Step Right Up! Everything You Need to Know About Promotion Marketing

by Cydney Hatch October 18, 2018

Have you ever been to a circus or carnival? If you have, you might be familiar with the shouts of an attraction barker.

Attraction “barkers” are individuals who attempt to attract patrons to entertainment events by describing attractions of the show and emphasizing variety, novelty, beauty or some other feature believed to incite people to attend.

“Right this way, Ladies and Gentlemen, right this way!”

“Come and see the ONE and only…”

“Freaks! Live! Dead! SEE THEM NOW!”

“Don’t be afraid to step right up!”

“Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore”

Statements like the above, or variations of them, are perfect examples of the inciting messages created to draw in viewers and getting them to act. Although we are not promoting bearded women, the fastest gunslingers in the world or a 5-eyed frog, we as marketers make the same call to action for our businesses through something called promotion marketing.

So, if you want to work the magic of messaging and promotion, don’t be afraid to step right up! Welcome to the miraculous world of promotion marketing!

In this article, we will discuss what promotion marketing is and everything you need to know about it to help your business become the main attraction!

What is Promotion Marketing?

Circus barkers have to compete with other distractions during carnivals and circus crowds like blinking lights, loud music, smells of popped popcorn, exotic animals and roller coasters with screaming riders.

Similarly, your messages as a marketer has to be heard above the thousands of distractions: plagued email lists, frequent digital ads, pop ups and media of all kinds. Everyone is fighting for the eyes of potential customers.

That is why understanding promotion marketing is so important: it makes you a successful “business barker!”

So, with that said, promotion marketing is a business marketing strategy designed to inspire a potential customer to take a certain action towards a buying decision. Promotion includes many techniques that encourage potential customers to engage like:

  • Contests: We all enjoy winning something for free. Contests offer an attractive marketing action to acquire new clients and create awareness.
  • Discounts: Over 76% of the population use coupons, according to the Promotion Marketing Association (PMA) Coupon Council. Coupons still work and provide an affordable marketing strategy for any business.
  • Free Products Exchanges: Exciting customers with free stuff in exchange for personal information and subscriptions is a great way to get sales and to dip into potential customer’s demographics and personal contact.
  • Sampling: From giving people the first downloadable chapter to a book, free samples of shampoo or other products to even free audits/services, samples entice anyone to desire more of something. Costco makes us all want to buy many of the free samples we try no? (Those dang dried mangos!)
  • Social Media Posts: People love sharing their thoughts and opinions. They even like participating in polls and surveys. Social media content can be an easy way to educate and engage with potential customers.

Like these techniques, any many more, the goal of any promotion marketing campaign is to raise awareness about a product and increase its likelihood of purchase just like a Circus barker wants you to view their “worlds strongest man!”

Promotion marketing has the advantage of being valuable to old and new customers as it offers a reason to try the products and services for the first time but can also build loyalty in existing customers.

If you want to learn ways your customers, young and old can connect with you, let’s take a look at essential elements and techniques you must try to draw people into your business.

Elements  & Techniques For Successful Promotional Marketing

Before we get into the nitty gritty, it is important to ask yourself the following questions before executing a promotion marketing campaign:

  • What is the purpose and what do we want out of this promotion? Are you planning to collect names as leads or discount an item as a loss leader to get more customers?
  • Who is the target audience for your promotional campaign?
  • What incentive works best for your target audience? Discounts, contests, giveaways?
  • What is your available budget and what promotional marketing techniques will you need to incorporate into the budget?
  • What are your promotion marketing metrics for success?
  • Is your promotion in compliance with State and Federal laws? So they comply with social media regulations depending on the platforms you choose?

Elements of Promotion Marketing

Now that we have those covered, let’s take a look at some of the promotion elements and techniques you can use!

Catchy Slogans & CTAs

Scripting is your secret attraction!

With any content, your business needs to put down exactly what you want the potential customer to take away. Why? Like a carnival talker, if you say too much, you bog down the whole pitch and you lose the reasoning. Hone your call to actions and slogans down to the essentials that creatively inspired customers to learn more.

Kill words and really make your call to actions clear paired with amazing visuals/photos:

  • Do you want them to download a chapter of your new eBook as a sample?
  • Are you wanting them to subscribe?
  • Do you want them to enter into a contest?
  • Are you wanting them to like you on Facebook?
  • Do you want them to purchase something at a certain time to get a discount?

Like a circus barker, you need to not fall in love with your words.  If you overdo it, you can make it a chore for your target audience to understand what you want them to do and what your business is about. Be creative and punchy!

Think of Your Target Audience

You know who your current customers are and hopefully, you know who you are trying to target. So, whether it is a particular campaign, initiative or event, it is so important to know your target audience before choosing your promotion marketing strategies and products.

If you provide content, products and services your target audience is actually interested in, everyone wins! Your money goes to great use gaining brand awareness/ROI as well as your audience getting stuff they are interested and deemed as “valuable.”

Do not throw your promotions out to people who do not care about your type of business of products. You will waste money, time and effort! Map out your audience with buyer personas and other marketing plans!

Consider the Logistics 

Before you start channeling efforts and money into any business promotion, you need to determine the “who, what and how.”

WHO: Target audience

WHAT: Content or Products/Services

HOW: What marketing channels and fulfillment processes do you need?

Each promotion may have a different audience in mind, but more than that, you need to understand how will these products be distributed and how they will get to your target audience.

  • Is that through Facebook, Instagram or other social paid advertisements?
  • Is it through direct mail marketing?
  • Is it through a webinar or IGTV video?

Once you figure out the best way to reach your target audience, make sure your promotional products/services fit the marketing plan and actions you want audience to take.

For example, a bulky, t-shirt might not be the best choice for a conference. People probably won’t want to carry it around all day and most times, people travel light for these things. Another digital example is, it doesn’t really make sense to have an eBook download that is not compatible for all digital reading devices and is not mobile friendly!

Think about what makes sense and plan the logistics for how these promotions can work into a longer term marketing plan!

Promotion Marketing Metrics

Like any marketing strategy, you need to have set metrics in place to gauge a marketing effort’s success. Promotional lift is one of the most important when it comes to promotion marketing.

Promotional lift is the sales increase percentage from a promotional campaign.

Promotional lift is measured by calculating the % change in sales or traffic between a regular (non-promotional) time frame for the business versus a the promotional time period.

Here is the 2-step formula:

  • Increase = New Number – Original Number
  • % increase = Increase ÷ Original Number × 100.

The three metrics to simply look for in a promotional lift calculation are:

  1. Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors to a website who resulted in a sale.
  2. Engaged conversion rate: the percentage of on-site visitors who interacted with a promotion and completed a purchase.
  3. The % change between those two numbers: the difference between a normal visitor’s rate of conversion as opposed to the rate of conversion of a visitor who interacts with a promotion.

Just like those three things you also might want to see how engagement change, traffic numbers and following numbers. If you cannot translate it, it will not be sustainable nor helpful to your business!

Legal Protections

There are several laws governing what is a legal promotion and what is not. Any business or brand interested in promotional marketing should know the following:

  • It is illegal in the United States to increase the price of a product to compensate for the cost of a promotional item referred to as “free.”
  • It is illegal in the United States to charge a fee to enter a contest or sweepstakes, which is why we often hear the phrase “no purchase necessary.”
  • Some states have laws limiting or prohibiting promotions that involve alcohol, tobacco, or any other controlled substance.

Also, be sure to look at limitations social media platforms have when it comes to promotions. Many times, you will be blacklisted if you break rules so know ahead of time what you can and cannot do!

Techniques of Promotion Marketing

There are a variety of ways to set up and use promotion marketing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Promotion Giveaways

One of the most proven and effective uses of promotional marketing is with giveaways. People are naturally drawn to the lure of big prizes and free stuff, so these two options are great ways to gain attention to your marketing campaigns without having to give promotional items to a broad spectrum of people.

For example, if you are an accounting business that manages personal and company profiles, you can give away a budgeting consultation to people who like your promotional social media post and comment their friends and family into the entry as well!

Giveaways and sweepstakes get people excited and involved in your brand and business.

Social Media Leads & Promotion

When dealing specifically with digital promotion marketing, social media is a great place to start all of your promotional content and traffic.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are among the go-to sites for awesome marketing campaign leads. These sites have already targeted customers and have already placed them into a niche for you—all you have to do is entice them with a promotion and your promotional marketing campaign will be a success.

Paid promotion, specifically paid social, is also an excellent way to target people who are specifically interested in your business, message and might even involve people who already interact with your social pages.

Retargeting paired with paid promotions not only increases your chance of reclaiming a missed conversion, but it also helps to foster brand loyalty by providing useful content based on their past interactions with your business. Even advertising content over native or display ads can help to increase brand recall for customers who come across your website in future searches. Only now, they’ll think of your brand as a bit of an authority because they’re already familiar with your brand.

Before undergoing a paid promotion strategy, it’s key to have your goals outlined. These can include increasing followers of your social pages generating more conversions on your website or signing up for blog subscriptions.

Paying to promote your content across all channels is a good way to better connect with your target audience.

Video Content

The statistics around video marketing are truly staggering:

Video across the board in marketing performs well if you create quality and valuable content. You can simple create GIFs of create short and punchy videos that peak potential customer’s interests in a given giveaway, product or sale! Video is more engaging than written content so the likelihood of content being seen is greater, therefore, leading to more sales or engagement depending on your goal.

At Disruptive, we know a thing or two about successful video production. If you want to read an amazing article about everything you need to know about promotional video production click here.

Ta-Da! Promotion Marketing Done Right

Though the word “promotional” may be associated with a more short-term marketing strategy but it should always be used thoughtfully in a long-term marketing campaign.

This strategy of building on the success of other campaign elements helps create excitement about what businesses and brands are doing and easily helps potential customers take action. Just like a circus barker leads people to learn more about a certain event, you too can create buzz around your products, services, events and more!

If you want help on ringing up some new clients using successful promotions, reach out to me here! Together, we can be the business ring-leaders to make it happen!

What do you think? How does promotion marketing fit into your campaigns? How can you use them creatively? Comment below and share your thoughts! 

  • Ecommerce

  • Marketing

Cydney Hatch

Cydney Hatch

Cydney is a polka dot wearing business owner, photographer, cupcake enthusiast and writer, who through her work, shares her personal passions about visual marketing, branding and business strategy.

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