Retail furniture store managers can maximize advertising performance by creating Powerful, Irresistible Offers. This can be done by directly addressing the emotional connection customers have that relate to your products, and by including fun offers such as incentives and premiums. This winning combination works much better than just focusing on cheap price promotion.
Irresistible offers will grab your customers’ attention and have them flooding your store instead of the big box stores.
One of the greatest marketing minds of our time, Dan Kennedy is credited with the phrase, “It’s the offer, stupid”. He was, of course, talking about making advertising more effective.
Indeed, as you think about why you buy anything, take any action, or move in a specific direction, you will probably find that it’s for one reason and one reason only... your own self-interest.
Now that may sound a bit cynical huh? So lets look at this statement in more detail. For most people, if they stop on the side of the road and help a stranger who’s car is out of gas, that’s not self interest right?
Grocery and gas gift certificates make great closing tools. When considering these types of offers, make sure that the companies offering them are solid and reputable. Plus, always read the fine print. The gas rebate card shown above are from www.thepremiumguys.com
Well, why do we (with the exception of saints and bodhisattvas) do such a thing in the first place? Of course we stop because we want to help, but deep down it’s because helping that person is going to make us feel better, it’s going to do something for us emotionally. Plus, not stopping is going to make us feel guilty.
So deep down, whether it’s to make us feel good or avoid feelings of guilt, we are doing those things that will ultimately serve us.
Lets move on to an easier example to swallow, the buying process. It’s pretty easy to see the self interest at work here.
Why would we spend our hard earned money if it wasn’t going to benefit us in some way?
Whether I’m hungry and considering going out for dinner, tired of my crummy mattress and want a better nights sleep, or are looking to be entertained for 2 hours by the new Wolverine Movie… I’m doing it because of what’s in it for me.
||The ad (left) was run by Dodd’s Furniture &?Mattresses, Ltd. It incorporates multiple offers including a product offer... a finance offer... a guarantee... and a travel incentive from incentive premium company Travel America (www.travelamericainc.com) .|
The Vacation Give Away ad (above) describes three different trips Rooms Express offered to customers as a purchase incentive, also through Travel America.
Now lets talk about getting people into the store. Why would someone turn off American Idol, get in the car and drive all the way to your store?
The reason is because you have something to OFFER them. You have something that will serve their self interest.
This is one of the biggest mistakes retailers make in their ads. They focus on themselves, their great products, their cheap prices, and their incredibly large selection.
The problem with this is that people don’t buy because of those reasons, they buy because of their own reasons. They buy because their mother in law complained about the uncomfortable sofa, because they hate the way the old kitchen table makes the rest of the kitchen look outdated. They buy because they wake up each morning rolled into the middle of a mattress sandwich with their spouse.
I remember vividly the day that broke the camels back for me when I had finally had enough of the crummy mattress (it was only 2 years old) that was making me wake up with back pain every morning because of the grand canyon size dip in the middle of the bed.
I told my wife, we’re buying a new bed today. And so we did. I’d been looking at mattresses off and on for a couple months, but I wasn’t moved to buy upon reading some great ad touting low price, financing or huge selection. I bought because of my own self interest.
So when you create your advertising, what’s the secret to appealing to a customer’s self interest? Betcha can’t guess… it’s the offer.
Once the sales people at the store have exhausted all opportunities to close the sale the be-back card (outside panel of card shown above) is given with the sales persons business card inserted in the slits on the back. Incentive premium provider www.Cruise4two.com reports that this system increases the be-back percentage significantly.
The offer is what compels people to get off the couch, get the 4 kids in the mini van, brave the snow or baking heat to get to your store. So how do we create an offer so good, so juicy, so exciting that it would make someone crawl on hands and knees over broken glass to get your Irresistible Offer?
Here is a simple system you can use to craft truly Irresistible offers that customers almost can’t refuse. It’s worked with retailers who have used this to do over 20 million dollars in sales. There are only two elements that go into making a truly irresistible offer.
1. Feeding The Emotional Hunger.
2. Using Tangible Exciters.
Element #1. Feeding Emotional Hunger
The key to Element #1, is to understand first and foremost the innermost feelings and dominant emotions that are driving the customers to want what you have.
Do you REALLY know why your customers are shopping? Do you understand the conversation going on in their own heads, and between them and their spouse? What is the emotional reason they are shopping now?
There are 6 powerful emotions to consider when advertising, selling or motivating people to do anything: Fear, Envy, Greed, Ego, Pain/Hate, Love.
Is your customer afraid of losing out on something by not buying your product? Are they afraid of having people talk about them behind their back about how ugly their home is?
One of the most attention getting headlines we’ve used is “Is Your Home Ugly?” followed up with a sub-headline that says “Do you know what your friends and neighbors are saying when they leave your house?” This resonates with several emotions at once, fear, greed and pride all at once.
In selling mattresses, LOVE or a better love life is a key emotion you can use to create an ‘irresistible offer’. I’m amazed at how many people refuse to use this in their marketing for fear of ‘offending’ their customer base. The truth is that this can be done tastefully and very effectively.
Ian Lipton of Nathan’s Furniture recently used a headline “Dirty Sexy Savings” on a very successful newspaper ad. In the ad for humor and personality (which are KEY to successful advertising today) he actually pasted his head on a Chippendale dancer’s body using Photoshop. He talked about how a new comfortable mattress could improve your love life, among other ‘Sexy” offers he had on other furniture.
The first and most important element to crafting an irresistible offer is understanding that it’s not about products, prices, or even promotions, it’s about your PROSPECTS and their resident dominant emotions.
||Ian Lipton of Nathan’s Furniture recently used a headline “Dirty Sexy Savings” on a successful newspaper ad (right). For humor and personality He talked about how a new comfortable mattress could improve your love life, among other ‘Sexy” offers he had on other furniture. Note that Ian’s head was “Photoshopped” onto a more appropriate body for the purposes of this ad. |
Element #2. Using Tangible Exciters
This is where the offer creation process gets fun.
There are dozens of different ways to make doing business with you fun, while providing incentives to your customers to visit your store exclusively.
The #1 sin in marketing is being boring. People just won’t stand being bored these days. They want fun, excitement, entertainment, engagement. Can you blame them? Most people work at the job they don’t love, making a wage they aren’t happy with. When they step out of that, they want a release… and you can give it to them by making doing business with you exciting and fun!
Using premiums, giveaways, prizes, and gifts is not only a great way to make shopping fun, it’s a very good reason for people to come in and see you.
Here are several of the most effective offers used to boost sales.
$500 Grocery Rebate Certificates:
With the high cost of food, these are GREAT closing tools. Use them to help salespeople close a deal today instead of letting someone walk out the front door. This is absolutely killer for competitive situations because the customer can easily see that you are essentially saving them $500 off the price right out of the gate! No one else can compete with that.
3 day 2 night vacation certificates. Although many people have had bad experiences with these types of incentives there are several out there who do a good job and don’t make your customers mad. Make sure you get certificates that don’t require a time share presentation. Nothing will make your customers angrier than 3 hours of a sales pitch when they thought they were going on vacation!
$50 gas rebate cards. As summer approaches we all know what happens to gas prices, so a gas incentive can be a gold mine to get people to respond to your ad and get them into the store. Of course these were even more powerful when gas was 5 dollars a gallon, but with the economic slump people are more interested than ever to save money where they can.
8 Day 7 Night Dream Vacation. These are great for the big ticket sales, closing tools and big promotions that you run. You can give away one per day for a week, or with any order over $2,500.
2 for 1 Cruises or Free Cruise Offers. Cruises carry a VERY high perceived value, plus you can tie these into “Wintertime Blues” type promotions, and “sell money at a discount.” Selling money at a discount is the concept of simply showing that what they are spending on your products is paid for by the premiums that they are getting. If the Cruise incentive is valued at $1499 and they are buying a $1200 sofa, then they really aren’t paying for the sofa at all. That’s the power of a high perceived value incentive.
$500 Airfare Rebate. Now if you really want a powerful promotion, combine the 8 day 7 night dream vacation, or Free Cruise with a $500 airfare rebate and you’ve got a TRULY IRRESISTIBLE offer.
Not only are you paying for their accommodations… you’re going to help them pay for airfare to get there! Now you’ve got a killer deal.
A few other fun and cheap offer ideas furniture retailers have used are:
•Free bottle of water (to accompany a ‘gas is expensive but bottled water is even worse’ promotion)
•Gold medals for every buyer. (An Olympics promotion)
•Sun Glasses for every purchase, this can be accompanied by the vacation certificate, or just a “Summer Stinks” sale.
•A box of Oreo™ cookies (or other food item) with every purchase. One of my clients became known as the “Oreo Man” and gave away Oreos with every purchase. Food has a powerful psychological effect on us humans, and we love people who feed us! Why do the banks give away suckers? Cause the kids beg their moms to take them to the bank. Grand Piano & Furniture has given away small bottles of Coca Cola since 1953 and currently gives away more than 1.25 million bottles per year. The company says that this is their way of saying "Thanks for visiting our store and make yourself at home."
• Information can also be a powerful offer. As long as the information is interesting and exciting, it is very effective. You can use audio CD’s, DVDs, reports or website videos. Remember to feature information offers in your ads to encourage interaction with you and start the buying process.
Where’s The Catch?
Of course all of these typically have some type of redemption process. Most retailers are terrified of using these types of incentives because they are afraid of backlash of customers complaining about the process.
Here’s the deal… I’ve found that there are two critical things you must do to make sure you don’t upset customers or turn an incentive into a disincentive.
1. Make sure the companies you are working with are solid, with good reputations (not fly by nights) and don’t have hidden strings attached in their incentives. You MUST read the fine print before giving incentives away to customers. Understand the process they are going to go through before they go through it.
2. TELL THEM what is going to happen to them. As simple as this sounds, it is the real key to making your customers love you with your incentive rather than confuse you with the Grinch who stole Christmas. Just tell them the process that they need to follow to redeem the incentive. Even create a little handout for them so they don’t have to read the fine print.
To recap… to maximize your ads performance you must have a Powerful, Irresistible Offer. Do this by directly addressing the emotional needs customers have that relates to your products and add fun physical offers such as incentives and premiums, instead of just focusing on cheap price constantly.
Brett Kitchen and Ethan Kap are cofounders of Traffic Guys Publishing, and are commonly known as the "Traffic Guys." Brett and Ethan run a retailer Marketing Mastermind Group to help retailers increase store traffic and sales, while cutting the fat and waste from current advertising. They also provide Done-For-You ads and promotions along with other systems to help retailers consistently drive in paying customers.
Questions about traffic building ideas or to request a free hot sheet of several types of incentives and companies can be sent to Brett and Ethan care of
FURNITURE WORLD Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them direct at 1-800-393-2054.
Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada. In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact email@example.com.