15+ Promotion Ideas on How to Grow a Small Business

15+ Promotion Ideas on How to Grow a Small Business

Marketing and growing a small business is a challenging task all startups go through. Brands do everything in their capacity to increase their awareness and maximize their revenue. Some brands succeed but there are some that struggle to make their presence. What differentiates one brand from another is its strategy and the way they promote itself. Hence, here are some effective and out-of-the-box promotion ideas you need to try out today to grow your business.

1. Create Personalized Product Recommendations

The solution to eliminating your customer’s boredom is to make your product pages more interactive and personalized. When you do that you not only retain their interest throughout the buying process but also encourage a faster checkout.

Let’s consider some examples to understand this.

Bamford Watch Department personalized product recommendation

Bamford Watch Department, the luxury watchmaker has used the most innovative and modern product visualization software to recreate the lost art of bespoke watch-making by boutique craftsmen. They provide a wide range of customizable and personalized elements, including watch straps, dials, hands, logos, personalized initials, date wheels, and whatnot! Basically, everything can be adjusted according to your preferences.

Another example that takes pride in providing personalized and innovative experiences is Tesla.

tesla product recommendation

Tesla’s entire philosophy disrupts and challenges traditional product design approaches. It devised a way to give personalization directly to the hands of the customer. And the ability to customize a Tesla really reduces the gap between the producer and the customer.

You can move into Tesla’s visual configurator straight from their homepage. They provide a simple and easy 5-step customization process. All you need to do is choose your preferred model, the color, the interior, and whether you want to take the full self-driving option or not, and then it will redirect you to the payment gateway. The last screen shows you an image of your customized Tesla car and the price. Congrats! You own a piece of the future.

We have another excellent example of how Brickfielder, a golfing apparel company, uses interactive elements for its products. They explain the technological materials and functional design they use to create perfect golf wear for any kind of weather and wind situation.

Brickfielder product recommendation

In all three examples above, the one common thing is personalization. That is something that every customer craves. Moreover, it educates them about something which they may not have thought about otherwise.

2. Run Flash Sale Campaigns

According to Kibo Commerce, 50% of purchases happen during the first hour of the flash sale.

Flash sale is one of the most popular promotion ideas for growing e-commerce businesses that you must often come across! Through a flash sale, you can easily create a sense of urgency of time and FOMO (fear of missing out). As a result, you will not only entice bargain hunters but also be able to meet your flash sale goals, such as clearing excess inventory, getting new customers to sample you, luring loyal customers, and also retargeting people who’ve already visited your website.

Even your peers agree with this. According per reports, flash sales or deals of the day can cause a 35% average increase in transaction rates than regular promotional campaigns. If you are convinced about running a flash sale, we recommend you read this guide by Shopify. They list out practical tips that guarantee profitability and not just a momentary increase in sales.

puma flash sale campaign example


3. Hit the Bull’s Eye With Personalized Retargeting

The promotion offers that are mapped to a buyer’s persona as well as the funnel stage are highly effective. So, start segmenting your leads and send them offers that correspond to their demography, income group, preferences, past purchases, and on-site behavior.

Let’s say a new lead signed up for a discount code. After adding a couple of items, they abandoned the cart. How do you recover this lost lead?

It’s simple. You can recover them through retargeting.

You send them a reminder email or show them display or social media ads to encourage them to return and complete their purchase. We’d say go beyond the standard emails and take inspiration from these 14 abandoned cart email examples. One of them is right below.

adidas abandoned cart email example


4. Cross-sell and Open-up Your Product Inventory

When cross-selling, you’re basically recommending products that complement your customer’s primary purchase. For example, to someone who is buying a Bluetooth speaker you can easily cross-sell a case for it, or if it’s a camera then recommend a camera bag, battery, or lenses.

cross sell and upsell example


An example of a company that is excellent at cross-selling is IKEA. They have an inspiration section on their website where they not only provide recommendations on decor ideas but also open up their inventory of related items.

IKEA recommendation example

5. Provide FREE Shipping, Returns, or Exchanges

Who wants to pay an additional shipping charge? No one! According to a 2021 Consumer Trends Report, 80% of consumers expect free shipping. In fact, 48% of consumers will add extra items to their carts just to qualify for free shipping.

But providing free shipping would mean an additional cost for you. Yes, but you can actually make it profitable by doing the following:

  • Give it to members only.
  • Restrict it to an order purchase of a certain amount. It will subtly persuade them to buy more.
  • Include shipping cost in your product cost.
  • Offer it only on items with low and affordable shipping costs.
  • Think about the package box size. Yes! You can actually reduce your shipping cost just by picking the right kind of packaging.

Take a look at how Benefit promotes its free shipping offer. Customers can avail of free shipping using a promo code with no minimum order value! It is indeed an exciting offer, especially for website loyalists.

free shipping example


6. Surprise Them With Discounts and Offers

People love getting extra discounts. Use this as an incentive to increase your email subscriber database just as West Elm does (see below).

discounts and offers promotion ideas for small business


In order to make sure you don’t hurt your business by giving away discounts, you should try bundling products. The reason it will work is that you create a perception that buying a mix of products is cost-saving. Remember: your strategy should be such that you ultimately (even after a discount) bring up the average value of products.

You can also give your customers a discount in the form of a ‘buy more save more’ offer. For instance, on a purchase of more than $250, they get a 25% discount.

A limited-time discount is another brilliant way of creating a fear of missing out among people and getting them to claim this offer.

sale offers promotion ideas for small business


By the way, we also found this mystery offer on Puravida’s site quite interesting.

offers and promotion ideas for small business

7. Promote Your Bestsellers

You could be offering the best products and services, but if you don’t promote them properly, you’re likely to miss out on opportunities to showcase them in a more effective way.

When it comes to promoting the best-selling products for your business, it can seem like there are endless options. If you want to increase your eCommerce sales, then display your bestsellers across your website and promote them on your social media platforms. This will put your hot-selling products right in front of visitors so they can’t miss them. You can also run email marketing campaigns in which you can display all your hot-selling products and share them with your targeted audience.

Promoting your bestsellers across all your platforms is not only a great customer engagement strategy but it is one of the best promotion ideas to boost your online sales and increase brand awareness.

8. Collaborate With Influencers in Your Niche

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective eCommerce promotion ideas. With the help of influencers, you can expand your reach, increase brand awareness and promote your products.

61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations, compared to 38% who trust brand-produced content. 60% of marketers shared that influencer-generated content performs better and drives more engagement compared to branded posts. Also, Influencer marketing is supposed to touch $21.1 billion.

So, why not give it a fair shot? All you have to do is decide whether your budget permits you to work with mega and celeb influencers or not.

Alternatively, you could work with micro-influencers who have niche expertise and are trusted for their knowledge. The next step is picking an influencer who fits your brand.

how media influencers work


Next, you can decide on the scope of work. For instance, other than asking them to write posts, you can ask them to take over your account, and host giveaways and LIVE sessions on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. You could also ask them to create product reviews or unbox your products on social media.

9. Get as Many Reviews up on Your Website

It has been observed that 93% of consumers say that online reviews affect their purchasing decisions. Moreover, consumers are 50% more likely to be motivated by an online review than by a discount offer. Clearly, you should have as many reviews on your website as possible. It is excellent social proof. Besides, customers spend 31% more with a business that has “excellent” reviews.

reviews example as promotion ideas for small business


But how do you get people to write product reviews for you? Easy.

  • Send a simple, straightforward email asking to review the purchased product. There are many brands that ask for reviews and as a result, 25% of purchases on their websites get reviewed.
  • Ask for it through an interactive email where they review the product without having to go to the website. Here’s how MailChimp’s doubled product reviews for one of their clients are doing exactly that.
  • Reward them with some points or a coupon or a mystery offer.
  • Ask for reviews on platforms other than your website. That’s because people assess your brand activity on social platforms too.
  • Get customers to fill out surveys. You can then publish the results on your blog or social media platforms. Both ways it works as social proof that makes people take that leap of faith and buy from you!

Pro Tip: You can encourage your customers to fill out your Google Review Forms to rank higher in local searches!

10. Reward Brand Loyalists

Academic research suggests that customers are more loyal to sales promotions than brands. Does that mean you should stop thinking about your existing customer base? ABSOLUTELY NOT! You already know, acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than retaining one. So, instead of forgetting about them, we recommend you incentivize them with offers that are exclusively for them. We had discussed one of them earlier (free shipping) but you can do a lot more.

For example, give them free goodies that correspond to their previous purchases or please them with an additional discount on already discounted products, etc. You can also give them early access to new products or send special event invites. Naturally, they will talk about you in their circle. And this is a win because your loyalists are also your brand ambassadors, promoting you whenever they get a chance.

Let’s consider an example – Dunkin’ has a popular loyalty program called DD Perks Rewards. By making purchases through your DD Perks account, you accumulate points. The points you earn from your purchases can eventually be redeemed for free beverages. As part of the DD Perks program, Dunkin’ sends birthday rewards and other coupons to its members.

reward points as promotion ideas for small business


11. Leverage Referral Programs

Here’s one of the best eCommerce promotion ideas by Puravida. They use the ‘refer-a-friend’ scheme to create brand awareness and drive traffic to their e-shop. On the surface, it is basically word-of-mouth marketing. Just make sure this program link is easy to spot on your website. You can add the link to your navigation, as an exit-intent pop-up or even on the hello bar. Furthermore, make sure you explain the program in simple terms so that people actually sign-up for it.

sign up example for small business

According to the statistics, leads from referrals have a 30% higher conversion rate than the leads generated from other marketing channels.

Resource: 10 Examples of Prominent Referral Program Best Practices

12. Host Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a brilliant way to get the word out about your brand. Not only does it excite your existing customers, but also others who hear about you through social media or their friends. To further expand your reach, you can partner with other brands and leave no stone unturned to get the maximum number of people to know about it.

From photo caption ideas, a selfie with your products, and trivia to naming your yet-to-launch product, the options are unlimited. Just make sure that wherever you host the contest or a giveaway, whether, on social media or your website, you clearly specify the rules and regulations and consider the laws applicable to your country or state.

giveaway example

Let’s consider another example of a giveaway hosted by Melted Soapery.

giveaway example as promotion ideas for small business


13. Prioritize User-Generated Content

Ask yourself! What motivates you to buy a product from a website? – A photo created by a brand you follow or the one shared by a person who has used it?

Whether you are a first-time buyer or a recurring customer, you will always prioritize a video or a photo posted by a person sharing her experience of purchasing from the same website. That’s the importance of user-generated content

We are not living in a time when brands only create campaigns to promote their products with the ultimate goal of generating sales. Now, the trend has changed. Marketing is not consumer-centric and brands focus more on interactive content where they can get users to interact, engage, and advocate their marketing campaigns.

UGC as promotion ideas for small business


Social proof is the validation of trust, authenticity, and reliability of products and services that consumers provide to the brand through UGC. In today’s time, people do not trust the self-promotion of brands, rather they look for content by the brand advocates, who make promotional messages and information more reliable, amplifying user engagement and conversions. 

14. Engage With Conversational Live Chat

Many companies are spending a lot of time and money to drive traffic to their websites, but they are not putting enough focus on their marketing campaigns. Also, they think that live chat is only for support queries and fail to understand its importance for lead generation and conversion.

One of the key ways to make sure that live chat can directly support a marketing campaign is to keep the chat agents up to date with the new products, features, and benefits. The same goes for all the offers and deals. If a new sale is coming up, your chat agents should be the first ones to know, so that they can assist the prospects in a better way.

On the other hand, a conversational chatbot or a product recommendation chatbot can be utilized to provide a personalized shopping experience to your customers. You can engage your customers with simple and effective product recommendation quizzes and polls based on their buying journey. This allows them to click a few buttons and let the chatbot know what they are interested in to receive tailored product recommendations.

interactive chatbot


Let’s have a look at another example of a product recommendation chatbot by Haptik

product recommendation and product search example


15. Sell on Multiple Platforms

Selling on multiple platforms besides the website is one of the most effective promotion ideas for small businesses. There are multiple platforms and channels available to promote your products and for reaching customers. However, knowing which platform, your business should prioritize and how many platforms you sell your products on, is crucial.

A multichannel promotion strategy is a great backup plan in case your primary sales channel does not take a hit. The more places you promote or sell your product, the more people you engage with, and the more opportunities you create to make sales. This will help you increase your overall revenue potential and ROI.

Promoting your products online and positioning your business for success on multiple platforms isn’t as simple as creating an account and uploading your products. You’ll need to expand when you’re in a position to do so because brand promotions require time and money, so they should be invested strategically.

16. Offer Free Trials

TRY IT FOR FREE! This excites the customers the most.

Giving users the option of FREE trials is a great way to build trust among your customers. It also gives them time to use and analyze your product or service and make an informed decision before they commit.

Free trials reduce the financial risk for the buyers. They no longer have to submit their card details and wait for the trial period to end. This develops trust and authenticity for the brand, making it more reliable and leading to more conversions. When people decide to upgrade to a paid version, then you can offer some discounts and offers to make your customers feel special and valuable. This way, the customers will stick to your brand for future purchases.

free trials as promotion ideas for small business

Wrap Up

There you have it – 16 amazing small business promotion ideas!

In order for these promotion ideas to succeed, you must cater to the audience’s expectations and preferences by analyzing their buying journey closely. Now you have these brilliant promotion ideas to boost conversion rates, increase sales, and grow your business faster.

What now, guys? Which of these promotion ideas appealed to you the most? Do let us know in the comments section below. We would also love to hear if it worked for you.

Till then, sign up for Outgrow’s FREE Trial and create interactive content pieces in minutes to boost your online marketing game.

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