This article contains Limited Time Offer tips for smaller businesses to increase sales.  Read it before it’s gone! (just kidding)

Key insights: 

  • Businesses should use limited-time offers as a way to grow
  • Service and product-based businesses can craft LTOs 
  • Metrics are critical to the evaluation and effectiveness of the offer

On average, the general public is exposed to between 3000-5000 advertising messages per day catapulted through digital and traditional channels alike. Baked into these communications are splashes of scarcity or more recently coined of fear of missing out FOMO. 

Once it’s gone, that’s it. 

The Pepsi’s and Starbucks of the world know how to structure these quite well — do I even need to mention the pumpkin spice craze? Sure, every October/November, the coffee loyalists know it will come back. But think about how widespread the pumpkin spice has worked it’s way into just about everything from candles and nutritional products to polishes and cough drops. 

We’ve all been exposed to this type of promotional rhetoric: For a limited time only! Hurry before they’re gone! Get yours, they won’t last! And so on… 

Benefits of LTO’s

Testing new offerings can reveal immediate benefits for any company that is leveraging LTO’s. The metrics from the onset need to be tightly buttoned up. KPI’s like response rates, landing page traffic, time on page, consumer-generated content, coupon usage, and revenue per sku. 

Offers that are timely and present a unique opportunity give marketing messages a fresh spunk that brands can use to energize themselves.  

How to get in the LTO game

Depending on what verticle the business operates in, it will largely depend on what’s possible. 

The chance to offer something new and special is half the battle. With some creative exercises, just about any business can use a limited time offer to move the needle. 

Structure the offer around something interesting and useful. Something that will make people feel special once they have secured it for themselves — almost like a sense of accomplishment. Many broad LTO’s miss this due to their sheer size, but this article is for smaller businesses, so there are some advantages to leverage. 

Below are some LTO examples that smaller businesses can use to drive revenue and data goldmines: 

Restaurant LTO examples: If you operate a local restaurant and have an email list or social media following, you’re halfway there. It just so happens your food purveyor came into some truffles from Tuscany. Truffle, white or black, are expensive and difficult to uncover. Once they are gone, who knows when they will return? So, something like, 

Truffle Lovers Rejoice!  We managed to secure several White Tuscan truffles (most rare) and will be using them in our specials this week. Expect some menu favorites to be enhanced, some new surprises and one truffle-infused dish that will have your texting images to all your friends. 

Lounge/Bar LTO examples: Libations can raise the spirits of many. Who wouldn’t want to kick back and sip on a special vintage, rare blend, or unique cordial? These items may cost a bit more at the distributor, but it’s how they are positioned in the message.   

Who’s thirsty for something different? We’re pouring organic agave tequila until it’s gone. Employees had a taste and are restricted from having any more.  Come in this week and try it. Oh, and we love our regulars, but calling and asking for us to save you some is clever, but it can’t happen. 

 Plumbing & Heating LTO examples:  Seasonality is a plumbers friend. And the sentiment around plumbers typically isn’t a joyous one (think dentist, lawyer, body shop). With the changes of season, comes an opportunity for people to avoid pain. Although, many aren’t that forward-thinking, but for the few that are, that’s where the LTO comes in. Great for new and existing customers and the credit part is pretty insignificant to the business. 

Don’t be left in the cold. Winter will be here before you know it. For a limited time only when you purchase a heating maintenance plan, we’ll apply a $35.00 work credit to your account. 

If your business is looking to get customers to spend more, limited time offers are a great way to drive revenue, gain valuable data and create some excitement. You don’t have to be a huge brand to do this either — just craft the right offer and shout it to the right target. If you need help around LTO strategy or amplification, we help many service-based businesses create better offers and we would be happy to help you too!