8 Types of Promotional Methods that Guarantees Marketing Success

September 25th, 2018

So, you decided it's time to use a sales promotion to promote your latest product or service with the best offer you will ever give to prospects.

You design a colorful template in Canva, fire up the Twitter account, and allow the Twitter birds to deliver your promo to the masses of people, who should not dare miss this once in a lifetime deal.

You sit back, wait, watch, and then realize that it was a big-time flop. One retweet, and two likes, one each from you! So, mission abort?

Well, not so fast. There are eight different promotional methods for you to use in your marketing strategy.

And in this post, I will cover all eight, explain their benefits, advantages, and provide examples. Enjoy!

 Promotional Methods that Guarantees Marketing Success

Personal Selling Promotions

Businesses that use people to sell products or services after a face to face interaction is referred to as personal selling. 

The person, often referred to as a salesman or woman, sales associate, or sales representative will use product knowledge, a high persuasive attitude, and professional appearance to bring awareness, answer questions, and move interested prospects towards a purchase.

In some cases, a business only uses personal selling as a way to bring awareness to their product or service.

Often, personal selling requires a pre-rehearsed script that allows the salesperson to deal with rebuttals and frequently asked questions. The three most common types of personal selling are: 

  • Retail Selling
  • Business to Business Selling
  • Telemarketing


An salesperson selling golf clubs using personal selling as a promotional method


The importance of personal selling is often seen in small businesses that sell high-end, or complex products and services, particularly in B2B.

But personal selling is alive and well in every industry from cosmetics, jewelry, appliances, pharmaceuticals and more.

Some major companies only hold a strong market share due to effective personal selling. Your Article Library listed a few benefits of personal selling:

  • Allows for 2 way communication
  • Gives the customer personal attention
  • A detailed demonstration of products 
  • The salesperson can receive immediate feedback
  • Flexibility in selling methods
  • Chance to improve company image or misconceptions about a product or service


Advantages of personal selling include the ability to grab the customers' attention straight away, customer relationship development, and greater persuasiveness.

Disadvantages include the numbers of customers you can reach, as well as expenses like labor and displays.

General Advertising Promotions

Unlike personal selling, general advertising can give a bigger customer reach but does not seek a direct response. This promotional advertising is broad and does not target a specific group.

General advertising is expensive more often than not but aims to create brand or product awareness over a longer period.

General advertisements like commercials can be rotated and reused by companies for a long time. This allows for familiarity with customers and reduces the cost of having to produce new ads.

One example is Allstate, and Mr. Mayhem played by Dean Winters. They effectively rotate commercials while delivering the same message to a wide audience.

This allows potential clients to recall their brand when it comes time to make insurance decisions.


Mr. Mayhem driving commercial as a general advertising promotional method

Allstate uses rotating Mayhem commercials to create brand awareness


 General advertising can work for any and all products and services, in every industry. The only question is which forms will produce the best results.

Ever hear Shark Tank judges arguing whether a product is a good fit for an info-commercial. Television ads, radio ads, billboard ads are your typical general advertising strategies.


Shark Tank judges disagreeing over a promotional method

Shark Tank judges will disagree over which general advertising promotional methods work best for a specific product 


Direct Marketing Promotions

Direct marketing is most likely the only promotional method used by every business, whether by a freelancer, or enterprise.

Direct marketing differs from general advertising in which it usually involves physical marketing materials, and does not involve advertisements placed over the radio, Internet, or television.

It is also more targeted and easier to control cost.

Popular direct marketing methods include email, fliers, text messaging, catalogs, local magazines, leaving business cards around town, and door hangers or mailers.


Door hanger advertisement used as a promotional method

Door hanger advertising via Vistaprint


Advantages of direct marketing include direct targeting, the ability to optimize your marketing budget, and the ability to customize or personalize your promotion.

Sending personalized marketing materials directly to consumers can help businesses build customer loyalty.

Your direct marketing strategy should prompt reactions from your target audience, and be measurable and ethical.

For example, email marketing has received a bad wrap due to spammer's who send unwanted sales emails.

Spammers buy email list from companies and send emails in bulk, hoping to receive as little as a 5 percent response rate.

Although spam can work, it takes a targeted approach to not come off as annoying or unethical. 


Sales Promotions 

Sales promotions aim to increase customer demand, improve market availability, or stimulate market demand for a limited time using both media and non-media marketing communications.

Provided that the promotion adds value or is a great incentive to the customer, product interest, trials, or purchases are the most likely result.

Sales promotions focus on a target audience, may take many forms, and be directed at customers, employees, vendors, and other businesses.

Designed as a short-term strategy to boost sales, it is not wildly viewed as a way to build lasting customer loyalty.   

Sales promotions allow for great creativity through a prize, contest, sweepstakes, coupons, freebies, point of purchase displays, end caps, loss leaders, rebates, and loyalty programs.

Some form of discount is always present in a sales promotion.

These discounts play a role in customers purchasing decisions. Some lesser used sales promotion techniques include financing, sampling, bundling, exhibitions, and trade shows.

Sales promotion advantages include rapid sales boost, and the ability to encourage customers to sign up for trials, while disadvantages include the short-term effect, and customers expecting and anticipating future promotions.

One such sales promotional tool that we have used before is PromoSimple. With PromoSimple you can create a custom designed contest, sweepstakes, and giveaways.


Promo simple contest maker as a promotional method

Photo via PromoSimple


Public Relations Promotions

A public relations promotion needs to be considered carefully, and created strategically, to ensure the right message is communicated the right way, at the right time, to the right audience.

This will involve research on your part if you want to achieve your goals. The difference between a public relations promotion and a sales promotion is strictly financial. There is no money exchanged in a PR promotion.

When planning a PR promotion, your first steps will be to identify your audience. Keep in mind you might have more than one which would require a different approach to each.

Targeting a pharmacy, for example, your message should differ from the RX staff vs the front end employees.

Next, ensure there are no more than three main messages throughout your promotion. And last, know your desired goals and objectives and make sure they are measurable.

Your public relations promotion strategy could include a local newspaper that publishes your press releases, speeches, special events, mobile marketing, or setting up a social networking fan page.

News, however, is going to be your best public relations promotion tool.

The goal of any public relations promotion is talking about something good your business has done, to help establish and maintain a positive image in the public eye.


Examples of public relations used as a promotional method

photo via slideplayer.com



Sponsorship Promotions

When a company pays to be associated with a specific event, they are sponsorship advertising.

Sponsorship promoting can often be linked to public relations depending on how your marketing department is set up.

Small businesses may decide to promote their logos on water bottles, and pens, while bigger brands seek a billboard sponsorship as their medium.

For example, companies target major sports teams and leagues because of the sheer number of attendees per event, and the number of events per given year.


Sponsors for sports leagues as a promotional method

photo via marketstratgies.com


If you decide to have sponsored promotions as part of your marketing strategy first decide what it is you want to achieve.

Without specific, measurable, objective goals, you'll have a hard time knowing the effectiveness of your sponsorship. Here, are five tips from David Saef on traditional sponsorship practices:

  1. Be original
  2. Engage the Audience
  3. Target Specific Groups
  4. Gather Intelligence
  5. Own the Conversation

Susan Friedman's "Learn How Sponsorship Is A Key to Powerful Marketing" bring us these fine advantages of sponsorship promoting:

  • Helps how your business is perceived by your target audience
  • Builds brand awareness for much less than general advertising
  • Allows you to showcase the attributes of your product while making sales
  • Creates word of mouth marketing through event attendees
  • Heightens the visibility of your products and services while widening your exposure in both the electronic and print media.
  • Plays a role in creating differentiation among competitors
  • Gives your business the good guy role, one that supports the community helps economic development and creates goodwill.
  • Generate new leads by those interested in your products and services



Digital Promotions 

Digital promotions are powerful, and in this day and age, it's even more important for every business to dive into the action.

Digital promotions can grab the attention of your audience, and effectively push them towards purchases and trials conveniently.

The cost of digital promotions may vary, but any size business, regardless of budget, can see success.

These promotions are often seen through news feeds on mobile devices, or while scrolling through social media.

Businesses that invest in personal apps or mobile loyalty rewards programs also have seen tremendous benefits.

Read Our Post: The Best Loyalty Program Guide For Small Business Success


Sponsored LinkedIn ad as a promotional method

LinkedIn Promoted Ad


There are several digital promotions you can deploy at your business including:

  • photo contest
  • testimonial campaigns
  • videos
  • hashtag campaigns
  • mobile deals and social rewards
  • online circulars

There is a bevy of tools out there that can help you with your digital promotions, including our own customer loyalty software, CTownSaver.

Our mobile loyalty rewards software brings your brand directly to the customer's phones and brings excitement with loyalty rewards, mobile deals, social rewards, and more.


Loyalty programs as a promotional method



Social Media Promotions

Once a platform for connecting with friends and family, businesses have taken advantage of the powerful reach social media provides, and even dedicate full-time staff to manage it.

Social media promotions, like digital promotions, are becoming a must-have for businesses to remain competitive.

Like digital promotions, they are effective at being convenient for the customer and can carry a lot of positive benefits.

A while ago, email marketing was the only way to build and maintain a database of prospects.

Now, you can build your prospects list through followers of your social communities and promote targeted ads to the user.

Re-targeting helps move prospects through the funnel and can reduce marketing cost if done well.

Facebook Ads is getting a great reputation for their targeting options and low cost to market. At just $1.00 a day, everyone can run social media promotions on Facebook. 


Social media promotions can help with brand awareness, drive traffic to a website, generate leads, and convert sales.

For example, a specialty chef may post a photo of a dish he made on Pinterest. Someone browses through the networking site, comes across this photo, and visits his site to see more.

Once on the site, they may sign up for a newsletter, or purchase an ebook on the chefs secrete dishes. This cost the chef nothing, but a few minutes to upload a photo, and a plan to convert interested prospects.

Ads are not the only social media promotions to explore.

Businesses have had success with a contest or sweepstakes, as well as building their own community with those that share in their message, values, causes, or knowledge.

It will take time to learn what does work and doesn't, as well as what channels bring you the greatest return on investment.

But the time it takes is worth it in the long run, as you can build a rich database of prospects, that you can build relationships with, without spending on software.



The more versatile you are in your promotional methods, the better the results you will get from your marketing strategy.

Although you don't have to use all eight, you should aim for five or more of these methods that will not only help build brand awareness, but also boost sales, and create customer loyalty.

As you put your strategy's in place, ensure you have measurable goals you want to achieve. Each promotional method doesn't have to achieve the same goal so this will help you target different audiences uniquely.

The eight promotional methods I covered were

  • Personal Selling Promotions
  • General Advertising Promotions
  • Direct Marketing Promotions
  • Sales Promotions
  • Public Relations Promotions
  • Sponsorship Promotions 
  • Digital Promotions
  • Social Media Promotions

As your business grows, dedicating a team that focuses on each individually could really skyrocket your marketing strategy success, and provide your promotions with the return on investment you sought from the beginning.

Which of these promotional methods is working the best for your business? LEAVE US YOUR COMMENTS.