Creating unique and engaging content is a great first step in building your online authority and driving traffic to your website. While this approach to inbound marketing will help you build a solid foundation that will continue to yield results, an ideal strategy will utilize a variety of other promotional tools so that you are reaching as wide an audience as possible and keeping content fresh. Many companies tend to shy away from running promotions because they typically involve offering a discount or a prize, which ultimately affects the bottom line. Fortunately, there are some effective, clever and low-cost promotions that you can use to encourage engagement and drive traffic to you website. In addition, a little investment in capturing the attention of your target audience can go a long way in creating loyal, repeat customers.

  1. Caption Contest

Social media is full of memes and funny photos. Why not capitalize on this trend and run your own caption contest? Find or take a picture that relates to your business and provides plenty of inspiration for those with a good sense of humor. Post the photo on social media and ask people to come up with the best caption. If you really want to encourage participation, you could offer a prize for first place or advertise the post so that more people see your post. However, you certainly don’t have to invest any money in order to reap the benefits of a well-designed caption contest. The right picture will inspire people to participate and even if there isn’t any monetary compensation involved.


  1. Facebook Promotions

Another way to drive traffic and increase revenue is to provide special offers to customers who like your Facebook page, sign up for your email list or refer a friend. This requires minimal effort on the part of the reader and provides you with a target audience. While visitors may not immediately convert into buyers, you are now empowered with contact information that will allow you to continue to reach out to potential customers.

How you use social media and encourage people to like and share your pages can depend on both your budget and who your audience is. Here are just a few ideas that have been successful for companies in the past:

Offer a scholarship. It doesn’t have to be a full scholarship, but even a thousand dollars can go a long way in helping students pay for books and tuition. You can reach out to schools and let students know that you are running a scholarship contest.

Charitable donations. Choose a charity that is relevant to your audience and your business and offer to make a certain donation per like. If that gets too expensive, you can always simple agree to donate a certain amount once you hit a certain number of “likes.”

Choose a super fan. Every month, you can feature a fan and perhaps even offer a prize for being chosen. Everyone loves a good contest where they don’t actually have to do much to win.

Take advantage of the Facebook “places” feature. Why not reward people for checking in at brick and mortar location that is associated with your business? If you are purely an online and eCommerce establishment, you can always partner with other businesses.

When it comes to Facebook and other social media outlets, the possibilities are practically endless. Be creative, offer fans the chance to win something, even if it isn’t money or the trip of a lifetime. They will participate and you will receive more traffic to your website.


  1. Product Naming Competition

Launching a new product? Instead of spending the afternoon debating with your colleagues at work about which name works best, let your audience crown your latest project with a unique name. Again, this is a simple way to encourage audience participation and get people to interact with your brand and your products. It also provides a great way to build buzz around a new product and get people talking.


  1. Customer Appreciation Events

Whether you sell products online, you have retail locations or both, be sure to show some love for existing and new customers. Even though we live in an ever increasingly online world, people still want to feel connected to the businesses and websites where they spend their money. Offering customer appreciation specials, like free shipping or a free gift with purchase will help you build customer loyalty.


  1. Branded Gifts

Your insurance salesman probably hands out key chains and magnets that may or may not ever get used. On the other hand, your gym probably hands out water bottles and hand towels stamped with their name that you use on a daily basis during your workouts. The point is to put your name on something that people in your target audience are going to use. Not only will your business get cool points, your name and your brand will start to spread. Everyone loves a free gift and the more creative and useful the item, the more ROI you will get out of every item you hand out.

The best part of marketing and running special promotions is that the options are basically limitless. The ideas mentioned above represent just a short list of possibilities that have worked in the past. You can always look at what other companies are doing, imitate the specific elements that you like and put your own personal twist on things. Just be sure start with a clear outline of your goals for each promotional effort. Do you want to collect email addresses for newsletter campaigns? Are you trying to encourage previous customers to make new purchases? Are you looking to drive new traffic to your website? Having a clear vision of your goals and your audience can help you create your own spin on clever promotional tactics that will produce results.