I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Something old made new leads to success

Do you have some old products or services ‘gathering dust’ in your business? Maybe it’s a product or service that is doing well but has more potential than is currently being used.

Have you thought about refreshing these things into something new?

Tablet screen showing old books

New ways to present old content and ideas

Sit and brainstorm all possible uses of your product or service (including all potential problems it could solve) – go outside the box and don’t just think of the obvious things it was designed for.

Warfarin was originally developed as a pesticide to get rid of rats and mice but has long been used as an anti-coagulant in heart patients.

Patsy Sherman was inventing a compound to protect equipment from aviation fuel and discovered it would repel stains – she invented Scotchguard.

Dr Pemberton’s nerve tonic and headache restorative, French Wine Coca, was adjusted during prohibition in the US. The new syrup was mixed with soda water to drink and became popular under the name and logo Pemberton’s bookkeeper developed that day – coca-cola.

 By finding new uses of a product or service you can open new markets and perhaps open new avenues. Even if you don’t find anything marketable, you may find a new marketing idea or just get some creative inspiration (some new blog posts or articles, new product ideas, a different production method, etc)

So how big a list can you brainstorm for your older lines?

Making an offer

A few days ago I wrote about a beautician sign offering 50% off clients, focussing on the poorly communicated message.

I have another issue with that sign, and their special offer for new clients.

Offering new clients a major discount (50% is big) may well bring in more customers and keep them busy, which is obviously a good thing for  business. However, there are some other parts to this offer:

  • how many of those clients will come back to pay twice as much for the same service? Does the business make enough profit from one half price service to warrant the discount if they never return?
  • are they cheapening their services with this offer? are they giving a message that their services are so over priced they can afford to take off 50%?
  • are they concentrating on new clients at the expense of existing, repeat customers?

There are other ways they could attract new clients through specials, such as:

  • new clients get a discount voucher for their second visit – even if it is the original 50% discount, at least they have paid full price once and you are teaching them to come back
  • customer rewards where they get a free {specific service} every five visits
  • new clients get a free {extra service} when booking over $x in services
  • new clients get a goodie bag on their first visit – include discount vouchers, relevant product samples, vouchers from complementary businesses, a chocolate, a branded pen/magnet/etc, and so on

What’s imortant to remember with special offers is that you continue to make a profit and that the offer won’t hurt you more than it helps.

New services…

After a lot of thinking, planning and learning, I am pleased to say I will be introducing a new service in the new financial year. It is exciting to start something new, although I have been doing it quietly already, and I’m starting promotions this weekend at the Business Mums Conference.

The question now is – do I build anticipation and wait for 1 July to announce my new service, or do I tell you now? Which would you prefer?

My thoughts on such decisions:

  • building anticipation is a great way to develop curiosity and (for a blog) an effective way to encourage repeat visitors
  • there is no point in annoying people with part of a story so any ‘coming soon’ message needs to be intriguing and not mislead
  • what does a launch date signify? Is there a strong reason to delay something new? If there are legal or IP or technical reasons to not give details in advance, be very careful of how you present any teasers
  • don’t build up to a launch you aren’t sure of – it destroys your credibility and any excitement if your wesbite says “our new product will be in store on 10 June” and it’s now July.
  • building up to a launch can start the process of search engine optimisation  and getting some traffic and ranking for your webpages. This may be limited if you can’t use keywords in advance but it at least gives you a URL to use in preparing marketing and advertising

Launching a new product or service also raises questions such as using the same brand and business name or not, pricing the new item, packaging the new with the old, and where to focus future marketing.

As for my new service, I am not launching it until July because my website can’t be ready before then (preparing a conference presentation and client deadlines took priority.) And you’ll just have to wait a little longer to find out more…