Deadlines Have a Powerful Marketing Effect

February 24, 2009 — 1,274 views  
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Sometimes, sales slump or fall into a rut. The causes may be economic or seasonal. But putting a deadline on your offers is a sure-fire way to put some pep back into your company's sales.

Whether you're making cold calls, following up with regular customers, writing ad copy, or starting a direct mail campaign, a cut-off date can be motivating.

Many people procrastinate after they decide to buy something. They may be shopping for a better deal, waiting for you to lower prices or just worried about the economy. The longer they delay, the more likely they'll forget or simply not make the purchase.

Avoid this by rewarding customers for acting now. Make them aware that they'll lose the benefit if they put off buying.

But you should link the deadline to a special deal. On their own, deadlines may not work. Here are some ways to connect your deadlines to offers that can't be refused:


Give them a bonus. Tell customers that if they act now, or before a certain date, they'll get a deep discount, cash rebate, prize or an add-on.

 
Limit the offer. Let the customer know that you aren't making this offer to everyone. Knowing that they are among an exclusive group can prompt customers to spend.

 
Form business relationships. Make deals with other local companies that involves each of you selling related products or services to customers. For example, if you are selling rugs, you could offer a deal on rug cleaning services.  


 
Furnish a guarantee. Tell customers that if they purchase your product by the deadline, you will extend a guarantee.

 
Restrict an offer for just one day. Tell prospective customers that the deal is good for one day only. But be sure the offer is worth the urgency. Otherwise, you could lose credibility. For example, a 25 percent discount would work better here than a 10 percent discount. Don't however, make the mistake that some businesses do, which is to state a fake deadline that rolls over with each new day. That may prompt some visitors to act, but anyone who returns to the site another day will figure out the gimmick and will get the impression that you underestimate their intelligence... a huge mistake.

 
Set appointments. If you are sending a quote to prospective clients that is time-sensitive, tell them you are ready and can meet them tomorrow or the next day to discuss the details.

Deadlines not only prompt a rise in sales, they also help you wean window shoppers from strong prospects. The key is to pique your customer's interest with a special deal that's linked to a need for action.

Rea & Associates, Inc.