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Is that promo good for you or your customer?

It’s that time of year again: back to school shopping. And, with this annual event comes the promotions hoping to lure you into buying more.

My mailbox has been deluged with both electronic and direct mail offerings, but some of them have me scratching my head. For example: the Sephora promotion below urges you to trade your customer loyalty points in just for the opportunity to win a $1million. If 1 point is earned for every dollar spent, this sweepstakes offer costs you a whopping $300! Since points can be redeemed for beauty merchandise, it’s easy to see why the beauty behemoth is hawking this promotion – it empties customers’ beauty bank. Good for them, not good for you.

J.C. Penney’s finally found me and offered up a compelling coupon: $10 off select apparel, shoes, and fine jewelry with a purchase of $25 or more. Great, right? Try reading the fine print and you’ll soon read that the offer excludes women’s shoes and athletic shoes! Even worse the exclusions mention every brand I’d want to own plus these confusing terms: Excludes Best Value, Daily Deals, Special Deals, and Limited Time Specials. Good luck trying to use this one!

Kohl’s is a direct mail machine always dangling the opportunity to save up to 30% on peel and reveal coupon. The problem here? If your offer isn’t 30%, you feel like a promotional loser and want to wait for the next offer.

These promotions feel a little snarky which is never the reputation you want to earn for your brand. Instead, follow these rules in both the bustiness to consumer and business to business world:

6 Rules for Promotions:

  1. Make it Simple – Really! Get rid of all the fine print and make it an easy dollar off option.

  2. Offer a Ginormous Incentive for New Customers – If your goal is to gain trial with new customers, make it action-worthy. 50% off is typically what it takes to convert prospects.

  3. Create a Short Window of Time – If you want prospects to jump, combine the coupon with a short window. I’ve seen amazing success with offers good for only 24 or 48 hours.

  4. Try Bounce Back Offers – These offers work to get the purchase now…and later. Bounce Back means you offer a coupon good for a future purchase. In short, it is a loyalty device.

  5. Test Your Offers – If email is your promotional vehicle, it’s easy to track open rates, subject lines, and click through rates.

  6. Measure Your Metrics – Did your offer work? Was it profitable? Would you repeat it? Knowing your answers sets the foundation for good promotional efforts.

What works for you? I’m all ears so share below.

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