For Business

Building promotional campaigns that can help drive sales

Best practices for creating effective promotions that boost brand awareness and drive shopper interest.


Now that the holiday season has come to a close, many online brands are focusing their efforts on the year ahead. Ecommerce businesses are now bringing their 2023 business plans to life, including strategizing ways to boost traffic and sales.

One marketing tactic that can be effective at increasing brand awareness and help boost sales is promotional marketing. Part of the storied four Ps of marketing, promotions are a way to activate multiple marketing channels to make consumers aware of your products and incentivize them to make a purchase.

Often manifesting as deals and discounts or packaged offerings, promotions can help move shoppers through the awareness, consideration, and purchasing phases of decision making. Promotions also offer ecommerce businesses a creative way to tell their brand story while enticing shoppers to complete a purchase.

There are many questions to consider when devising a promotional marketing strategy: How should I use paid advertising and organic content marketing in my promotional campaign? Do I need sponsors or influencers to generate impressions? How can I make the promotion unique for my loyal customers?

To help answer some of these questions, we identified best practices to help you build effective promotional tactics into your marketing strategy. We also curated a checklist that can help you tap into annual events when online shoppers are especially engaged, such as Valentine’s Day, back to school, and Black Friday.

  1. Review, but don’t reuse last year’s plan. A great place to start is revisiting the promotional plan that you used last year. Think about what worked and what didn’t, and find opportunities to improve your promotional strategy for the year ahead. Consider experimenting with a few different approaches so you can get useful data points to inform your approach now and in the future.
  2. Identify key holidays and events that are relevant to your brand. The first step in creating a marketing calendar for promotions is to identify the big moments, such as holidays, national observances, and events. Even though these events may happen every year, it’s good to look at them from a fresh lens. To help you identify key shopper holidays, check out these helpful helpful insights from Fast Capital 360.
  3. Consider planning your promotions around these events. Once you identify the big moments that are right for your brand, you can start planning your promotions around them. For example, you could offer a special discount on Valentine’s Day gifts or create a special Easter basket promotion. Timing is also important. If it’s a holiday centered on gifting, then it’s important to run your promotional campaign at least a week before the holiday. For shopping events like Black Friday that are time-bound, one-day promotions can create shopper urgency.
  4. Decide on the budget. Like with any marketing effort, this is an important planning step when building a promotional campaign. Although your budget doesn’t have to be set in stone, this is a good exercise to help you allocate the right financial resources for the right moments and the right products. This is also a good time to evaluate how your competitors are using promotions and identify ways to sweeten the deals and incorporate steeper discounts in your budget planning to increase the potential for shopper engagement.
  5. Consider seasonal trends. When planning your promotions, it’s important to consider seasonal trends and what shoppers might be looking for. For example, for a Spring-time promotion, adding clothes set against a backdrop of colorful flowers can increase resonance with shoppers. This is also a good time to think about cross-selling opportunities. For example, in the summer, shoppers might be interested in outdoor gear like a paddle board, so you can package swimwear in a promotion to make the deal more compelling, which can help drive additional sales.
  6. Meet your customer where they are and lean into their values. A fall 2022 survey from Piper Sandler found that TikTok is the platform of choice for teens, capturing 38% of usage share. SNAP and Instagram follow, capturing 30% and 20% of usage share, respectively. If your products appeal to this customer base, consider including these channels in your promotional marketing plan. Across channels, you can examine and use shopper segments to engage specific groups with relevant promotions.
  7. Reward customer loyalty. Building brand loyalty is becoming increasingly difficult given endless product choices available to shoppers. Make sure your promotional plan includes special incentives for your repeat and long-term customers to help you retain customers and increase sales. Not all rewards have to be monetary, though. Get creative with your rewards and experiment with tactics, such as exclusive content, early access to new releases, or invites to special events.
  8. Analyze your results. After each promotion, take the time to analyze its performance. Identifying what worked well and what didn’t is a great way to gather data points that can help you make adjustments for future promotions, so that they’re even more successful.

Creating a promotions marketing calendar and applying these best practices can help drive brand awareness, boost your sales, and build relationships with your customers. Happy promoting!

Learn how to use Buy with Prime promotions to create a winning promotional strategy for your ecommerce business.

Karina Kornacka