The marketing offer — that is, an offer for a discount or something free in exchange for trying out your product/service — is one of the most effective marketing tactics for businesses that are looking to attract more new customers.
But where’s the line between offering too much and too little drawn? What offers really attract customers?
In this week’s podcast, we sit with PostcardMania’s Vice President of Quality Control who dives into the topic.
He’s going to tell you EXACTLY how to create a successful offer for your industry…
Here’s the transcription below of today’s episode, a conversation between our Director of Multimedia Content, Peyton, and Mike, PostcardMania’s Vice President of Quality Control:
Note: This transcription has been edited slightly for clarity.
What is the purpose of offering sales discounts to customers?
Peyton: I know for a fact that some of us have purchased a service or product because it was advertised at a discount, or you got a free gift when purchasing the item. This ad reeled you in was something called an offer.
Before we get to the topic, I want to introduce you to my guest, Mike. Mike has been with PostcardMania for over eight years, and is currently serving as the Vice President of Quality Control. His Division is responsible for tracking our clients’ results to be analyzed, so PostcardMania can continue to deliver campaigns based on proven industry results. Hi, Mike?
Mike: Hi, Peyton.
Peyton: So, we’re talking about finding the right offer for your small business, what exactly is a marketing offer and what are some different types of offers?
Advantages of offer discounts
Mike: Well, an offer is a deal that you present to a potential client in a marketing campaign, and it basically just gives them a little more encouragement to try you for the first time. If you’re marketing to existing customers, it’s giving them a good excuse to come back and use your business again.
Peyton: Okay, so can you give me just like a quick example of just a basic offer?
Mike: Sure. An offer can be like a free evaluation, if that is something that you normally charge for. It can be a percentage off a service, or it can be anything that in your field it’s something that’s wanted and needed by your clients.
Peyton: Okay, so if I’m an orthodontist, I’m not going to give away four free tires. Right?
Mike: No, absolutely. It’s super important that your offer is very relevant to your industry, one of the things I like to tell our clients is it should handle a pain point. I’ll give a good example of that.
A couple of months ago, I needed new tires on my car. I shopped around for the good price, I found a few that were pretty close, but I found a place that did free tire rotations and fixed flats for the lifetime of the tire, that was a huge deal because I knew that for the next couple of years I didn’t have to worry about that. That was enough to sway me and I probably would have paid a little more for the tire knowing that they were going to handle that for me for the next couple of years.
Peyton: Right. What would you say to a business owner who says they don’t want to use an offer on their marketing because it cheapens this product or service?
Mike: I would ask if your competitors feel that way, too [chuckle]. If they do, then your offer is going to give you the edge you need to steal their business; if they don’t feel that way then they definitely have an edge over you, because I don’t care what people say, everybody loves a good offer.
Peyton: Well, say your target demographic is wealthy or people. People who have a massive amount of income, does it really matter if you provide an offer, if that’s your target audience?
Mike: It does, that’s a common misconception that wealthy people, rich people don’t care about a deal or offers. In my personal life, some of the people with the most money are the most frugal, I think a lot of people could at least name somebody like that.
How to write a discount offer
Peyton: Now, how do I create an offer that will generate leads?
Mike: The first thing you have to do is know your market; know the wants and needs of the customers that you’re trying to get in the door. As long as you’re keeping it relevant to your industry and it’s relevant to the people that you’re trying to pull in, then it’s going to be a good offer.
A good offer also takes into consideration what your competition is offering to their clients, if you haven’t done that kind of research and you’re not aware of what your local competition is doing, then you definitely need some… Then you definitely need to do some homework.
Peyton: So research your competition and see what they’re doing, tweak it, be better. So, if you get leads, do you think that using this percent off, will it really give me more money or will it really make my small business more money even if I’m giving something away?
Mike: I always say that even the deepest discount is gonna be greatly outweighed by a lifetime customer, if you can get even a handful of people in the door and show you loyalty because you’ve given them great service and a quality product, the initial discount, the initial loss leader that you provide is going to be irrelevant when you look at their entire relationship with your business.
Peyton: That’s a good point. We do love lifetime customers.
Mike: Yes, we do.
Peyton: And once you’ve done your research and you’ve decided on the offer, how do I advertise this offer?
Marketing postcard offer
Mike: Well, I may be a little biased, but I think postcards are definitely the best way to do it; in my field, specifically postcard marketing. We’ve tested so many offers across every industry and we track everything constantly, and it is something that changes frequently. \
It’s different per area and how much competition you have, there’s so many factors that it’s something where you have to do massive amounts of volume to have any idea of what’s working or not, luckily we’ve done that volume. So I have the case studies and I have the data to prove the advice that I give.
Peyton: Mike can show you the numbers of proven offers that do great. Are there any industries that you don’t recommend should use an offer in their marketing?
Mike: None. The thing that you have to worry about is what is legal in your industry. If you are governed by a licensing board, there are local laws that you have to abide by; you should know those things. Offers having to do with credit or loans and things like that that need approval. There’s only so many things that you can legally say, so you have to be very aware of that, but any industry or any business can find an offer that will work for them.
Peyton: And a lot of times it’s those financial services who can’t, and we had a client who would donate to the charity of your choice as their offer which…
Mike: Wow, what a wonderful idea.
Peyton: Which was kind of a go around of their law, so if you can’t still try to find a way to get that offer. Now, Mike, is there any other advice you would give small businesses about finding the right offer?
Mike: The only way to find a good offer that works for you is by testing it, you have to test and see what works. Luckily, we’ve done that work; we’ve mailed with volume and dozens of industries and we’ve been able to track what is and is not working.
That’s part of what my department runs; collecting case studies, tracking successful results, every ounce of advice and direction we give to our clients is based off of these case studies. So my advice would be, the offers that you have should be tested and proven, and if you haven’t done that yourself, you need to find a good marketing company that has tested and can prove the efficacy of those offers.
Peyton: Like PostcardMania. I know that offers are very campaign and goal-based of what the client wants, but can you give me an example of a business that had a really successful offer?
Mike: Sure. One of my favorite ones is when dentists offer 0% financing, that is a huge pain point for so many people, because even with good insurance, a trip to the dentist can run you a couple thousand dollars easily, so that could very well keep a lot of people out of the dentist chair.
Putting in a zero percent financing offer in your card handles a pain point for those people to say, don’t worry about that, we’re going to help you take care of this. Let’s focus on your health. Let’s focus on something else. Now, all of the marketing copy is being absorbed by that person because they’re no longer worrying about how it’s going to get paid for or how they’re going to come up with the money.
Peyton: And a lot of people are very hesitant to go to the dentist in the first place, so dentists need to be doing everything in their power to try to get clients in those chairs and make it easier for the client or the customer to come in and use their service.
Mike: They definitely need a little more encouragement than most people.
Peyton: They do. [chuckle] So, Mike, thank you again for coming in and telling me and those small businesses out there, how to find the right offer, if you liked this episode and are looking for even more offers that are proven to work and how to tailor your offers to different audiences, go to postcardmania.com/offers for a free educational report, and be sure to go to our website and follow us on social media, on Instagram and Facebook at PostcardMania where we share even more marketing tips, tricks and small business successes.