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8 sales promotion examples to inspire your next deal

Sales promotion examples: entrepreneur working in his store with sale signages

Key takeaways

  • Sales promotions drive sales by showing the value and urgency of a purchase
  • Businesses can use sales promotions, such as freebies and giveaways, to raise brand awareness and customer loyalty
  • Rewarding existing customers with sales promotions, rather than focusing solely on new customer acquisition, can help retain a crucial segment of your customer base

One attractive deal can win over a customer for life. Nearly three-fourths of all United States consumers say sales offers are a key factor in their purchase decisions—especially if they’re new to a brand. 

To stand out from the crowd, you need an offer that can capture your target audience‘s attention while still keeping your return on investment (ROI) high. Consider implementing these eight sales promotion examples to grow your small business.

What are sales promotions?

Sales promotions are limited-time offers that generate demand for or interest in a brand, product, or service. These special offers can help you reach your sales goals faster in two key ways:

  • Making the perceived value of an action, such as a purchase or a referral, far outweigh the cost
  • Adding a sense of urgency to an action so that customers are compelled to purchase or sign up faster

Sales promotion strategies typically go hand-in-hand with paid advertising, which helps spread the word about your offer. Although you can get results sharing your promo through free channels—such as social media posts or email marketing—paid ads maximize your reach in a short period of time. Especially in the short-term, this boost is ideal for a sales promotion.


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8 sales promotion examples and how to implement them

Small businesses can implement dozens of proven sales promotion techniques—often without any required costs. No matter your industry, these eight examples of sales promotions can uniquely benefit your business.

1. Flash sales

Sales promotion examples: SALE signages hanging on a store window

Flash sales are substantial discounts or promotions that are typically only available for one to three days. Successful flash sales offer highly appealing incentives—ones that are far better than what your business typically offers. Black Friday sales often fit under this sales promotion example.

A flash sale encourages consumers to make their purchasing decisions quickly. To take advantage of low prices, they’ll likely do less comparison shopping, so you can easily beat out your competition.

Flash sales aren’t just a great way to get quick cash—they can also help retail businesses eliminate old inventory while still earning a profit or at least breaking even. And for service businesses, flash sales generate longer-term business. For example, a pest control business that offers 50% off an annual treatment plan can lock in six month’s worth of revenue.

2. Buy one, get one promotions

Buy one, get one deals are proven sales promotion tools. According to a 2020 study, consumers prefer the buy one, get one (BOGO) model over 50% off deals, even though they are essentially the same discount. By using the power of this psychological pricing, you can generate purchases without limiting your promotion to a period of just three days or less.

Like flash sales, BOGO deals help retailers clear out unwanted inventory. These promotions also help businesses draw in multiple new customers at once. For example, if a coffee shop offers a BOGO sales promotion, there’s a good chance customers will give the second drink to someone else, helping you broaden your brand’s reach.

3. Freebies

Getting consumers to try a new product or service isn’t always easy, even if they already love your brand. Giving away free samples, free trials, or similar gifts is a great way to give customers a risk-free taste of what you have to offer. For example, an auto repair business might offer free car checkups. If the mechanics discover an issue in the process, customers are more likely to buy from their brand. For one, it’s more convenient—their car is there already—and the business has also fostered feelings of goodwill.

Free gifts play on the rule of reciprocity, which is when customers feel compelled to buy something from you in exchange for your generosity. Even when freebies don’t increase sales, they get shoppers emotionally invested in your product by providing a positive experience.

4. Giveaways

Don’t have the budget to commit to freebies for everyone? Consider giving away one larger gift—like a teeth whitening service for dentists—to a few lucky winners on social media. Brands that use this sales promotion idea typically require participants to tag friends or share a post on their feed. This helps promote your product to a wider audience.

While social media giveaways don’t directly lead to sales, they do increase brand awareness. With every tag or share, you’re reaching more potential customers—most of whom are referred by people they know and trust, which gives you added credibility.

5. Pop-up shops

Hanging plants for sale

Pop-up shops offer one-time brand experiences in a physical setting. For example, a roofing company at a trade show could demonstrate the difference between wooden and slate shingles. If you run an ecommerce store, a festival pop-up could be a unique opportunity for you to engage with clients in-person.

This sales promotion example is a great way to excite loyal customers, re-engage clients who dropped off, or give potential clients the push they need to buy from you. And since you’ll be interacting with shoppers face-to-face, this is a powerful opportunity to build strong client relationships.

6. First-time buyer discounts

Most consumers seek out offers before they buy, especially with brands they’ve never purchased from before. First-time consumer sales promotions can help you instantly become a top contender for their business. Consider offering deals like a percent-off discount, free shipping, or free consultations.

While not as enticing as a freebie, this sales promotion example allows consumers to experience your product or service fully, rather than providing a sample.

7. Customer loyalty bonuses

When you’re implementing sales promotion ideas for your small business, don’t forget to cater to your existing customers. This segment of your audience spends 31% more than the average new buyer.

Customer loyalty bonuses are one sales promotion that rewards users for return visits. For example, a cleaning company might offer a free service for clients who purchase a cleaning once per week in a select month. This promotion is similar to a loyalty program, but you don’t have to commit to ongoing rewards.

8. Rebates

Rebates—or cash back offers—are popular alternatives to traditional discounts that offer customers a partial refund at a later date. Business owners prefer them because they generate a large amount of sales at full price in a short period of time, but they’re still enticing to shoppers.

This sales promotion example works best for product-based businesses, which can benefit from rebates. First, this offer reduces return rates by requiring users to keep the product or to mail in a barcode or receipt, rendering it unreturnable. Second, some buyers simply forget to take advantage of the cash back offer in time, allowing you to take home all your earnings.

Attract new customers with sales promotions

A sales promotion strategy can help your business increase interest or sales in a variety of ways. Whether you’re offering freebies, rebates, loyalty bonuses, or something entirely your own, spur new and existing customers into action through urgency and perceived value.

When your sales promotion comes to a close, continue maximizing your profits with smart pricing strategies.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.