Should you join in the fun and go on sale?
Sale season certainly gets my heart racing! I love a good deal – who doesn’t?
Going on sale is a decision you should not take lightly when you work for yourself.
Here are some think about before going on sale if you work for yourself:
1. WHY are you going on sale?
It may sound like a silly question but it’s something many don’t consider when they jump on the bandwagon and scream SALE!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have products that you need to clear to make room for new ones? >> Go on sale.
- Do you have products that you want to discontinue? >> Go on sale.
- Are you going on sale to attract a new audience? >> Keep reading.
- Do you have a service based business and want to boost sales? >> Keep reading.
- Do you feel you should go on sale because everyone else is? >> Keep reading.
Look around at most the businesses that are having huge sales. What are they selling, and to whom? Products that go on sale are usually those with an EXPIRY date. An expiry date can refer to products other than food – fashion changes, technology advances, yesterday’s products quickly become dates – and certain industries can’t pull off “vintage”.
Not every business goes on sale: Louis Vuitton never goes on sale, Apple neither. Why? Because they don’t need to.
WARNING: Frequent sales devalue your product. The market starts holding out for your next sale and your full price looks like a joke.
2. You offer a service, should you go on sale?
When your company structure and business offering looks like mine: Me, myself, and I – going on sale is tricky.
What can you discount? Discounting your services could devalue your work. It could also attract a price sensitive market which can lead to further problems (competing on price as a solopreneur offering a service is dangerous territory).
Selecting your promotions carefully is one way you can go on sale and benefit.
Here are some ideas on how to go on sale without damaging your business:
- Communicate an exclusive offer to your newsletter subscribers
After all, they’ve been loyal and given you their email address. Sending them a special offer means you are keeping your promotion focussed and genuine.
- Offer the first month of your services at a discounted rate
This can be useful to attract new clients who may have been stalling with getting started. You both win, they get a great deal AND you get paid!
- Give a complementary product away to a new client
By complementary product I mean, a book, a teddy bear, an extra call – something that is NOT your core offering. It adds value to services and costs you little but means a lot to the new client. Plus, if you are offering a service it’s something tangible (in most cases) people can attach real value to.
- Restrict the offer to a small number of people
This stops you looking like you are desperate to make a sale. Limiting an offer to 1, 5, 20 people creates a sense of urgency, makes it exclusive and have value.
- Play with the price
Ok, this is a bit of shady tip … but it works in SOME cases. Artificially inflate your prices so you can easily offer 25% off and still make the money you want to.
3. How should I communicate my sale?
Communicating your sale is incredibly important to it’s success.
- Keep the promotions you are offering really simple
The way customers can benefit from the promotion (also known in jargon speak as the “promotion mechanics”) need to be clear and simple.
- Avoid complicated promotions
Complicated promotions lead to confusion, incomplete purchase which annoy the customer and you (you’ll get negative feedback, or worse, ZERO results)
Don’t make people jump through hoops to benefit: “Like my page on Facebook, follow me on twitter, send me a lock of hair, and send me 10,000 words about butterflies and unicorns” … get the idea?
- Keep the the sale focussed
Make sure you know who you are talking to. Communicate by email or on a page on your site.
Set a cut off date and stick to it.
Be clear about exemptions – offer does not apply to residents outside of XYZ etc
- Talk about your sale, EVERYWHERE
Is a banner on your site enough? Is it hidden on a page?
Talk about it on social media, remind your subscribers, tell your friends on Facebook etc
WHY? Well, no one else is going to blow your trumpet for you.
As I always say “Shout it LOUD and Shout it PROUD”
4. What kind of promotions can I offer when I go on sale?
Guess you want to know what kind of promotions you can offer? Well, here are some ideas that I love using – you have probably heard of them before. Promotions should NOT be complicated.
Promotional ideas for Products:
- 10%, 50% 70% OFF
Yes, simple isn’t it? Discounting the product price is an age old promotion that, umm, WORKS!
- Buy one get one FREE
Another way of saying 50% off but a great way to clear your stock if that’s the objective.
- FREE Shipping on your first purchase
Oh so simple, and what does it cost really?
Promotional ideas for Services:
- % Off the first month
This is up to your discretion – you may want to add that they have to sign up for a certain period of time to benefit (3-6 months).
- Sign up with a friend and get the 2nd 1/2 price
You get 2 clients buy giving a 25% discount – this way of communicating it means the first person goes out and recruits FOR you … awesome.
- Extra service for FREE when you buy X
Throw in a free site audit, or a work book (make sure that offer lets you up-sell to that client at a later date)
Promotional ideas that work for both Products AND Services:
- Gift with Purchase
This one’s easy to do – buy this and I’ll give you this super cool fluffy bunny 🙂
5. Do I have to go on sale?
No. You don’t have to go on sale if you don’t want to.
NOTE: Promotions/Sales are just ONE part of your marketing and communication. Identifying your business goal will help you decide if you need to go on sale. If you need help with your any of this GET IN TOUCH.
What are your thoughts about going on sale?
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