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The Art of Promotions

The Art of Running Successful Promotions and Capitalizing On Holidays, Events, Festivals, and Unplanned Events

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This first time I (unknowingly) realized the power and potential of capitalizing from events, festivals, tournaments, and / or holidays was in 1993. At the time, I was 9 years old and would referee a few soccer games each weekend. I had always been a fan of business, working, and making / saving money… and as a 9-year-old, my options to bring home the big money were somewhat limited. Swim lessons and refereeing soccer were really my best options, as I was not interested in mowing lawns and yard work.

When I finally refereed my first multi-day tournament, I absolutely crushed it. Because the tournament was going on, I was paid more, was able to work many more games, I was provided food and beverages free of charge… and knew right then and there that working the tournaments was the way to go to make the most amount of money as a soccer referee!

Later in life, I knowingly started capitalizing upon holidays and events.  My friends and I would deliver flowers on Valentine’s Day because the demand far outweighed the size of the flower companies’ personnel.  Heck, it’s only 1 day of driving around delivering flowers, but it happens to be the most profitable day for a flower company.  And, after Christmastime, we found that there was a great demand for folks wanting to get rid of Christmas trees.

Each calendar year, we are all inundated with events, festivals, tournaments, holidays, birthdays, etc, and businesses have been utilizing promotions as a way to increase revenue during these periods of higher-than-normal spending for centuries.

There are also unplanned events each year that affect the supply and demand equilibrium.  For instance, after a big storm or flood, trees need to be cleared out and roofs need repairs.  After a fire, folks need supplies, insurance, and new homes.

As a business owner, it is a duty to drive people to buy our products and services; and there is no easier way to do so when demand increases drastically due to a planned event, party, tournament, festival OR an unplanned event. Sales and persuasion becomes much easier when demand is in your favor.

One of the strongest buying questions is “Have you bought your {mom, girlfriend, brother, boyfriend, husband, wife, etc) a present for (Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc)?  Oh, you haven’t?  How about I help you out with that?”

Consumer spending across the world always rises over the months of November – January.


As crazy as it sounds, the holidays will be here before you know it and if this holiday season is anything like last year, e-commerce is sure to see some huge growth.

NOW is the time to put your game plan in place and make preparations to run various promotions and advertising campaigns.

If you do not already have a promotional game plan for this holiday season, I recommend making it a priority. I project this year will be huge.

As an e-commerce or daily deal site owner, your mission is to help people find and give great deals to their loved ones this Holiday season, and when done properly, you should not only increase your revenues, but garner more goodwill from your prospects, customers, and merchants.

There is no reason your business shouldn’t be able to capitalize during these events, tournaments, festivals, and seasons. If your business is either unaffected by the holiday season, or even worse it actually suffers, you must ask yourself, “What assets, resources, personnel or by-products does my company possess that could be utilized in a more effective and profitable way over the holiday season, or any major event?”

This year, more people than ever before will order gifts, presents, and items from their smart phone devices.

Are you ready for folks to order your services from their mobile devices?

Now is your time to shine! Preparations should be made now.

Online businesses can learn a lot from some tried and true offline business promotion strategies.

Here are 11 proven promotional techniques that you commonly see retail stores, restaurants, and other offline businesses use: 

1. “Can I gift wrap that for you?”

Stores and offline businesses have been successfully using this method for a long time where they will wrap an item specifically intended for the customer to give as a gift. In the online world, this same concept can easily be utilized by adding a “Give as a Gift” feature to your online checkout pages.

2. “They ALL Must Go!”

I think of car lots when I hear this; they must get rid of inventory to make room for the 2014 models. You can also focus on clearing out your inventory online by setting a maximum quantity available and using countdown timers that visually show how many units are still available.

3. “Black Friday Special!”

It seems that businesses have effectively run flash sale promotions for a long time. One of the most prominent is the day after Thanksgiving; the Black Friday Sale. E-commerce sites and daily dealers can utilize this same psychology by running short, 1 hour – 24 hour flash sales. These typically work most effectively when there is a visual countdown clock on the site. As the close-out time nears, conversion rates typically increase.

4. “Send more postcards and snail mail.”

You’ll soon start receiving more coupon magazines, post cards, and snail mail from companies that want to get your attention. Direct Mail Campaigns can be a highly effective method of advertising, but this year it is more important than ever to get in front of your audience online. Get in touch with your audience more often. Email them more often. Connect via social media more often.  Advertise where they are handing out online. Basic math shows us that people will most likely pay more money online this holiday season than ever before in history.

5. “Join our mailing list and get 10% off your next purchase.”

Give incentives for your prospects and customers to share, interact, tweet, comment-on, or ‘like’ about your business or promotion. It is in our nature to be attracted to getting a good deal. Use this human behavior to your advantage this holiday season and in every promotion  you run.

6. “We Support _________.”

Give incentives to your customers to donate to a charity, school, or cause.  You’ll find they might just want to do so, and they might look at your business in a more positive light, and you’ll be able to run your business for a greater good, by implementing cause marketing.

7. “50% Off and 2-for-1’s”

One of the oldest tricks in the book…  Offer limited time discounts.  The most common strategies used are to display the percentage off that the customer will save, and to offer multiple items for discount, eg. 2 for 1, 3 for 4, etc.

8. “Would you like fries with that burger?”
Upsell related items for a discount / for a friend… Right when your customers are about to buy is the easiest time to get them to order something else.  Online, 1 click upsells and point of purchase upsells work like magic.  Godaddy is always my favorite example of a company who maximizes their revenue through upsells.  Try and order a $10 domain name and next thing you know they’ve offered you thousands of dollars worth of additional products and services.

9. “Bulk Order Discounts!”

In the online world, another option is to utilize a minimum buying power or collective buying power that only allows a sale to occur if a pre-set quantity is ordered.

10. “Play the Monopoly Contests!”

McDonalds TM isn’t the first to hold promotional contests that encourage traffic into their store. This holiday season, run a contests where your customers, prospects, or target market can win something of value that they desire. When done properly, this can drive an enormous amount of traffic and growth to your business.

11. “Would you like another beer?”

Servers are typically masters at this.  They notice that the patrons drink is empty and ask them if they’d like a refill.  Online, you can accomplish the same thing by reaching out to your clients when they most likely would need to order from you again.

Are you prepared for this holiday season?

Make moves today,
Marc D. Horne

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