Sales, giveaways and other promotions are marketing methods that have stood the test of time and work across industries. Brick and mortar stores have sales and buy-one-get-one free deals. Radio stations host concert ticket giveaways. The Internet is now also a popular medium for launching promotions that boost your business.

Hosting and promoting your deals online can be tricky, though. It can be difficult to know how to get the most people, and the right people, to participate. Here are a few tips to help you in promoting your next big online deal.

Make it Quick and Easy to Enter

People know that only a small percentage of those who enter a sweepstakes will win, so if the entering process is difficult to navigate or it takes too long, they might not put in the effort. Because of this, you should try to make your promotion run as easy to enter or use as possible.

Here’s an example of an easy-to-enter contest. This avocado and guacamole purveyor is hosting a sweepstakes, and all you have to do is click the button on their site to tweet using their hashtag and you’re entered. Sweet and simple.

Market to the Right People

If you market to the wrong people, you won’t get people to take advantage of the deal because they aren’t interested in your product. You could also end up with a lot of leads that aren’t actually interested in your business, just winning whatever prize you’re offering.

For this reason, you’ll want to focus the marketing of your deal to your target audience – the people who are most likely to participate and eventually become customers. Author Neil Gaiman promoted his book giveaway on his Facebook page. People who like his page presumably like his writing and would be likely to want to come meet him and get a free book.

Save the Best Deals for the Best Leads

When trying to create the perfect online deal, you want your offer to be attractive enough that people decide to take action. Of course, you also don’t want to continually give stuff away to people who will never become customers.

In order to make sure the right people participate in your online promotion, put it somewhere where only they’ll find it.  If you have a coupon to give out, for example, you might choose to put it an email, because they people that signed up for your email list have already expressed interest in your company.

You could also put at the very bottom of your webpage, like Haynes Plumbing did, so that only those customers who are most interested in making a purchase will stumble upon it.

Utilize Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting an online deal. People are more likely to participate in something if they hear about it from a friend (on social media or otherwise). When that shared content includes images, it’s especially potent. You can also hold contests directly on social media by having people submit photos on Facebook or tweet using a certain hashtag.

Eggo held a contest on their Facebook page. Contestants entered waffle recipes and then the brand’s Facebook fans could vote for their favorite. Contests like that are actually fairly easy to create with third-party social media apps.

Get Featured

If you have a special online deal to promote, consider reaching out to social influencers and media for some coverage. Bloggers, social media accounts with lots of followers and more traditional media organizations can all be useful.

When reaching out to social influencers, be careful not to pitch too aggressively. Reach out with the intent of making a connection and forming a relationship. The more relationships you build, the more your recognition will snowball.

You could also try getting your contest featured on websites that people go to look for sweepstakes or new and interesting products. You could request to be included sites like Shut Up and Take My Money and Uncrate and offer a special discount for people who buy through those sites.

Test it First

Before launching any special promotion, contest or deal. Test it out on all devices, browsers and operating systems. You don’t want to go through all the hard work of creating your promotion only to find out that a portion (or worse, all) of your audience couldn’t access it.

Mobile is especially important as smartphone use continues to rise. Make sure that your sites are optimized for mobile as well as tablets. You could also create an app or run the deal on social media. Social media contests, like this one run by Drinkwel, that ask contestants to tag a friend in the company’s Instagram post, always work well on mobile devices.


Running an online promotion such as a special deal, sale, sweepstakes or giveaway can be a great way to garner interest in your business, find new customers or re-engage past customers. Determining how best to promote that deal online though can be challenging, since the right strategy differs depending on the company running it, the target audience and the promotion itself.

After carefully considering the goals of your promotion and whom you want to reach, use these tips to help ensure that your promotion is successful – for your customers and your business too.