Make your special offers count

Have you ever signed up for one of those voucher discount websites? I’ve heard several people wishing they’d never bothered, as they get inundated with irrelevant offers and promotions. But I also know people that love them, and often take up opportunities to try out something they’d never usually do at full price.

But that’s the point. If you wouldn’t do it at full price, where’s the benefit to businesses running the offers?

Perhaps they fill a bit of down time with some cheap business. But in reality, you want to attract people who are going to come back and spend their money again with you. Discounting is a dangerous business, and it’s worth having your wits about you if you’re going to do it.

Doing it badly

An example of this is a hotel running a spa promotion. A friend of mine went along with another friend who had got a cheap deal that included access to the spa for the day and afternoon tea. They both had a nice time at a very low cost, but are unlikely to go back. The hotel didn’t even try and incentivise them to do so. At the very least, they should have secured a future booking, offered them a membership package, or a ‘bring a friend’ promotion.

Doing it well

In contrast, another spa offers those trying out their facilities the opportunity to sign up to a monthly package which gives them a low monthly outlay, and entitles them to several visits during the year. It’s an attractive deal, especially when you’re basking in the glow of your spa experience. In reality, many people pay the monthly fee and rarely take up all the days available to them … but they FEEL like they’re getting a good deal, and it’s a regular income for the spa. A win-win situation!

So how do you avoid falling into the ‘cheap customers’ trap?

  1. Firstly, make sure your offer is not going to make your regular customers feel put out. Offers that only apply to new customers are guaranteed to raise your current clients’ hackles!
  2. Secondly, target your offers carefully at people who you think may genuinely be interested in your product or service – but they might just need some encouragement to give it a go.
  3. Thirdly, if you run a special offer, don’t let new contacts just walk away. Make sure you encourage people to come back and become a regular customer.

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