Promotional marketing is a set of activities to share knowledge about a particular brand, product, or service with as many people as possible with the aim of increasing brand awareness and sales.

What is the difference between promotion and marketing?

To make the difference clear, let’s define both terms.

Marketing — is the process of bringing your product to the audience. It involves analyzing consumers’ needs and competitors’ products. This process implies creating, testing, pricing, and distributing a product.

Promotion belongs to the 4Ps of marketing. It’s all about strategies and techniques that help communicate a product to the audience. The goal of promotions is to present your product, increase demand, and differentiate it. So, promotion is the basic element of marketing.

The Objectives of Promotional Marketing

  1. Promotion of new products or services
  2. Development of brand image
  3. Informing customers
  4. Showing superiority over competitors
  5. Turning potential buyers into real customers

It’s vital to determine your promotional marketing objectives so that you can achieve your goals. There are various objectives to bring into focus:

  1. Promotion of new products or services. It is possible to introduce new products and services to the market against existing ones — a chance to find a place in the niche.
  2. Development of brand image. Brand image is when people associate a brand with a particular product. For instance, when you think about toothpaste, Blend-a-med and Colgate come to your mind, when you think about tires, it’s Pirelli and Bridgestone when you think about soccer — it’s Manchester United and Real Madrid. This promotion objective tends to create or restore the brand image and makes products more recognizable amongst others in the market.
  3. Informing customers. Marketing promotion is vital for telling people about changes in products or brand’s policies. It also helps to describe the features and details of the products.
  4. Showing superiority over competitors. Everybody uses promotion marketing these days, so to be competitive, each brand needs to apply a long-term promotional strategy.
  5. Turning potential buyers into real customers. If promotion marketing styles like personal selling, advertising, and others are used appropriately, they stimulate demand for the product.

Types of Promotional Marketing

  • Personal selling
  • Advertising
  • Direct marketing
  • Sales promotions
  • Public relations
    • Personal selling. This one-to-one communication with potential customers is the most expensive type of promotion, but also the most effective when done correctly.
    • Advertising. Ads play a crucial role in making brands recognizable. Good advertising with an accurate, targeted message will reach both existing and potential customers.
    • Direct marketing. Performed through social media, email, and SMS marketing, unlike advertising, direct marketing intends to build relationships with people who have had your brand or product on their radars before.
    • Sales promotions. Promos stimulate purchasing and sales by giving discounts, cashback, free shipping, gifts, and more.
    • Public relations. This promotion style is a chance to build a positive and attractive brand image. With PR promotions, marketers analyze the way people respond to their brand, find out the positive and negative associations with their company, and work on the reconstructing of the brand's image.

    Promotional Marketing Strategies

    Without a detailed plan of promoting your product, you risk losing money. To find the best way to put your offer in front of the right audience, consider several effective strategies.

    1. Email marketing. Every dollar spent on email marketing brings $44 in revenue. With this channel, you can invite subscribers to your events, share news and updates, promote your products and services. Increase both customer retention and loyalty by sending transactional emails, boost sales with abandoned cart emails and post-purchase emails, improve your relationships with triggered emails. SendPulse allows marketers to send 15,000 emails each month for free.
    2. Social media marketing. You can’t ignore such powerful channels as Facebook and Instagram. Users search for reviews from the brand’s customers, look for high-quality photos of products, and contact the brand’s representatives to find out more information. Encourage your clients to leave feedback about your product, launch targeted advertising campaigns, and create chatbots. They will help you automate answering FAQ and collect orders. With SendPulse, you can create a chatbot for Facebook Messenger at no cost.
    3. Content marketing. It should be a part of your online marketing strategy. People adore high-quality content which helps them make a choice, answer their questions, offers expert tips. Do not miss this chance to nurture leads with valuable content. Start your brand blog if you still haven’t done this. Find out popular search terms and users’ pain points and do your best to cover them in your articles. Provide how-to guides, interviews with top specialists in your industry, and outstanding case studies.
    4. Influencer marketing. People don’t look for brands — they look for emotions they can provide. For this reason, they trust other people more than the brand itself. You should look for thought leaders — influencers — whose opinion DOES matter for your clients. Using Instagram tags, you can find bloggers who enjoy using your product, or if you’re a start-up, offer an influencer to try your product and if they like it, let them be your brand ambassador.
    5. Referral marketing. 92% of consumers tend to believe their friends’ recommendations rather than any advertising campaign. Word-of-mouth is the strongest promotion strategy. To encourage clients to share a word about your brand, offer a referral program. Reward them with a discount or bonuses each time a client buys using your referral link. This way, you will increase sales, customer loyalty, and brand recognition.

    Choose the best strategy for your business or combine several ones for better outreach.

    How do you write a promotional marketing plan?

    Promotion is one of the four basic elements of marketing. The key to effective marketing promotion is a well-thought plan. Here you should outline the main objectives and techniques that will help you reach your goals, and the KPIs you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy. Let’s take a closer look at creating a promotional marketing plan.

    1. Allocate budget. Analyze your current marketing budget and decide how much money you can spend on promotion. Make sure this sum is reasonable — don’t cut into product development, employee salaries, taxes, or other vital expenses. Remember that your ROI may not increase after the first promotional campaign so spend your budget wisely.
    2. Establish your goals. You should cover both short-term objectives and long-term goals. The last one represents your global goals while short-term objectives are the steps that your team should take to reach it. To have a clear picture, consider breaking your annual goal into 6-month, quarterly, and monthly goals. This way, you can easily manage the entire process and take action on the go.
    3. Identify your target audience. To better understand your potential clients, create your ideal customer profile. The goal is to find out where your audience is, which problems and needs they have, what your potential clients have in common, and analyze the ways to reach them. With this profile, you can segment your base and create highly targeted promotions.
    4. Choose your strategies, techniques, and channels. Every marketing platform works best for a certain objective and offers its own effective techniques to reach them. If your goal is to increase traffic and sales, consider pay-per-click advertising and display ads. If you want to raise brand awareness and recognition, go for social media marketing and influencer marketing.
    5. Delegate responsibilities. This will help you focus on each promotional campaign separately taking into account the peculiarities of every channel. Hire specialists in SEO, PPC, content marketing, targeting, etc. They will keep track of progress day by day and analyze the campaigns in detail.

    Having this plan at hand, you can evaluate your business opportunities right now and build a step-by-step plan for successful marketing promotion.

    How to do Promotional Marketing

    1. Understand the needs of your target audience
    2. Decide which marketing channels to use
    3. Determine the objectives
    4. Develop a proper promotion mix
    5. Come up with your promotional message
    6. Set your budget
    7. Monitor the results
    1. Understand the needs of your target audience. Think about the people that you want to receive your promotions. If your promotion efforts are to the point, it will be easier to get your point across to your audience.
    2. Decide which marketing channels to use. Define the most suitable channels to accomplish your goals. For example, SMS marketing is right for promotional purposes on a local scale. For more international outreach, companies should use email campaigns, which are not only promotional but nurturing and trust-building. Besides, SendPulse offers free web push notifications to reach customers who did not interact with your emails and SMS.
    3. Determine the objectives. Think about the results you want to achieve with promotional marketing. Set realistic targets; don’t try to satisfy the full list of your business's goals at once.
    4. Develop a proper promotion mix. A promotion mix is a model for creating a promotional plan based on the 5p’s: people, price, place, product, and promotion. Before you attempt to conquer new markets, think about the most critical aspect of promotion marketing — the people, and come up with a suitable promotion mix.
    5. Come up with your promotional message. Create a message that sounds familiar and understandable for your target audience. Be humorous and trendy when you talk to younger recipients. Be formal and reliable when communicating with professionals.
    6. Set your budget. Set your expectations for your promotion marketing budget according to your resources and find out the cost for each channel you are going to use during the promotion.
    7. Monitor the results. Use all available tools and data to understand if your promotion is a success.

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    Promotional Marketing Ideas

    • Create a contest
    • Include gifts with your brand identity
    • Rewards card
    • Free shipping
    • Upsell
    • Cross-sell
    • Send engaging newsletters
    • Show video testimonials
    • Demonstrate your product
    • Create a contest. People love to take part in different kinds of lotteries, where they have a chance to win something valuable for free.
    • Include gifts with your brand identity. Many customers like when companies give them bags, pens, and other stuff. When people use those things in their day-to-day life, they are continually promoting your brand.
    • Rewards card. Offer your subscribers a discount or a free item after they make a specific number of purchases.
    • Free shipping. This is an effective trigger to attract your audience’s attention. Give free shipping for specific products or at a particular time of the year, for instance, on holidays.
    • Upsell. Offer upgrades and advanced products to people who show interest in your business.
    • Cross-sell. Propose additional products like headphones or phone cases if someone recently purchased a smartphone.
    • Send engaging newsletters. Use email marketing to help people remember you. Make newsletters exciting and relevant to your audience.
    • Show video testimonials. Ask your customers to leave feedback about your product or service on the socials in exchange for free coffee, for example.
    • Demonstrate your product. Show people how your product works, give your customers a chance to use it before buying.

    Promotional Marketing Examples

    Aldo promotes its products with free shipping and a contest with the opportunity to win up to $500.

    Promotional email

    Grammarly upsells their Premium Account in a series of emails, offering different discounts and plans.

    Promotional email

    Art.com promotes artwork by celebrating President's Day Weekend with 50% discounts on [almost] everything on their site.

    Promotional email

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