The Pros and Cons of 5 Small Business Promotions

small business promotions

The occasional promotion is commonplace for most small businesses. Done correctly, small business promotions can bring in new customers, keep existing customers loyal and create warm, fuzzy feelings between your company and its fanbase.

But as Sir Isaac Newton (and our high school physics teacher) taught us, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, for all the good our promotions do us, there are potential downfalls as well.

This week, we’re exploring the pros and cons of five common small business promotions to help you decide which ones might be right for you.

Customer of the Month

When it comes to choosing a customer of the month, the standards are completely up to you. You can make your selection via random drawing, reward the person who bought the most doodads from your online shop or even give the coveted honor to the fan who made the most posts on your social media pages. The sky is the limit, and the rewards can range from simple recognition to public shoutouts to free or discounted merchandise.

Pro: Naming a customer of the month makes your selection feel valued and gives the rest of your fan base something to strive for.

Con: While your customer of the month will surely be thrilled with the honor, the rest of your (equally awesome) customers may feel slighted. And if your criteria isn’t completely transparent, you’re opening yourself up to accusations of favoritism.


Who doesn’t love a coupon? Whether carefully clipped out of the daily newspaper, sent in an email or beamed to your smartphone as if by magic when you walk past a shop, a few dollars off a product or service is often all the convincing we need to make a purchase we might not otherwise have considered.

Pro: Coupons can easily turn a browser into a buyer, especially if you deliver it when the customer is at a crucial junction in the decision-making process.

Con: Coupons are easy to duplicate and share, which means that the valuable discount you meant to give to one person can quickly be distributed all over town. Sure, you can refuse to honor the misappropriated coupons, but that can reflect poorly on your small business, no matter how “right” you are.

Loyalty Programs

These days, it seems like every business, big or small, has some sort of loyalty program. Whether it’s a simple punch card that entitles you to a free something after you’ve bought 10 paid somethings or a complicated hierarchy that keeps track of everything you’ve ever purchased and tailors special deals based on your history, these programs are loved and hated in equal measures, depending on who you talk to.

Pro: Loyalty programs can, as the name suggests, make people more loyal to your small business. When customers know they’re being rewarded for patronizing your business, they’ll likely make it a point to stick with your business.

Con: In a world where privacy is disappearing at a rapid pace and every device we own seems to be listening in on our conversations, some people are less than thrilled to offer up more of their personal details, regardless of the potential rewards.

Free Samples

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Costco has temporarily suspended their free samples, and people have feelings about it. The warehouse chain has long been known as a place where shoppers could effectively get a free lunch one tiny bite at a time, and the lack of a sample cart at the end of every aisle has certainly changed the landscape of the store.

Free samples, food or otherwise, definitely have their place in the world, but how important are these small business promotions, really?

Pro: Everyone loves getting something for nothing. Free samples increase brand awareness, draw a crowd and can even increase sales to the tune of 25% to 30%.

Con: For everyone who is genuinely interested in trying (and ultimately buying) your product or service, there is someone else who is just in it for the “free” with no intention to take the relationship any further.


Giving your fans, followers and customers a chance to win a fantastic prize can certainly increase your engagement on your website and social media pages. Contests incentivize people to share your content and interact with your brand in the hopes of winning whatever you have on offer.

Pro: Contests are a quick and easy way to get more fans and followers on social media, increase your email signups, and even get people into your brick-and-mortar store.

Cons: The traffic you gain during the contest can easily disappear once you declare a winner. It will become blatantly obvious who was honestly interested in your brand, products and services and who was just in it to win it.

What Small Business Promotions Are Right for You?

It’s no secret that promotions take time and effort. And they’re not without risk, no matter how carefully you craft them. But when you weigh the pros and cons and are realistic about the outcome you hope to see, small business promotions can help boost your bottom line!

Are you searching for the next step in your small business marketing strategy? Mischa Communications wants to help you find your footing. Reach out today and let us know what we can do for you!