A sales promotion can be a great way to boost sales, improve brand awareness and strengthen customer loyalty. However, running a successful sales promotion is easier said than done. You’ll need to have a good awareness of what one is, the advantages and disadvantages of running one, and the different types of sales promotions there are to get it right. 

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sales promotions so you can run one for your business. We’ll go over:

  • What are sales promotions?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of sales promotions
  • 8 types of sale promotions
  • 3 sales promotion ideas


What are sales promotions?

A sales promotion is a short-term marketing strategy designed to generate interest around your brand or a particular product or service you offer. They might be based around a particular event (such as a Black Friday or end-of-season sale), but they don’t have to be. For example, you might offer a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal on specific products or a website-wide discount.

Usually, their primary goal is to influence buying behaviour and increase sales or leads. However, an uptick in sales isn’t the only benefit of running a sales promotion. We’ll cover the main advantages and disadvantages below.


Advantages and disadvantages of sales promotions

Benefits of running a sales promotion

  • Boost sales, leads and revenue. As mentioned earlier, most companies run promotions to increase sales or leads over the short term. By offering a discount, benefit or freebie, customers will be more likely to make a purchase, especially if they’ve been considering it for a while. Sales promotions can also incentivise customers to spend more, increasing the average order value.  
  • Strengthen brand loyalty and keep your customers engaged. Running a sales promotion can be a great way of rewarding customers by offering discount codes or coupons via email marketing. 
  • Gain insights into customer behaviour. Sales promotions can be a great way to learn more about your customers, their price sensitivity and buying habits. For example, if you run a sales promotion that offers free shipping and it’s highly successful, you might decide to offer free shipping over a certain order value going forward. 
  • Build your brand. Running a sales promotion can be an excellent opportunity to communicate your brand’s culture and values to your target audience. For example, if your brand is focused on sustainability, you might run a sales promotion offering to plant trees with every order.  
  • Create a buzz around your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly important, and offering a sales promotion that gets people talking about your brand is a great way to increase brand awareness. 
  • Launch new products or services. Offering a discount or reward greatly lowers the perceived risk of purchasing a new product or service. 
  • Sell excess inventory. Many companies also use sales promotions to increase sales of low-selling products or clear out old stock at the end of a season. This allows you to make room for newer products. 

Disadvantages of running a sales promotion

  • A short-term solution. It’s important to remember that sales promotions are a short-term strategy to boost sales. They shouldn’t be a substitute for a comprehensive marketing strategy focusing on long-term goals and growth. 
  • Increase customer’s price sensitivity. If you run frequent or regular sales promotions, your customers might become more price-sensitive. They’ll be unwilling to pay full price for your products or services when they know they can just wait until the next sales promotion. Running many sales promotions can also dilute the perceived value of your brand, which can be a problem for high-end or luxury brands.
  • They don’t always change customer perceptions of your brand. Although running a sales promotion can increase brand awareness and loyalty, it can’t always change customer’s perceptions of your brand. For example, if your target audience views your products as low-quality or unreliable, offering a lower price or incentive will not change this view. 


8 types of sale promotions

There are many different types of sales promotions. Here’s a rundown of the most common types you might want to consider for your brand.

1. Discounts

Offering a discount, whether on specific products or across your site, is an easy way to encourage customers to make a purchase they’ve been considering for a while. It can also motivate customers deterred by the price to buy your products.

2. Flash sales 

A flash sale is a short-term sale designed to create a sense of urgency, which motivates customers to purchase at a reduced price. Often, they’ll have some kind of timer or countdown to communicate the temporary nature of the sale.

3. Coupons

A physical or digital coupon can be a great way to reward loyal customers. Unlike a discount, which is typically applied automatically, a coupon requires customers to input a code or exchange a physical coupon for a lower price. 

4. Buy One, Get One Free

A buy one, get one free (BOGO) offer is one of the most popular types of sales promotions. This encourages customers to make an initial purchase by offering a second product free. Like discounts, this can motivate customers who were previously put off by the price or are still considering whether to purchase.

4. Freebies 

Although offering a small free product as a special offer can encourage customers to buy your products, it might hold less sway than other sales promotions. However, providing a freebie can increase the perceived value of a product and help differentiate your brand from competitors.

5. Free shipping 

High shipping costs can be a real deterrent to customers, especially if these costs are only shown once they reach the checkout. Offering free shipping for a limited amount of time encourages customers who’ve been put off by shipping fees to make a purchase. 

6. Free trials

Offering a free trial is an effective way to allow customers to use your service without paying. Ideally, when the trial ends, customers will have seen the value your service offers and be ready to make a purchase. 

7. Bundles

Offering a collection of similar products for a discounted price can make your brand more competitive and attractive to potential customers, especially if they would usually need to purchase these products separately.

8. Subscriptions

Offering a lower price if customers commit to a subscription is a simple way to increase the lifetime value of your customers and incentivise them to make a purchase.


3 sales promotion ideas

If you’re thinking about running your own sales promotion, here are some you should consider:

1. Run an abandoned cart promotion

The average cart abandonment rate is 79.53%, which can really harm your sales revenue. Running a sales promotion targeted towards customers who’ve abandoned their carts is a great way to recover these lost transactions. You can send a personalised follow-up promotional email with a discount code or coupon to incentivise them to return to your site and complete their purchase. Cart abandonment emails have a conversion rate of over 10%, so this is a highly effective strategy. 

2.  Run a seasonal promotion 

Although this might sound like a simple suggestion, running seasonal promotions is essential if you’re in a space where all your competitors are running seasonal promotions. Customers expect discounts and deals at certain times of the year and are unlikely to buy from your brand if you’re not offering any. 

You can also run promotions on special occasions by offering coupons to customers on their birthday or on the anniversary of their first purchase, which can incentivise them to make a last-minute purchase. 

3. Run a referral promotion

A referral sales promotion involves giving your existing customers a referral discount code which they can share with someone they know. When the person referred makes their first purchase, the person who sent the code also receives a discount or freebie. This incentivises your existing customers to advocate for your brand to their friends, who are likely also in your target market.


Prize Promotions 

Running a sales promotion can be an easy way to boost sales over the short term. However, with so many companies offering sales and discounts, it can be difficult to attract new customers and create a real buzz around your brand. 

The solution? Try a prize promotion instead. 

At Another Way, we’re experts in designing and managing incredible prize promotions that connect with your target audience in a powerful and meaningful way. Our team can create bespoke, ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences and prizes that generate word-of-mouth marketing and increase brand awareness and engagement. 

Our founder, Andrew, has been active in the Promotional Marketing industry for over a decade. He’s worked with big brands, such as Airbnb and Ocado, creating promotional campaigns that have a long-term impact on brand loyalty and revenue. 

Check out our campaign inspiration to see what we can achieve, whatever your budget. 

You can rely on our professional team to handle every aspect of your promotional campaign, from creating the initial concept to winner selection and global fulfilment. 

We offer:

  • Unique prizes and experiences 
  • Prize promotional mechanics
  • Pan-European and global prize fulfilment 
  • Winner management, selection and entry judging 
  • UK and multi-territory terms and conditions
  • Loyalty reward schemes and consumer incentives 
  • Complete campaign management

If you’re interested in working with us on your next promotional campaign, call us at 0778 948 5123 or email us at prizeteam@another-way.co.uk.

Or complete our online form, and a member of our team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.