5 Ways to Get Creative with Special Promotions

by | Jun 5, 2020 | Blog

As I think back to discussions we’ve had with clients, one thing I’ve noticed is that the term “special promotions” often means different things to different people.

One organization might hear this term and think of something that’s used to generate a quick burst of excitement—and sales—around a new product line. Another might consider a it to be an engagement tool that adds value to an existing incentive program. A third company may see a promotion as a means of rewarding loyal participants with bonus earning opportunities.

None of these organizations are wrong in their ideas about what a special promotion actually can be. The picture they have of this incentive strategy, however, is incomplete.

That’s because promotions aren’t any one thing. They’re the Swiss Army knives of the incentive world: multi-functional, multipurpose, dynamic, and useful in ways we may not have even envisioned.

Avoid Vicious Sales Cycles.

Have you noticed at the end of a year or quarter that your sales reps seem to be rushing to make deals, just so they can hit their numbers? Sometimes with the discounts that come along with this behavior, a company can end up losing money.

The same can be said for organizations who have to deal with seasonal lulls or other issues that cause predictable downturns in their annual sales cycles. 

A promotion can help round out these behaviors by giving your sales people a different reason to call on their customers. Or by giving your customers a reason to engage with your brand on the off season. 

Some ideas:

  • You could offer increased compensation for a certain product or increased pay out in a SPIFF promotion
  • If you’re running a points program, you can offer double points on high-margin products or for bundling products together during season lows, in preparation for busy season

Drive eCommerce Traffic.

This might seem obvious, but sales promotions are tremendous motivators when it comes to online purchasing in particular. And with the rapid growth of eCommerce in general, being able to leverage this sales platform is only going to become more important.

While eCommerce has been slow to move into industries like HVAC, Building Supply, and the like, we’ve seen companies have success using their special promotions in ways that push behaviors to their new eCommerce systems. 

Some ideas:

  • Set up a referral program to link your in-person sales team to online sales. If a customers buys online using the sales person’s eCommerce code, the get a percentage off, and the sales person gets their sale tracked and rewarded.
  • Offer a reward for engaging with the site, not just buying. We’ve had success in the past with “scavenger hunts” or getting customers to search the site for promo codes or other brand information.

Enable Your Channel.

Promotions can also help you drive any certification or eLearning solution you want your channel partners to take. Help your channel sales engineers more efficiently sell one of your complex products. Keep them invested throughout the sales process via a steps-to-the-sale initiatives.

Channel enablement initiatives are often more successful when there’s a learning aspect to them. So what promotions can you put in place that will entice engagement with learning? These promotions can help ensure your channel’s goals remain aligned with your own.

Some ideas:

  • It might seem obvious, but people love to be a part of a theme. A client of ours once ran a promotion called “Conquer the EDGE” driving a certification for EDGE computing. They were able to boost their completed certifications from 11 to 100 a month! Learn more here
  • Do you have materials that help enhance product sales? Run a promotion that encourages channel partners to download or utilize these materials. 

Gamify Your Solutions.

With the gamification market set to expand to more than $11 billion by 2020, there’s no better time to find creative ways to introduce game mechanics into your existing incentive strategies.

Promotions are one of the more popular vehicles for deploying these game-based solutions because they foster competition and excitement, qualities that are found in both games of skill and of chance.

Some ideas:

  • One of the best ways to use gamification is to make a dull activity a fun one. Looking for a way to collect more data on a customer or partner group? Invite them to a football promotion in the Fall to have them compete with their peers and some of your companies employees. Collect some data during account creation or while they play for extra points. Learn more about what that looks like here. 
  • Make the process of rewarding into the game. Spin to Win is a great way to instill some extra excitement into your promotion, especially if you can make that happen in person. Like this one here!
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Say “Thank You.”

Whether you want to reward your top employees for a job well done or thank a group of customers for their continued loyalty, a promotion presents a low-cost, high-engagement way to recognize a high-performing group of individuals.

Some ideas:

  • Offer them some free “spins” on a Spin to Win promotion
  • Provide a one-time bonus giveaway featuring a special tangible reward


A special promotion doesn’t have to be some boring sales push. We’ve offered a few of the ways you can get creative with them, but there are many others.

If you’re interested in finding out how you can make a special promotion work for your specific business needs, contact us at 888.220.4780 or marketing@hmiaward.com.

Need more incentive insights? Check out these related articles.

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