Specials, discounts, and promotions are a marketer’s best friend. They are used because they work. They drive people to your products and services and increase the likelihood that they purchase.

But just because you have an offer available doesn’t mean the customers will come running. Even if your offer appears to be working, there are ways to make it better.

There is a science to this art – one that has been perfected over the years by many marketers smarter than both you and I.

If you want to create better, more effective promotional offers, here are three steps you can take.

Step 1: Create Urgency

No more forever deals. Forever deals aren’t special. While I think it’s great that I always get free shipping when I order from your website, that fact alone is not going to spur me to action. It may win business from competitors, but it’s not creating any great sense of urgency.

Instead, tie every promotion to a specific time period. When you introduce deadlines to your sales and special offers, you drive more business.

Consumers have a natural fear of missing out. A great offer with a deadline entices them to act now, before it’s too late.

Step 2: Add Variety

We all know the companies that utilize the same offers and sales month after month and year after year. Eventually, these become easy to ignore. And an offer that is easy to ignore is not one that is going to help your business.

To keep customers interested in your brand, use a variety of different offers. This month it might be free shipping. Next month it might be buy one, get one free. Come Christmas, it might be 25% off orders over $100.

While it may be true that some offers work better than others – meaning they bring in more sales – you still run the risk of diminishing returns over time if you continue to run the same offer over and over again.

Step 3: Promote

If you build it, they will come. The famous line from Field of Dreams may have been true for Kevin Costner, but it’s not true for companies today. If you have a special offer meant to boost sales, you need to make sure people know about it.

You can promote your special offers through all the major channels that you use to advertise your business – from traditional avenues like TV, radio, and outdoor, to online channels like social media, search, and display ads. Also consider all the opportunities you have to promote your offers to existing customers – email, phone, direct mail, etc.

When you let people know about your offers, you drive the traffic necessary to achieve success.

In conclusion, the companies that make the most out of special offers are constantly working to improve their effectiveness. By taking the three steps discussed above, you will drive an increase in sales for your business.