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Should Your Small Business Offer an UNscheduled Sale?

There are two commercials out there for casinos (I think) but I love them.  They both feature limo drivers rolling down there windows and giving some advise and then rolling the window back up.

One says, “You’re tired of the same old, same old.  You know … because it’s the same.  And it’s old.”  We all get stuck in ruts.  So what do you do?

The other  commercial says: “Don’t just break the monotony.  Make sure no one can ever put it back together again.  Go All Humpty Dumpty on it!”

There you have it!  Simple.  Sage.  Should your business have a sale?  Probably!  You probably need to do something to shake things up now and then!

Stuck in a Rut

Ruts get worn into roads for good reason.  It is easier to follow along the path that someone else has taken.  It is easier not to have to make a new road every time you go out.  It is easier not to get stuck in a quagmire if you follow a road.  It is easier, until it is not!

After a while, everyone using the same road causes other problems, like ruts and potholes for people to get stuck in.  Business mimics life in this sense.

In most cases, for your business, you should set a marketing schedule and stick to it. If you have a weekly sale, people look for that and expect it.  If you send weekly newsletters, people are looking for it.  But they also start to take it for granted.

Sometimes, you want to show up in their email box on a different day, for a different reason!  Maybe an unscheduled sale? A surprise might perk things up for you and your customers!

There might be several reasons why an unscheduled sale could be a good idea for your business.

Did you ever hear of a loss leader?

Smart supermarket shoppers look at the sales flyer each week.  They want to know what is on sale.  The bargains, the special offers might be the loss leaders.  These are the products you are willing to put on sale in order to lure people into your store.  Off course the hope is that once they are in your store, they will find other things to buy and it will stimulate sales.  In fact they might even buy other items that are more pricey than a competitor’s.  Why?  The psychology.  The ‘lure’ items makes everything seem less expensive.

But that is the mechanics of any old sale.  When might you decide to do a humpty dumpty sale?

Flash Sale

A flash sale, as the name implies is sudden.  Seemingly unplanned.  Not on the beaten path or rut of the weekly sales flyer, weekly newsletter, weekly email.  It comes out of nowhere and is gone in a  … well, flash!

It gives the impression that the clock is ticking and with time limited and stock limited, it is a buy-now situation.

A typical time for a flash sales is at the end of the quarter when people want to move inventory along.

But flash sales don’t always have to be about urgency and rock-bottom prices.  They can also be about exclusivity!

Maybe you have a new product and you send it out to an exclusive group of your list to get their feedback before you release to the public?

Or maybe you are rewarding your loyal customers with an offer that is only available to them for a period of time.   This special offer for them makes them feel special and appreciated.

Sending a special loyal customers only offer to people on your email list from time to time gives subscribers a reason to stay on your list!  Not the same old, same old!

So when might you use a flash sale?

Clearing Inventory

If you sell physical products, clearing out surplus inventory is always a good idea.

  • It makes room for new items.
  • It cuts down on warehousing costs.
  • Get rid of shop-soiled goods and ones with less than perfect boxes, returned items and reconditioned items. Getting any money for these is better than them just sitting and gathering dust, or costing you money every month they are being stored.

Drawing Attention

If you sell digital goods, a sale can introduce your audience to a product they might not have paid much attention to before, or been interested in but not quite seen the value of.

  • Lowering the price will mean lowering the risk of buying the item.
  • Introductory Pricing when you introduce a new product, you can help it right out of the starting gate by offering it at a special introductory price for the first week or so after you launch it.
  • Beta  pricing can help you make sales AND reviews. By offering a beta test customers will try the product and give you a review.  This feedback can help you improve it while also making more sales from the reviews.

Show You Care

My favorite is the “exclusivity” idea.  How many times have you called the cable company and said “you offer these amazing intro rates and then next year raise them through the roof.  Why don’t you offer anything for existing customer?”  C’mon, don’t tell me I am the only one who calls them!

But seriously, having a flash sale for your loyal customers and giving them a deal that is exclusive – make sure you don’t give this to everyone next week – can build a lot of trust and loyalty and ultimately more profits for you!

And here’s one for you!  Everyone and his dog sends me a free entree or free ice cream cone or something for my birthday.  Some have to be used that day!  Some, there is a month expiration on them.  Problem is I get too many at once.  Also every business I’ve ever done business with sends a birthday email so there are probably more freebies I just lost!

Why don’t some of you send a birthday present early? or late?  It would be exclusive.  It would make people feel good.  It would be away from the pack of others all sending emails on the same day!

So go on!  Go all Humpty Dumpty!
Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper – Patt loves the online world and loves to share it!

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About the Author Patt Timlin

Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper - Patt loves the online world and love to share it!