How to Effectively Run a Sales Promotion

A sales promotion is a tried and true marketing technique that’s designed to reel in new customers and boost brand equity. In some cases, promotions get skeptical prospects to ultimately buy and become repeat customers. However, there are a lot of variables involved with a sales promotion. Success requires the right approach.


Identify Your Goal

The critical first step of this process is to figure out precisely what you’re looking to achieve.

Do you want to attract new customers?

Do you want to get skeptical prospects over the buying hump and motivate them to make a purchase?

Do you want to encourage customer loyalty with the hopes of creating long-term brand advocates?

Whatever the case, it’s important to fully understand what your aim is because it will influence the overall approach of your sales promotion.


Choose a Target Market

A major component of running any successful business is knowing who your target audience is and tailoring your sales and marketing efforts to reach them. Before you get in too deep, you’ll need to determine your target market.

Maybe you’re looking to pull lapsed customers back in who haven’t purchased in awhile. Or maybe you want to lure in customers who have previously been buying from competitors. This, too, is a vital preliminary step to increase your odds of running a successful sales promotion.


Offer an Incentive

The specific incentive you choose can make or break your sales promotion, so choose carefully. Although there are a wide variety of incentives available, here are some of the most popular:

  • Discounts
  • Savings (e.g. buy one get one free)
  • Coupons
  • Free trials
  • Rebates
  • Donating to a worthy cause (e.g. giving a percentage of every sale to a community fundraiser)

If you run an online store, you may also want to consider offering free or discounted shipping. In fact, an infographic from Walker Sands Communications states that, “80% of consumers would be more tempted to buy from Amazon if they were offered free shipping.”

Determining the best incentive for your company often requires a bit of trial and error. Once you find what works, you can simply rinse and repeat for maximum long-term results.


Create Urgency

Multiple psychological studies prove that scarcity affects peoples’ perception of value. An article on the Psychology Today website highlights a specific study from researchers Worchel, Lee and Adewole. They found that when people view something as scarce, they associate it with being more valuable.

You can capitalize on this phenomenon by creating a sense of urgency with your sales promotion. For instance, it may only last for a single weekend, or there may only be limited availability (e.g. only the first 100 customers will receive a discount). This simple technique can be huge for getting customers to take action and for increasing the overall effectiveness of your promotion.

If you’re looking to rev up sales and connect with a larger percentage of your demographic, a sales promotion can be just the ticket. By taking the right approach, you can increase the likelihood of it being successful.


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