Countdown to Valentine’s Day continues with thoughts about love vs. fear. I have been reading and thinking a great deal about whether actions come from either love or fear. If it comes from love, there is a fuzzy feeling that makes you smile and feel good. If the action comes from fear, it has a more desperate energy and does not feel too good.
Mainly these thoughts and readings have applied to more personal, spiritual choices, yet I know when it comes to discounts, love and fear are components to consider. Let’s explore!
The following are a list of typical discounts in our industry. Which do you think come from love or fear? Try not to scroll until you have considered.
- Subscription discounts
- Early bird discounts
- Group discounts
- 2-for-1 discount
- 30-50% off discount
- Groupon type discounts
- Collaboration discounts (restaurants, other arts orgs)
- Flexible pass discounts
There might be more, but this is the list that came to me off the top of my head. Do you have an idea of which come from love and which come from fear? I will give you hint, does the discount come from a place of treating your audiences or from a place of needing to sell more seats?
Love: Subscription discounts to me are a reward to the most loyal of your audience members. You are giving a discount to treat this group of people like royalty. I will say though that including an option of a full priced subscription also shows love. There is a segment of subscribers that wish to support your organization at the highest level. Giving a full price subscription option comes from love too. Reply if you are giving your subscribers this option. I am interested in hearing more!
Love/Fear: Early bird discounts are a mixture of both. It comes from love to give people a chance to save ahead of time, but the fear that you might not sell enough at the regular price is another reason why we choose to use this discount. How can we come more from a place of love while using this discount? Perhaps the language we use in our messaging can come from love. Thoughts?
Love: Group Discounts – We want to show how special these groups are to us. This discount is love. We are not afraid to give a lower price since we want these groups to join us. I love group discounts, and I hope you are using this one in your plan. More love points to you if you are adding more value to your group program than just discounts.
Love/Fear: The 2-for-1 discount is a tricky one, and it depends on how and when you use it. If you use it as a matter of course and perhaps call it “Bring a friend” instead, then I think it comes from love. You want to give the audiences a chance to share with their friend and have both people enjoy a discount. If you use this one at the very end to push sales, then it is coming from fear of not selling enough seats.
Fear: 30-50% discounts, typically used at the very end is another fear based tactic. It also devalues the real cost of the art. I would try not to use this approach as much as possible. If you plan the best promotional efforts in advance, it should not come to needing to deep discount. If you have to use this type of discount (which, yes, at times we have to), try to incorporate love language, such as “We wanted to create the opportunity for more people to see this event. Tickets are now 30% off!” or “We are waiving the risk of your new experience – 30% off tickets for you!”
Love/Fear: Groupon type discounts, usually 50% off through a third-party agency, is a love approach since you are reaching out to new audiences. However, the fear is attached to this discount due to sometimes using these approaches too much instead of doing better outreach on your own. There is a lack of being able to follow up with these new audience members, and retaining numbers may be lower than using other outreach approaches for new audiences. This method also devalues the cost of the art. Audience members will get used to buying at these deep discounts, and it is more difficult to convert them to full price.
Love: Collaboration discounts are pure love to me. You are discounting more than one offering for the audience member to get more value out of their purchase, and to spread the love to more than one organization. Win/Win situations are usually coming from love.
Love: Flexible pass discount programs are giving a segment of your audiences more flexibility and choice. This to me is love since you are considering their busy lives and their patterns of purchase. The world has changed, and catering to new outlooks for purchase is a love thing!
As you can see, discounts can come from love or fear. The energy behind the discount can be felt. People know that if you discount at the last minute, your event might be in trouble. It also sets a new behavior for people to wait until the last minute and to expect buying at these deeper discounts. On the other hand, discounts coming from love, to honor your audience members and other people in your community, are ways of showing you care and are considerate of their lives.
How can you make your discounts come from love rather than fear? Let’s keep striving for more love!
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Chief Audience Builder, Audience Development Specialists