create win-win situations.
- Make a profit: The sense of urgency and desire created by short-term offers means that your sales can increase significantly. In fact, you could end up making more profit than you would if you were doing business as usual.
Sales promotion ideas increase sales
Here are 5 sales promotion ideas. I’ll cover promotions to increase sales, to encourage repeat business, and to boost brand awareness.
1. Google My Business
Did you know that you can run promotions on your Google business listing? Your Google My Business account dashboard allows you to create four different types of social posts: Offers, Updates, Events, and Products.
Using the “Add Offer” post type allows you to announce a deal or offering right on your Business Profile. This allows your promotion to reach customers who find your business on Google Maps and Search—which is often when they have the highest intent. In addition to boosting your conversions, a Google My Business promotion can also drive more traffic to your website.
Sales promotions encourage repeat business
Repeat business is often the best business. Your loyal customers are often the ones to spend the most on your offerings and will gladly spread the word about your products and services.
2. Vouchers and coupons
You can offer vouchers and coupons via email, your website, or print materials such as product packaging, catalogs, and so on. They are a great way to thank your current customers and to encourage them to continue doing business with you.
If you do give this a try, be sure to capitalize on every opportunity with a multi-pronged campaign and strategically-crafted landing page. Even after they’ve clicked through to find out their discount, continue to advertise sale items or your most popular merchandise to further entice them to cash in on their coupon.
You can make use of coupons to recover potential customers who’ve abandoned their carts. As of 2020, around 88% of online carts are abandoned. However, offering discounts to customers who may previously have only been window shopping may be the nudge they need to complete a purchase.
3. Free shipping and returns
In addition to coupons, which we discussed earlier, what’s another cure for a ton of abandoned shopping carts? Four words: “Free shipping. Free returns.”
Free shipping eliminates one of the last obstacles that could prevent people from completing their orders. This is key because hesitation can be present even when a customer has done business with you before and likes what you offer.
On the other hand, free shipping eliminates the anticipation of the hassle that is paying for return shipping. By getting rid of both forms of friction, you can encourage more repeat purchases from your product-based business.
4. Loyalty program promotions
Rewards and loyalty programs—even those that don’t necessarily pay off immediately—can be a powerful motivator for customers. Here are a few approaches you might consider.
You could double or triple loyalty points for a limited time, which can be a great incentive to buy. You might even offer a “lump sum” of points for signing up for your loyalty program, which could move customers to buy more than they would have initially.
This tactic, of course, keeps customers coming back for the rewards, but also ensures you’ll make enough cash to keep you in the green after providing discounts.
Sales promotions boost brand awareness
The more familiar your audience becomes with your brand, the more they will trust and look forward to your business’s announcements and content. Let’s take a look at some sales promotion ideas to build and strengthen your brand story.
5. Referral discounts
Bringing new customers into the fold should always be on your radar. One way to keep the new customers rolling in is to offer discounts when current customers refer a friend or promote you on social media.
Alternatively, you could give money that can be put toward a customer’s next purchase. In either case, you’ll need to decide if the referral alone is enough or if the discount is only applied after the new customer makes a purchase. If you choose to offer a discount regardless of whether or not anything is purchased, try to place a threshold on the number of referrals required before the discount takes effect.
No doubt, there are at least a few you could implement and test at little to no cost to you. And the benefits of leveraging sales promotions can be well worth the effort, as we’ve discussed. So what’s your goal? Increase your sales? Get more repeat business? Boost awareness of your brand? All of the above? Then it’s time to pick a sales promo idea and run with it!