36 Promotional Sales Ideas To Attract Customers (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 19, 2022 | Published June 22, 2021

Updated August 19, 2022

Published June 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Promoting products and services is essential for businesses to attract new customers, retain existing ones and increase sales. Businesses often design sales strategies that align with their specific products and target market to create a short-term increase in demand. If you want to attract more customers, learning about various promotional sales ideas can help you implement more effective strategies to increase your revenue.

In this article, we explain what sales promotions are, list 36 ideas you can use to attract customers and provide some tips for executing sales promotions.


What is a sales promotion?

A sales promotion is a marketing strategy that creates interest in a service, product or brand. Businesses use sales promotions to appeal to a target market and convince them to purchase the item on sale. These promotions can help a business achieve goals, including increasing sales or revenue. Sales can help create customer loyalty and brand awareness, and they allow marketing professionals to gain insights into consumer behavior. There are several situations in which a business may decide to have a sale, including when introducing a new service, product or feature or trying to sell off old inventory.

Read more: What Is a Sales Promotion (With Tips and Examples)


20 sales ideas to attract customers

Here are 20 promotional sales ideas you can use to attract new customers:


1. BOGO

BOGO, which stands for "buy one, get one," is a popular type of sales promotion. These deals offer customers a free or discounted product when they buy one product. BOGO promotions can be a great way to sell extra products and clear out inventory by encouraging customers to buy more products than they originally planned to.


2. Free shipping

Free shipping is a common sales promotion idea for businesses that conduct a lot of sales online. You can offer customers limited-time free shipping with no minimum purchase amount, or you can offer free shipping to customers who meet a purchase amount threshold. This can help you convert customers who add items to a cart but abandon it when the site adds the extra costs, such as tax and shipping, to their total.


3. Free samples

If you offer physical products customers can use, such as makeup or food, giving out free samples can be an effective promotional strategy. If a customer enjoys their free sample, they may be more likely to purchase the full version of your product. This can help introduce customers to new products or new customers to a brand. 


4. Lifestyle discounts

Another sales promotion idea is offering lifestyle discounts, which can include discounts for seniors, military members and college students, among others. These discounts can allow you to appeal to specific segments of your market. This can be an effective strategy if you're trying to reach a new target audience or notice your sales from a certain market are declining.


5. Coupons

Coupons are another popular promotional idea, and one way to do this is to send printable coupons by mail or digital coupons by email to your current customers. Coupons can give customers discounts on products, which can encourage them to make purchases. You also can offer coupon codes to customers who make a purchase, which can encourage them to come back and buy from you again.


6. Flash sales

Another promotional idea is having flash sales, which are short promotions that create a sense of urgency to prompt customers to make purchases. Flash sales can be especially effective if you sell products online. You can market these through text message, email or social media, and highlighting the scarcity of the sale can encourage customers to act quickly.

Read more: What Is a Flash Sale? 14 Tips To Boost Its Success


7. Social media giveaways

Social media giveaways can be effective sales promotions if your business has established a reliable social media following. You can host a social media giveaway with one of your products as a prize to raise awareness of your product. This type of sale also can help attract new people to your social media account. 

Related: How To Market a Product on Social Media


8. Product discounts

Product discounts are another common sale in which a business offers a discount on a specific product to incentivize customers to buy it. You can format your discount as a percentage or a dollar amount. This can help increase sales of a struggling product or help you promote an updated version of an older product.

Related: How To Calculate a Discount


9. Holiday promotions

Holiday promotions, which typically follow themes, can help you connect with customers and encourage them to make purchases. Advertisements for holiday promotions often use the colors and imagery people associate with the holiday. For example, you can do chocolate promotions using a lot of red and hearts to advertise it in February, or you might advertise a promotion on children's toys in December by using snow, candy canes and a red-and-green color scheme. 

Related: Seasonal Marketing: Benefits and How To Create a Campaign


10. Product bundles

If your company has multiple similar products, you can consider creating product bundles. Product bundles comprise a few similar products you group at a lower price than they would be individually. For example, if your company sells makeup, you could bundle your best-selling mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow palette.


11. Customer loyalty programs

Establishing a customer loyalty program can be a great way to attract and retain loyal customers. You can create loyalty programs that offer perks to encourage customers to stay loyal to your company and make recurring purchases. For example, you could offer frequent coupons or discounts for your loyalty program members.

Related: 11 Methods To Build Customer Loyalty (Plus Its Importance)


12. Free gifts

Offering a free gift with a purchase is another type of sale that encourages customers to spend more money. Often, companies include free gifts with orders that meet a minimum purchase amount threshold. Offering free gifts can encourage customers to place larger orders and can be a good way for you to introduce a new product.


13. Contests and sweepstakes

Hosting a contest or sweepstakes can generate more attention toward your business and products, which can attract new customers and engage existing customers. You can have contestants enter their contact information in an online form to qualify, which you can use to improve your marketing efforts. Having the contest prize be something that relates to your business, such as offering a coupon or a discounted rate on an expensive product for the winner, also can help you increase sales.

Related: Prize Ideas for Marketing Contests: Benefits, Elements and Examples


14. Digital codes

Sending digital codes to customers can also encourage them to make a purchase they weren't considering. You can create digital codes for free shipping, discounts, free gifts and more. Like contests, you can offer these codes to anyone who creates an account on your website to help you increase your consumer insight.


15. Rebates

Rebates are partial refunds that you can give customers after they purchase a product, and they can help incentivize a customer to purchase a product. These function similarly to a sale because the customer pays a certain amount less than the normal price. They differ, though, because you're giving the customer money back, whether with cash, check or store credit, which can make them feel like they benefit more than in a traditional sale.


16. Recurring promotions

You can also host recurring promotions to help customers plan when to buy with you. These promotions occur regularly, and businesses may schedule them to run in times when their sales traditionally are lower to increase revenue in that period. For example, you might host recurring sales in January to prevent a large sales decrease after the holiday season.


17. Same-day delivery

If your company has the infrastructure to provide same-day delivery, it can be an effective promotional tool. You can encourage customers to purchase a specific product by offering same-day delivery on it. This type of sale might work well on electronics or other items customers might be less willing to wait a few days to get. 


18. Free trials

Free trials can be effective sales promotions for service-based businesses. If a customer enjoys their free trial of your service, they may be more likely to purchase your full service. This can help you expand your reach into new target markets, and you can ask for feedback from customers who don't renew after the trial to learn how to improve your service.


19. Limited-time offers

Limited-time offers are a great way to create urgency for customers to buy your products. These offers may be good for products that are time-sensitive or have a connection with a world event. For example, you could create a limited-time discount promotion at the beginning of December to encourage customers to buy a new holiday-themed sweatshirt. 

Read more: Limited-Time Offers: 3 Examples and How To Create One


20. Customized products

You can also offer a sale on customized products as part of a marketing strategy. For example, if your company sells office supplies, you could host a limited-time promotion in which you offer to customize orders of notebook and pen sets at a lower rate than normal. This can encourage customers to spend more money to get the customization while still feeling like they're getting a good deal because it's cheaper than normal.

Related: 17 Marketing Strategies (With Examples)


16 additional sales ideas

Here are some other sales you can consider hosting to increase your sales and gain new customers:

  1. Vouchers

  2. Charitable causes

  3. Free returns

  4. Joint promotions

  5. Social media giveaways

  6. Referral discounts

  7. Add-ons

  8. Influencer partnerships

  9. Punch cards

  10. App-exclusive deals

  11. Upgrade discounts

  12. Scavenger hunts

  13. Happy hour campaigns

  14. Birthday discounts

  15. Feedback campaigns

  16. Abandoned cart promotions

Related: 20 Effective Ways To Market a Product


Tips for running sales promotions

Here are tips you can use to help you launch sales promotions effectively:


Know your target customer

One essential tip for running a successful sales promotion is to know and cater to your target customer. Try to design your promotion around the needs and lifestyles of your target customers. This can make these customers more likely to engage with your promotion. Market research can help give you insights into what types of sales might be the most effective for your customers, which can help you experience more success with them.

Related: How To Create a Target Market Strategy


Be creative

Designing unique, eye-catching sales promotions can help you appeal to more customers and encourage them to choose your business over your competitors. Customers may get dozens of promotional offers per day through email, social media or text, so using a creative approach can help ensure they see and respond to yours. This can help you complete more sales and grow your customer base. 

Related: 12 Creative Marketing Strategies To Consider


Advertise your promotion

It's important for your target customers to know about your sales promotion for it to be effective. Advertise your sales promotion through the specific channels that your target customers use, whether a popular social media app or websites your market research indicates they use a lot, can improve your reach. When you advertise, try to use engaging language, such as "proven," "love" or "exclusive" to elicit positive responses from customers.

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