How Do I Acquire New Business Without Discounting?

We all understand the appeal of a good discount. It’s a universal language – one that will prove just as effective (in the short-term, at least) in everyday scenarios as it will in the most exclusive, luxury industries. Explosive signs, red numbers slashed down the middle – turning on your prices may feel a little brutal but hey, it works, right?

Well… as we say, it works in the short term. It’s a great way to get your feet through the door and look at what’s to offer – maybe even make a purchase. But what’s next?

You can’t keep running those discounts, or those discounts (with their slimmer margins) will soon become your ‘new normal’ and, eventually, you’ll have to discount those prices and shave your margins even thinner. Rewind, start again, to infinity and beyond.

We’re big supporters of investing your money and faith into customer loyalty, but no company is aiming for stagnation. Growth must come from somewhere, but where?

The solution? Establish an evangelistic customer base that does the work for you

What’s the best thing about a loyal customer? Is it the stability they offer to your business’s financial projections? Maybe. Is it the fact that they lower churn and boost retention? Possibly. But, right now, our minds are on their enthusiastic, emotionally-motivated feelings about your brand – their propensity, in other words, to spread the word and get other people excited about you.

Customers are almost 20% more likely to share a positive brand experience than they are a negative one. Think back to the last really fulfilling, memorable, positive experience you had with a brand, and the joy it gave you to talk about it to friends, co-workers, family…

These moments don’t come to us every day, or even every week, but that doesn’t make them random. The brands that provide those memorable, talk-worthy experiences are the ones that invest a solid effort into customer loyalty.

For that, you need a customer loyalty programme that promises a strong return on investment, and a strong reception from customers. Plenty of businesses run some sort of loyalty scheme but, for one to realise its full potential, it needs to be smooth, engaging (with relevant and worthwhile rewards), memorable and clear, or it won’t pose any real benefit over your competitors.

Loyal customers are what we call evangelists – and that enthusiasm is worth just as much, if not more, than the very best marketing campaign out there.

As customers, we are inclined to listen to enthusiastic brand recommendations and positive experiences. A recent survey from Nielsen, which looked at the answers from more than 28,000 consumers, found that 92% of us trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of marketing.

A customer who has come to you by way of a genuine referral will already have an emotional connection to your brand – albeit small, but nonetheless there and ready to blossom into something more.

Where do the evangelists come from?

It can sound like a chicken-and-egg problem – you need loyal customers in order to attract new customers without dropping your prices to untenable levels, but where do those loyal customers come from in the first place? Surely they were once brand-new prospects coming through the doors for the first time too?

We can’t argue with that, but we can argue that loyal customers can be created without you resorting to price wars with your competitors. Loyal customers are created over time, through memorable and positive experiences and a scalable customer loyalty programme optimised for them, their interests, and their spending habits.

Scalability is, of course, key. As you create your first ‘wave’ of evangelists and, in turn, they create that first wave of emotionally motivated customers, you will grow your stock of loyal, evangelistic customers and the cycle continues on. Loyalty marketing is key for retention, but also acquisition.


This is, of course, dependent on the strength of your loyalty platform. The best loyalty programmes aren’t happy coincidences; the points-based system needs to be clear and consistent; the rewards catalogue needs to be chosen with the customer in mind – not just a selection of generic, undesirable ‘swag’ – and your communication efforts need to be consistent, without being repetitive or spammy.

If you can master the art of turning new customers into loyal customers, then a fanciful by-product of all that world will be mastering the art of customer acquisition.

Discounting is a means to an end, and that ‘end’ is very definitive. It’s far better to put your time, money, and faith into a system that will continue to generate new business while also maximising retention and reducing churn – a common issue for companies that rely too heavily on their deals of the month – over the long-term.

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