Are you struggling to find ways to promote your business? You likely don’t have thousands of dollars to launch a full-blown marketing campaign regularly.
How can you effectively build up your email list and start growing your business?
Run a promotion.
A promotion is a fun and great opportunity to gain recognition for your business. However, it’s hard to come up with a solid promotion that’s beneficial for you and your customers. And it’s even harder to do with low costs.
How can you effectively launch a promotion on a tight budget?
Look no further.
50 promotional ideas to grow your business
Rev up those creative juices with our list of 50 marvelous (yes, marvelous!) promotional ideas.
1. Launch a photo or video contest
A photo contest is a great way to promote your brand naturally and organically. Instagram alone has nearly 80 million posts being added every day. Why not tap into that online activity and expose your brand to the world?
Here’s a great resource for how to create a successful Instagram photo contest.Opens in a new window to SkedSocial.com website…
2. Create a website
Every small business needs a website to stand out and take advantage of our digital age. If you don’t have a website, your competitors do.
HipCat Tip: Use your website to incorporate some of the other promotional ideas listed below. For example, you could add educational infographics into a blog post on your website and share that blog post with your audience or target audience via Facebook groups.
3. Launch a voting contest
The key to a good social media presence is actively engaging with your audience. What better way to do this than launching a poll and having them vote on topics?
- Throwing a company party? Have your customers vote on the theme.
- Redesigning your logo? Ask for your audience’s favorite.
The more you encourage your customers to engage with your brand actively, the more likely they’ll share and promote your brand for you.
4. Create a caption contest
Share a funny photo of one of your company leaders and ask your audience to write a caption. The best caption wins a small prize.
5. Submit a meme contest
Who doesn’t appreciate a good meme? Ask your audience to create a meme that’s relevant to your business and share it on social media using a hashtag of your choice.
You’re essentially crowdsourcing your audience’s creativity and sharing fun and unique content.
Memes tend to get lots of shares, especially when they’re relevant and funny.
HipCat Tip: Always make sure to set specific guidelines around your promo to ensure all memes remain fun, light, and respectful. Be sure your promo aligns with your brand’s voice and image. If your brand deals with a serious issue or topic, memes may not be the best fit.
6. Sweepstakes or giveaways.
When launching a giveaway contest, make the prize something that aligns with your target audience. Not only will this increase the number of submissions and entries you receive, but it’ll help you target people who are the right kind of customer for your business.
7. Host an event with a raffle prize
Raffles are another great way to connect with a large group of people. If you’re selling tickets to your raffle, always check local or regional laws. In some areas, raffles may be considered “lotteries,” which would require special licensing, permits, and/or taxation codes. It’s important to check if your raffle promotion is legal.
8. Referral program
The facts don’t lie. According to Invesp… Opens in a new window to Invesp’s website… :
“Word of Mouth marketing impression results 5x more sales than a paid media impression and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.”
A referral program is one of the most effective ways to promote your business.
Here’s an excellent guide by Hubspot … Opens in a new window to Hubspot’s website… to help you get started.
9. “Leave a Review” promotion
Not only is promoting reviews great for business, but it’ll help you improve other aspects of your marketing efforts like your Local SEO rankings. Whether you sell products or services, incorporate a systematic approach to regularly asking for reviews.
10. Create an email marketing strategy
Email is one of the most powerful tools to grow and promote a business. According to Campaign Monitor: … Opens in a new window to CampaignMonitor’s website…
“More than 50 percent of U.S. respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.”
Not to mention, many of the promos listed here align perfectly with email marketing.
Doing a giveaway contest? Collect emails from your entries so you communicate with them later.
11. Promote a product with an educational infographic
Infographics are an excellent tool to use in your content because they’re naturally appealing. How might you incorporate these to promote your products or services? Write educational content and turn that into an infographic.
Here’s a great example of a pest control company … Opens in a new window to OrganicPestControlNYC’s website… successfully doing this:
This promotion may require a little more thought and planning ahead of time, but the potential is huge. People love games, and many are looking for an excuse to go out and do something together. Do you sell a product? Is there an opportunity to hide some of your products around town?
You could also use painted rocks or some other small item, and whoever collects the most wins the grand prize.
13. Host a workshop session
Workshops are the perfect opportunity to set yourself up as an expert in your industry. People want to purchase from people who know their craft well. A workshop gives you the chance to teach your audience and gain recognition as the “expert.”
14. Free webinar
Like workshops, webinars establish you and your brand as experts. Another benefit of speaking to a group of potential prospects through a webinar is it allows you to get to know your audience and connect on a human-to-human level. Give your attendees a peek into who you are as a person.
15. Discount on your service
Promotional discounts drive additional sales through the urgency of a limited-time offer. Do you have an opportunity to offer a discount on your service?
HipCat Tip: If your business doesn’t offer discounts regularly, then this may not be the best option. Offering discounts may tell the “tire kickers” in your audience that if they aren’t ready now, they can just wait for the next discount to come around.
16. Exclusive coupons
Create coupons that are exclusive to partnerships with other businesses or organizations. Do you own a trampoline park? You could consider offering an exclusive discount with one of the local schools in your area.
17. Redeemable vouchers
Coupons are an easy way to give a small discount or reward to a customer that performs a specific action (e.g., buys a specific product, spends a certain amount, etc.).
18. Setup your Google My Business profile
Google is one of the most popular search engines in the world, with nearly 6 billion searches happening per day. Why not capture a small percentage of those searches and turn them into paying customers?
One way you can do this is setting up a Google My Business listing. … Opens in a new window to Moz’s website… Not only will a GMB profile help you stand out in local searches, but it’s a powerful platform to showcase your brand and gather customer reviews and testimonials.
19. Buy one, get one free (BOGO)
The buy one get one free offer is an extremely well-known approach for one reason: It works!
If it makes sense for your product, consider testing a BOGO promotion to help encourage sales and drive additional revenue.
Rebates are an excellent way to reward customer loyalty and encourage repeat business. When a client signs up for your rebate program, they are automatically more inclined to purchase more in the future.
21. Hand out free samples
One of the most effective tactics in the history of product marketing is sampling. Sampling is when brands give away smaller versions of their product to try – generally for free. According to market research studies, 81% of consumers said they’re more likely to try a new product after receiving a free sample.
22. Loyalty rewards program
One of the most common ways to track customer loyalty is a common points system. Customers earn points, which translate into a reward (discount code, freebie, or another type of special offer).
HipCat Tip: Keep the point system and rewards simple and easy to understand. Your customers want loyalty rewards, not a headache.
23. Pre-launch campaign
Whether it’s a new product or even a new website, launches are an excellent opportunity to promote the next big thing. If it’s a website, consider creating a “coming soon page” while writing lots of content on other people’s blogs and social media to stir up excitement and build your credibility.
What about when the website does launch? Here are a few perfect ideas to help promote your website after launch… Opens in a new window to Roadside Dental Marketing’s website….
24. Exclusive offers on high-demanding products
Rather than creating a generic offer or discount for all of your products or services. Why not consider creating a special offer on products already in high demand? Could you add other free samples to every order? Could you offer a discount on just that one product?
Be creative! The possibilities are endless.
25. “Bundle and save” promotions
What’s the benefit of the bundle-and-save promotion!? It’s in the name. By encouraging people to group products together by offering a bundle discount, you’ll have higher sales overall.
26. Seasonal offers
Another great type of promotion is the seasonal offer. Seasonal offers are great for businesses that experience seasonal highs and lows. By offering discounted pricing during your low seasons, you’re able to drive more purchasing, as well as push urgency.
27. Regular daily, weekly, or monthly deals
These are best for traditional sales used to drive conversions. Often, these sales are used at the end of a month or quarter to increase revenues to help a business meet its goals.
28. Multi-purchase deals
The multi-purchase deal gives customers a discounted price for purchasing a higher volume of product. Compared to the bundle-and-save promo, the multi-purchase offer allows customers to choose the products themselves.
29. Limited-time coupons or discounts
The key here is limiting a coupon’s ability to be used to a particular time frame. This sense of urgency often drives conversions moments just before the deadline (humans are natural procrastinators).
30. Automated abandoned cart recovery
If someone placed an item in their cart, they are more than likely interested in purchasing that product. With 75% of people abandoning their carts… Opens in a new window to SaleCycle’s website…, people are adding items to their cart and leaving without paying you.
That’s the bad news. The good news is, you can easily get around 10% to come back and purchase with a simple email follow up.
31. Run an influencer campaign
Let’s face it. Most of us have been influenced into doing things by other people. In today’s oversaturated advertising market, consumers crave more genuine and trustworthy voices. Influencer marketing is the best way to leverage the psychology of influence and persuade customers.
32. Leverage user-generated content (UGC)
It’s no secret that content is king. The best brands are the ones that leverage great content to engage with their audience. As defined by Sprout Social:
“User-generated content is exactly that: content created by a brand’s user. The content can be anything from images to videos to blog posts. The user could be a brand’s customer, site visitor, or social follower.”
The more you get your audience to share images, posting videos, or writing content about your brand, the better.
33. Have a branded hashtag
Hashtags open doors to other people’s content. By organizing social posts and content into categories with hashtags, people can easily access social posts around the same topic.
Why not create a branded hashtag to organize content around your brand? You’re easily exposing your brand to new audiences.
34. Free educational download
Free downloads are an excellent way to collect email addresses and potential leads through your content marketing efforts.
HipCat Tip: When creating downloads within your content, create downloads that align with whatever your content is talking about. Did you write a blog post about how to perfect your golf swing? Then, offer a free video download that walks you through the perfect swing step-by-step.
35. First-time customer discounts
Providing a first-timers offer could be the nudge a first-time visitor needs to convert into a paying customer.
36. Create instructional videos
Why are videos so powerful? Viewers claim they retain 95% of a message when obtained via video. (Social Media Week… Opens in a new window to Social Media Week’s website…) Additionally, video is a perfect opportunity to help you build a real connection with your audience.
37. Partner with a business
One of the most powerful ways to grow your business is by partnering with other businesses. We see this all the time happening around us, and it’s because it works!
HipCat Tip: When looking for businesses to partner with, try to find opportunities that meet the following criteria:
- Businesses who are bigger than you.
- Companies who are in a “shoulder niche,” meaning an industry that aligns well with your products or services without being direct competitors (think hair salons and nail salons).
38. Become a speaker.
Conferences, volunteer organizations, local business groups, and even study groups often need speakers for meetings. You’ll benefit from the name recognition, contacts, and publicity you gain.
39. Discounts for checking in on social media
If you’re struggling to grow your social media account, consider offering a 5% discount when someone checks in on Facebook, shares, or retweets your posts or uses your branded hashtag on social media.
40. Donate your product/service at a local contest
Looking to introduce one of your products to a new audience? Local contest prizes get your brand name out there as well as showcase a product of your choice. For example, a local fish and tackle shop might donate a few new fishing rods to one of the upcoming fishing derbies in the surrounding areas.
41. Free upgrades
Depending on the product, a free upgrade is a perfect way to promote your business, while increasing overall sales. For example, cell phone providers often incentivize new contracts by offering free upgrades after a set time frame. Do your customers pay you monthly? Could you find a way to offer free upgrades to your products?
42. Flash sales
If you’re not familiar with flash sales, BigCommerce describes them perfectly: “A flash sale is a discount or promotion offered by an eCommerce store for a short period of time. The quantity is limited, which often means the discounts are higher or more significant than run-of-the-mill promotions. The time limit and limited availability entice consumers to buy on the spot – aka impulse buying.”
This promo doesn’t have to only apply to online stores. A short term, high-discount promotion can be used by any business that fits the model.
43. Free trial
Similar to the effective nature of free samples, free trials are a great way to introduce new customers to your product or service without any financial risk on their end. If the customer is truly a part of your ideal target market, then there is no reason they won’t fall in love with your brand and continue using your services on a regular (paid) basis. Are you utilizing free trials to their full potential?
44. Exclusive members club
People naturally love to feel a part of a tribe. They also love feeling important, cared for, special, and unique. Whenever brands replicate these experiences within their product offerings, people are magnetized to it.
Let’s think about a few examples for a moment:
- The platinum card
- Amazon Prime
- Frequent Flyer Memberships
Even something as simple as an exclusive FB group where you share exclusive offers, discounts, and promotions can help draw in your ideal customers.
45. Free one-on-one consultations
Do you truly know your craft well? Of course, you do. Take advantage of your knowledge and teach the community whenever possible.
Free one-on-one consultations are a perfect way to interact with your clients and hear what they are going through. More often than not, one-on-one consultations end up being almost as helpful for the brand as it is the client.
HipCat Tip: If possible, get permission to record your consulting session and later share it with your audience on social media.
46. Personalized recommendations
You know your product offering better than anyone. So look for ways to offer your personalized recommendations on your products or services. You might do this in person, in a face-to-face setting, or even on your website.
The easier you make aligning your solutions with your customers’ problems, the better off you will be.
47. Create list blog posts
If you haven’t heard me say it a thousand times before, you’ll hear me say it now:
I cannot emphasize content marketing enough. When you blog regularly, you’re achieving two things:
- You’re teaching your audience something, which establishes your credibility.
- Your customers find you – rather than you hunting down your customers.
The value behind number 2 is worth its weight in gold. When a new customer reads your blog content, learns something new, and recognizes you as the expert, they immediately identify you as their go-to person for that specific problem.
When they finally reach out to you, they already know your brand and trust it. These are called inbound leads. They come prequalified, ready to buy, and are the perfect customer.
48. Start a free podcast
Podcasts have been booming over the last few years, and they still remain an excellent way to communicate with your audience. Think about how popular drivetime radio was back in the day. That appeal never went away, just the method of delivery did.
So if you’re great at vocalizing thoughts and hosting interviews, a podcast might be the perfect promotional tactic for your brand.
49. Box subscriptions
Although box subscriptions won’t align with every business model, they’re a perfect solution for some industries.
For those unfamiliar with box subscriptions, a box subscription is when a customer is charged a monthly subscription for a packaged set of products to be delivered to their home on a monthly (or semi-regular) basis.
Some of the most popular box subscriptions include products like:
- Laundry detergent
- Hobby supplies
- Cleaning products
- And much more…
50. Pop-up stores
Last but not least, pop-up stores are a tried-and-true method for drumming up business. When might you consider a pop-up store?
According to StoreFront… Opens in a new window to TheStoreFront’s website… , here are a few common details around pop-up stores:
- Term: Typically three days to three months.
- Location: High foot traffic areas, such as city centers, malls, and busy streets.
- Price: Much lower than a traditional store, typically paid upfront.
- Use: To launch a new product, generate awareness, move inventory, introduce collaborations, and increase the ‘cool’ factor.
Wrapping it all up
It’s important to always measure the pros and cons before pulling the trigger. Set clear expectations and goals for each promo and only launch a promotion if it aligns with your business model and benefits your target customer.
So what about you?
Which promo are you going to start using? Let us know with a comment below!