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10% off isn’t an enticing offer and you need to stop using it (but what you can use instead)

Every day, we print a myriad of promotional flyers, postcards, brochures, banners, etc. for our clients and as I’m sure you can imagine, we’ve seen pretty much every kind of special or promotion that businesses use to help attract attention or encourage recipients to respond to the call to action. Luckily, we have great relationships with our customers and quite frequently we follow up to hear the results from the campaign to see what works and what doesn’t. One thing that rarely, if ever works is the “10% off special”.

10% on the surface seems quite appealing, so why doesn’t it work?

I’m not saying that discount sales don’t work – in fact they do, quite well. So well in fact, that many stores have year-round sales and artificially inflate the original price, so it can be permanently offered at discounts for one reason or another. Walk through a shopping centre and almost every store will have some kind of sale on – normally anywhere from 40-80% off. A few years back, Groupon got into a bit of hot water for inflating original prices to offer larger discounts and only recently, Kogan was fined for artificially inflating prices before a sale to offer a larger discount. In comparison, your meagre 10% special compared to other larger discounts, isn’t all that appealing.

So, if you’re not too keen on flirting with the truth in advertising laws by artificially inflating your base price and your margin doesn’t allow for 50%+ off, what alternatives do you have?

Try value adding instead of discounting

Offering added value in a lot of cases, can be much more appealing than a simple discount. But for it to work successfully, the recipient needs to actually see value in the “add-on”. A makeup company can offer a free makeup bag for purchases over $50 or a computer store can offer free warranty on all new purchases. Or if you’re business-to-business, perhaps access to a library of resource for personal / business development could be perceived as valuable by your audience.

The best kinds of value adds you can use in your advertising are the ones that cost you as little as possible, but are perceived as high value as possible by your customers.

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