My inbox has been barraged by coupons from every retailer known to man in the past few weeks, culminating with a furious few days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As potentially annoying as these e-mails could be, the simple fact of the matter is that I’ve taken advantage of the discounts offered. Bought a new pair of shoes for 20% by entering a coupon code. Got a new shirt for 40% off by entering a different code.
Coca Cola is said to have been the first modern company to use coupons by giving away free bottles to encourage people to try the novel drink. And guess what? It worked. People cannot resist a deal, and at this time of year, people expect it.
So here’s a few ideas to get your sales rolling…
1. Create a Coupon
Your PhotoShelter account allows you to create coupons. You can create coupons that have either a dollar (or other currency) value, or a percentage discount. You can even set a minimum order amount. For example:
20% off all purchases over $30.
2. Create scarcity and urgency
“While supplies last” is a common phrase in sales circulars, and it probably doesn’t have the same ring to it that it did a few decades ago. But the concept of scarcity and urgency is no less potent on the Internet. If you’ve ever done any shopping on Gilt.com, then you certainly no how panicked you can get when you feel like 20 other people want that Ralph Lauren shirt in large like you do.
You can do the same with your PhotoShelter coupons by setting an expiration and a maximum number of uses.
20% off all purchases over $30 before Dec. 5. Hurry, only 10 coupons available!
It’s important not to set the expiration too far in the future. We would recommend setting your expirations within a week of issuance.
3. Use social media to get the word out
There’s no more potent a way to get the word out than by using social media. I like the idea of creating a blog entry that gives the details of your coupon, has a few images, and links to your website. Make sure that your blog entries have Facebook “Like” buttons as this is the easiest way to get other people to help market for you.
Then, post that link on Twitter and Facebook. As you probably know, Facebook shows thumbnail previews of external content. And when you post something on your Wall, it ends up in your friends’ newsfeed.
4. E-mail your client list
Pick a compelling subject line like “20% off all prints before Dec 5!” and e-mail your client list. Use a strong image within the body of the email. Remember, only a small percentage of people are going to click-thru (you are monitoring that, aren’t you?), so you need as many effective “hooks” to get people to buy as possible.
5. Consider offering services
The neat thing about PhotoShelter’s e-commerce is that you can set up self-fulfilled items. Typically, this might be an autographed print, or a limited edition large-scale print. But you can use the same mechanism to sell services. For example, create a gallery called “Portrait Sessions” and then create a few self-fulfilled products like 1) Corporate Headshot, or 2) Family Portrait. Price the items as you normally would charge, and then offer the same coupons against those services.
It’s a great way to collect cash upfront, while offering a discount.
Too often, photographers look for a new gimmick to sell products or services. But instead of creating a new direct mail piece wrapped in titanium this year, you might want to consider the tried and true coupon to increase sales.