Christmas is less than six weeks away! For retailers and product-based companies, that means you’ve probably only got four weeks (think postage and packaging deadlines) to make the most of the magic quarter. For companies that offer services, it tends to be a quiet period because your customers are so focused on planning for next year’s efforts rather than finishing this year with a bang.
So, how can you boost those all–important end of year figures, without resorting to price reductions? Here are 6 promotions to get you started, and 4 longer-term strategic adjustments to help you avoid competing on price.
- Bundle items together
Give customers the option to bolt-on extras for a (small) discounted price. This way, you increase the value of each transaction but the customer still feels like they’re getting a good deal. Complementary products with low trade-prices work best: i.e. if your customer buys a laptop, you could give them 25% off a wireless mouse.
- Give a voucher code for future sales
Customers love vouchers but very rarely use them; win-win in my books! When a customer buys a high value item, offer them £5 store credit or a 10% off voucher for the next time they shop with you. This encourages repeat business and makes a customer feel valued.
- Run a competition
Enter customers who buy a product or service over a certain value into a competition. Set the value at slightly higher than the average transactional value to encourage up-spend, and make sure the prize is of enough value to warrant their investment.
- Hook them in
If you provide high-cost products or services, you have two options to get round people’s objections. First, you could provide a free trial with the option to return it if they don’t see the results; being able to test something before handing over cash means customers can see and feel the benefits without feeling committed to buying. Second, make paying for it more accessible by breaking it down into more manageable chunks, say a monthly fee rather than annual subscription.
- Reward referrals
Don’t be shy about asking your customers to refer a friend. If that friend goes on to purchase something, the referrer gets a reward. You’re developing brand advocates with word-of-mouth marketing with very minimal financial outlay.
- Use product or service spotlights
Focus your audience’s attention to an existing product or service, called spotlighting. It may be something you already do but you just haven’t talked it up enough yet. Use this time to focus on pushing that particular offering over others.
- Review your pricing strategy
Would your customers accept higher product prices if the postage and packaging, for example, were included in the total sales price? If you sell tickets, bundle the booking fee into a slightly-higher total price. For example, if your tickets are selling are £45, and the booking fee (which the customer normally pays anyway) is £1.39, try re-pricing your tickets to £49 (thereby making slightly more profit on each sale). On a side note, it’s been proven that prices ending in 9 outsell any other.
- Focus on your most profitable customer group(s)
Work out which customer group(s) brings you most profit (not necessarily the highest sales volume). Can you make more profit by reducing your own costs on these particular products or services, or target new customers who are similar in profile? Try Facebook Ads because they are super targeted, or unashamedly ask your customers to refer you to their like-minded friends.
- Farm your loyal customers
Farming means nurturing your customers to show them that they’re special; it’s all about customer experience. Its purpose is to encourage customers to either buy more, spend more per transaction, or increase their purchase frequency. Send a hand-written thank you note with their next purchase. Upgrade their P&P for free. Put together a shopping list of recommendations (cross- and up-sell opportunities) for the next time they drop in.
- Talk directly to your ideal customer(s)
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Pick your ideal customer and create your marketing material as if you were talking only to them. Being specific about your market will improve your SEO, push you up Google’s rankings and position you as an industry specialist. Re-write your website content so it talks directly to your ideal customer(s). Join groups where your ideal customer(s) hang-out – either online or in the real world.
Using price as a promotional strategy works for some – Aldi, for example, is great at this. But reducing your price, however seasonal or temporary, will eat into your profits and reduce your brand’s value. Customers will expect to pay the lower price more frequently and may become unhappy with your normal pricing. Unless it’s your strategy to trade on price – something I would never recommend – then focus on the value your customers receive from buying your products and services.
Good luck promoting!
If this feels a little overwhelming, get in touch with Green Street Marketing and we’ll help turn your ambitious plans into manageable, meaningful marketing.