Not Normal Marketing Tip
To Coupon or Not To Coupon
That is the Question
by Stephen Ghelerter
Posted 1/14/2009

One common practice for enticing customers is to offer coupons with special discounts. But is this a good idea?

I went to Pizza Hut once and didn't have a coupon. Knowing that they always had active coupons bothered me because I knew I was paying too much.

A vendor I use regularly has online ordering, and a place on the order entry form to enter a promotion code. But I don't have one. I'm a steady customer, yet someone who has done no business with this vendor is getting a better price than I am.

Get the picture? Coupons can irritate your regular customers. So before you offer new customers coupons, think about how your current (and more valuable) customers might feel about it.

One way around this is, instead of offering a special price, offer something else, like a free inspection, or a gift for the first purchase, etc.

Another option is to target coupons so that current customers will most likely not stumble upon them, like in direct mail or door hangers going to only non-customers, or dormant customers.

The bottom line: When instituting a coupon program think about not only how well they will be received by those they are intended for, but also how your current customers will feel about them if they are left out.

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Not Normal Marketing Tip
Pricing: You're Not Walmart
by Stephen Ghelerter
Posted 12/28/2008

The first thing that usually comes to mind when people think about promoting their business is to advertise a low price. And that's a great idea - if you're Walmart.

When Sam Walton started in business he found that he could buy many things at a bargain. He decided that, instead of making a larger profit selling the products at retail, he would pass the savings on to his customers.

So, when he sold things at a low price, he still had his normal profit margin.

If you have a product or service that you can provide for less than your competitors and make a reasonable profit - go for it. Otherwise, think about something else you offer that will differentiate you from your competitors in a positive way.

Are you large, small, have better trained technicians, available 24/7, been in business for many years, conveniently located, or something? Do you specialize in anything? Is there anything about your business that is more desirable to customers?

Before you work cheap, think about other ways to draw customers to you. Future Not Normal Marketing Tips will talk more about these options, and provide guidelines for making special offers.

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Not Normal Marketing Tip
Promoting on a Budget
by Stephen Ghelerter
Posted 12/6/2008

When times get tough businesses are forced to cut expenses and advertising is often the first to go. But is this wise?

The tendency to reduce advertising expenses means that your competitors may be advertising less, and your ads will be entering a less crowded playing field.

The answer may be to promote aggressively, but choose less expensive ways of doing it. Some suggestions:

  • Low cost promotional products

  • Printed flyers that can share an envelope with statements or invoices.

  • Calling existing customers with a special offer.

  • Classified ads in newspapers and magazines can be very inexpensive. Consider using them.

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