Promotions. Offers. Incentives. Why do they work? Why do consumers buy into them? The most vital and critical piece to any promotion lies in thinking like the consumer, which companies may forget when launching a promotion. We recommend putting yourself in their shoes. Familiarize yourself with their fears, their skepticism and their doubts. Listed below are key points to follow when rolling out your promotion.
The offer must appeal to target audience. Some companies find that reaching a specific target audience, such as children, creates a challenge. Motivating kids to fundraise for their schools can be a cumbersome task for a hard-to-please audience. Would one offer them rebates that take six to eight weeks to receive? Or would one offer them a class pizza party? You can determine which one will achieve results based on the context of the promotion, the willingness of the children to participate and their perceived value.
High perceived value. A consumer’s perception is their reality. The product offered has to have value in the consumer’s mind, and be an offer they usually would not go out of their way to buy. When offering a product it’s not necessary to give away a Ferrari of the year, instead give away a car that has the same perceived value as a Ferrari, but in reality only costs $20,000. Scale your giveaways to your budget but keep consumers’ perception of products mind. Presentation of that product helps as well.
Immediate satisfaction. We are a microwave society. Today, people expect to be satisfied immediately. If your offer has a delayed satisfaction for your consumer, it may not be successful. Mail-in rebates that companies offer are a prime example, and can lead to lower consumer participation. Think about when you’re surfing the web, and how long do you wait for a websites to download…15-20 seconds? You take the risk of losing a consumer the moment they have to wait.
Keep the process simple. If consumers see a complex web of tasks and processes needed to participate in promotion, they may walk away. People, for the most part, expect companies who offer incentives to make them as easy as possible to obtain. If the amount of work it takes to get an offer overshadows the perceived value, then the probability of getting consumers to act diminishes and vice versa.
Be honest. Do not be ambiguous when it comes to the messaging. Be upfront – tell them what they are going to get and how they are going to get it. The fine print, also known as disclaimers, may scare people away. When the list is never ending, consumers may not act on the offer. In the end, honesty and being upfront is appreciated.
Be legal. Make sure that you follow all state guidelines when launching a promotion or sweepstakes. The rules can vary by state but as a rule of thumb, remember; you cannot make a consumer buy your product or service to be eligible to enter to win a prize – that’s a lottery and illegal in most states. You have to provide the consumer a free way to enter the promotion with the same opportunity of chance. This does not apply to a gift with purchase, where everyone is awarded a prize. See the state of Florida’s guidelines here: http://www.800helpfla.com/sweepstakes.html
Remember, it’s not about what you sell; it’s how you sell it.