Use these sales promotion examples and a bespoke promotional offer formula to boost engagement and drive more sales from your audience.
“Promotional offers” seems like a pretty broad term, but that’s precisely why I’m telling you about it today.
See, promotional offers can be adapted to any and every business and a nearly unlimited number of use cases.
Not only that, but they also work. Let’s look at a few key numbers.
TL;DR: Sales promotions and special offers can help you bring in more customers and keep them engaged with your brand.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Here are 20 sales promotion examples from real brands (plus a recipe for creating your own).
20 types of sales promotions and offers
Promotional offers are propositions to customers that offer a reward in exchange for specific customer behaviors.
Those behaviors can include:
Without further ado, here are examples from actual businesses you can use for inspiration as you craft your own promotional offers. Many examples take the form of promotional text messages, but you can use these kinds of offers for any medium or channel your audience prefers.
Why we love it: This text tells me a few important things very clearly:
BOGO stands for “buy one, get one,” but BOGO offers can also encompass any offer where you make a purchase to receive a free or discounted item.
If you’ve read any of my previous articles here, you know I live and breathe Halara products. Here’s a text they sent me with a tempting BOGO offer.
Why we love it: Halara gave me a more general idea of the terms of their offer as well as an extra offer below the first. That gave me multiple reasons to click. It’s also worth noting that I ended up buying two pairs of pants and a skirt from this text, so the results speak for themselves.
One of the ways you can make your SMS program even more effective is by giving your subscribers the sense that they’re getting offers no other customers have access to. This is an excellent example of that strategy.
Why we love it: Simply put, this kind of text-exclusive offer induces a strong sense of FOMO — as a text subscriber, you’re getting a unique deal, and that makes you much more likely to click through and act on it.
This is similar to the BOGO strategy we talked about but with slightly different phrasing. In this example, subscribers are being offered a free gift with their purchase.
Why we love it: People like free stuff. It’s as easy as that. Offering them a gift when they buy from you can (in my experience) help justify the cost of their purchase and even make it feel like a special occasion.
Here’s another strategy you can use to make your subscribers feel like VIPs. When We Were Young is a music festival that decided to offer its SMS contacts early access to tickets ahead of release to the general public.
Why we love it: People (myself included) are pretty desperate to get their hands on tickets to their favorite events. Getting easy access to tickets without having to beat the rest of the public to the punch is a pretty irresistible opportunity.
Holidays can be a profitable time for businesses, as folks rush to buy gifts for loved ones. This text shows that TeePublic understands that urgency.
Why we love it: TeePublic opens this text with the tantalizing offer that you can get all your holiday shopping done at the included link. They even note that purchases will ship in time for your holiday festivities.
Upselling and cross-selling involve showing your customers products they might like based on purchases they’ve made in the past. Since I’ve shopped so much with Halara in the past, they’ve honed in on pieces I’d love.
Why we love it: They showed me this selection of products as I was checking out of my last shopping spree. All these products are slight variations on pants I’ve bought previously so they were a natural choice to add to my cart. Spoiler alert: I bought the pink ones on the far right.
Anecdotally, there’s something very exciting about seeing your points rack up over time, especially where it concerns essentials like gas, as in this example from Chevron.
Why we love it: Chevron’s app makes it very easy to gain points toward gas discounts and track those points as they grow. I can also see exactly how much I’m saving on my next fill-up at any time.
It’s essential to start your relationship with your subscribers off on the right foot, and there’s no better way than with a friendly welcome text and a discount.
Why we love it: Fabric brand Spoonflower has done an amazing job here of introducing both their brand and the actual human I’m corresponding with. In this one text, they’ve given me both a discount code and an invitation to text back with any questions or issues I might have.
As shopping in person gets less popular and less convenient, online retailers are offering options to “test drive” purchases before you actually pay for them, and Amazon is a prime example (pun absolutely intended).
Why we love it: Shopping for clothes is hard to do online. You can’t try your items on or see how they’ll look, so a “try before you buy” program is a great way to make sure you’re satisfied with what you bought before you commit.
Social media giveaways come with a conversion rate of around 34%, and they tap into the “free stuff” temptation I’ve covered here. G Fuel Energy ran an excellent example recently on their Instagram.
Why we love it: This post is well-designed, clear on the details, and fun to read. At the end, I know exactly how to enter the giveaway and what I stand to gain. For an extra perk, G Fuel has made its giveaway a fun guessing game.
There are few things more disheartening than getting to the checkout screen and finding out that shipping has inflated the cost of your purchase by a lot. Given this fact, free shipping can be a big incentive on top of a good sale.
Why we love it: All the details are out in the open for subscribers to see. Plus, they’ve called attention to the fact that there’s no order minimum to qualify for the free shipping benefit.
While we’ve touched on “buy to get” promos before, I want to call attention to the specific strategy Bright Cellars used here.
Why we love it: Rather than just throwing in a standard gift with your order, Bright Cellars gives subscribers a choice as to which gift they’d like. They’ve also highlighted the worth of the gift you’re getting which helps reinforce its value.
Lifestyle discounts are offers directed specifically at certain segments of the population like veterans, students, or senior citizens.
Why we love it: While these discounts are certainly a nice benefit for folks who fit into these categories, this is also an excellent way to give back to the community and boost your reputation as a brand that cares.
Daily deals are a smart way to keep your subscribers faithfully tuned into your texts to see what the next big discount is. Outdoor brand Backcountry sends deals like these to its list every day.
Why we love it: You’ll notice that my manager Nathan (the subscriber in question) specifically opted in to receive these discounts. This means he’s more likely to take advantage when he sees a discount on a product he needs.
Everyone likes putting money back in their pockets after a purchase. Cashback promotions ensure that they can do just that.
Why we love it: Promotions like this one show two important facts to subscribers. First, the brand values its products enough to give back some of the money spent on them (with the expectation that you’ll want to buy from them again). Second, that your business is their priority, not necessarily their bottom line.
It’s important for businesses to show their commitment to positive causes. Allegiant does this by donating a portion of its proceeds from certain purchases to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Why we love it: Consumers who are focused on making a positive impact with their money are much more likely to patronize businesses that share their priorities.
Here’s one more for the “free stuff” train with the added benefit of including an actual, physical product. This is a scratcher I got in my last FabFitFun box.
Why we love it: On average, we see about 10,000 ads daily, most of them online. This promo fights that ad fatigue by giving me something I could pick up and physically interact with. That makes it very memorable.
Does anyone else remember the big wheel you could spin at Shoe Carnival? I loved that wheel as a kid. This opt-in wheel from Halara brings back those fun memories and makes giving them my information feel like a game.
Why we love it: When you ask for your customers’ personal information, you should give them something of value in return. This opt-in promo takes that principle to the next level by letting them play a game full of exciting prizes when they enter their email.
We all want to be celebrated on our birthdays (well, most of us do). That’s the aim of birthday discounts like this one from Build-a-Bear.
Why we love it: As a business, it’s a smart idea to take every opportunity to make your customers feel seen and valued. A birthday gift from you in the form of a special discount is an easy, effective way to do so.
The fact is that no two businesses will send the same promotional offers. So, although you now have some inspiration from the examples above, I’ll also give you an easy formula to create your own sales promotion.
Here at SimpleTexting, we recently introduced our PASTA framework to determine what type of text messages you should be sending.
I’m going to follow that framework up with my own: the TASTE formula.
As you craft your custom promotional offers, consider the following:
Let’s put all of those factors into an example offer. I’ll pretend I’m an e-commerce wellness brand and I want to drive more sales for the Christmas season.
All together, my promo looks like this:
SimpleTexting is promotional text messaging software
Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.More Posts from Lily Norton
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