October 11, 2021

6 Ways to Use Promo Codes in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

Here’s the deal: People love a deal. And if you’re in the ecommerce space, offering a fab deal to the right customer could be the thing that sets you apart from the competition.

Or, it could simply be the thing that converts a customer from a mere prospect to an actual buyer.

The problem is that there are right and wrong ways to use promo codes. Not just this, but there are many right and wrong ways. If you’re unsure about what to do, join us as we take a look at 6 of the cleverest ways to use promo codes in your ecommerce marketing strategy.

But first…

The Benefits of Promo Codes

You see them all the time:

“$400 off May 2019!”

“Get $100 Off Your Next Flight!”

Promo codes work for a simple reason: They offer an incentive for the customer to buy; they look like they’re too good to refuse.

However, the benefits extend to you, the business owner, too. When a customer buys, you generate more revenue!

Of course, you will lose out initially because you’re selling your products for a lower price but you need to think of the bigger picture. By using promo codes, you’re spreading goodwill and encouraging long-term customer loyalty. You could use them on first-time customers, and you could use them on returning customers as well.

Offer Promo Codes as Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are powerful things. A lead magnet typically comes in the form of a free gift—such as an eBook—and it’s exchanged in return for a lead’s email address. Essentially, a lead will hand over their email address (and perhaps other personal details) to you, and you’ll hand over to them their free gift.

From now on, why not offer promo codes in exchange for a prospect’s email address?

To make the most of this tactic, make sure you collect as much basic information as you need in order to create an awesome email marketing campaign. For example, you could just grab their email address but you might also want to grab details such as their personal tastes and shopping habits. By asking the right target questions, you can then use email targeting to tailor your content so that your open rates—and consequently, conversion rates—are growing.

All of this is really important because email marketing is still a great way to build relationships with your customers, and ultimately, to grow your online store.

Reward Customer Loyalty With Promo Codes

Research has shown that it’s much more cost-effective to retain existing customers than it is to constantly acquire new ones, however, retaining existing customers isn’t always necessarily easier. There are things you need to do in order to convince people to keep coming back.

Promo codes are a great way to reward customer loyalty because they spread happiness. If you can show your customers that you have recognized their repeat custom and you’re doing something about it, they’ll feel pretty darn good about you!

Essentially, you’re showing people that you value their custom.

A good idea is to reward customer loyalty via promo codes that activate free shipping. Indeed, high or unexpected shipping costs have been shown to be one of the prime reasons customers abandon their carts, so make their day by offering them free shipping on the products they really want to buy!

Celebrate Holidays With Your Promo Codes

When Christmas is just around the corner, what do you do? If you don’t get creative with your promo codes, you’re losing!

Think of it like this: Your customers are in the mood to buy—they will be buying something. Might you tempt them to buy your products by offering them a deal that seems too good to be true?

It’s really important that you take advantage of the holidays any way that you can because one thing is for sure: Your rivals certainly are.

National days, events, and even big sports days are well worth celebrating with promo codes because they’re great ways to get your customers’ attention. For example, if you’re running a store that sells perfume, using promo codes during Valentine’s Day will hit the spot with your customers.

And of course, if you care about creating a personalized experience for your customers, don’t forget about the special promo code for their birthdays. Make sure to obtain their personal data beforehand and don’t miss a chance to surprise them for their special day.

Spend some time thinking about the various seasonal holidays and events that are relevant to your brand and then create promo codes. Make sure to run a creative promotional campaign throughout the period too that catches people’s eyes.

That all said, the biggest conundrum you might be facing is when to start running your campaigns. Since research in the past by the NRF has shown that 40% of holiday gift-givers finish their Christmas shopping before Halloween, you might be tempted to start your promo campaigns mega early. However, you need to take a look at the particular products you sell.

For example, if your products generally require a lot of decision-making from the buyer before they make a purchase, you’ll want to start your campaigns fairly early. On the other hand, if your items are mostly made up of inexpensive, budget products, you can start later.

A good rule of thumb is to offer coupon codes for premium items as soon as possible, before saving your promo campaigns for the cheaper ones around Black Friday.

Social Promoter Promo Codes

Social media marketing itself is really important to the success of your online store and here’s an idea: Why not combine it with your promo codes?

With the increasing amount of platforms facilitating social commerce where your audience can buy your products with one click, not taking advantage of it would mean losing tons of cash.

It’s simple—for example, you could offer a coupon code to any visitor who follows, promotes, or shares your social media pages. Sounds easy, right?

All the customer has to do is just that—promote your pages. If they do that, they get a discount. It’s a win-win situation.

The type of promo code you offer them should be simple, such as a flat rate monetary offer off of a next purchase, or a percentage-based discount.

Retarget Cart Abandoners With Promo Codes

An incredible 67.91% of customers will abandon their carts. That seems quite high, and it does mean that you’re going to lose out on a lot of sales that were so nearly completed.

The good news is that it’s totally possible to bring cart abandoners back into the game. One of the best ways to do this is via promo codes.

Remember, there’s always a reason why someone abandons their cart. It could be because the shipping costs were too high or unexpected, or it could be that the total cost wasn’t quite what they expected! Whatever the reasons are, take a look at your sales funnel to discover where in the customer journey people are dropping off. Solicit customer feedback via email and surveys, too, to learn more about why folk abandon their carts.

Then, create abandoned cart promo codes that bring people back. You could, for example, offer $1 (or free) shipping.

One of the ways to make it happen would be by using Facebook ads. Take advantage of the data gathered by Facebook to retarget the right audience and use Facebook insights to maximize the potential of the ads. Include the promo code as a hook to bring these leads back and convert and your copy just needs to be as simple as, “finish checking out and get FREE shipping on your next order.”

Create Exit-Intent Promo Codes

This one is a tad similar to the one above in that you’re targeting users who have shown an interest in what you’ve got, but who are nevertheless on the way elsewhere.

Essentially, the idea behind an exit-intent offer is that you give it one last shot at converting a visitor with a discount.

Let’s say a user has been milling around your website for a few minutes but still hasn’t converted, or even put anything in their cart. They’re warm but still need a nudge to clinch the deal.

So, what you do is use an exit-intent popup that offers them a discount just as they’re about to leave your website.

The thing with the exit-intent promo code is that, even if they still don’t convert after entering products into their cart, you can retarget them with an abandoned cart offer at a later date. To do this, though, you need their email address so create exit-intent offers for promo codes but make sure to ask for the user’s email address first.


These are 6 clever ways to use promo codes in your marketing strategy used by the best ecommerce companies in the industry. However, it’s also really important that you don’t overdo things, as customers can become reliant on them to the extent where you literally train them to wait for offers! Use them sparingly, smartly, and make sure they’re building true customer loyalty.

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