Eight Best Practices for Running Successful Promotions

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Sales are exciting. For the business running the deal, there’s the rush of satisfying excited customers, receiving lots of orders, and making a healthy profit. On the customer side, there’s the delight of purchasing something new and the gratification of saving money on an item they wanted or needed. Successful promotions deliver rewarding results for everyone involved. That being said, businesses need to keep in mind what they can do to make sure a sale is well-received and provides a high return on investment (ROI). Consider the below eight best practices.

1) Focus on Your Target Market

Before making any other decision, you need to understand who you’ll be targeting. Is the goal for the promotion to appeal to your entire audience? Generally, that won’t be the case. Identifying your target audience helps you to understand the specific wants, needs, and motivations you’ll need to address with your sales copy.

As an example, let’s look at a business that’s known for selling several different brands of the same products. The different brands will set themselves apart through quality and price. Therefore, the company will attract a variety of prospective customers who are more driven by one factor than the other.

Deciding what they will offer would depend on whether they’re targeting the cost-conscious customers or those who are more concerned with the quality of the products.

Before undertaking a sale, ask yourself what kinds of customers does your business primarily attract and what will tempt them specifically? The factors you identify will give you your promotion concept, and then you have to decide what to do with it?

2) Set Objectives for Your Promotions

Once you have decided what your promotion will be, you’ll need to define clear goals. This will not only help you to judge your results, but they will also improve the result from the beginning. By setting goals for your promotion, you’ll have a clear picture in mind of what you are aiming to accomplish, as well as what will be necessary to succeed.

At this stage, it’s essential to consider how many new contacts you’d like to gain, what customer behaviors you want to change, how much you’d like to sell, and so on.

3) Prioritize Sincerity Over All

When you are putting together your strategy to reach the targets you’ve set, you’ll need to consider the way you present yourself to customers. Regardless of whether your goal is as straightforward as “get x amount of new customers,” your promotions shouldn’t come across as interested only in that goal for the benefit of your business. No one likes the “used car salesmen” style of sales!

As an alternative, find a way to project sincerity while remaining natural and personable while working toward your objectives. The things people appreciate most are genuine. If you display this quality, the sales will follow!


When deciding the timeline for your sales promotion, and the specifics of the offer, it’s best to avoid predictability. Though this may seem like a given, it’s often overlooked. Think about a couple of examples.

Let’s say you hold a different sale every Thursday, which may cause many of your customers to wait until that day. This causes you to miss out on full-price sales that you otherwise may have made perhaps need desperately. We can take this one step further, though.

Let’s say that you have a semi-annual clearance sale where popular products are 30% off. The sale is always the same, and everyone knows the time of year it’ll be back again which may cause people to until then to buy from you. Though similar to the first example, there is a crucial difference.

When a business does the same thing at the same time, like clockwork, it runs the risk of diminishing the effectiveness of other sales promotions that run throughout the year. Shoppers may begin to think, “why use this 15% off coupon when I could wait for the upcoming 30% off sale?” You never want to work against your own sales, so be a little unpredictable.

5) Level Up The Pressure

Scarcity attached to a compelling offer can create a significant demand and increase the perceived value of a product, service or experience. By placing limits on your sales promotions, using positioning such as what is outlined below, you can leverage scarcity to increase the effectiveness of your sales.

  • Limited time offers (e.g., “Flash sale! 40% off! Today Only!”)
  • Limited quantity offers (e.g., “The First 20 People to Order will Receive X!”)
  • Conditional Offers (e.g., “Free Shipping on Orders over $49.”)

These limitations can encourage people to buy now, buy more, and take other actions you laid out in your objectives.

6) “Gating” Offers

Speaking of the restrictions that trigger the fear of missing out, they can be leveraged in another way as well. Limitations can make a select group of customers feel unique and privileged if only they have access to certain promotions.

Consequently, you may want to consider “gating” some of your promotions to boost enthusiasm and sales.

7) Freebies Drive Good Will

While it’s not appropriate in every situation, it can be useful to offer giveaways, even if only in a limited quantity. Be it a free consultation or product, a free trial, free shipping or free returns; people struggle to resist the temptation of FREE things!

If other strategies don’t push potential customers to convert, a freebie can tip the scales in your favor.

8) Promote Your Sale

Finally, it’s imperative to spread the word about your “can’t miss” promotion. If you don’t tell the broader public about your exciting offer, people will miss it because they don’t know about it! Advertising your sale doesn’t have to be hard or costly, either.

You can draw attention to your latest sales promotion with storefront signage or in-store signage (if you have a retail space), banners or pop-ups on your website, ads in local publications, posts on social media and pay per click ads. These free or low-cost methods of advertising keep expenses to a minimum and help maximize the ROI of your promotion.

Whether you are just starting, have previously struggled to create successful campaigns or want to enhance the positive outcomes you’ve already seen, the best practices mentioned above are sure to help. If you take the time to implement them, you’ll be able to meet and exceed many of the sales goals you set.

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