Promotional Codes: How Do They Work?

Promotional codes, coupons… You name it – these play a vital role in today's marketing strategies. You know that it isn't the best price if no coupon, promotional code, or discount was applied. In fact, promo code marketing is so widespread that 75% of online shoppers expect to get a discount. Many of them even skip the deal if something like -10% doesn't appear.

So, what is the deal with promotional codes? How and why do they work like a charm today?

How do the promotional codes work, and why?

Simply put, you get a discount after entering a promotional code. That discount doesn't always apply to the product's price – it may be free shipping, gifts, etc. These codes consist of various letter and number combinations, and the structure is up to the organizer.

The ways of implementing promotional codes are infinite

Most companies use promotional codes because they help both sides – buyers get discounts, and sellers get more sales. 

These codes are often sent out via email, and can be found in ads, radio and video campaigns. Some sellers provide them for buyers who spend no less than, let's say, thirty euros. So yes, there are multiple different ways of using them for everyone's sake.

Why does everybody love them?

Even though promotional codes create a win-win situation, sellers have to drop the price a bit. But they also get more customers, so the balancing is pretty sweet. However, customers only get discounts and no drawbacks.

Nowadays, buyers are harder to control than ever before. Today, more than ten million online shops are open, which creates a wide diversity of prices and products to choose from. If online shoppers don't find a good deal, usually they go searching for another shop. For example, let's say the prices of the same product are identical in different shops, but one of them offers that price with a discount. Most people would choose the one with the discount because of the feeling that they caught a good deal.

How to use promotional codes creatively?

Most businesses already use promotional codes and coupons, so just dropping them in the dark corner of a website doesn't work anymore. One of the pointers to more and happier customers is exclusiveness. If you're not up to exploring, there are some excellent promo code marketing ideas that worked for other businesses. Here we have a few tricks that work like a charm.


Internet users are hard to engage, so persuading them to take action may be the last piece of the puzzle.

When someone finds your deal, they may bookmark it in case they don't find anything better. The problem is that you don't want potential customers going and looking for better deals. That's why a now or never situation is necessary. When it comes to promotional codes, discounts, coupons, and other similar deals, consider making limited-time offers

Give a discount for sharing an email address

It may look like an ultimatum, but it isn’t. Many e-shop owners and online service providers invest in creating engaging newsletters, and they need a proper email list. There are numerous ways to expand it, but if you're planning a promo code marketing campaign, you can do that via email. For example, create an ad saying: “Enter your email and receive 10% off your next purchase! More sweet discounts are coming soon!” Customers will get discounts while you’ll have an expanded email list, which can be used for sending upcoming promotional codes too. That’s how killing two birds with one stone looks like.


The second an ad pops up on your screen you immediately look for an “X” symbol. However, people usually stop for a second if that pop-up window boasts -XX% in it. If you own a blog or a news website, consider creating a promotion that pops up and shares a discount code. Don’t worry, as long as these windows contain discount codes or gifts instead of annoying ads, visitors will more likely be grateful than annoyed.

Discounts for loyal customers

Don't rest on your laurels when your business is booming due to loyal customers who keep coming back daily. They are the ones who keep your business running and give you some room to experiment and think of new ideas. If you can trace how often each customer comes to you, don't be greedy and reward the most dedicated ones by offering discounts and other advantages. For example, many used car buyers perform VIN checks, and those who do that regularly could get a discount code as a motivation to stay loyal.

Put a banner in the article

Don’t be so hard on yourself because sometimes simplicity is the key. Readers are always focused on the content, so putting a banner in the middle of an article, which gives away a promotional code, actually is a good idea. Landing pages, news articles, lifestyle blogs – discount banners work magic here!

There are a few tips you should follow to get the best results:

✅ Only use standard banner sizes – 728x90 for a leaderboard, 300x600 for a half page, etc.
✅ Include the company logo on the banner design.
✅ Always use a CTA (“Call To Action”) – Learn more, Click here, Get the discount.
✅ Make the design clean and simple to avoid overwhelming the reader.
✅ Choose the colors wisely – too bright buttons and neon-colored letters look like spam, so avoid them.
✅ Keep your file size small – optimizing images and animations means that they will load a lot faster.

Try to make the banner a part of your website’s design. Even though internet users nowadays have very little patience when it comes to ads, discounts affect them positively.

Implement them in photos and videos

Nowadays, every business must have a social media channel to engage with clients. People see your tweets, Facebook posts, and Youtube videos daily, and it's a perfect way to reach out to them. Before making another picture or video for a post, think about implementing a promotional code in it. For example, carVertical discount codes could be photoshopped on a vehicle's VIN plate. Tattoo shops could make a picture with a code tattooed on each finger, and so on.

Find a way to find your customer

Different types of campaigns attract different customers, so it's best to try multiple ways if you have resources for that. Remember that there will always be stubborn clients who just aren't interested in coupons or discounts, so don't beat yourself up at the end of the day. Just try different methods and find out which one livens up your business the most.