Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Create an Irresistible Offer

(1:12) I've written about the role that specials should play in attracting boaters to your marina. Discounts should be offered for only one reason: to change a boater's behavior. Remember, you don't need to change behavior when you are full or overbooked. When you need more business, that is the time to provide incentives for me to come in.

(1:03) Timing is critical to ensure you are getting the most out of your discounts. But the offer itself is as important, if not more important. After all, if you expect me to do something different than I was planning, you'd better make sure your offer hits home. Think of it as the bait that will draw in the boater. Before you can determine what your offer should be, you need to think about a few things.

(0:56) First, it is imperative that you have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve. Are you looking for boaters who are new to your marina? Do you need to fill in business at specific times? Are there new or underutilized services you wish to promote? Are you targeting transients or longer term slipholders? You must know what you want to accomplish before you know what to offer. You also have to know how you will measure the results.

(0:47) Next, you need to understand the audience you wish to target and the motivations needed to change their behavior. If your offer is not perceived as valuable and relevant to them, it will be passed over. Think about the target, what they need, what's important to them, and then come up with an idea that's relevant, timely, interesting, and genuine.

(0:40) If you're looking to fill your storage space, you might offer a free month when the boater pays for X months. Alternatively, transients might be attracted by a free dinner at your restaurant. You could introduce your boatyard capabilities with a free short haul for new customers.

(0:34) Make sure your offer is concise and clear. Simple is better. Simple makes me read your offer and allows me to quickly understand it. Be bold about what I save. It's fine to tell me the price but then follow up with, "that's a savings of..." Don't make me figure it out.

(0:28) Give me a clear call to action and set a deadline. "Must reserve by" or "Only 5 slips are available" will motivate me to take the next step so I won't miss out. Plus it allows you to control your discounts so they are more likely to achieve your goals and maximize your revenues.

(0:22) Your offer must communicate clearly and concisely the thing that is special and what sets you apart from your competition. Your offer must be sufficiently appealing to make me stop and take note. It should motivate me to take action.

(0:16) Don't forget to consider other businesses you might partner with to sweeten the deal even more while benefiting each of you. Consider combining dockage specials with service work to fill in the downtimes for both businesses. Or help introduce a new restaurant to the transient community with a dock and dine special. Be creative, be unique, and stand out.

(0:08) Special offers can bring you new business and incent boaters to use you during slow periods. This can boost your revenues and bring you more exposure. That's good for business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.