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Sales promotions

Sales promotion activities are widely used on the web. E-Marketing, published by Prentice Hall, indicates that marketers have found online promotions achieve three to five times higher response rates than direct mail.

Most online sales promotions are targeted at consumers and are used in combination with advertising.

E-coupons offer your online business the opportunity to increase sales in much the same way as conventional coupons do for traditional businesses. They can be used creatively in a number of different ways.

* Frequent shoppers can be rewarded when they reach a certain level of value or purchases
* Shoppers can be encouraged to return with an e-coupon towards future purchases
* Incentives can be used to encourage customers to purchase immediately rather than waiting for a better deal or shopping elsewhere
* First time customers can be offered special deals in order to help turn them from browsers into purchasers
* Subscriber-only e-coupons can be used to encourage customers to sign up for e-newsletters, with the newsletter helping to increase sales and build your customer database

Coupons usually include a code that the customer is required to enter before they finalise their order to receive the discount.

Some e-commerce sites allow users to sample digital products prior to purchase. Many software companies, for example, provide free downloads of demo software that normally expire after 30 to 60 days. At that time the user can then choose to purchase the full product if they wish.
Contests and sweepstakes

Some websites hold contests and sweepstakes to attract visitors and keep them returning. Contests generally require some level of skill, while sweepstakes involve a pure chance draw for the winner.

Such sales promotions can be a useful way of creating excitement about your brand and enticing customers to return to your site.