17 Tried & True Promotion Ideas to Boost Sales–Fast!

“How do we increase our sales?”

That’s a question every business is eager to answer! Promotions are one way to do it.

Promotions have the power to encourage existing customers to repurchase and woo new prospects to your brand. How you choose to approach promotions is up to you. There are dozens of promotion ideas that work, so you can test several throughout the year and refine your tactics to get the greatest results.

The best promotion ideas for your business

Ready to explore some tried and true sales promotion ideas? Let’s go.

1. Launch a flash sale

Limited-time offers can encourage your audience to take action. A flash sale can induce FOMO and spur them to buy before it’s too late.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Walmart offered flash deals on jewelry.

Flash sales usually have an element of surprise—they’re launched without advanced warning—and offer great bargains for a very limited time.

How you structure your flash sale is up to you. You might hold it on a specific day (like a 24-hour flash sale in honor of your business’s anniversary) or at the end of a season to help move some merchandise you’d like to clear from inventory.

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2. Start a seasonal promotion

Like a flash sale, a seasonal promotion creates a sense of urgency for your audience.

Target’s “priced-right picks” are an assortment of adorable Valentine’s Day items. Image source

A seasonal promotion can be inspired by just about any timely event. You might build yours around one of these ideas:

A holiday (e.g., Halloween, Memorial Day)
A local event (e.g., your town’s annual half marathon)
An industry-specific national or international day (e.g., National Hot Chocolate Day, International Mind-Body Wellness Day)
A seasonal event (e.g., the end of Daylight Savings, back to school)

No matter what seasonal event you choose to celebrate with your promotion, see if there are ways to tie your offering into the event. For example, your Leap Day Sale might feature a 29% discount on all purchases.

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3. Offer BOGO deals

Buy one, get one deals can be a win for you and your customers. Starting a BOGO sale promotion when you’re trying to clear out seasonal inventory can move those items twice as fast. Meanwhile, customers enjoy steeper discounts than they might ordinarily see at your store.

If you don’t want to include all of your inventory in your BOGO offer, you can limit the items that fall under the promotion. A bar, for example, might offer BOGO deals on draft beer and well drinks only.

4. Conjure up a mystery discount sale

Sometimes, the element of surprise can inspire your audience to stop scrolling and pay attention to your promotion.


Consider designing your promotion to embrace a little bit of mystery. Create a website popup inviting visitors to spin the wheel to get a discount on their next purchase. Or send an email to your subscribers with a “scratch off” deal where they can click a black box and reveal a promo code for your site.

Combine this mystery discount with a limited time in which they may use it to tap into that sense of urgency and encourage a purchase.

📚 Free guide >> 25 Ways to Increase Website Traffic

5. Host a social media contest or giveaway

Who doesn’t love a social media contest? These promotion ideas can create an online buzz and help you expand your audience online.

Giveaways that encourage your followers to tag friends in the comments as part of entry introduce you to second-degree connections.

Contests that invite people to vote for their favorite entrants encourage those contestants to share their posts with friends to drum up support.

Either way, you are casting a wider net with your social media presence.

6. Design a rewards or loyalty program

Showing your loyal customers a little bit of love is a way to reinforce your relationship. Why not offer a promotion as part of your rewards or loyalty program?

There are several ways to structure it. Some businesses offer points for every dollar spent, which customers can redeem on future purchases. Other brands keep it simple with a punch card that rewards customers on every X visit with a free item or percentage off that purchase.

7. Establish a referral program

Your best future customer just might be one who knows a current customer. Studies have shown that customers who come to a business via referral are more loyal and have a 16% higher average value than those who find it through other channels.


Starting a referral program can help you tap into your current network of happy customers to meet new people who will come to know, like, and trust your brand. A formal program with an incentive can help get your referral engine purring.

8. Offer an influencer marketing discount code

Social media influencers have been around for a while now, but in the era of TikTok, their power only grows. Partnering with an influencer to promote your product can be a great way to tap into an existing community of people passionate about your field.

For example, a makeup brand partnering with a makeup influencer doesn’t have to worry whether the influencer’s audience will care about its product. These people have self-selected to follow an account dedicated to makeup information and tips. That’s the brand’s dream audience!


If you’re worried that influencer marketing is only for the big brands, you can put that fear to rest. Micro-influencers are an affordable, effective, and accessible channel for small businesses. And when you create a discount code for each influencer you work with, you can track the ROI of your investment.

9. Create promotions for event attendees

Attending, sponsoring, or hosting an event requires a significant marketing investment. To make the most of the time and money you put in, you want your event to continue to pay dividends after it’s over.

Designing a promotion specifically for those you meet at the event is a great way to maintain contact with those individuals. Collect email addresses for event attendees and send a follow-up email. In it, you can thank them for attending or visiting your booth and offer a discount code or special offer as a token of your gratitude.

10. Promo partnerships with another business

With promotional ideas, sometimes two is better than one. Partnering with another local business to create a promotion can be mutually beneficial. You introduce each other to your respective audiences and expand the power of your offer by giving your audience access to both of your brands.


Creating a winning promotion with another business is about finding synergy. What partnership would help you both maximize your powers? A local brewery might make a beer that pairs perfectly with a pizzeria’s signature pie—on tap for a limited time, only at the pizza shop.

11. Send out direct mail offers

Direct mail may seem old school, but it remains a highly effective marketing tactic, even among younger generations. A study from the USPS found that 72% of Gen Z respondents look forward to receiving mail, and 38% of them visited a website after getting a mailer.

For local businesses, direct mail is a powerful way to greet your neighbors with promotions and offers at home. It’s fun to get creative with direct mailers, but the offer can be as simple as a coupon on the card you send!

12. Use paid marketing for targeted offers

Some sales promotion ideas do best with advertising spend to back them up. Paid marketing is a great way to ensure you greet the right person with the right offer at the right time.

TD Bank runs display ads for its promotional offer for new checking customers. This one was spotted in the New York Times.

There are many paid digital channels to try. Paid social, search engine marketing, or display ads can all help you get the word out about your promotional offers.

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13. Donation promotions

Doing good is always a positive. Not only does it feel good, it shows your customers your caring side and makes them feel better about doing business with a kindhearted brand.

Promotional ideas that allow you to give back can be a win for everyone: your team, your brand, your customers, and those you give to. Consider designing a promotion that rewards giving back, like a food drive before the winter holidays. When customers bring in canned goods, you offer them a percentage off their purchase.

14. Build promos around trends

There’s always something new trending on the internet. Why not build your sales promotion ideas around the latest and greatest to capitalize on the buzz?

The list of internet trends is ever-changing. The key here is to act quickly in designing your promotion to get your offer out there while the hype is still cresting. The easiest way to do that is to find one that’s a natural fit for your brand.

This vintage store built a social post around the “mob wife aesthetic” trend.

15. Thank customers for their feedback

Are you looking to build up your online reviews? Consider offering a promotion as a thank you to someone writing a review on your website.

Follow up with new customers, asking them to review their purchases. When they share their thoughts, you’ll give them a thank-you percentage off to use next time.

Just be careful to disclose that those reviews are incentivized, and be cautious about where you employ this tactic. Some sites (like Yelp) do not allow businesses to solicit reviews.

16. Do “on the street” promotion

Another way to make an impact with your promotion is to take it to the streets! A classic example is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, which has been on the road since 1936, demonstrating the power of this promotional idea.

Get out into your community, trumpet your brand, and offer giveaways or discount coupons to those you meet. To get extra mileage from this promotion idea, take videos and photos and reshare your adventures on social media.

17. Run a larger contest or sweepstakes

Social media contests are great for building your audience and growing engagement. But if you’re looking for a way to generate even more buzz and even better–leads–then a larger contest or sweepstakes is the way to go.

A custom promotion like this can promote your business by attracting potential customers for a big, exciting prize. They get the opportunity to win something great and you get their contact information so you can follow up with them and nurture them through the funnel.

By promoting your contest or sweepstakes across channels, like on social media, with display ads, and through email marketing, you can get your business in front of an expanded audience.

Find the right promotion ideas for your business

With so many tactics to try, you can run several promotions throughout the year to see what works best for your business. Test different approaches, measure your results, and note the successful ones you want to refine further.

Most importantly, have fun! Promotions should be exciting for you and your audience. You get to generate more sales while your customers get access to deals. What’s not to love?

The best promotion ideas for your business:

Launch a flash sale
Start a seasonal promotion
Offer BOGO deals
Conjure up a mystery discount sale
Host a social media contest or giveaway
Design a rewards or loyalty program
Establish a referral program
Offer an influencer marketing discount code
Create promotions for event attendees
Promo partnerships with another business
Send out direct mail offers
Use paid marketing for targeted offers
Donation promotions
Build promos around trends
Thank customers for their feedback
Do “on the street” promotion
Run a larger contest or sweepstakes

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