Let me be very clear, there’s nothing wrong with giving something away (or heavily discounted, or even free) to “buy” a new customer, but what you discount, how you do it and who you offer it to is ultra important. Get it wrong and it will drive you crazy and potentially lose you a lot of money, get it right and you have a “new customer” tap that you can turn on and off at will!
The Voucher company scenario:
Many small and medium businesses involved in local service businesses, such as the beauty and health industries have used one or many of the voucher companies.
It’s an appealing sales pitch:
We don’t charge you anything until you make a sale. We bring brand new clients into your business. We need a super good offer (preferably big ticket with a big discount to get them in, but then they’ll keep coming back and your business will grow and remember, you only pay us when people are taking up the offer – so what is there to lose!
Well, in some cases your entire business!
Let’s look at how this works:
The real customers of the voucher companies are the customers who they are bringing in to your business to receive the big discounts. Let’s be very clear – YOU ARE NOT THEIR CUSTOMER! They encourage you to come up with a huge offer, which when you look at their websites you will see is usually not a discount on their lower priced services but more often than not a huge discount on their medium to higher priced services. They market your offer to their customers (voucher junkies who are often willing to travel some distance to claim a big discount) who are conditioned to shop on vouchers. Once your offer is over that same customer will get other similar offers from other similar providers marketed to them by this same voucher company.
So at the end of the day:
1) You are providing your service to voucher junkies, are they likely to want to continue to come to your business, usually only if you keep offering massive discounts.
2) Are you providing your service to mainly local customers, who if they like your service will likely return, usually not as they have softened travelled some distance – they are not your typical customers.
3) Are you making money from the initial offering, usually not. You have heavily discounted one of your great (usually money making) services and you are then paying the voucher company a percentage of that discounted price.
Voucher companies are great for their customers, the only problem is that you as the service provider are NOT THEIR CUSTOMERS.
Now for the right way to entice a customer in the door!
1) Who do you want to target – usually only local customers. You want to look at your current customers, (the good ones) and ensure that you are targeting others from their same area, age group etc – you want to target more of the demographic that you have now.
2) How do you want to target them – you don’t want to target them via a voucher company as that way you are attracting the sort of people that are always shopping for a discount. You want the people who will be willing to pay your standard prices, once they know you and appreciate how good your service is. So you want to target people locally.
3) What do you want to offer them? Well, you can offer nothing, just tell people how good your service is and remind them of who you are and that you are local etc.
That will work to a very limited degree. But the reality is that you want to offer customers something special to get them in the door, but you don’t want to give away the crown jewels! Offer them a substantial saving on something that many of your clients want, something that is fairly low cost to you, but it will entice them to come in and try you out. So it must be something substantial from their point of view, something major, not just 20% off.
Here’s how we do it:
We start by looking at what the business has to offer, what are their key services, who are their ideal clients (age, location etc) and what is something that this group will have a big interest in. We then set up a Facebook advertising campaign to target the key demographic and making them and offer that is a great “deal” for them, get’s them in the door, but does not cost the business too much.
The nuts and bolts of it:
Once we have the offer in place, we run the Facebook ad to a specific landing page that we build (don’t just take people back to your general website) that encourages customers to enter their details (name, email & Phone) to take advantage of the offer. Once they submit their details we take them to a thank you page (again, another specific page that we build – specific to the offer) and we then offer them a little bit more, but only if they jump on the phone straight away to make their appointment. This then sets up some automated emails to the new customer, again encouraging them to book their appointment and giving them all the specific details about the offer. For those who do not respond to book themselves in, the business now has all their details and a genuine reason to call them up, as they have told you that they want to take advantage of your offer, so you can then just give them a quick call to book them in.
We have run these exact campaigns in both the beauty and health/fitness industries and have achieved results way above anything that the businesses have achieved previously and at a lower cost per customer.
The beauty of this type of “offer” is that there is room to upsell the customer on more of your services, at normal prices. Remembering a) these are local customers, not you typical voucher junkies, so as long as you offer a good service they will generally be willing to pay the usual price (as that’s what they are used to doing) and b) you have offered a lower value service, so again, if they like what you provide (once you have got them in the door and they have had a chance to experience your service) you will likely have more, higher priced services that will interest them. And c) since it’s a lower value service that you offered in the first place, it will not send you broke providing it at a heavily discounted amount – or even free.
So that how we suggest you do it and we are achieving the results to show that it’s one of the best ways to increase your customer base, in a very short period of time, leading to new regular clientele.