They’re everywhere these days; those ridiculously low-priced coupon deals for everything from sumptuous 3-course meals to ‘spa treatments’ in dodgy parts of Kepong.
Value-for-money seems to be the favoured business model for many businesses nowadays. But how long before offering products and services on-the-cheap eventually becomes bad for business?
Yes, we all like bargains. But if the bargain does not live up to the intended expectations, most of us would rather pay slightly more the next time – be it for better quality or improved service.
Even if you are satisfied with a particular coupon deal; would you return to the same outlet and pay ‘regular’ price for the same thing? Which – if I may remind you – can be up to 70% more?
If you’re a business, and thinking of jumping onto the coupon deals bandwagon to attract customers, consider these:
Is it worth cheapening your brand or business by offering high discounts just to attract one-time-only customers?
You might get a high influx of customers in a short period of time. Can you or your staff handle a flood of customers and serve them properly?
You don’t usually make a profit, especially if you offer a high discount. Sometimes you won’t even break even. Seems like a pointless exercise.
Don’t expect prolonged advertising mileage by offering coupon deals. The people who use coupons are bargain-hunters who forget you as soon as you go back to normal price.
The non-bargain hunter customers (the ones that you really want as customers) will see you as desperate for business. Not the kind of image you want to portray.
So instead of ‘selling out’ your business to coupon deal sites, why not invest in promotions that are easy to create and implement. You get the kind of customers you want, and get to sell at the price you want.
Most people think I go to work, write a few headlines and then scoot off to lunch only never to return until the next day. Come to think of it that would be nice; but we all know it doesn’t work that way.
So what it is that I do? I Sell.
But I’ve come to realise that I do not only sell products to consumers; but also sell advertising to clients. So to be able to sell, I need to be able to sell the idea to the client first before being given the go-ahead to sell products to the end consumer.
Sounds confusing? But here’s the kicker.
Before I can even think about selling anything, I first must sell the idea about selling an idea to a client to sell a product to a consumer to my partners first. And I haven’t even written a single line of copy yet.
So with all this selling going on, you tell me… Isn’t advertising fundamentally about selling? Or rather shouldn’t it be all about selling?
Every CEO thinks about how much money he is making as opposed to how wonderful his company’s advertising is, which may be the reason why you see lots of crappy (but often effective) ads out there.
So is there a way to balance a strong sales-driven message with compelling creative? Last I checked, it was called Direct Marketing.
That’s it isn’t it? The full circle of making a sale, and perhaps earn a few more leads at the end of it. No complicated marketing or advertising mumbo jumbo; just plain clear and simple.
Whether you’re selling a product, writing copy, pitching for a new client or looking for a girl/boyfriend (minus Refer of course), these steps could help you close the deal or at least put you in the right path:
I remember in college when A.I.D.A. was drummed into my skull. Getting Attention, then creating Interest, which leads to Desire and ultimately Action in the form of a purchase. But for AIDA to work, the prospect must Know You or better still Like You. Would you pay attention to someone you don’t know, no matter how hard he’s trying to get your attention? Even of you do, would you actually buy from him? So for a sale to happen, you must take the effort to introduce yourself to your prospects. And if they want to Know You more, then you begin to work on the next step.
Okay. Now your prospects know who you are. It’s time to develop the relationship and get them to Like You. Freebies are good, but not a great way as most prospects can see through your gimmick. You should instead begin to persuade them in a compelling manner with hard facts thrown in. Anticipate a problem that requires solving or a need that has to be filled. If a prospect likes what she’s hearing, she’ll most probably begin to Like You as well.
Trust is a powerful influencing factor. You can get people to join a cause, divulge their innermost feelings, get into bed with you and of course, spend their money buying your product or service. But just because someone Likes You, doesn’t mean he or she Trusts You. Here’s where the saying “Seeing is Believing” comes into play. Any form of visual representation of your product or service in action could do wonders to alter your prospects perception. Testimonials or endorsements are also good, as others’ trusting behavior could lead your prospects by example.
When someone, on their own accord gets in touch with you, then you’ve pretty much done the job. Your prospects may Contact You for a number of reasons: to enquire, take up an offer and hopefully to purchase. The ball is now at your court to live up to their expectation: either by solving a problem or fulfilling a need. No hard-sell is required at this stage (or any of the previous steps for that matter) as your prospect – believe it or not – Knows You, Likes You and Trusts You. Now, it’s all about turning your prospects into customers by giving them exactly what they want.
This is the bonus round so to speak. You can do without it, but it will be such a waste. Because referrals are great for building trust. More often than not, you can skip the Know You, Like You and sometimes Trust You steps through referrals. If a satisfied customer passes the word to his friends about your wonderful product or service, then your job becomes so much easier. Peer to peer “word of mouth” is still the most effective form of advertising, nothing beats it, nothing ever will.