Mailbag Monday: Should I Offer A Discount?Hi Naomi!

So here’s the deal. I have been running a physical products business for over 15 years, and it’s doing very well right now. Sales are up 122% from this time last year and average order price is up 85%. My primary marketing method is email.

My open rate and click-through rate are very high both for tutorial emails and promotions. People stay on my email list much longer than industry averages. I offer sales often, and they usually do very well, especially in the last several months as I’ve been optimising more parts of my business, especially email marketing.

But here’s the dilemma: I currently only have one welcome email that I send out to new subscribers. It’s nothing special – just a welcome email. I send newsletters regularly, so they get the welcome email and then their next email is whenever I send a newsletter to the whole list.

I know I don’t really need to fix something that isn’t broken, but… should I offer, like, a discount code or something?

Yours sincerely,

Packing [boxes] in Provo

Hey Packing!

What a wonderful question. What coach doesn’t like to hear, “So, um, I’m killing it right now, but should I maybe try and kill it a little more?”

In your position, you’ve got 3 options. I will tell you what your options are and then I will tell you which one I think you should pick.

Option 1: Keep it the way it is.

Whilst the generally accepted marketing wisdom is “for the love of God, give people a discount code, good lord what is WRONG with you?!?!”, it’s not always the best way.

Sometimes, you don’t actually want people buying right this very second.

In your case, giving people a few weeks to explore your catalog, watch your snazzy tutorials, and learn more about your world could increase their desire. They see a thing they want, but they’re going to think about it. They see another thing they want, but they’re going to think about it. They see ANOTHER thing they want, but they’re going to think about it.

That’s a lot of pent up wanting.

Then, when you put something on sale later, they’ve had their time to think, and they’re ready to do the deed.

Teaching moment aside: This could be contributing to your increase in average order price. You’re optimizing your email marketing – they’re getting more emails and better emails from you, but you’re not waving a code in their face. They have more time to see more of your stuff, so when it’s sale time, they buy in bulk.

(Other note: This is a good choice in ethical marketing circles as well. There’s an argument to be made that, “Hi. We just met. You have two days to buy or else. Enjoy your FOMO” is not the best way to start a relationship.)

Option 2: Add a discount code and one additional email.

Next up, we have the low-key version. Add a discount code to the initial email. Wait a while – three days? A week? Somewhere in there. Then send them another email with a subject line like, “Don’t forget your discount code!” that reminds them either that it exists, or that it’s expiring, whichever is more true in your case.

Bam. You’re done.

Option 3: Make a welcome sequence.

In our most elaborate option, we have the addition of a welcome or nurture sequence. (Folks at home: if you don’t know what that is, I have a Naomi Explains Welcome Sequences about it.)

In this case, you’d create a set of emails – three! eight! 26! – that gradually introduce them to your world. You introduce yourself, you tell your fascinating backstory, you highlight products, you show off customer results, you link to interviews, all that jazz. Throughout the sequence you seductively whisper, “and remember, you have a coupon code, because you’re amazing”. (Or something like that.)

This is obviously the most time-consuming option.

Thank you, Naomi. That was very helpful. Except, actually, it wasn’t. Are you going to tell me what to do or not?

Pick which one you like. They’re all good choices.

If I were in your situation, I’d pick number two. I’d leave it that way for a good while (three months? six months? It depends on what kind of volume you do) and see what happens to your sales.

(If you have the tech and the bandwidth for it, you can split test new subscribers into “got the discount” and “didn’t get the discount” and test long-term sales numbers. If that breaks you out into hives, you can just not bother. )

Read more Mailbag Mondays here!

Unlock the IttyBiz Freebie Vault – 15 premium resources you can use to instantly get your ittybiz growing!

Unlock the IttyBiz Freebie Vault!