It doesn’t really matter what kind of business you’re in – financial advising, dog walking, organic beauty products, childcare, or pharmaceuticals… today’s market is not just competitive – it’s cutthroat. From a consumer’s perspective, this is awesome. How many of us have walked into an expensive sunglass shop, tried on every designer pair until we found the perfect fit, and then walked out empty-handed only to scoop up the same pair from a bargain website for half the price of the retail store? Underhanded shopping? Perhaps. But if it can save us a buck (or a hundred), dollars and cents are going to outweigh ethics every time.
If you’re a business owner, especially a small business owner, this can seem demoralizing. Despite your efforts to offer the best customer service, create a welcoming environment, or offer the highest quality products, it can feel like your potential customers are missing the point, putting value only on price and none of the other factors you strive so hard to perfect.
The truth is, you can’t win the game without paying some attention to the numbers. To lure customers in, you’ve got to make them an offer they can’t refuse. You don’t have to undercut the competition every day of the week. You simply have to entice the client through the door by way of an unbelievable one-time deal. You then have the chance to wow them and make them see why your shop or service is worth every penny of your full price.
We’ve seen this done very well by certain businesses here on South Beach. Recently, a new nail salon opened near Lincoln Road, the famous pedestrian mall. Within a mile of the salon, there are probably at least 8 other nail salons. This one, we’ll call it “I Heart Nails,” offers the same services as the others on the strip. But what sets it apart is the superior ventilation, the squeaky clean and minimalist décor, the brand new massage chairs and the friendly, laid-back staff.
The shop is not positioned on a high-traffic piece of sidewalk. The average South Beach resident or tourist would not stumble upon the salon by accident. So how did this new business quickly drive traffic through its doors and gain a new local following, chipping away a piece of business from the other salons in town? They printed flyers that included a coupon for $5 off a manicure-pedicure, which was normally priced at a competitive $40.
Every other successful nail spot in town offers mani-pedi packages for $40 or more. In printing these flyers, complete with $5 off coupons, I Heart Nails undercut their competition by just a couple bucks. They didn’t have to take a huge price hit. But in today’s economy, that mere $5 was enough motivation to get a troupe of high-heeled nail-enthusiasts to march their cute fashion-minded booties over to this new salon, where they soon realized they were getting not only a $35 mani-pedi deal, but a great new venue to enjoy it in.
The salon kept distributing the coupon flyers for a month after they opened, making sure to print the expiration date clearly on their flyers. By the time the mani-pedi price returned to its normal $40, which was no longer cheaper than the prices of the competitors down the road, the salon’s new clients no longer cared about the measly $5 increase. They had discovered their new nail-polish haven – something they never would have discovered had the salon not taken the simple step of printing flyers announcing their opening, along with a tempting money-saving coupon.
The lesson? Print flyers with a purpose – the purpose of getting people to walk through your business’ doors – and achieve that purpose by including an offer that sets you apart from the competition.