There are any number of marketing strategies that can help you improve your sell-through ratio – regardless of whether you are selling online or offline. These include using bonuses, discounts, coupons and/or special orders.
Each of these approaches has an advantage, depending on the manner in which they’re used. In fact, you can utilize a number of these in conjunction with each other…
Bonus vs. Discount
There are some schools of thought that say that providing your clients and potential buyers with bonuses is better than offering a discount. I certainly full into this camp – I believe that offering a bonus is preferable to offering a discount!
Let’s take a look at why. e A bonus is meant to attract people to complimentary (tie in) products or services, as well as encouraging the buy-through. A bonus should be so enticing that it could very well sell on its own (and, in fact, you can always have it as a stand alone item for re-orders later). The bottom line of a bonus is value-added buying.
By comparison a discount can be tricky. This isn’t just a “sale” in the usual sense of the term. A discount has to be attractive enough to encourage a purchaser buy right now, and often there has to be trade off between profit and customer attainment.
My largest concern with offering discounts, is that it effectively devalues your product or service to the discounted price… Why should someone pay the full price, when you’ve already sold it a lower price?
Generally speaking the word “bonus” has more positive impact than discount. It implies something added instead of taken away, and therefore attracts more interest and maintains the value of the product for sale.
The single largest benefit of offering a bonus over a discount, is that you can remove a bonus quite easily whilst still maintaining the value of the product for sale. Changing the price of a product back to its ‘original’ price may be problematic.
What about loyal customers?
Existing customers are worthwhile keeping. Some statistics show that an existing customer costs 7 time less than gaining a new customer. In these cases, a discount may actually be an appropriate strategy.
Sometimes, offering ‘discounts’ to loyal customers may gain more interest, particularly if it is a discount designed specifically for them.
It is important to review the legalities involved. In some instances offering different prices on the same product to different people can be looked upon unfavorably (particularly if those clients/potential clients get wind of it).
E-coupons could prove to be a very successful marketing strategy. In my experience, whilst coupons are well accepted by Australian clients – I’ve noted that 9/10ths of all consumers in the US use coupons.
Using coupons make sense in most marketplaces, but if you have a predominantly US based clientele, having coupons makes a lot of sense. The question becomes – how do you deliver coupons to your customer / potential customers and on what items/services do you offer coupons?
Well, there’s always email marketing for your coupons, since you already have a database of people interested in getting updates and information. There are also a variety of websites that offer online coupons. Each of these sites has different ways they handle affiliations differently (so read the fine print). The advantage to affiliate networking is increasing visibility and branding. The disadvantage is the loss of some revenue.
As far as what products and services you target with coupons, frequently it’s those that are moving slowly, that are going out of season, or ones with excessive inventory. Alternatively you might use a coupon to introduce a new product or service and give it a buzz.
The only caution with coupons is this: don’t over-saturate. Pace coupon campaigns so that people still have time to buy goods or services in between promotions. Otherwise they may get spoiled and ONLY buy when a coupon gets offered.
As you can see in terms of marketing strategies – bonuses, discounts, coupons and other special offers may serve your online presence (or small business) well. They just require sound thought and good execution.
What’s you’re experience with using Coupons, Special Offers or Discounts with your customers?