Promotional tactics and strategies that worked best for me

I seriously love promotions

If done correctly, promotions can bring your business and brand to another level and set you apart from your competitor

Let’s face it, competition is now more intense than ever. No matter how good of a product you have, people have so much choices now

That’s why for me, promotions provide that extra motivation for potential customers to click that ‘buy now’ button on my website and tip the scales in my favor

What promotions can do for your business

  • Encourage new customers to try your product
  • Help you educate your customers
  • Bring in extra sales that you otherwise wouldn’t get
  • Make your brand more memorable
  • Make loyal customers even more loyal
  • Make your products more desirable
  • Increase customer traffic to your website


How to think of promotions

Business wise

My promotions are always tied to a purchase by the customer. I never give out a promotion that does not require a purchase, this is to weed out bargain hunters and people who only want free stuff

I am also against constant deep discount practices, i.e. you constantly reduce your prices to get a short boost in sales

Doing so is never good for anyone – you sacrifice your margins, and you start attracting customers that are price sensitive and will jump to whoever that has a lower price

On the contrary – promotions should motivate people to buy from you because they feel they are getting value from your business; or serve as a tool to reward your loyal customers

Cost wise

Say you get a RM10 profit on every item that you sell. Without any promotion, you might be able to sell 3 units, which equals to RM30 profit

With promotions, let’s say your margin is halved to RM5

But your sales doubled to 6 unites, which means that you still get RM30 profit

I used to think that this is stupid because I’m doing double the work for the same amount of profit. But I’ve come to realise that if you put the effort into building a unique brand and a solid business foundation, chances are your customers are going to buy more than once from you. When the lifetime value of your customers go up, so does your profits

I think this is the key to any business being sustainable and profitable – having a high quality, big enough database of customers giving you repeat sales

And also, what if you run a promotion that’s so attractive that you more than double your sales?

Frequency wise

Should we constantly have promotions? To me, the answer is yes

Some entrepreneurs might be concerned that their brand might be viewed as a ‘cheap’ brand because they are constantly having promotions, or that customers will keep seeing promotions and are inclined to only buy promotional items

This is when you need to get smart about your promotions – and I repeat, promotions DOES NOT EQUAL to constantly giving steep price discounts

Let me put this in another way, let’s take a look at McDonalds

McDonalds constantly run promotions. Apart from the big seasonal promos, do you know what promo is McDonalds having now? Or what promo they were having last month?

Chances are you don’t know

If a brand with 300 outlets nationwide and a crap-tonne of marketing budget is constantly doing promotions and you are not even aware of some of the promotions they are running; chances are you won’t be reaching all of your potential customers at once

Plus, different types of promotions appeal to different types of customers, and you want to have a variety of customers buying from you

So my advise is to promote smartly and always promote

Below is a list of tactics and strategy that so far worked quite well for me

The promotional tactics and strategy that worked very well for my business

Storewide discount

I use this tactic very sparingly and typically do storewide discounts only once or twice a year, during big events of our own (anniversary sale, subscribers sale). I never use storewide discounts to go ‘fight’ with a generic big event (such as 11.11 sales). When I do do storewide discounts, I have a loss leader product that highly discounted so that the overall promotion is more attractive

High value bundles

One of the best promotional tactics in my toolbox, I use this very often. I bundle together a series of products, offer a discount + FOC delivery + FOC items. The discount given is minimal but all the other value added items bump up the total savings for customers to a very attractive number. It also reduces the choices for customers so that it’s easier for them to purchase. Best benefit for us is that it increases the average basket size

Tiered lucky draws

I allocate a portion of my marketing budget to give out popular appliances, but what you want to give out should depend on your main type of customers. To find out what kind of appliances to give out, I just go to the main ecommerce portals and sort appliances by popularity and pick those that are suitable. Attractive and popular lucky draw items increase the appeal of your promotion. I also tier our lucky draw in a sense that we give out 1 x ticket for a minimum spend of RMx and 2 x tickets for a spend above RMx – this enables me to somewhat filter out the higher spenders and loyal customers, and at the time increasing our average basket size

New product launching

Provided your new product doesn’t veer to far away from your current offering, this usually works quite well for me because my target audiences are pretty adventurous and like to try new things

Brand collaborations

This worked very well for me the last time I did this. I am in the food business and we collaborated with another brand to launch a new product featuring their signature product as one of our ingredients. Both of us got coverage and a lot of their customers tried our products too. The challenge is to find the appropriate brand to collaborate with and to come out with a win-win collaboration

Seasonal Products & Promotions

Having a series of products that’s only launched on a seasonal basis will keep your customers anticipating. People are very willing to spend money on seasonal products. Think McDonald’s Samurai burger. We launched some seasonal products that fit into certain festivals (CNY, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Merdeka Day, Malaysia Day) and have come to realise that customers tend to be more inclined to purchase during festivals

Having said that, focus on self created events too

You don’t need to go all out to compete during peak generic promotional seasons as advertising costs tend to be a little more expensive then. We created our own events such as our Anniversary Sale, Customer Appreciation Flash Sale, and Members’ Exclusive promotions – all of which gave us pretty decent returns

Loss leader

I often pair this tactic together with a newly launched product – we’ll sell it at a loss making price for a limited time + limited units. Usually this results in customers buying other products at the same time

Flash sales

3 day flash sales on a particular bundle or discount on all storewide items limited to X units per SKU

Min spend get X items free

Spend RM100 and get 2 items worth RM30 for free. Customer gets RM30 as value – you give out value at a lower cost. Win-win

FOC delivery or RMX off delivery charges

This is one of our main driver of a higher average basket size. Malaysians (me included) L.O.V.E FOC delivery. Our average basket size is just above our FOC delivery threshold

Subscriber exclusive deals

Every month we do our best to give subscribers a little something extra (a small FOC product on top of current discounts, samples of new products, subscriber exclusive products etc) to thank them for signing up to our mailing list; and it extremely cost efficient to reach them via email

Ambassador programs

We did a pilot ambassador program a couple of months back where we gave our best customers a unique voucher code, when they share this voucher code with their friends, their friends got a RM5 discount off their purchases and they were able to collect credits that could be exchanged for products later. Worked like a charm but I have not had a chance to look at properly implementing a member / ambassador function at my website

Don’t go lah – here’s RM10

This is our cart abandonment sequence – after 2 reminder emails for customers to checkout, we send them a RM10 voucher as a final motivation for them to make a purchase. So far we manage to recover 20 – 25% of abandoned carts

Do you have a favorite promotion tactic or strategy to add on here? I’d love to hear it and try it out!



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