To discount, or not to discount?

After the Authentic Marketing Spring Session I sent out a newsletter with some of the insights we shared in our conversation about discounts. Just because I’ve been getting a lot of stellar feedback on it (thank you!), I’m sharing the main portion of that newsletter here, too.

If you’d like the whole package, you can find it in the archives.

Risks and side effects of discounting

1. Confusion. Lower prices for certain situations can make people wonder what the fair price for your services is.

2. Mixed signals. A discount offer might contradict the message that you are an amazing practitioner who has invested a lot into the quality of her work.

3. Short-term relationships. Special intro offers might bring in people who are looking for just that – an intro.

4. A little bitterness.
When people don’t understand and appreciate your motivation behind the special price, the work just doesn’t feel that great.

Recommended use and dosage

I think there are two great reason to gift someone with a special price or an extra something:

1. To honor a relationship. Has that person made a commitment to work with you regularly? Referred others to you? Been supporting your business? Then a special price can be a beautiful way to acknowledge that and express thanks.

2. To celebrate. Maybe you are moving into a new space, or completing your third year in business, or just loving the spring weather. A special can be a way to share that and include others in your celebration.

A few thoughts on presentation

Most importantly, I say call it something other than discount. Discount to me sounds like shaving off a little profit, but what’s really happening is that you are giving some of your time and skill for free. Present it as a gift, or an extra, a thank you, a special, or a package. Put a bow on it.

In line with that, see if you can give something extra (add on 15 minutes or a small treatment or something to take home) instead of lowering the price.

Metrics to keep in mind: Clarity and generosity.

So much more to explore here!

There is much more to be said and considered when it comes to pricing than what I fit into this dispatch, so feel free to reply with any questions or ideas for specials you want to offer. Oh, and you can also share them with some of the rad people who were part of the Spring Session here.

{Photo by H.L.I.T. on Flickr.}


  • Dawn on May 22, 2014 Reply

    I’m curious about your thoughts on pricing for a new massage therapist? My inclination is to charge a little less than I ultimately want to make and present it as a First-year in business special. I don’t want to undersell myself, however. I’m thinking of $50/hour to begin. Thoughts on this sort of “new to the industry” pricing?

    • Andrea Bailey on May 22, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for asking! Just based on what you write, I’d keep the special to a month or a season and present it as a way for people to join in the celebration of you opening your doors, rather than linking the value of your work to the fact that this will be your first year in business. You already got the education, hands-on training and your own professional style, and I think that’s what will matter more in your clients’ feelings about your rates. Other factors you might want to consider when setting your rates are your location, treatment space, products, specializations, and the way you present and position your practice. Hope this is helpful – feel free to message me again if you want to talk more!

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