Kristen from Kristen Leigh explains why you need to stop leading with discounts as a web designer. Learn why offering discounts is a simple pricing mistake that a new web design business owner often makes.
I see it all the time. All.the.time.
I’m scrolling through Instagram and all of a sudden I see this gorgeous graphic that says a web designer has an open slot for the month of September. Yes, girl! Promote the shit out of your business and do it proudly!
And then I see something else… more like I read something. “Book by September 15 and save $500 on any package.” Yikes. I just want to comment on it with, “No, no, no! Don’t offer a discount!”
Leading with discounts as a web designer is a strategy that so many use. Heck, online business owners are just as guilty and it’s literally ruining their chances of ever being able to land a client at their full prices ever again.
Leading with a discount
Alisha is opening a new yoga studio. She knows that having a website will help her get the word out and allow people to register for classes online. She’s been following a web designer on Instagram for a while now and noticed that the web designer often offers discounts on her packages. Because of this, Alisha decides to wait until the web designer runs another $500 off sale before securing her start date.
This web designer has unknowingly conditioned her followers and potential clients to only sign on for her services when they’re at a discounted price. From a consumer’s point-of-view, why pay full price when a month later they could get the exact same service for $500 cheaper?
Big Box Company Discounts
Big box companies see this type of behavior all the time so let’s talk about Hobby Lobby, Kohls, and Black Friday to put it into perspective.
When’s the last time you purchased something from Hobby Lobby without using a coupon? Me, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased from Hobby Lobby without having at least a 20% off coupon. If I don’t go into the store with a coupon I’ve cut out of a mail flyer then you better believe I’m the person standing in the checkout line researching “Hobby Lobby coupon” in hopes that the cashier will scan it from my phone (they always do).
(If you’re someone who has never used a coupon there… do you realize they always have coupons available?)
Isn’t that crazy though? I’ve never gone to Hobby Lobby without getting a discount off my purchase. To be completely honest, I’m so conditioned to use coupons there that if I couldn’t find a coupon, I’d put everything back and try again in a couple days when I could find a coupon.
Similarly, Kohls is never not running a sale. When you walk through the doors there are sale signs on basically every single clothing rack. “Oh you want this dress that’s normally $49? Well lucky you, it’s 50% off! And on top of that 50% off, here’s a coupon you scratch and see if you’ll be getting 10%, 15%, or 25% off your order. And don’t forget, because you spent X amount of dollars here, you’re also getting $10 Kohls cash that you can use next week.” What’s even the point of going into Kohls without Kohls cash, a percent off coupon, or shopping a sale rack?
Something I always hear in my head when I think of Kohls is my mom’s voice saying, “Look at how much money we saved!” after she looks at the savings amount the cashier circled on the receipt.
On Black Friday, consumers spent $7.4 billion dollars! $7.4 billion dollars spent in just one day! That’s absurd. And most of those people only purchased because they were getting an item at a discounted price. Many Black Friday shoppers put off making purchases until Black Friday in hopes that what they’re eyeing is going to be discounted.
sales condition your leads
Consumers can easily be trained to wait for discounts and to expect discounts. Your web design leads are no different.
When a lead invests in a high value, high priced service like web design, they typically don’t purchase the first time they come across a web designer. I’ve written a blog post all about the rule of seven and it applies here, too. A lead will need to come across the same offer from a web designer seven times (on average) before they’ll be comfortable enough to invest that amount of money.
Those seven times could be over a span of a month, 2 months, 6 months, a year… which means if you’re leading with discounts, this lead will most likely come across your “sales” and delay signing on until you’re running one.
You devalue yourself
Not only that, but you’re devaluing your services by running sales. If your web design services are valued at $2000 then charge $2,000! By discounting your package to $1,500, you’re basically telling leads that your web design services aren’t as valuable as you regularly price them.
Eventually, leading with discounts as a web designer will cause you to only land clients when you’re running a sale. Which means… you have to constantly be running sales in order to ever land a client again. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start my own business to constantly discount my services and the value I’m providing clients.
Is there a right way to use discounts in your web design business? Yes, absolutely. This just isn’t it.