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What is Promotional Marketing? How It Works and How to Use It

Brenda Barron

Updated October 23, 2022

What Is Promotional Marketing

Not sure what promotional marketing is? You’re not alone. But the truth is we encounter promotional marketing in our everyday lives all the time. It’s best described as the advertising and marketing that companies use to promote their products or services.

Promotional marketing can take many forms, from online ads and social media posts to in-store displays and direct mailings. Even so, there are still lingering questions about what promotional marketing is and how it can be used.

But not to worry, we’re in the business of shining some light on the subject. In this post, we’ll define what promotional marketing is and show you how to use it to boost your business.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What is Promotional Marketing?

According to SendPulse, promotional marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating and delivering messages that promote a product, service, or brand. And its goal of promotional marketing is to increase sales and drive revenue growth.

To be effective, promotional marketing must be well-planned and carefully executed. It should align with your overall marketing strategy and business goals. Additionally, it should be carefully targeted to your audience and delivered through the channels they use most.

Objectives of Promotional Marketing

The objectives of promotional marketing are to raise awareness, create interest, generate leads, and increase sales. Additionally, promotional marketing can be used to build brand equity and loyalty, drive website traffic, and boost social media engagement. Let’s review each of these in a bit more detail.

  • Awareness: The first objective of promotional marketing is to raise awareness about your product, service, or brand. This is especially important for new businesses and products that are entering the market.
  • Interest: Once you’ve raised awareness, you need to generate interest in what you’re offering. To do this, you’ll need to create compelling messages that highlight the benefits of your product or service.
  • Leads: And once you’ve generated interest, you need to convert that interest into leads. To do this, you’ll need to offer something of value in exchange for contact information, such as an ebook, white paper, or coupon.
  • Sales: The ultimate goal of promotional marketing is to increase sales. To do this, you’ll need to create messages that highlight the value of your product or service and motivate people to buy.
  • Brand Equity: In addition to increasing sales, promotional marketing can also be used to build brand equity. Brand equity is the perceived value of your product or service. It’s what people think of when they hear your brand name. To build brand equity, you’ll need to create messages that differentiate your product or service from the competition and highlight its unique value proposition.
  • Loyalty: Promotional marketing can also be used to build brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is when customers prefer your product or service over the competition and continue to buy from you over time. To build brand loyalty, you’ll need to create messages that highlight the benefits of your product or service and create a sense of trust and confidence in your brand.
  • Website Traffic: Driving website traffic is another objective. To do this, you’ll need to include a call-to-action (CTA) in your messages that directs people to your website. Your CTA should be clear and concise, and it should offer something of value, such as an ebook, white paper, or coupon.
  • Social Media Engagement: Promotional marketing can also be used to boost social media engagement. For this objective, you’ll need to include CTAs in your messages that direct people to your social media pages. And you should use hashtags and other strategies to promote your content on social media.

Different Types of Promotional Marketing

With your objectives in mind, you can begin to plot a course forward with promotional marketing. The best approach for your business will depend on your products, services, target audience, and goals, of course.

Some common types of promotional marketing include:

  • Advertising: Advertising is a paid form of promotion that uses paid media to deliver your messages. Paid media includes television, radio, print, and digital advertising.
  • Publicity: Publicity is a free form of promotion that uses earned media to deliver your messages. Earned media includes news stories, press releases, and media coverage.
  • Personal Selling: Personal selling involves face-to-face interactions with potential customers. It can be used to generate leads, close sales, or build relationships.
  • Sales Promotions: Sales promotions are short-term incentives that are used to increase sales. They can take many different forms, such as coupons, discounts, competitions, and freebies.
  • Public Relations: Public relations is a strategic communications discipline that is used to build relationships with key stakeholders, such as customers, employees, investors, and the media.
  • Direct Marketing: Direct marketing is a form of promotion that involves delivering messages directly to potential customers. It can be used to generate leads, close sales, or build relationships.
  • Event Marketing: Event marketing uses live events to deliver your messages and build relationships with potential customers.
  • Influencer Marketing: As you might expect, influencer marketing is a form of promotion that uses endorsements from influencers to deliver your messages and build relationships with potential customers.
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Lastly, word-of-mouth marketing uses the power of recommendations to deliver your messages and build relationships with potential customers.

No matter what type of promotional marketing you choose, it’s important to create messages that are targeted, relevant, and engaging. You should make sure that your promotional campaigns are aligned with your overall marketing strategy.

Promotional Marketing Looks Different Across Industries

It’s good to note that you can do promotional marketing for a variety of different industries. And how that’s executed can look different depending on that industry. Here are a few examples:

  • Restaurants: Promotional marketing for restaurants might include discounts on food, special menus, or exclusive events.
  • Retail Stores: Retail stores can offer sales, discounts, coupons, or in-store events.
  • Online Stores: eCommerce stores can engage in promotional marketing by having sales, offering discounts and coupons, and running fun social media campaigns.
  • Service Businesses: Those in service industries can offer similar deals, discounts, coupons, or special offers.

Strategies for Implementing Promotional Marketing for Your Business

Now that we’ve gone over some examples, let’s discuss some promotional marketing strategies you can try.

Launch an Advertising Campaign

Advertising is a great way to reach a large audience with your messages. When launching an advertising campaign, it’s important to choose the right channels and create ads that are targeted, relevant, and engaging.

Start a Publicity Campaign

Publicity is a great way to generate buzz and build relationships with potential customers. When starting a publicity campaign, it’s important to choose the right channels and create messages that are newsworthy, interesting, and exciting.

Organize a Personal Selling Event

Personal selling is a great way to generate leads and close sales. You’ll need to choose the right location, create a sales script, and train your employees on how to sell your products or services for such an event to be effective.

Create a Sales Promotion

Sales promotions are a great way to increase sales in the short-term. When creating a sales promotion, it’s important to choose the right type of promotion, set a budget, and create an offer that is too good to refuse.

Develop a Public Relations Strategy

Public relations is a great way to build relationships with key stakeholders. When developing a public relations strategy, it’s important to choose the right channels, create messages that are positive and newsworthy, and build relationships with the media.

Launch a Direct Marketing Campaign

Direct marketing is a great way to reach potential customers directly. When launching a direct marketing campaign, it’s important to choose the right channels, create messages that are targeted and relevant, and track your results so you can optimize your campaign.

Work with Influencers

When working with influencers, it’s important to choose the right people to create messages that are targeted and relevant, and build relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Encourage Word-of-Mouth Marketing

When encouraging word-of-mouth marketing, you need to create messages that are compelling and interesting, and make it easy for customers to share your messages with their friends. Doing so can pay you back in dividends. According to research conducted by Wharton University of Pennsylvania, customers that have been referred to your company by a friend have a 16% higher lifetime value.

Launch a Social Media Campaign

As of 2021, 4.6 billion people were using social media according to Statista. Which means building a campaign on social media is well worth the effort.

How many people use social media? (Statista)
Source: Statista

Your social campaign could involve creating compelling content, running ads, or working with influencers. But what’s most important is that your social media campaign is well-planned and targeted to your audience.

Here are some tips for launching a successful social media campaign, which are similar to the steps you need to take to launch a promotional campaign in general:

  1. Define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your social media campaign? Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  2. Research your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your campaign? What platforms do they use? What kind of content do they respond to?
  3. Choose the right platform. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can choose which social media platform or platforms will work best for your campaign.
  4. Create compelling content. Your social media content should be eye-catching, creative, and relevant to your audience.

Create Content

This could involve writing articles, creating videos, starting a podcast, or developing infographics. Creating any kind of content around your brand can help to promote your products, yes, but also build your voice in the industry as a trusted brand authority. Investing in content for promotional marketing is time-consuming but can be well worth it. In fact, according to Wyzowl, 87% of respondents said creating videos helped to increase their website traffic.

Increasing traffic with video (Wyzowl)
Source: Wyzowl

Develop a Loyalty Program

This could involve offering discounts, rewards, or special perks to customers who purchase from your store frequently. Take Starbucks, for instance. Their Starbucks Rewards program offers benefits to customers who make purchases from Starbucks with the Starbucks app. After downloading the app and signing up, you earn bonuses, perks, and prizes just for paying for coffee with the app, which is a nice deal for regular customers who wind up feeling more valued by the company.

Starbucks rewards
Source: Starbucks Rewards

There are endless possibilities when it comes to promotional marketing. The important thing is to choose the right strategy for your business and make sure your messages are targeted, relevant, and engaging. If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to generating leads and closing sales.

How to Write a Promotional Marketing Plan

Now that you know what promotional marketing is and have some examples to keep in mind, it’s time to start planning your own promotional marketing campaign. Here’s how to get started:

1. Define Your Goals

What do you hope to achieve with your promotional marketing campaign? Do you want to generate leads, close sales, or build relationships? Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start to develop your strategy.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Who do you want to reach? What are their demographics? What are their interests? Knowing your target audience will help you develop messages that are relevant and engaging. You can use social media listening tools and conduct competitor analysis to hone in on your audience.

3. Choose Your Channels

What channels will you use to reach your target audience? Social media, email, direct mail, events, or influencer marketing? Once you’ve chosen your channels, you can start to develop your content.

4. Create Your Content

What type of content will you create? Blog posts, videos, infographics, or ebooks? Make sure your content is relevant, engaging, and aligned with your goals.

5. Set a Budget

How much will you spend on your promotional marketing campaign? Will you invest in advertising? Make sure to set a realistic budget that you can stick to.

6. Track Your Results

Once you’ve launched your campaign, it’s important to track your results. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not, and optimize your campaign for better results.

Why Wait to Start a Promotional Marketing Campaign?

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to developing a promotional marketing campaign that is successful. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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Brenda Barron

Brenda Barron is a journalist and copywriter from Southern California. She specializes in WordPress, tech, business and contributes to sites like Kinsta, WPMU DEV, Envato, and Torque. When not writing all the things, she’s spending time with her family.

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