Types of Sales Promotions and How They’re Useful!

Types of sales promotions

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There are many different tools available in your marketing arsenal, but few are better at generating immediate sales than the different types of sales promotions.

When it comes to having a healthy and robust marketing plan, you’re going to need both short- and long-term goals and strategies. Building the brand is important, but getting sales now is equally important. Sales promotions will help you pull interest while building your loyal customer base.

Sales Promotion Defined

Sales promotion is any activity that provides special incentive to create immediate response. They can be targeted at both consumers and distributors. Another thing to note is that in order for sales promotions to work effectively, you will need the support of the sales force selling it!

Consumer Promotions

First, let’s dive into the different types of sales promotions directed consumers.


Price-saving incentives offered to consumers to stimulate quick-purchase of a designated product.

There are many types of coupons you can offer including in-pack, on-pack, media delivered, instantly redeemable, cross-ruff, and free-standing inserts. If you want to learn more about the different types of coupons, check out our other blog.

Coupons are useful because they can encourage both new customers, in the form of trail purchases, and repeat customers, helping you build brand loyalty.

Product Samples

Distribution of trial-sized packages (smaller replicas of the real product) or full-sized packages.

This form of promotion has a high cost associated with it, especially with the full-sized package option. However, if you’re confident in your product’s ability to stand up to scrutiny, it is one of the best ways to pull in customers.


Designed to create temporary excitement about a brand or product and fall into two categories.

The first are Sweepstakes, where winners are randomly selected from the entries received. The second are games, where luck is still involved, but often require repeat purchases.

Contests can be effective for bringing in new and repeat costumers, but they also have a high cost. The price of the prize, packaging, and the supporting advertising content to support the contest can eat up a large portion of your marketing budget. Effective, but you’ll want to plan this one very carefully.


A pre-determined amount of money that will be returned directly to the consumer after a purchase has been made.

Rebates are best used to encourage consumers to buy higher quantities of a product. For example, the more you buy, the more you get back (buy 2 get $5, buy 3 get $10, etc.).

They also have an added benefit called slippage, which is when a consumer buys the product and doesn’t collect the rebate. Often, people will buy a product due to a rebate, then decide it’s too much of a hassle to complete the rebate process.

Premium Offers

An additional item given for free or at a significantly lower price, to induce the purchase of the primary brand.

Premium offers can include using items from the same brand or even cross promotion through a partnership with a third party. As with most other types of sales promotions, they encourage both first-time and repeat purchases.

As an added bonus, it also offers stores that carry your product a merchandising tool to encourage display activity.

Loyalty Programs

The only promotional activity that solely targets long-term brand loyalty. It offers consumers a small bonus each time they make a purchase.

Loyalty programs are incredibly popular with 86% of Canadians participating in the least one loyalty program. However, this is a double-edge sword. People love them, but with so many of them out there, you have to make sure your program is worth downloading an app or adding another card into their wallet.

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