When’s The Perfect Time to Offer a Discount?


Run promotions that bring your clients back without undercutting your pricing strategy

by Shana Clarke


In a service-based business, customer service is the key to building a strong roster of clients, and the personal touch you provide distinguishes your business from other providers. Promotions can be a valuable tool in extending those “extra-specials” to your clients when used strategically. As Prefer just launched their new promotions tool, now’s a great time to build the technique into your business plans.


While coupons are a straight discount off goods or products, think of promotions as monetary incentives used to build long-term results. It’s important to note that customers perceive services at a higher price point to be of greater value and view the provider as being more skilled when they charge premium prices; to maintain your business’ integrity, use discounts sparingly. Here are some ideas on how to boost your company with promotions.

Inactive Customers

Have certain clients dropped off the calendar? Has it been more than six months since a certain customer called on you? Entice them to come back with a promotion, such as $25 off their next service with you.

Prospective Clients

Motivate potential customers to try you out with a discount, such as a certain amount off their first session.

Share with a Friend

Grow your customer base and tap into potential new clients with discounts that entice clients to share with a friend. For example, hair stylists could offer a certain amount off blowouts for a client and a friend if they book together. Some Soloists also find offering a free introductory session is a great way to encourage hesitant clients to book their first appointment.

New Client Bouncebacks

As a thank you to a customer who hired you for the first time, follow up with them after the first session and offer them a discount off their next service. Not only is the “thank you” a good form of clienteling, but the discount motivates them to book with you again.


Who doesn’t love a birthday present? Send good customers a discount on their special day and let them know you value their business.

The Annual Big Blast

Find one time of year to declare as your signature moment and to bring your business top of mind. For personal trainers, capture everyone’s New Year’s resolutions to stay fit with a discount on a session. Springtime — and spring cleaning — is ideal for personal organizers and housekeeping Soloists to reach out to their database.


Ongoing appointments drive revenue and give your business longer-term security. Encourage your customers to buy packages of your services by offering promotional pricing, such as $50 off when they buy 10 sessions. Create different tiers (5 appointments, 10 appointments, etc.) so clients find one that best suits their needs.


Every once in awhile, we all have a client experience that wasn’t up to par. If you think there’s a chance to salvage the relationship, offering them a discount on another session may encourage them to try you one more time.

VIP Thank Yous

Reward your best customers with a special incentive. Select a small group that hit a certain criteria or spend level and gift them once a year, such as on your business’ anniversary or on Valentine’s Day. Giving them the VIP experience will only increase their loyalty.


There are obviously multiple opportunities to utilize monetary promotions, but here are some best practices help guide you as you create your strategy.

Don’t Over-coupon

A myriad of opportunities may present themselves throughout the year when promotions may seem to make sense, but don’t fall into the trap of overcouponing. Not only will you devalue the perception of your service, but customers will soon come to expect a discount and won’t book without one. Think about it: when was the last time you went into Bed, Bath, and Beyond without a coupon?

Give an Expiration Date

Create a sense of urgency by giving customers a brief response time. Time frames will differ based on promotion (for example, an inactive customer may need two months) but make sure the date is clear and the activation window is very limited.

Bottom Line

Always consider your bottom line when creating offers. Make sure that you can still generate revenue and aren’t cutting too much into profits with your incentive.

When thoughtfully implemented into your marketing plans, promotions are a great way to generate revenue and increase customer loyalty. With Prefer’s new promotions feature, you can provide customers with even more personalized options and show how much you value their business.

Want advice from other Soloists?