How Online Promotions Can Fuel Your eCommerce Business

Online promotions — including contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes — are methods of increasing your brand awareness and engagement. They are win-win marketing tactics: your shoppers save money (or win something), while you acquire new business, drive traffic to your eCommerce website, and glean an insight or two about your site visitors. But if you’re new to these promotions and want to try them out, where do you begin? Here are three popular ideas to help get you started with online promotions that will align with your overall marketing plan.

Create a coupon code

We’ve all hunted for an online coupon code before, right? Coupon codes are great ways to generate repeat eCommerce business, as shoppers will return to places that offer discounts and promotions. While there are a lot of different ways you can run such a promotion online, don’t get hung up on the technology behind it — you can use a simple Image Widget to create a coupon your customers can mention when they visit your business, or go all-in with advanced features like Smart Coupons when you’re a Business site owner with a WooCommerce online store. You could then let your followers know about your coupon on social media — for example, why not write a new post about your latest promotion, then share it across your social channels via Publicize

Hold a giveaway

Including a giveaway in your online promotions plan goes beyond just driving traffic to your eCommerce site: it can help you curate an email list for use with future promotions. You’ll be able to boost your social media following on sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This will drive traffic back to your blog and drum up new business over time.

How do you get started with an online giveaway? First, you’ll need some sort of tool to capture people’s attention. You might use an email marketing service provider (a company that will send a mass email to your subscribers or potential fans asking them to participate) or write a blog post asking readers to fill out a form so that you can track their entries. Next, create a prize pack that piques the interests of the shoppers you’re trying to reach. If your website sells purses, maybe you’ll give a free purse to the winner.

Offering a one-prize-fits-all giveaway (featuring a prize that appeals to everyone) can create a pool of applicants that “consists of people who have no interest in your niche or product, and only participate because it’s a free giveaway,” a Shout Me Loud article reminds us. For example, if you’re giving away a new phone, you’ll end up with participants who have no interest in your purse business, but apply to the giveaway just to win the phone. Finally, set a start and end date for the giveaway, choose how readers will enter, and start promoting the giveaway on your site and across your social media accounts.

Implement a referral program

Promoting through a referral program (a method of marketing to potential shoppers through word of mouth) seems like a magical marketing elixir, right? It’s a fantastic way to ask shoppers to share your name with a friend at little cost to you. The key to a referral program is really in the ask: it’s your job to motivate your fans to actually do the legwork required in sharing your information. Fans are usually persuaded to refer businesses that offer something in return (a discount code or free item).

How do you get started? According to the Duct Tape Marketing podcast blog, “If there’s anything you need to remember when thinking about launching your own referral program, it’s this: creating one is easy, making it effective isn’t.” So use psychological “triggers” when announcing your referral plan — just as traditional marketing calls for. When you tell shoppers about your referral program, build on emotion and storytelling by communicating the “why” of your business (or blog). Then offer a little social proof like a user testimonial. Finally, display the program in a prominent, practical spot, like on your Facebook page, your latest blog post, or an email to previous shoppers asking them to refer a friend for a discount.

So there you have it: three online promotion ideas that will serve your audience and grow your business in the process. Pick one to try out next month and see what happens!

Just getting started? You’re in the right place! Create a website or blog here on and take advantage of our flexible website builder.

Thousands of small businesses and online stores call home.

Whether you’re looking to promote your business or share your story, we have a plan that’s right for you.

Create your own website


Ashlyn S. Carter

Ashlyn writes bespoke, meaningful words for creatives as a conversion copywriter & calligrapher. She left her job as a publicist to go full-time with her calligraphy biz for brides -- and realized there were lots of creativepreneurs fumbling with their message and sales copy (you can take the girl out of the PR agency ... ). Trading clients like Delta Air Lines and Chick-fil-A to work with dreamies like Hilary Rushford, Jenna Kutcher, and Mary Marantz on launch strategy messaging is just the bee's knees. Her calligraphy has appeared in The Knot and Southern Weddings. When not writing about herself in third person, she’s usually trying to scratch the ink off her fingernails or grabbing margs and tacos with her husband.

More by Ashlyn S. Carter