Strategic Marketing: Using Deadlines and Discounts

Strategic marketing means promoting your products and services with a clear cut plan. Like most small business marketing consultants, I do a MUCH better job of doing this with my clients than I do in applying strategic marketing practices to my own stuff.

If you didn’t know it before, you should learn this now; it’s HUMAN NATURE to procrastinate! It’s why coupons have expiration dates, it’s why businesses have limited time SALES. There’s not better way to motivate buyers to ACT NOW than to impose a deadline! Putting a deadline on a discount is essential.

A discount without a deadline is simply a price cut.

Creating a deadline is a good marketing strategy. So, when I offered my Fast Track to Blogging Success for free, I put a deadline on that discount. The deadline has now passed – and the 100% discount is now over.

However, as I went in to remove the code, I remembered how I HATED it when I wasn’t able to get Naomi’s report when I missed the boat.

It was time to “enforce” my own deadline – and I was faced with a dilemma. If I didn’t remove the 100% discount, I’m a liar. If I remove it, then someone’s going to try to use the discount because they got here late and it won’t work. Then, forever more, if they ever think about “Virtual Impax,” it will cause “bad vibes”.

Talk about a “no win” situation!

So, instead of REMOVING the discount, I just reduced it. The discount code “CathRocks” now takes $10 off the $24.95 price.

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If you got it for free – then you still got a bargain, however if you’re late to the party – you can still pick it up at a discount.

However, in order for this discount to be “motivating” it still needs a deadline. Otherwise, it’s simply a thinly veiled attempt at a price cut. So the deadline is now moved to November 1 for the “CathRocks” discount code which was originally offered to readers of Cath Lawson’s OUTSTANDING blog.

If you haven’t checked out her blog, you should.  She definitely offers business advice from the “been there, done that, bought the T-shirt AND the factory which produces the T-shirts”  point of view.    Cath is a serial entrepreneur – and honestly, I don’t think there’s any other kind of entrepreneur.  She shares her wisdom with a healthy dose of wit via her blog on a regular basis.    In other words, she’s the’s the real deal and it shows!

Do you need SEO (Do It Yourself or Otherwise)?

Great post over at Search This on the myths surrounding Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization.

In the post, the author points out how paying professionals to practice their craft is often the smartest investment of time and energy.  For example, I am certainly capable of cooking supper, but often I’ll pick up the phone and pay someone else to dirty THEIR kitchen to prepare food for me.  I save time not only in preparation but also in kitchen clean up, time I can spend in either leisure or working.

Yes, you probably COULD do your own Search Engine Optimization.  I have no doubt that you could purchase books, take e-courses and learn how to create a search engine friendly site, just as I could spend hours watching Food Network, take courses, buy cook books and learn how to cook.  

The question remains, "Should you invest your time and energy in that pursuit?"

Because, honestly…. if you really CARED about Search Engine Optimization…. you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.  (Just as, if I CARED about my lack of domestic abilities, I’d be at the Food Network site right now.)

It’s my guess that the only reason you CARE about SEO is that you’re under the impression that it may be the magic tool to increase your web site’s profitability.  That may or may not be true.

So while the post at Search This explores whether you possess the time/talent/inclination to pursue Do It Yourself Seach Engine Optimization, I’d like to challenge you to step back and ask yourself, "Is investing in Search Engine Optimization an efficient use of my marketing dollars?"

First, ask yourself if your customers are searching for answers to their problems on the internet. 

Begin by researching your keyword phrases. Research your absolute best, most descriptive keyword phrases…. and what do you see?  Do you see that less than 1000 people are searching for that phrase each and every month?  If so, you’ve GOT to ask yourself whether investing in SEO, either the Do It Yourself variety or the hire an expert kind, are a worthwhile investment.

I have a LOT of clients who are consulting professionals.  They have each possess a specialized skill set and are a valuable asset to their client.  However, their clients did NOT go searching for the answers to their problems via the internet.  Many of those clients are utilizing their blog as a way to SHOWCASE their skills and talents.  Don’t get me wrong, a web site that can be found by potential clients searching for your solution is ESSENTIAL to the success of your business.  However, creating a web site and engaging in Search Engine Optimization around a series of keywords that does not cause clients/customers to pick up the phone is fool hardy.

Next, ask yourself what kind of sales are you trying to make.  According to Neil Rackham…. there are two types of sales.  There are Minor Sales and there are Major Sales.  In the vast majority of cases, it’s the Minor Sale web site owner who needs to make an investment in SEO.  The Major Sale web site owner needs to focus his/her time and energies on building trust as part of laying the ground work for the sale. 

For more on this subject… pick up my book Beyond the Niche. In it, I help you see the differences between marketing and advertising the Minor Sale and the Major Sale.