Do Trial Offers Get You More Customers?

June 29, 2012 by  Filed under: Advertising 

In today’s tough economic climate, many business owners are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get more customers. They ask themselves: Should I place newspaper ads? Should I buy TV ad space? Maybe I should I hire an ad agency? Maybe I should pay some local kids to put up some flyers around the neighborhood. Or, maybe I should look into hiring a couple of people to do nothing but sales for me.

All of these are very good ideas. But, when you combine them with trial offers, they become powerful. Why? Trial offers allow the customer, especially those on tight budgets, to try something they would not have tried at full cost. For example, trying an entree at a local eatery for $11.99 that normally sells for $23.99 creates value. Plus, it gives the business owner $12 in revenue that they might not have gotten at all.

For a trial offer to work, pricing is key. Free works best. However, free only works well if what you sell has a generally low price to begin with. If what you sell is normally in excess of a $20 cost, a good trial offer is probably 30-50 % off the regular price. For items or services normally in excess of $60 or more, 40% off would be your maximum discount. Of course, all this depends upon the type of product are service that you are offering. With actual items, including food, you have to be concerned with your actual production costs. If you become too dependent upon trial offer discounting, you will soon be out of business.

If products and services are too heavily discounted or perhaps discounted too often, it loses its normal retail value in the customer’s minds. They may buy once or twice because of the price, but it cheapens the product or service in their minds. When their financial situation improves, they will look for the same item at a higher priced location. This is because a customer’s psyche tells them how much that item should be. Whether it is reality or not, it’s their perception.

The most successful trial offers also have customer referrals included. Why? A well known fact, is that word of mouth marketing is the best marketing there is. If I can get something on sale for 25% off that I enjoyed very much, I’m certainly gonna tell my family and friends about it. If I can then enjoy that same product or service again at that same price because I got someone else to try it too, even better!

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