By Deborah Wroe

Special offers, money off vouchers, early bird prices and happy hour are all incentives to get people to take up your services, sometimes to fill quiet periods, or to get new customers in your door.

Tight arse Tuesday is an Australian phenomenon and great name (!), when cinemas offer half price tickets on what is normally a quiet night. There is no shame in going to the cinema on tight arse Tuesday, though you might not want to do it on a first date. Bizarrely, petrol is also often cheaper on a Tuesday, yep the prices go up and down during the week. Food outlets often do tight arse Tuesdays too, so you could go for cheap pizza, catch a movie and fill up on the way home, all for a bargain price.

In New Zealand you will often find bars doing ‘Toss the Boss’. You order your drinks and then the boss (bar owner or staff) rolls the dice before you hand over your money. If you get a higher score than the boss, you win, and the boss pays for your round. It’s a game of chance and it may just make you choose one pub over another; who doesn’t want the odd free round?

In the UK we have Orange Wednesdays, where those with an Orange mobile phone can text a number to get a voucher code for a 2-for-1 ticket at participating cinemas. We also have a large and rapidly growing range of voucher sites, daily deals, and direct mail leaflets giving consumers the chance to never pay full price again.

According to trendwatching.com a new consumer has emerged, one with dealer chic. Where once savvy consumers kept their deals and penny pinching ways to themselves, there is now kudos attached to finding the best bargains, passing them on and boasting about them.

But from a business owner’s perspective, you need to think about which of these incentives are going to work for you. Do you want to fill a quiet time and only a quiet time? Do you want to promote a new or less popular product? Do you want to get them in for a coffee to then entice them to ‘go large’ with a three course meal the next time?

In the marketing and business press you will find tales of companies who have had bad experiences with group buying companies, where there has been no cap on offers and or the owner has mispriced the offer turning a cash cow into a problem child. In online reviews, blogs and social media, you will see consumers venting their frustration at losing out on deals, where demand outstripped supply or where, horror of horrors, in paying less the customers were treated like second class citizens.

As with all marketing activity, do your research, set your strategy and don’t treat potential and future customers only half as well just because they may be paying half the price.