The #1 Key to Killer Promotions


Promotions are everywhere. It seems like whatever you or your business needs, you can find a promotion to receive it. Free this, half-off that, limited-time offers are everywhere. They’re so prevalent that many business owners feel pressured to hold a promotion or event to be competitive.

But having a promotion just for the sake of it is pointless. You’ll end up being disappointed with the results.

The #1 key to having a successful promotion is simple – have a goal in mind. Much like the Duct Tape Marketing philosophy of strategy before tactics, you must have a strategy or a goal for every promotion you execute.

What Do You Hope To Achieve?

You must have a goal in mind for every promotion. This can be something as simple as generating more leads or getting more names on your email list. It can be more complex like trying to move inventory to make room for more shipments, or drawing more people into your store.

For example, try offering a free eBook in exchange for email addresses. Those addresses are valuable because you can use them to promote your other paid services and products, and these customers have already shown interest in your product and your expertise.

If your goal is simply to move inventory, a cost reduction may be in order, but with proper promotion this can also help draw new customers in. You see this all the time with car dealerships as they try to move last year’s cars to make room on the lot for newer models

Analyze The Cost

Every promotion has a cost. There are four types of promotional costs:

  1. Potential revenue – sales, cost reductions, etc.
  2. Time – promotional content such as eBooks or other valuable content that takes time to create
  3. Purchases – gifts or prizes, the cost of which comes out of your pocket
  4. Reciprocity – gifts or prizes provided by strategic partners that will need to be reciprocated. You’ll want to consider what you’re offering them in return.

Be sure to analyze all of the potential costs of a promotion before executing. You want to weigh the costs with the value of what you are getting in return. Price promotions work because they result directly into sales, so the loss of revenue is worth it. The car dealership above gets the added benefit of making room for new products.

Have a Way to Measure Results

The final consideration you must make before beginning a promotion is simple: you must install a way to measure results. Cost promotions are easier than most, just set a goal of how many products you want to sell. Others can be trickier, especially if you just want to get customers in the door.

I’d suggest having a plan for tracking your promotion, whether it be simply asking a customer “How did you hear about us?” at the point of sale or using special promo codes or coupons based on the outlet customers may find them. At the very least, be sure to track your sales or lead numbers prior to the promotion so you can compare to your numbers during the event.

You must be able to evaluate whether or not your promotion is worth it or not after the fact. 

Promotions are important for any business, but you must have a strategy before giving something away. This is the #1 factor to your promotion’s success.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

Weekend Favs August Twenty Nine

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr or one that I took out there on the road.

labor day

Good stuff I found this week:

Notablist – Search engine of over 4 million newsletters for design inspiration

DoSocial – New tools to manage and automate social media activity

SocialSearch – service that monitors your competitors and sends daily email of potential customers

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