If you’re a distributor who’s new to incentives—or you have an incentive program but you’re looking to shake things up—short term promotions are a fast and fun way to engage your customers and grow your sales. They’re a great way to launch a new product or to address seasonality even without having a new or seasonal product line to focus on.
Along with growing your sales, there’s a lot of different short-term goals that you can achieve with a promotion. Here’s a few ways that different promotion strategies can benefit your business.
What You Can Do
There’s so much you can do with a short-term promotion, depending on the strategy that you decide to take. They can come with a variety of added benefits, like…
As a distributor, you’re not the only one who stands to benefit from a sales growth promotion. If your customers end up spending more on a specific product, that’s going to benefit the manufacturers and suppliers further up your sales channel. Get your supplier in on the action. If you center the promotion around their product lines, they’ll be more willing to support the promotion with marketing dollars. A promotion can be a lot easier when there’s multiple groups helping put it together, particularly if you’re new to promotions or incentive programs and can boost your ability to pitch for MDF dollars in the future.
This kind of partnership has benefits beyond your supplier’s monetary contribution—working together on a project like this has the potential to vastly improve your channel communication, which always improves doing business. Plus, looping them in can lead create an endowment effect in them—because they’ve contributed to the promotion, they feel invested in its success and are more likely to help you work towards that goal.
As we always say, having data (read: good data) on your customers is key to doing business in the Internet Age. But what if you don’t really know your customer base all that well? What do you do if you know it’s important to have data, but not how to get it?
A short-term promotion offers a great, easy way to quickly get a lot of basic information on your customers. While your customers feel motivated to buy more of a certain product, you can also take the opportunity to collect, organize, and centralize the contact information they give you, clearing away dead emails and phone numbers.
Once you have that basic information, you can get more complex—run a survey that rewards participants for sharing their top business goals and challenges or how many distributors they typically buy from. Plus, you can carry that benefit back to your suppliers, who might be just as (if not more) in need of information on their channel. If you share the data you collect with your supplier, it can further strengthen your relationship with them.
Let’s say you have a specific group within your customer base that you want to reach better for whatever reason—whether it’s to grow your sales with them or to better recognize and build a sense of community with them. A promotion can help with that!
With short-term promotions, people often assume that they just apply across the board to any and all customers. And while that’s often what we do, invite-only promotions offer a little bit more complexity for a lot of payoff. You could…
- Target your top-tier customers and treat them to their own special reward opportunity as a show of thanks
- Target your mid-performing customers with a promotion that encourages them to focus their business more exclusively with you
- Run the same promotion across multiple groups but promoting different product lines
- Offer different rewards depending on the group
Whatever group of customers you want to focus on, a short-term promotion is a quick and fun way to reach them.
How You Can Do It
So, with all that being said, how do you go about achieving those goals? There are a few different promotion strategies you might choose from:
- Travel giveaway promotion: offering a sweepstakes to an all-expenses-paid vacation is a great way to motivate your customer base towards sales growth—even though most participants won’t win, your business will remain top of mind for them moving forward. Plus, sweepstakes are a quick way to gather basic information about a huge portion of your customers.
- Merchandise giveaway promotion: if you already have a pretty strong knowledge of your customer base, a well-chosen merchandise giveaway can be just as successful as a travel sweepstakes. Finding the right grand prize that will motivate your customers signals that you understand them and can meet them where they’re at.
- Experience giveaway promotion: if you’re trying to segment out your top-tier and middle-tier customers for different segmented goals, you might reward your number-one customers with a luxury experience opportunity as a way of showing your appreciation for their years of business.
- Game of skill/bracket-based promotion: one of our favorite ways to gamify a short-term promotion is to run a bracket for a sporting event. We partner with TouchPoint Games to run promotions for some of our clients during the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournaments—it’s a great way to engage your customer base and build community within your channel.
Here’s an example. With TouchPoint Games, we ran a promotion for one of our clients, a distributor of construction and electrical supplies. On top of keeping participants highly engaged even past the close of the contest, the promotion offered opportunities to earn bonus points for additional rewards through certain engagement behaviors like answering survey questions, leading to valuable data insights for the client. Furthermore, the platform enabled the client to promote some of its top suppliers, strengthening the client’s supplier relationship.
On another bracket promotion with TouchPoint, we conducted a feedback survey for our client, a distributor of building materials. The survey turned in highly favorable reviews, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. We found that participants were engaged even when they weren’t doing well in the standings. As one respondent told us:
“Loved it. We used it as a team building opportunity for our office. We have our sales meetings every Tuesday and we would get input from our team…Everyone had a treat time. We had a few good weeks but ended up not finishing well but that is on us. If offered again next time we will definitely participate.”
There’s so much you can do as a distributor with a special or short-term promotion, whether your goal is to expand your data analytics capabilities, target a specific part of your customer base, strengthen your relationship with your supplier, reward your top-tier customers, or build community across your channel. The great thing about short-term promotions is that they’re memorable and repeatable—and if you use them to meet your customers where they’re at and address their needs, you’ll see the results quickly.