Sales Promotion: Definition and most used Types

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Are you looking for ways to close more sales? Offering your customers a sales promotion can be a great way to increase your conversion rate. Promotions can take many forms, such as discounts, free shipping, etc.

You can reach a wide audience by offering attractive promotions, online and in person.

Read on to discover 10 sales promotion examples that have been proven effective in persuading buyers to go ahead and purchase. Start implementing any of these types of sales promotions and see the difference it makes to your sales figures.

What is Sales Promotion?

Sales promotions are promotional strategies used by businesses to create an increased level of awareness and interest in their products, services, or other offerings. 

These strategies are often short-term and involve a variety of methods such as discounts, free samples, contests, coupons, and other incentives. By employing sales promotions, businesses hope to increase sales, create brand reputation, attract new customers, and build brand loyalty.

Promotions are mainly employed to stimulate buying or increase purchases in the near future to meet a target. Besides achieving a rise in sales, a well-planned sales promotion may increase customer retention.


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Tiered promotions (buy more)

Well-known and popular method of persuading customers to stock up on particular products or services. Variations of the tiered promotion include “buy one, get one free (BOGOF)” and “buy two and get a third free”. 

Variations of the tiered promotion include “buy one, get one free (BOGOF)” and  “buy two and get a third free”.

If your products tend to be bought in larger quantities, a popular tiered promotion is to offer a discount for bulk. For example, one candle might cost $1, but if twelve or more candles are bought, the price of each unit drops to $0.85. 

Depending on the product, it’s possible to use a number of different pricing tiers, with new or existing customers who want to order several thousand units benefiting from a significant price reduction on each one.

Obviously, there is a need to make sure that you don’t end up selling all your stock at an advantageous price, but, used carefully, tired promotions can provide a good inducement for customers to shop with you, rather than the competition.

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Low-cost promotion that provides an added inducement to buy. Online retailers can easily include a coupon in a promotional email, or as a code to apply at the checkout. Coupons on physical products may take the form of scannable codes, that can be uploaded to receive a discount. 

Particularly if someone is fairly far down the sales funnel, a coupon that reduces the price of the product may be enough to tip the scale for them.

Private sales

As the name suggests, a private sale is a sale of goods that isn’t open to the general public. There are a number of ways that a private sale can be utilized to generate both more sales and a higher level of customer loyalty. 

A popular way of conducting a private sale is to open up certain prices only to a target audience, e.g. users who are subscribers of your email marketing list, possess a loyalty card, or have shown some other form of behavior you want to see more of.

Some retailers advertise a special offer as a private sale and ask customers to sign up in order to benefit from the advantages it brings. As well as potentially offering customers goods at a temporarily reduced price, a private sale can also be used to offer buyers exclusive access to new goods and/or services.

Flash sales 

A proven technique that’s a mainstay of sales success, time-limiting access to goods at a reduced price is always a winner! 

Flash (short term) sales can be a good way of generating potential customers interest in your products, as well as an opportunity to shift stock that may not be selling as well as you would wish. 

Time-limiting sales create a sense of urgency that increases the desire to buy now to enjoy a good price.

As well as time-limiting low prices, flash sales can also be used as an opportunity to give customers a “last chance” to purchase a particular product. Limiting access to specific goods, in a similar way to limiting the time they’re available, acts as a powerful prompt to buy.

Make sure that your flash sale is well-publicized before the event – a suitable count-down series of promotional emails and ads can help build anticipation before the big event.

Trade shows and demonstrations

Physical demonstrations of the benefits of your product provide a good way of demonstrating its numerous benefits to your audience. 

As well as real-life demonstrations, it’s possible to achieve the same result digitally by uploading a video that demonstrates how your product works and the benefits it offers. 

Whether that’s an easier way of doing something, a product that solves a problem, or a product that does something better than the competition, a demonstration is an effective sales technique.

Demonstrations are especially useful in a B2B sales environment. Business buyers tend to base their decision-making on the measurable benefits of a product. 

Providing a demonstration at a tradeshow or similar is a good way to convince this notoriously tricky audience that what you’re selling is going to tick their boxes.

They can be filmed almost anywhere – perfect for showcasing the performance of anything from an excavator to cookware, cleaning products, and more.

Free gifts with a purchase

Free gifts work best when accompanying high-value goods that people are unlikely to buy frequently. 

Products such as high-end cosmetics, perfumes, kitchenware, jewelry, or larger purchases such as vehicles, boats, sports equipment, or similar can all seem a more attractive option when they’re accompanied by a well-chosen freebie.

When selecting a free product, it’s important to choose an item that genuinely adds value to the purchase, and that fits with the aspirations of your audience. The free gift may be something that adds to the functionality of the main purchase, or that complements it. 

As well as free gifts that are available only with the purchase of a specific product, you may also wish to offer purchasers a free option from other stock items. For example, “buy nighttime facial moisturizer X and select any daytime facial moisturizer from the range as a free gift.


Who doesn’t like something for what appears to be nothing? 

Although to consumers giveaways are an attractive method of acquisition without financial outlay, the reality is that giveaways can be a highly effective method of persuading your audience to sign up to your newsletter, leave their contact details, comment and share your social media posts or display any other desirable behavior that you want.

Giveaways not only persuade your audience to do what you need them to, they’re also a perfect opportunity to advertise your brand and raise awareness of what you have to offer.


Competitions, puzzles, and free prize draws are powerful marketing tools when used correctly. As well as traditional competitions, which are a great way of collecting data from your audience, contests can also be used to provide virtually free advertising and build brand awareness. 

Asking your audience to submit a selfie with your product displayed, for example, or requesting user feedback on how they’ve used your product can all help to boost awareness and engagement of your brand.

Contests can be successfully combined with other methods of marketing to increase their impact. For example, offering runners-up an exclusive discount on your products or combining a contest with a giveaway, can provide a high-quality participant experience that also delivers the results you’re looking for.

Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are everywhere, mainly because they’ve been shown to be highly effective in causing consumers to stick with a particular retailer.

These programs can take several different forms, including physical cards as well as online loyalty rewards. Customers may pick up “points” each time they shop, which qualify them for rewards of some sort.

Loyalty can also be rewarded by providing returning customers with exclusive discounts and other ways to save. In addition, loyal customers may enjoy non-financial benefits such as free gifts, early access to new products, invites to product launches, a treat on their birthday, or similar.

Free samples

Almost every audience responds well to the “something for nothing” message that a free sample sends. That said, free samples are a genuine opportunity to give your audience an opportunity to sample your product, to check that it meets their needs. 

For some products (particularly cosmetics, fragrances, or other non-returnable goods (industrial lubricants, oil, adhesives, fixings, etc), a free sample reduces the risk of customers discovering that your goods don’t meet their needs post-purchase.

Free samples also widen your potential audience. If you sell a high-end product, for example, a free sample allows users to see for themselves why your product is worth the price tag. 

They aren’t just about the product itself, they’re a chance to show the audience all the benefits that your brand can bring them.

Track the Performance

Now you know the promotions that you and your sales team can use in your next sales process.

Using promotions will help you increase your revenue. Also, knowing how your customers respond to specific promotions – and store the information in a CRM tool – can become useful in forecasting sales.

You can measure the responses in a Sales CRM – Customer Relationship Management Software – by comparing the conversion rates of different sales pipelines. As an example, you could add the deals to separate pipelines to compare the conversions (deas won).


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