How to Run Successful Online Promotions

Trust the process

Source: blog.workisnotajob.com via Ashley on Pinterest

Live and learn.
That’s the nature of life, and that’s the nature of business.
And it seems that as I navigate my way further into the trenches of running an online business,
I learn a little bit more every day from each obstacle that I stumble through.
It’s hard. It’s exciting. It’s exhausting. It’s rewarding. It’s yours.

Work hard and be nice to people

Source: anthonyburrill.com via Ashley on Pinterest

A wise friend from my past used to say, Ashley, nothing easy is worth having.
And while I don’t know how true that statement is for every situation life hands us,
it certainly rings true when it comes to starting and growing an online business.
But with a little {okay, a lot} of hard work, and even more kindness–you will find success.
Just remember, success is not always defined as a dollar amount.

A few months ago I wrote an article titled, How to Grow Your Online Business.
Since that time, some of you have contacted me with additional questions–questions with answers I think would be helpful to so many. So today is the follow up post–in other words, More Ways to Grow Your Business, through online promotions.

Read this article first.

Take your dreams seriously

Source: blog.workisnotajob.com via Ashley on Pinterest

How to Run a Successful Promotion:

There are literally dozens and dozens of ways that you can run a promotion for your online business.  However, there is only so much time and money you have to devote to marketing, so you want to make sure that the route you choose is beneficial.  Also, keep in mind that not every promotion is designed to result in an immediate return on your investment–there are “branding” promotions, and there are promotions designed to sell product–and then there are the glorious promotions that achieve both.

Before you get started paying for promotions, be sure to set a marketing budget. How much are you willing to allot towards achieving your marketing goals.  If you are having trouble determining a number, and you don’t want to come out of pocket for this expense, then I would suggest setting aside a portion of your sales to put towards marketing.  For example, you can say that 10% of all revenue generated will go into your marketing budget.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Source: etsy.com via Ashley on Pinterest

I am going to focus on 5 different types of promotions: banner advertising, giveaways, reviews, discounts, and daily deals.

  • Banner Advertising: Often times, bloggers or website owners will allow businesses to place banner advertising on their site for a flat rate, or a pay-per-click.  This may be in the form of a sidebar ad, a leader-board ad {at the top of the site}, or at the end of every post.  I have a few specific tips when it comes to selecting which blogs to advertise on:

Choose Wisely.  You can’t advertise on every site out there.  And not every site out there is going to generate the response you are looking for. So ask yourself these questions before you make a decision: Are this sites readers a good fit with my product?  Am I getting my products in front of new eyes?  Does the content of this site match the philosophy of my business?

You usually get what you pay for.  All bloggers will have different advertising rates.  Generally, the more popular blogs will charge more–and by popular, I mean the blogs that get the most hits/viewers.  If you get a proposal back from a blogger and are blown away by the prices, feel free to ask them what kind of traffic they get, or what kind of results they have delivered for past sponsors.  You are completely entitled to know how your marketing dollars are being put to use.

Loyalty. Consider the readers of the site you are advertising on.  How much do they trust the blog author, value their opinion?  I can tell you from personal experience, that I have had greater results on a blog that receives less traffic but has a VERY loyal readership, than I have on some of the biggest blogs out there.  When it comes to advertising, you are generally paying to get your product in front of the most people possible–but sometimes, just sometimes, its not about the numbers.

Move Outside Your Comfort Zone. It’s easy to want to spend your advertising dollars on all the sites within your little circle of bloggy friends.  And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, its great to support the blogs you know and love.  But I would also encourage you to select at least one blog outside of your usual comfort zone–one blog that has a different circle of friends from yours.  Branching out equals growth.  New circles of friends equal new opportunities to grow your business.

Keep Track. Download some form of a stat counter so you can track how much traffic is being driven to your site from the websites you advertise on.  I have used google analytics and stat counter.  Etsy also has a built in stats tab that can be found in the left hand column under “my account”.


  • Giveaways: Sponsoring a giveaway on other blogs is a wonderful way to immediately increase traffic and readership to your shop and/or blog.  Here are some quick tips to running a successful giveaway:

Be clear on the terms of your giveaway. When you hire a blog to host a giveaway for you, be sure that you are clear on the terms of the giveaway up front (i.e. entry options, deadline, winner selection, how the giveaway will be promoted, how many pictures of your product will be included in the post, etc).  When I sponsor a giveaway on another site, I like to make sure their readers visit my shop and my blog as entries.  Bonus entries could include things like: follow on facebook or twitter.

Do your research. Be sure to read past giveaway posts by the blogger–this will tell you if you like the way they run their giveaways.  I have also noticed I LOVE sponsoring giveaways on Tatertots & Jello because she puts so much time into really making her giveaways personal, and she goes the extra mile in promoting your brand.

Be generous. Without fail, the bigger the giveaway, the greater the results. More people will enter, more people will spread the world, and more people will learn about your business.  I also like to offer readers a discount code with all giveaways I sponsor. I make the discount code specific to the promotion so that I can gauge how many sales were generated from that particular promotion.


  • Reviews: Sometimes a simple product review or product placement is the most effective (and the least “in your face”) way to market your brand.  This promotion involves sending a product to a blogger and then they write about it on their site.  I REALLY suggest letting the blogger pick out the item from your shop–you want to be sure they really like it.  Because the more they like the product, the better the review AND the more likely they will be to wear/use your product in an additional future post.  For example, I reviewed a Lisa Leonard necklace a while back (read the review here), BUT because I liked it soooo much, you continue to see me feature her products in my more recent posts. If you have a fashion business, then select a blogger that is respected for their fashion sense. If you have a home decor company, select a blogger that decorates to your liking.  If you have a crafting company, pick a blogger who crafts to review your product. You catch my drift. NOTE: If the blogger allows it, I always suggest providing a “limited time” discount code with the product review–this further encourages the looky loos to place their order before the discount code becomes invalid.


  • Discounts: Offering discounts can be tricky.  It is important to calculate your discounts before you offer them.  What I mean is, are you discounting your product so much that you are no longer being profitable–because that would not be good.  Sometimes, if you buy your supplies at a quantity discount, you can have more wiggle room to offer a bigger discount.  Consider cost of material, cost of packaging, and time spent to make the product when you are determing your total cost to make a product.  Discounts can come in the form of a percentage off, free shipping, buy one get one, etc.  Discounts can be the best way to kick off a new season, celebrate a holiday, or close out a specific product.  When I offer a discount, I usually promote it via facebook and twitter, and sometimes I even blog the discount code.  If you have a newsletter, you can include exclusive discount codes in there as well.  I know some businesses who include a coupon in the orders they ship out for a percentage discount off the customers next order–this is a great way to encourage re-orders.  If you use etsy, they offer a way for you to create coupon codes for your readers that can be inputted at checkout.


  • Daily Deals: Participating in a daily deal can be a great way to get a rather large quantity of your product to a lot of people FAST. I have participated in a few Groop Dealz that have all proven rather successful.  There are also other daily deal sites out there like Very Jane, and Pick Your Plum.  These daily deal sites will generally require that you sell your product at a 30-50% discount, and then they will take a percentage of your sales.  BE SURE YOU STILL PROFIT before you decide to run a deal.  Research the bulk discount that you can get your supplies at and estimate how much time it would take you to manufacture the product in bulk.  Will it be worth your time? For some products in your shop this will make sense, but not so much for others.  There are some specific benefits to running a daily deal: 1) information about your product will be emailed to literally thousands of potential customers 2) Your sales will be MUCH larger than if you tried to run the deal yourself.   I have recently started running a daily deal on my site once a month.  What this means is that I pick a product in my shop and sell it at a BIG discount.  Because my site generates enough traffic, I still get decent sales for my daily deal, but a fraction compared to what I would get running one with a Daily Deal site.  However, the perk is that I don’t have to stress out to make a massive quantity, and I am not sharing the profits.


So that’s all for now.  I have a few other “business tips” ideas up my sleeve that I hope to share with you soon. Please leave any other questions you want to see answered in a future post in the comments section.

Stop wanting to give up.

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  • Reply
    Katie Dufour
    October 5, 2011 at 2:01 am

    So nice to see all of this! I needed a little “dont give up” kick in the butt after just starting my etsy shop.
    Great post!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Awesome tips! I just opened my shop The {posh} Daisy and I am doing my first giveaway. These tips will be so helpful. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Great post Ashley. I would love to pick your brain on business blogging, but in case that never happens..this is the next best thing! Appreciate you:)

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Thank you for sharing these tips! It’s allways nice to learn from you! Thank you again!

  • Reply
    Alissa Circle
    October 5, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Awesome tips, thanks for sharing these Ashley!

  • Reply
    Em @ And Nothing Else Matters
    October 5, 2011 at 2:07 am

    You give the BEST advice! You truly do. Another post that I am going to bookmark. Thank you so much lovely Ashley!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Great post and super informative! Thank you so much, I recently opened an Etsy shop and am really weighing my options of getting it out there to people so this really helped.

    Thanks again!

    Pamela @ pbjstories.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Salena Lee @ A Little Piece of Me
    October 5, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Thank you for these tips! I needed these. I just opened my etsy shop. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 2:33 am

    This is such a great post! And right up my alley!! This is why I love your blog!! 😀

    For Love of Cupcakes

  • Reply
    Maureen Polderman
    October 5, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Thanks so much for sharing you wisdom today!! I have come back to your blogging and business tips MANY times in the last few months land have found them so helpful!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 4:31 am

    You offer such great blog tips. What I love most about the way you host giveaways/promotions, is that I can always tell that you genuinely love the product you are gushing about. What advice do you have for lifestyle bloggers who don’t have any business to promote? I just have me and my words 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ 4eighteen.com
    October 5, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Thank you for all the great information!

  • Reply
    Mindy Harris
    October 5, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Ashley thank you for sharing your knowledge. Makes me love you even more. I am trying SO HARD to build my readership and these tidbits of information and encouragement keep me going.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Great advise as always Ashley! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and being so honest! I just opened my own design company and any adivse to help me grow it helps. Cannot wait to see what your other business tips are.

  • Reply
    Erin G
    October 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for all the insight! Although I must say when it comes to giveaways, I’m often very turned off by giveaways that ask you to visit another site to enter, or go to facebook, etc. In fact, I’m so turned off I don’t enter them at all (nor do I even click over to the site to check it out further). I only enter giveaways that a) is something I’m interested in, and b) can be entered only on the site offereing the giveaway in the comments section.

    I don’t think you have to “force” people to your site by requiring them to enter the giveaway there. If it’s something they are interested in, they will enter the giveaway on the site offering it, and then guarantee they will click right on over to the maker of the giveaway to check out what other goods they offer.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Good morning! Thank you so very much for posting this helpful information. I have made candles for years and recently started up my own little blog to further promote my biz! I am preparing to host my first giveaway and can’t tell you HOW helpful all of your information is. It is so refreshing to know there are people out there who have built their own online businesses and are also willing to help and encourage those of us who need it. Wonderful and informative post. Thanks again! 🙂

  • Reply
    ana {bluebirdkisses}
    October 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! I just opened an Etsy shop of my own and both this article and the last one are so valuable, because I am way way out of my element right now and feeling very overwhelmed.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to write this up! Running your own business can be overwhelming at times!!

  • Reply
    Anna @ The Guiltless Life
    October 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Really worthwhile advice. I run an online business that is totally separate from my blog which I use to promote other companies through giveaways (the two are in totally different business realms so they can’t really be combined), but this enables me to see both sides. Therefore this is valuable advice for both of my ventures. Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Ashley –

    You are such an inspiration! I seriously have no idea how you accomplish all you do and make it look so easy! I know it isn’t always easy but you sure make it look that way! I love your blog and your Etsy products are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing your tips. 🙂 My little Etsy shop can use all the help it can get!


  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for the great info Ashley!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Such great points! 🙂 I always respect your views on these things! HUGS Girl!

  • Reply
    Liz {at} Sunny Bug
    October 6, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Great advice! You have no idea how much I look up to you & your site. You are definitely one of my daily “must reads” and I especially enjoy reading & learning about how to grow my site and business. I’m sharing on my Sunny Bug facebook page since this info is essential to share! ~~ Liz

  • Reply
    October 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Thank you so much for the tips.
    I have started a new blog and all of your tips are extremely helpful to me

  • Reply
    Little Miss Brainys Learn
    October 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    […] How to Run Successful Online Promotions – Little Miss Momma Live and learn That's the nature of life, and that's the nature of business. And it seems that as I navigate my way further into the trenches of running an online business, I learn a little bit more every day from each […]

  • Reply
    Materialize Me
    October 12, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Again, thank you! The end where you posted “Stop wanting to give up”, that is one of the reasons I have decided to keep going with my business. It’s hard but like you said. Stop wanting to give up. I’m hoping that my business will take off and not because success is defined by the dollar amount. But it will let me know that I’m bringing something to others 🙂

    Thank you again! Please keep posting.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you so much for all your great tips and advice! Keep em coming!

  • Reply
    Online Shop Advice, Superfoods, and a Giveaway
    October 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    […] your shop is open Little Miss Momma discusses how you can grow your shop and run that shop successfully. Source: blog.workisnotajob.com via Little Miss Momma on […]

  • Reply
    Make and Do Girl
    October 28, 2011 at 2:49 am

    I like your point about advertising on sites out of your comfort zone. We all need new eyeballs in order to grow. The only way to get those new friends to branch out. Great advice.

  • Reply
    [email protected] this Life
    November 4, 2011 at 1:57 am

    This is great info Ashley! I’m a new blogger and could use some advice in growing my blog. Thanks for sharing your tips!!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Your tips are awesome! Thank you so much for sharing them. I love reading how others were able to be a success.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks so much for these tips Ashley…so informative. I’m going to try some of them very soon.

  • Reply
    How to Run Successful Online Promotions
    April 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    […] By: Ashley for Little Miss Momma […]

  • Reply
    Online Promotions
    November 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Quite useful tips . Its going to be useful for me as I am planning to start an online promotion website .

  • Reply
    Online Promotions
    November 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Really useful tips . Its going to help me as I plan to start an online promotion website . Thanks .

  • Reply
    Alex Norton
    March 19, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! I just opened an affiliate store of my own and both this article and the last one are so valuable, because I am way way out of my element right now and feeling very overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing your unique thoughts.

  • Reply
    AOS TV
    January 23, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    it was nice article about the time and more of the people like this info. thank you for share

  • Reply
    March 25, 2020 at 11:42 am

    “You can see the techniques of the knit on this style; Bandage Dress one day we will videotape the process of how our pieces are made.

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