The Art of Running Specials!


If you have been in business for any length of time, then you have probably ran specials for your products or services.  How were your results? Did you see a boost in sales? Were they new customers, regular customers, or maybe the special/discount hounds?  Each sale or special that you have ran, probably gave you different results depending on Season, Offer, Mediums you used to advertise.


We all like a good special every once in awhile, but more importantly we always like quality products and service and great customer service.  Many businesses that are constantly running specials to get people in the door, often have a Pavlov’s dog result of customers waiting for the next special to buy anything from you again.  Before I give my 6 tips for successful specials it is important to point out that ‘specials’ aren’t specials when they are all the time like JCPenny.  Don’t get me wrong, I like shopping at JCPenny like anyone else, but I can’t remember the last time the whole store wasn’t on special.   This constant Sale mentality eventually will give the impression of inferior products or services, and that you don’t believe your products are worth full value.


Look at Apple.  When was the last time you saw a special on Apple products? Not often, if you can remember any at all. Although you may not be a big brand like Apple, you want to give off the same value perception of your products and services so that when you do run a special you see a large increase in business as you should.


Here are the 6 Tips for Successful Specials:


Tip 1: One Special at a Time

When you are promoting your special through your advertising channels, social platforms, email marketing etc.  It is far more effective to have a special on one specific product line or service so that your message can be heard loud and clear.  Remember your special is just the bait, and you want customers to be exposed to the rest of your products and services while they are there to take advantage of your special.


Tip 2: Timing Is Everything

I know it’s as cliche as saying “Time heals all wounds,” but with each cliche there is boatloads of truth! For example would you run a Black Friday special in March? Of course you wouldn’t!  Silly example but remember these 3 points with timing:

  1. Close enough with your marketing and advertising for the special to be top of mind.
  2. Convenient time period for your customers based on your industry. (Legal Fee Special on a Sunday Bad Idea, Football Beer Special on a Sunday Good Idea)
  3. Right after a normal pay cycle, preferably after the 2nd payday around the 15th.

Tip 3: Make your Special ‘Special’

People don’t go to sales for 10% off, so if that is your 2 time a year special… I will predict right now that you don’t see a spike in sales.  Make your Special worthy of creating an emotion of urgency in your potential customers!  Remember the idea isn’t to sell them the one item or service, it’s to get them to buy other stuff in addition and more importantly DRIVE NEW CUSTOMERS THROUGH THE DOOR! Even if your profit margin is small on your special item, your chances of selling them something else went from 0%(Non-Customer) to at least a 100% for you to tell your product or services story.


Tip 4: Less Is More

Unless you own a bar, and are trying to bring in day drinkers, you don’t need daily specials to drive people to your business.  As in the previous tip, being Special is also about frequency.  If you eat Lobster and Steak everyday, it loses the Special Occasion effect.  Plot out specific times that your industry can offer specials in a year (no more than 6-12 per year) and design a specific campaign per special to help you promote clearly to your existing and potential customers.

Tip 5: E-Commerce if you can

By now your business is probably online and you may even be selling your products online already.  When you run a special, DO NOT forget your E-Commerce website! Many reasons for this, but the most important for you the business owner is that you can measure effectiveness with analytics you use for your website.  This will tell you where traffic came from, how long they spent on your site, how many visitors converted into sales etc.  This is not a newsletter about web analytics, but measuring a Specials campaign success can be easily done with your online analytics and is a bit more difficult in stores.

Tip 6: Keep In Touch

With any special done right(Not 10%), you will have new customers.  Make sure that you have a Newsletter Sign Up, Text ‘Special’ Sign up list, to get their information for future contact.  Remember most ‘Special Hounds’ are programmed that way through years of advertising and marketing abuse to their eyballs.  If you can softly stay in touch with them by tips and tricks from your business, they will most likely remember you when they need your product or service again.  To end on another cliche “Out of sight out of Mind” Happy Special Season of the Year!



If you are in need of Marketing consultation for your business, call Aftershock Enterprises and let us increase your results instantly!  And since you are on our website, in the words of Ace Ventura “Snoop around!”