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I know what you’re thinking: who really wants another t-shirt? Don’t underestimate the power of a free t-shirt. A former marketer for a tool manufacturer told me that years ago when they repackaged a boring old product with a t-shirt, their product sales spiked. They sold what they normally sold in two years in about six months!
Giving to get
You can also use a premium to stimulate collections. Try a “double your payment” promotion one week. Just pick an inexpensive but interesting giveaway. If your customer doubles his payment that week, they get a prize and you increase your cash in hand. This isn’t a contest with only one winner. It’s a giveaway where everyone can be a winner.
There are a couple of benefits of using branded promotional items as premiums. First, you can buy them relatively cheap, but they usually don’t look cheap. Second, you turn your customers into walking billboards for your brand. You can’t beat that.
I’ve also heard of dealers that pay their flag and/or WD with a rewards credit card. They then cash in their rewards for a great gift — like an iPad, and use the iPad to promote more sales. That’s another great way to get giveaways at no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Another inexpensive premium is called a self-liquidating premium. You don’t give it away. Instead, you sell it at close to your cost. These can be tools or toys you can buy at wholesale. Tools are a great incentive. But many have told me that toys like beach towels, bag chairs, coolers and radio-controlled helicopters can generate much more interest.
How would you use a “freemium?” the same way you would a premium. Say you want to get more customers to come out to your truck. You give every customer a rubber stamp on a special card when they come out. Once they hit a certain number of stamps (like 10) they get a chance to shop in your “prize closet” where you have a dozen or more items you’re selling at a deep discount. The idea of a self-liquidator is that it costs you nothing and customers are more than happy to pay you for it.
Drawing in sales
Sweepstakes and drawings are big attention getters — just ask Publisher’s Clearing House. One fun drawing that’s big in the mobile dealer circles is a penny raffle. Here’s how it works: pick up a roll of two-part tickets. Put the numbers 1 through 500 in a big jar.
When a customer makes his payment he gets to draw a number (or more if he wants). The number he picks is the number of pennies extra he pays on his account that week. So, for example, if he picks 333, he pays an extra $3.33. He keeps half the ticket and the other half is put in a drawing container.
Once you’ve given away the last ticket, you draw for your prize(s). I suggest you staple the winning ticket(s) to a wall in your truck so the winner has to come back on your truck to see if he’s won. If you use up all the tickets, you’ve just collected an extra $1,252.50! It makes it worth getting that LCD TV on sale at Best Buy as a prize.
More than just a quick sale
As you can see, beyond just generating an immediate sale, sales promotions are a great way to get customers to start new habits like paying on time, increasing their payments, or just coming out to your truck to look around.
Phil Sasso is president of Sasso Marketing Inc. (www.sassomarketing.com), a technical marketing agency specializing in tools and equipment. Subscribe to his free marketing tips at philsasso.com/blog.
Using the sense of urgency to drive sales
Taking advantage of the value your customers perceive in free giveaways
Promote your clearance items in a creative way.