Do your vouchers suck?

how to do vouchers for marketingNo doubt digital marketing is very important these days and no business can really go without it. Nevertheless there is still a lot of offline marketing to create that helps businesses spread their message. One such method is the use of vouchers (which actually can also be very effectively used online, but those are for another post).

The most common use I see these days is for networking functions and for that it is a great tool indeed. When you offer a lucky prize your name gets mentioned from the stage and that is always a bonus worth attaining. The question is, what should that voucher be and how best to put it together? All too often I see vouchers that truly suck, excuse my language. The only reason they exist is to lure you into the den and upsell you. And yes that’s their purpose but ….

You’d be forgiven to think this is a trivial matter, but it is actually not and this was brought to my attention recently when I got the “lucky winner” honestly telling me her feelings about a particular voucher she had received from a hairsalon. And I agreed with her, it was a typical “marketing voucher”. By using it she had to first spend some money with that business before being able to use the voucher.

When does a marketing voucher suck?

It’s that kind of voucher where you know immediately the only reason it really exists is to get you to spend more money at the particular business. And of course there is nothing wrong with this, but because we humans have a funny way of reacting to an obvious ploy it’ll be better to create a voucher that isn’t so obvious and doesn’t suck, but one that actually gives true value.

So I’m inviting you today to take a step back and instead of thinking “how can I get more people into my business” ask yourself this question:

How can I give people a free taste of my offer they will truly appreciate?

What can you give without asking back? What would make the respondent go “Oh my word, wow this is so cool, thank you so much” and perhaps then go and share the amazingness of the voucher all across their social networks?

That’s the key here.

Don’t go for the sale. Go for the reach. (Tweet this)

What do I mean by this.

Have you ever received a gift from someone (family or friend) where you knew exactly they wanted something in return and it better be of equal value? Yes? I am sure we all have experienced this. There’s a thing called unconditional giving and ever since I learned about it and started to apply it my receiving has changed dramatically. It is not up to us to balance the scales, life has a way of sorting this out for us.

Trust and you will receive. (Tweet this)

The giving however comes first. So, in line with this: yes we use vouchers as a marketing tool, but these days we want to create marketing people love (thanks Hubspot for coining that term) and when we do that the rewards are plentiful. Let me ask you this, what would you prefer to receive after giving out a voucher:

  • A sale of some sort, having reached 1 person
  • 10 posts on Facebook, Twitter , Google+ and others on how amazing you are, having reached a potential of ± 1,200 people

Apparently people have about 120 friends on Facebook so I took that number and extrapolated. It’s going to be much more as on Twitter many people have many more followers. If you give out 10 vouchers that elicit the receiver to talk about you and your voucher or service you potentially reach 1,200 people. Whoa.

The value of having other people talk about you to their network in a positive way is impossible to extract but it’s there nonetheless in a very big way. I have seen this hundreds of times over with my clients, myself and by observing others.

Use your vouchers to REACH a wider audience and it will be worth putting a high value on it.

A 10% discount voucher will have a hard time getting people to tweet about it. A totally free manicure on the other hand is a different story. Here some points to take into consideration when creating a voucher:

  • Spend time considering what kind of voucher you will give and what the value is
  • Give freely of that which doesn’t cost you anything (your time for example)
  • Find a good mix between super value for the receiver and low to no actual cost for yourself
  • Don’t make people spend some money first before being able to redeem your voucher
  • State clearly on the voucher what it is
  • Give it a time limit by all means but don’t make it 14 days or even a month (depending on the nature of it), the longer the better
  • Put Facebook, Twitter, etc. logos on it and ask for the recipient to share their experience online (more on thanking someone in a digital world)
  • Make sure all your contact details are on the voucher

You don’t have to go all out and print full colour voucher brochures, a simple letter on a letterhead will do the trick or use PowerPoint to quickly create something. Just be really careful to let go of the need to get something back right away other than a big fat thank you.

One more word on the not making people spend. I hear you say

But what about discount vouchers?

Discount vouchers are awesome! IF you run a particular campaign, if people ARE ALREADY interested in buying your ware. A lucky prize winner at a networking event is most unlikely to fall into this category (unless fate has a hand in it all…), they are right at the top in the awareness stage of the buying cycle. They are not ready to buy from you yet. So give them something that’ll peak their interest, will be useful to them, of value and will make them go through the effort of posting online how awesome you are.

What are your experiences with vouchers? Do you agree/not with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Generating leads with Social Media


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