Discounts and deals can be a way to entice new clients into trying out your services and reward loyal clients for sticking by you. After all, everyone likes a deal.
What Can A Discount Do For You?
It’s easy for a prospective client to come across your website, join your newsletter or read your blog and then forget to follow up. A special deal, like offering a blogging package at a little less then you would normally charge for it or just offering a 5 percent discount for someone who signs a contract with you this week, can give those almost-clients a reason to get up and hire you. A limited-time offer sets a deadline that they need to move by, which is actually all it takes to get many clients moving.
A discount can also be a way to reward your current clients. One of my favorites is a referral discount. Every once in a while, I’ll put a note at the bottom of my invoices telling my clients the following:
Want 5 percent off on your next invoice? I offer a discount to for new client referrals. Ask me for more information about the referral discount.
I only offer the discount for new clients who actually hire me — it shows up on my existing client’s invoice only after a contract has been signed. What I like about referral discounts is that they give me an opportunity to reward clients who have been with me for a while as well as drum up some new business at the same time.
Creating Your Discount
Planning out your discount is important: you don’t want a sale or special deal to imply that you’re not getting enough business or give any other negative impression. It’s important to give at least a superficial reason for your discount: even celebrating a holiday is better than simply offering a discount out of the blue. One of my favorite sales that I’ve seen recently was on IttyBiz, Naomi Dunford’s site where she offers a variety of marketing products and services. Earlier this year, Naomi and her husband celebrated their five year anniversary — which she used as a reason to throw a sale.
It’s also important to think about just what you’ll discount. If you offer very specific services, you can turn those into package deals. For instance, if you you’re interested in taking on more blogging clients, you could offer a month’s worth of posts for what you would normally charge for twenty-five posts. The package deal makes it easier to control just what sorts of projects your discount will bring you. A flat discount will often get you at least a couple of inquiries related to writing services you may or may not provide.
Make sure you’re clear on when a discount can be cashed in, as well: with my referral discount, I will only apply it after I’ve actually signed on a new client. I don’t want to give the discount to somebody who passed along my name to another business that wasn’t actually interested in hiring me.
Keep Your Discounts Under Your Control
Remember, you don’t have to offer discounts if you don’t want to. There are plenty of people who will ask for discounts right off the bat, offering the promise of more work down the road if you can just get this first project done at a reduced price. It’s been my experience that this type of client is generally not worth having in the first place: while I don’t suggest categorically turning down prospective clients who expect a discount as a normal part of doing business, you have to have a very worthwhile reason to take such jobs.
Never let someone pressure you into offering a discount. Your rates are what they are for a reason. You have a right to make money from your work. Discounts and deals can be a way to bring in new business, but you should only offer them on your terms.
What kinds of sales and discounts have motivated you to buy something? How can you create a similar discount of your own?
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