When we launched CookieText.com in 2011, we sent out discounts and coupons with almost every email. Like most people that start a business or introduce a product, we wanted to sell our stuff. We wanted people to try our stuff. We wanted people to like our stuff.
When you’re just starting out it seems like you have to practically give things away in order for them to catch on. There is a lot of emotion involved in putting yourself and your product out into the world, at the time getting some items out into the world and getting some positive feedback about the product was worth way more to me than any money in the bank.
I was focused on getting customers and building a brand and I gave out a lot of discounts. Potential customers would sometimes call with a question, I’d answer, and then I’d say, “Oh, and use promo-code ____ for a discount.” Which was silly, because I already had the sale…what was I thinking?
I know I like to get a deal, and when I add items to an online shopping cart I google for a coupon code before I check out. I mean, if I can save some money, why wouldn’t I?
The “Groupon Effect”
Time went on and our product and our brand gained traction. Groupon called. It was tempting, with their promise of exploding your business. I shied away.
First of all, you really end up with only 25% of the asking price when you sell on Groupon. Secondly, it seemed like it was a weird slap in the face to the people that were already ordering from CookieText. Here they had been loyal customers and paid asking price, yet suddenly I’d offer our products to newbies at half the cost? That was totally out of line with my thought process, which is it’s a lot easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. Kind of like when I go to that church that says again and again throughout the service to invite my friends. My friends are cool, but what about me? I came here because I needed something, but you’re more interested in my friends?
Is it a Business or a Non-profit?
I digress. Gradually we sold more cookies and had more customers and guess what…I wasn’t paying myself. I was paying all the bills and our head is above water, but all the hours I spend working are spent working to build the business, to create the brand, to establish a clientele. And I work hard. And a lot.
Ninety percent of the time it’s fun, but sometimes I’d rather be sitting on my couch watching Mad Men. It is a lot of work. In order to sell this idea, to take the concept to the next level, I have to prove it’s profitable. And it’s got to be profitable while it’s paying the person who runs it. Because other than me, I don’t think there are a lot of people that would operate a Cookie Text kitchen for free.
Instead of up with the prices, away went the discounts. And I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry because our prices are ridiculously better than any other company that delivers a gift and our product is superior to any cookie cake you can find. We make everything from scratch, bake it to order, personalize it, beautifully package, and hand deliver it. And I’m far enough into this excursion to realize Cookie Text is not for everyone. Some people just want to grab a mass-produced baked good from the local grocery. Nothing I can do will stop that. Quality ingredients and preparation time cost money. As we’ve traveled down this road we’ve found we aren’t the right company for everyone. Not everyone wants to be our customer.
We are delighted with the customers we have. And though we very seldom offer public discounts any more, we are inclined to see a repeat customer and sneak a coupon into their CookieText.com account or email them with a promo-code to thank them for their business and loyalty. We’ve been known to gift them with a free CookieText treat from time to time as well. So as much as we want new customers, we want ones who appreciate the work that goes into every product we produce. Therefore we make every effort to provide exceptional service to those who already do.
We think a CookieText is worth every penny of it’s asking price and more. So if you google and don’t find a coupon code, it’s because we have done the math, the comparisons, and the legwork. You’re already getting a great deal.
If you want to read more about coupon marketing and loyal customers, I loved this article.