Make sure your special offer does not erode your credibility as a vendor

It is common practice to offer a newly launched product at a discounted price to early adopters. But are you sure you’re not harming your future sales by discounting it too much?

The danger of sounding only half-useful

A recent email offer I received for a training program promised “full access to the program for $250 off the regular price” for a certain time-limited period. With the squeeze page finally disclosing that I could now enroll in the program for $297, this makes the usual price $547 and thus the initial offer at almost half-price.

Sure, if “an up-and-coming B2B copywriter could earn $50,000 (or more) his first year”, as the offer said, the $297 investment is not much at all. It is common practice to give an initial discount for a limited period to create traction for a new product.

Looking at the issue from another angle, though, what will happen if you on day X almost double your price?

Perceived value vs. tangible value

I’ll be willing to bet that most people’s reasoning goes like this. “They’re now offering me this at $XX. They’re not selling it at a loss. Tomorrow the price will double. Why the heck should I pay twice as much for something tomorrow that today is worth $XX?”

A quick online research seemed to indicate that initial offerings usually cap at somewhere around 35%, and even this for commodities like computers. Therefore, the more specialized your product or service, the less you should lower the price. If you do, you may seriously risk your credibility as a company that can provide real, tangible benefits.

Any experiences, either as a vendor or a buyer? Please share.

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