Posted by Renee Pugh and Jeff Vice

A Marketing Budget is a Terrible Thing to Waste: a Three-Part Series That Will Save You Money – Part Three

Welcome to the final post of our three-part series on how to STOP wasting your marketing money on ineffective advertising. We started by introducing the idea of the cluttered “kitchen sink” ad, and explained why this ad is not conducive to driving business; then we moved on to the bare “minimalist” ad and why it may not bring business your way. Today we finish up by helping you advertise like the Godfather. Remember the premise we started with:

An advertisement should do at least two things: educate your prospects about what you sell/do, and move them to do business with you.

Sealing the Deal Like the Godfather: How to Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Business owners commonly associate “offer” with “discount,” and are understandably reluctant to discount their products and services. You have invested significant amounts of time, money, and care into developing your business; discounting what you sell can feel like discounting your hard work – and that is painful. This pain can lead to making weak offers that do nothing to encourage consumers to act, and that is one of the purposes of advertising!

Crafting a compelling call to action doesn’t have to hurt. It simply requires that you think like a consumer – what could someone offer you that would make you want to buy from her? Be creative and think outside the dashed lines of the coupon box:

  • Offer a service that complements a purchase, such as free home delivery on furniture, or a color consultation with any haircut. These add-on services make a consumer feel like she is getting a great deal on something that would normally cost extra!
  • Develop a member rewards club and give “charter members” an exclusive gift with their first purchase as a member. A local café owner may give his first 50 members a free coffee and donut, for example. This little gift is low-cost to the café owner, and it makes his 50 “charter members” feel like they are part of a select group of favored customers – which will make them champion his business to their friends and families.
  • Offer a free “upgrade” with the purchase of your products or services. A spa owner might add aromatherapy to a standard massage for a “luxury” experience, or an HVAC specialist might perform a system inspection on any service call. An upgrade is enough for a consumer to call you, and by offering a preview of your other products and services, you will keep her coming back for more.
  • Your own unique idea – go wild!

This isn’t meant to prevent you from discounting. Discounts are quick and easy ways to grab a consumer’s attention and get results. There is, unfortunately, no hard-and-fast rule for what makes a good discount, but keep the following in mind:

  • A small discount will make your business seem greedy and cheap; a large discount will make your business look desperate.
  • If possible, make your discount a dollar amount rather than a percentage off. Dollar amounts are easier for consumers to process and register, so “$10 off $100” sounds like a better deal than “10% off $100” – even though they’re the same!
  • This is the most important tip: you know best the value of your products and services. If a discount makes you feel uncomfortable, or makes you worry about your business’ well-being, then it isn’t the discount for you. And that’s OK! Just keep trying until you find one that works.

And really, that is the bottom line of creating a great ad: you have to make it your own. You will get your best results when you are creative and stay true to your business. We know that is easier said than done, so feel free to drop us a line or ask us a question at the email address in our contact info. We will do our best to answer your question and offer guidance, and who knows? You may inspire a future blog post!

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