Sales promotions have been used with enormous success for decades. You can find effective ways to promote your business, no matter its size. From discount coupons to exclusive teacher specials to joint promotions of complementary businesses—there’s something for everyone. Regardless of your budget, there’s no shortage of advertising strategies for your business. Read on to learn more about sales promotions, why you should use SMS marketing, and 15 examples of creative ideas to attract more customers to your businesses through appealing marketing. 

What is a sales promotion?

A sales promotion is a short-term marketing tactic that creates urgency and increases sales. Customers often feel so emotionally tied to sales that they would rather have the best product on sale than ever pay the lowest price for a lesser item or service. Offering a sales promotion or running a flash sale are great ways to increase sales during slow seasons, days, or times when you end up overstocked or items come back in stock and the many other scenarios that businesses commonly run into.  

Why should I use text for marketing?

Email marketing has been the go-to option for years. But some businesses have caught on to the reality that, in this saturated world that gets louder every day, there’s one thing people still can’t ignore—and it’s not an email—it’s a text. Most people get so many spam emails that they can’t keep up with their email inbox. And only about 20% of emails even get opened. But 98% of texts get opened—and 95% are opened within three minutes. 

Texting’s unmatched conversion rates make it the perfect channel for your business to add to its marketing plan. It gives your business an opportunity to provide clear and concise messages that will get opened, read, and acted on. Plus, text marketing creates a two-way conversation where customers can easily respond and ask questions. 

Types of promotional messages.

There are many different types of promotional messages from which to choose. While public relations is the least expensive method for getting your business’s name out there, it’s not always the most effective or easy method. Texting, on the other hand, is both inexpensive and easy to do. Some of the best types of SMS sales promotions include flash sales, loyalty discounts, seasonal promotions, new arrivals, and birthday offers. We’ll cover all of these SMS templates—and more—below.  

15 promotional message examples to get you started.

General Promotions

Before we dive into some of the more specific types of sales promotions, take a second to think about them more generally. What is the purpose of a sales promotion? Not all types of sales promotions are going to be right for your specific business at all times. Sometimes, instead of offering a discount on a specific item, it works better to provide a more general promotion.

For example, maybe you offer a 10% discount on any product or service you offer. This can be a great way to simplify the process and take a lot of the thinking and planning out of it. Maybe you don’t have time to build out a more specific or creative sales promotion, and that’s okay. There’s a time and a place for everything. 

Example: “Take 10% off any [product or service] from now until the end of the month! Show this message at time of purchase.” 

person checking sms message

Coupons and Vouchers

Offering your customers discounts can be scary as a business owner because you don’t want to negatively impact your profits. But with the right strategy, coupons and vouchers can actually boost your profits significantly. According to VoucherCloud, 57% of shoppers say they wouldn’t have made a purchase without a coupon—and 91% say they’ll visit a retailer again after being offered a coupon. So coupons are a great way to not only encourage customers to make a purchase but also turn them into more loyal customers. 

You might be wondering—but how do I send coupons via SMS marketing? While we typically think of coupons as printed, sent through the mail, and then clipped by customers, they can take many forms digitally as well. QR codes, for example, are a great way to send digital coupons to customers. QR codes are super simple to redeem—no searching or clipping required. When QR codes first hit the scene, they required people to download an app, but now anyone can scan a QR code by simply using the camera on their mobile device making sending these mobile coupons through a digital promotional message really easy.

Example: “To redeem your 30% discount on [product or service], show the QR code below at time of purchase!” 

Flash Sales

Flash sales are similar to other types of online sales promotions but with three major differences: (1) the discount or promotion is usually notably better than what the business typically offers, (2) the time span of the sale is usually notably shorter than usual, and (3) there’s typically a limited selection of whatever is being promoted. 

Example: “Next 3 hours only! Shop our limited selection of last season’s styles: [ link ]” 

BOGO Promotions

One of the best sales promotion examples is a BOGO sales promotion. Buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promotions are a great way to incentivize customers to make a purchase. These types of promotions are typically done with lower-cost items as a way to encourage people to come into your shop or visit your website since it’s likely that they’ll purchase other items in addition to the BOGO item. 

Loyalty Program Promotions

Loyalty programs are a strategy that some businesses use to try to turn customers into customers for life. After all, acquiring a new customer often costs around 5x more than retaining an existing one.  

Example: “Join our loyalty program for exclusive offers and updates on the latest and greatest inventory as it comes in! To join, visit this link: [ link ]”

Joint Promotions

The partnership between X-Men Wolverine and Red Robin in 2013 offers an amazing example of a joint sales promotion. During the promotion, Red Robin had a limited-time-offer burger which they called the Wolverine Berseker Burger. They also served free drinks to fans who had Wolverine tickets in hand. The campaign was mutually beneficial and led to increased sales for both brands. 

These kinds of collaborations can broaden your brand’s footprint, allowing you to tap into not only your usual audience but also another brand’s audience. It familiarizes potential buyers with what you offer and increases the likelihood that those who purchase are going to convert. 

Seasonal Offerings

Seasonal promotions are a great opportunity to strike while the iron’s hot, so to speak. At certain times of the year, people have more specific, urgent needs they need to take care of. Maybe they’re doing some last-minute shopping for the Holidays or they need a special something for their special someone before Valentine’s day. The point is, seasonal promotions are a huge opportunity for your business to send a promotional message and subsequently increase sales.  

Example: “It’s getting hot out there! Get ready for that upcoming beach vacay by shopping our summer collection for the hottest deals we’ve ever offered! [ link ]”

Free Samples

 Stores such as Costco and Whole Foods give free samples to everyone regardless of whether they buy a product. Bottom line—some people like to test things before buying them. While it works best with meals (both at the supermarkets and at the farmers’ markets), it can also be used by spas and salons—with tester lotions, perfumes, or aromatherapy products. People like things they can test before buying. Promotional messaging is a great way to introduce people to new products they may not consider before and encourages new customers to buy. 

Example: “Try before you buy! This weekend only, get the chance to sample some of your favorite lifestyle products before you pull the trigger on them. See you this weekend!”

Free Shipping and Returns

Sometimes people don’t pull the trigger on making a purchase because of certain fears—the fear that they’ll make the wrong choice, or that they won’t end up loving the item enough, or that they’ll be charged unforeseen fees. As a business, you can see this as a problem or an opportunity. The truth is, it can be a major opportunity for your business to increase sales.  

Lifestyle Discounts

Lifestyle discounts are those which are eligible only for a specific demographic. Some examples include discounts for seniors, teachers, students, or veterans. This is a great way to improve customer engagement for those groups.

Example: “Did you know that we have a senior discount? Now you do! All customers over the age of 50 get a 15% discount—any day, any time. Just show your ID at time of purchase!”

New Product Lines

Everyone is looking for the latest and greatest. That’s why promotions around new product lines can be your business’s best friend. What better way to get past customers to make a repeat purchase than to give them the inside scoop on your new inventory. This approach can be a great way to enhance your loyalty program, giving your most loyal customers exclusive access to new inventory as it comes in.  

Example: “Be the first to get access to our latest [product]! We’re only sending this link to our most loyal customers, so get the latest and greatest while you can: [ link ]”

Birthday Offer

What better way to make people feel special (and make them love your business) than to celebrate their birthday with them? With the right tools, you can automate this process so that it requires almost no extra effort on your part to send birthday marketing messages. That said, there are many different ways to approach a birthday promotion, so get creative and make it unique to your business. 

Example: “Happy birthday! To celebrate, here’s a 40% off code for you to choose anything you’d like: [code]. And since nobody wants to be alone on their special day, here’s one for a friend too: [ code ]” 

Early Access

Everyone wants to feel like they’re a VIP—and everyone wants to be one of the first to get something. That’s why your customers will jump on the opportunity to get exclusive, early offers via text message. 

Example: “Want to always be the early bird? Join the [COMPANY] VIP club! There’s no charge to sign up. Just use this link: [ link ] 

looking at cellphone

New Arrivals 

New arrival promotions are sort of a combination between early access promotions and new product line promotions. What better way to get a strong start on selling your new inventory than to let people know about them through the only communication method with a 98% success rate–text message? 

Example: “Here comes the sun! And here comes our summer collection with it! Shop the new collection now (and take 10% off while you’re at it): [ link ]”

Back-in-Stock Promotion

Nothing’s worse than when the item you’re looking for is out of stock—and nothing’s better than when it finally comes back in stock. We’re all aware (maybe a little too aware) of this reality thanks to the supply chain disruptions and shortages caused by the global pandemic. So now is the perfect time for your business to take advantage of a sales promotion letting your customers know when inventory is back in stock. 

Example: “Our best-selling [product] have been sold out for months—but they’re back! Grab yours before they’re gone!” 

Send your first message in minutes.

We’ve given you just a few examples your business can use to send promotional messages to current and potential customers. The truth is, the number of ways to engage customers and promote your business is infinite! With Podium’s Free Trial, you can send your first SMS marketing promotion in no time. Check out Podium Payments to learn how to get paid faster.

Logan Wooden
Logan Wooden Product Marketing Manager, Retail

Logan Wooden is a Product Marketing professional at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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