When you’re looking for ways to run a promotion, you’ve got plenty of options to consider. Most people are familiar with BOGO deals, raffles, general sales, liquidations, clearance prices, warranties, and guarantees. That familiarity, however, has a downside.
The fact that people are familiar with these benefits means they’ve already formed an existing idea about what these benefits entail. Consequently, they won’t always be able to see what’s different about your particular benefit.
For instance, say you announce a liquidation sale. Some might perceive a liquidation sale to be a trick to get people in the door. Perhaps they’ve experienced liquidation sales that drag on for months with a mere 10% markdown. Or, liquidation sales where the high-end merchandise is significantly marked down but still unaffordable for the average consumer.
Due to preconceptions based on past experience, using familiar terminology to promote sales and deals puts you at a disadvantage. If you’ve just launched your business, whether brick-and-mortar or ecommerce, you’ve got the advantage to start fresh with your customers.
The solution is to come up with creative terms that generate interest and accurately describe what you’re offering.
You’ve seen the clearance racks and end caps in department stores that make you wonder if a tornado tore through the store. That’s the impression most people get when they see an advertisement for a “clearance sale.” They may not envision a scene as crazy as Black Friday. However, they’ll have two preconceptions: the good stuff will be gone when they get there and the items will be a mess.
Instead of calling a mass markdown a “clearance” sale, try calling it something like, “end of the year markdowns” or “inventory reduction.”
Warranties and guarantees
When someone purchases a big-ticket item, they’re going to expect some kind of guarantee or warranty. Most consumers are aware that warranties tend to imply more coverage than they actually provide, and using this term can be tricky.
For instance, Dell used to offer three-year warranties on their computers and now they offer just three months for many of their products. However, you can pay for an extended warranty. The practice of selling extended warranties that cover the amount of time standard warranties used to cover gives consumers good reason to be suspicious. According to the article linked above, experts say the profit margin on an extended warranty is 50%.
You need to come up with a way to describe your warranty and guarantee in a way that bypasses people’s suspicion and doubts. Don’t try to convince people that your warranty isn’t going to short-change them. Bypass triggering their suspicion in the first place and go straight to renaming your warranty.
For example, Paul Moak Subaru in Mississippi does things a little differently than most dealerships. They promote a guarantee as a “Peace of Mind Program.” This guarantee is marketed as a pledge that “you’ll be happy with your purchase – or you can return it or exchange it!” The pledge is further described, “Our Pledge is your assurance that we’ll honor our commitment to make your car ownership experience extraordinary!”
Calling their guarantee a “Pledge” instantly evokes feelings of trust from consumers. A business making a pledge to consumers isn’t trying to get out of standing by their products. Only people with integrity make pledges.
Other car dealerships use slogans like, “no worries financing” in place of “no money down.”
There isn’t a newspaper ad or flyer that doesn’t advertise something as “on sale now.” The word “sale” is even applied to items that haven’t been discounted. It’s a known marketing tactic to raise the base price of an item and then lower it, calling it a sale. Most people will buy into it, even if it appears to save them just fifty cents.
If you’re going to regularly promote general sales, you need to come up with a creative way to describe your sales throughout the year.
The first step is to understand that you don’t need to use the word “sale” at all. You could successfully promote your offers by using only a creative headline. For example, Ecommerce Training Academy came up with a big list of different ways to announce a Spring sale. Among the most interesting are:
- Let’s Think Spring
- Spring Collection Has Arrived
- The Must-Haves For Spring
- Ready, Set, Spring!
- Spring’s Most-Wanted
Promoting specials with headlines targeting the seasons isn’t new. Marketers have been doing it for years, because it works.
No matter what your business sells, the key is to avoid using phrases that trigger people’s “yeah right” response, and use terms that get them curious.