Running a Discount Offer for Businesses: 5 Questions to Ask

By Katherine Ide

Before you consider a half-off or daily deal offer on a potential partner’s website, make sure the partner is interested in growing your business too, and the perk is both visible and valuable to your targeted customer. Here are five questions to ask – and tips to evaluate the answers to determine if the suggested marketing strategy is right for you.

QUESTION 1: Does your customer profile match with my customer profile?

GOOD: I’ve done some research so I could help you better and faster. Our customer profiles overlap. More important, we have relationships with our fans just like you want with your customer. We want to expose your message to the type of customer who will become a repeat customer. Our goal is to make our fans your loyal customers so we both have great relationships for a long time.
BAD: We have lots of audience in all major demos. When your email is sent, you’ll see immediate revenue from our database.
WHY: The numbers matter, but a large database should never be your only consideration. You want a qualified database comprising people who could become loyal customers.

QUESTION 2: How much flexibility do you have for negotiating my offer’s terms?

GOOD: We’re in business to make your business grow, so we’re going to figure out the best plan for your business. We’ll start by talking about this offer and whether we think it will help grow your business, but we’ll also talk about what we could do after this. For example, we could use this to launch a marketing campaign that will give you even more exposure after your offer has run.
BAD: We take 50 percent, and you take 50 percent. Once we come up with the terms of the offer, we’ll send it to our marketing department. If they don’t approve it, we can adjust your offer. Once our marketing department approves it, they’ll schedule it, and I’ll let you know what date they picked
WHY: A sales person will always be thinking of the success of his business. A good marketing partner will understand your success is his success, and will work with you to build long-term success. You want to control every decision made, and control your offer and its timing so it complements your existing marketing strategy.

QUESTION 3: How will you promote this offer?

GOOD: Our multi-tiered strategy leverages our fan relationships in several ways. We can talk about what makes the most sense and, while we have a standard promotional package, if there are some additional options to promote your brand, we can consider them, too
BAD: Once we pick a date for you, we’ll send an email to xx,xxx people about your offer. Our team will write it, and usually we get an 18 percent open rate and 12,000 views.
WHY: Again, why pick someone who promotes his business over yours? Unless you are a master copywriter, let experts help craft your message to turn a phrase that entices readers.

QUESTION 4: What can I do to keep business coming in after the offer runs?

GOOD: First, make sure customers have an AMAZING experience when they redeem the offer. Even if they are regulars, treat them like gold, and they will help you grow your business. Don’t treat them like they are just fishing for a discount. That might be how they started, but your great service could easily convert them to become regular customers. We also want to make sure that you have every opportunity to keep building your marketing plan. We can help you do that in a way that makes sense for you
BAD: Well, you can do another offer in six months. You can’t do an offer with any of our competition for 90 days, but if you want more business after this offer, let’s set up another one to get more people in the door.
WHY: Most businesses can’t sustain a client base that never (ever) pays full price. Discounted offers make sense when your goal is new customer acquisition, but they don’t make sense if that is your only marketing strategy. A good strategy will work to acquire new customers, market share, and loyalty. If you love the convenience (and lack of upfront investment) of a discounted offer, consider running different offers, adding a VIP element, or offering a premium product at a lower discount.

QUESTION 5: What makes your business better than other businesses that offer the same thing?

GOOD: We don’t like to compare ourselves to anyone else. One of the main reasons we love being in business is that we have great services and products that can help your business grow. Here are three things that make our program successful.
BAD: Well, they just copy everything we do. They have a smaller audience, and we just dominate this kind of thing.
WHY: It might be an old-fashioned concept, but a person who has to tear someone else down to build himself up is not a person to trust with your business. Every company and almost every product could have some marketing value to you, and someone who says otherwise might not have your best interests at heart.

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