The promotional methods used by businesses

Rikke talks about how she promotes her business

Businesses use promotion to:

  • inform consumers of a new product or service
  • persuade consumers to buy a product or service
  • remind consumers about the benefits of a product or service

To do this, a business will use a range of promotional methods.

Promotional methods

The common methods of promotion are:


An advert is a paid-for message designed to influence consumer purchases. Adverts do this using emotive language, which is designed to make people feel a certain emotion, including excitement, sadness or fear. For example, ‘buy it now before it’s too late’ creates a fear of missing out.

Types of media for advertising include:

  • television
  • radio
  • print, eg local and national newspapers
  • leaflets and flyers
  • social media
  • blogs
  • banner and pop-up adverts
  • websites
  • billboards and posters, eg on buses and trains
  • broadcast, e.g. radio, television, cinema, point of sale, online

The types of media used for advertising a business or product are extremely important. For example, a small local business would be wasting money advertising in a national newspaper, they would benefit from advertising in a local newspaper. A business may also choose to select social media, rather than traditional advertising, as this allows them to target specific customers.

Sales Promotion

Special offers are a type of sales promotion. They offer incentives to persuade consumers to make a purchase. Examples include:

  • discounts
  • competitions
  • buy-one-get-one-free offers
  • free gifts
  • money-off vouchers
  • loyalty cards

Direct marketing

Direct marketing is the process of marketing and selling products and services directly to customers. Direct marketing can often be an effective way of increasing customers numbers, however it often takes a lot of marketing to create a sale. Businesses often use a range of different direct marketing approaches, including:

  • junk mail
  • spam emails
  • catalogues
  • phone calls
  • text messages


A brand image can be used as promotion, so businesses often want to establish a positive brand image. When a new product is launched under an established brand name, consumers may be more likely to purchase it because of their knowledge of the existing brand.

Building a promotional strategy

A promotional strategy combines some or all of the above promotional methods to reach the target audience.

The promotional strategy will depend on the size of the business, how much the business has to spend on promotion, and the market segments that it is aiming to reach.

A good promotional strategy for a small local gardening business might involve advertising using printed leaflets combined with an introductory discount for new customers. This strategy would target people living in the local area, who would be the most likely to become customers.

A poor promotional strategy for a small local gardening business might involve advertising on national TV combined with sponsorship of a local gardening competition. TV advertising is very expensive so it is rarely used by small businesses, and there would be little point in a small local business advertising nationally.