by Marcia Yudkin
A Note From Karon: A few months ago, I posted an article about writing ecommerce product descriptions that referenced a book by Marcia Yudkin called 73 Ways To Describe A Widget. I literally got numerous emails from people thanking me for introducing them to this resource. You’ll be excited to know that Marcia has given me this new, wonderful guest post that highlights 6 awesome ways to boost your biz with offers. I’m sure you’ll be just as stoked about this! Marcia… take it away.
Everyone loves a bargain, right? And that’s why retailers and customers get into a little dance where merchants try to entice customers with specials and customers hold back until they find the best possible deal. What’s less obvious is that many businesses remain in a rut when it comes to offers – putting out only the most common two or three kinds – and missing opportunities to cha-cha, tango, jitterbug or bump with buyers.
Get much better results from your dance with customers by following some of these tips for more creative, unexpected (and lucrative) offers.
1. The bonus route. Instead of cutting a price and thereby depriving yourself of revenue, add something that buyers will receive when they purchase now, or when they purchase more than a certain amount. If your business is swimwear, toss in earplugs or a beach towel as a bonus for spending more than $150 this week. Think especially of bonus items that cost you little but have high perceived value, because of their scarcity or novelty. If you sell books, autographed copies left over from recent author visits might make an appealing bonus.
2. Go seasonal. You may think everyone already does this, but believe me, they don’t do seasonal offers anywhere near enough. If it’s October, create a “scary” or “spooky” offer. If it’s March and the polar vortex has returned, run a “price freeze” special. If it’s National Pizza Week, declare a special deal on any gadget in your inventory that comes in red (which is probably not a top color, anyway). The light-hearted tone of such promotions captures attention and encourages a relaxed mood for buying.
3. Create bundles. If you’ve ever given or received a gift basket, you understand this concept. You put together a variety of items that fulfill a single purpose, such as for new homeowners, maps, coupons, wine, wine glasses, nice soaps, a small hammer and picture hooks. Even if someone is buying for themselves rather than selecting a gift, such bundles can get people spending more than they were planning to because the grouping makes appealing sense.
4. The romance of names. Whether it’s for a bundle, a bonus or an individual item, make a featured purchase seem more fun by giving it an imaginative name. Upscale catalogs have always used this technique, but you can put it into play even for relatively ordinary stuff, as with a “Baby Bath Bundle” or “Office Nerdnik Resupply.” Or use a creative name for the promotion itself, as with a “Macadamia Madness sale” or “Dungeon clear-out specials.”
5. Run special offers more often. Once you realize that you don’t need to be slashing prices in your offers, you’ll understand why it makes sense to run many more offers than you have in the past. Get attention with the techniques above and train customers to expect surprises and fun instead of simple dollars-off deals.
6. Test. Mail-order experts know that “half off” never gets the same response as “buy one, get one free.” Most email delivery programs now have built-in A/B testing capability. Send one offer to half your list and one with slightly different wording to the other half, and over time you’ll build a cache of knowledge about what your particular audience responds best to.
Even if you think your customers are too straight-laced and business-like to appreciate some of the above ideas, you will probably be surprised at what works. Doctors, bankers, pool technicians, pet lovers – nearly everyone enjoys a little wordplay, whimsy, extras and humor in their inbox intertwined with items in which they already have a general interest. Have fun with your offers!
Good news! Marcia has a new report called All About Offers that contains scores more ideas for profitable offers that can make you more money. Through Sunday, February 1, 2015 receive a FREE bonus. Buy All About Offers and get her tremendously popular report on creating product descriptions called 73 Ways to Describe a Widget FREE.
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