A while ago you figured out how to create a promotion for your business and mastered the way to hold a sale without breaking your brand, so you hit the ground running. You created a few promotions and pimped the shit out of them. But they fell flat. They didn’t get the response you wanted. They didn’t fill your calendar and put a few grand in your pocket. What went wrong?
You don’t suck, your work isn’t terrible, and your people DO care about you. It’s probably just the way you’re promoting, which is easy enough to fix!
Here are five reasons your last promotion might have fallen flat.
PROMO KILLER #1: Too much time.
Give people two weeks to decide and they’ll need three. The more time you give clients to make a decision, the less likely they are to actually make it. This is why short windows for sales and promos work best. 24 hours, the weekend, 72 hours. Those short, sweet time frames force decisions to happen.
Promo Rx: A perfectly good offer can be ruined by going on and on for a whole month. The most effective offers are short and force people to act quickly. They use the marketing principle of urgency to make magic happen.
PROMO KILLER #2: Unlimited quantities.
People who think a quantity of something is unlimited will be less likely to go bonkers for buying it than those who think an item is in short supply. If your last promo didn’t list a specific number of services available, you’ve fallen into this “unlimited” trap.
Promo Rx: If you’re a service provider, your quantities are automatically limited by your time. If you can complete just 8 portrait sessions or 12 massages or 22 consultations per month, SAY SO. This automatically switches your readers into being more likely to buy or schedule. You’ve just activated the marketing principle of scarcity.
PROMO KILLER #3: Too many choices.
I’ve seen promo ads that resemble a big box weekly flyer more than a single offer! While it might seem that more and more choices will help your clients get exactly what they need, it might just confuse the shit out of them. (For example, offering a sale on prints or canvases or portrait sessions or fine art prints will result in selling none of the above.)
Promo Rx: A single offer — take it or leave it — is generally much more effective than a “choose your own” sale of any kind.
PROMO KILLER #4: Lack of reach.
Without an e-mail list and regular blogging, you’re just posting promos to Facebook and hoping for the best. Use this article to get your e-mail list up and running, then start to build your reach.
Promo Rx: Quantity counts! If a reader hears of a promo six different ways, they’re more likely to buy than if they hear of it just once. Life happens. They forget. They “mean to” buy and don’t. What feels like relentless promotion on your part will only just break through the noise of ads on their part.
PROMO KILLER #5: Teeny discount.
Following the great financial collapse of the past few years, we consumers have gotten better at bargain spotting. We snub our noses at 20% discounts and don’t really care about 30% off. It’s only by spotting a deep discount that we begin to pay attention to what’s being offered.
Promo Rx: If you’re holding a straight-up sale, consider holding a steeper sale for a short period of time. The temptation is to offer 20% off for a few weeks — try 40% off for 48 hours. Those are savings your clients just won’t be able to pass up.
Related: 30-second sales tweaks that don’t suck.
P.S. This is part of Introverts at Work, my book about marketing for Quiet-with-a-capital-Q entrepreneurs! It’s pay-what-you-can priced right here.