The eighth-page newspaper ad my prospective client had run stated: “Closeout Prices On Carpet and Vinyl Remnants - July BLOWOUT Blast. Bring in your measurements and receive 10% all in stock carpets, vinyls and ceramics!! Professional Installation Available Cash – Check-Credit Card Sales Only – Don’t forget your room size.” The ad was designed by someone at the newspaper with the requisite exploding firecrackers one would expect in a July Blowout Blast.
“How’d it work?”
“Not very well,” came the reply.
“Not surprising. As a shopper would you consider 10% off a BLOWOUT?”
“And you only get the 10% BLOWOUT if you bring in your measurements?”
“Everyone got the 10%”
“That’s not what the ads says. In fact it talks about room measurements twice.”
“Well, we needed to run something.”
The only expensive advertising is advertising that doesn’t work. Today, thousands of businesses across the fruited plane are running ads in newspapers, on radio and television that have no chance of working because they’re based on the strategy, “Well, we need to run something.”
10% off is no blowout sale. I’d argue that 10% off isn’t a sale at all. The box home improvement store in town has their floor covering marked at least 10$ off all the time (I’m not saying this is a true discount either) and if 10% off represents the closeout prices it appears the store wants to move much inventory out.
Here are a couple of suggestions for sale ads.
Offer significant discounts. 50%, 60% even 80% off a name brand.
Eliminate qualifiers. “Up to 80% off on selected merchandise” isn’t an offer because we all know that the only thing 80% off is probably a dusty remnant of green and red Tartan plaid indoor-outdoor carpeting. Don’t expect me to jump through hoops for the discount either - you expect me to take my own measurements for 10% off? Right.
Explain the sale. Why are you having a July Blowout Blast? If there’s a good reason for running the sale other than the “need to run something” put it in the ad. Consumers respond to desperation.
Add urgency with time and or quantity limits. “July Blowout” says I have plenty of time so I’ll immediately forget the ad and the sale. Avoid the temptation to extend your sale time after time. That only means you haven’t sold your junk the first time around. If it’s always on sale, is it a “sale?” No.
Don’t let past marketing and advertising mistakes get you down. If it’s time to move beyond the 10% solution to the problem of having to run something, join my partner Roy Williams and myself in Austin June 13-15 for Boom Your Business – the first step to positive change for 12 businesses. Feel free to ask me about it. Email email@example.com