n Discount Without Cheapening Your Brand: 6 Guidelines to Follow | The Anti-Marketing Manifesto

You can make big money by offering discounts, as long as you approach it with the right mindset.

Discounting should never be your primary “go-to” strategy for selling. But you can use it occasionally and strategically to profit big.

Smart discounting opens the door for a flood of orders that might not have occurred otherwise.

But you must be thoughtful, creative, and personal in your approach — and make sure your discounting doesn’t cheapen your brand.

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

1. Never offer a discount upfront.

If you’re a premium product provider (and an anti-marketer), offering a discount right off the bat — to people who’ve never heard of you — works against you. It instantly cheapens your brand.

Those people don’t even know what you’re offering, let alone the value it would bring to them. Don’t offer discounts on your website, sales page, store page, ad, or any other place where someone might be discovering your business for the first time. That content should focus on your actual message, which needs to motivate, educate and inspire (MEI).

Sell at full price to total strangers who’ve never heard of you.

2. Groom new visitors/leads before you offer them a discount.

MEI people first. Right off the bat, new leads, visitors, and potential customers should be “groomed” (i.e., MEI’d — motivated, educated, and inspired) by you, before you ever offer them a discount.

They should get free information from you, or some kind of free gift or free sample that benefits them. This allows them to get an understanding of your style, your brand, and your voice/energy, while learning a little bit about your philosophy, and what your product actually IS.

Gives them a sample of the value you offer — which will make any future “discounts” more meaningful and exciting.

3. Explain WHY you’re discounting.

Is it your wedding anniversary? Your birthday? A holiday? An “anti-holiday”? Are you outraged by something corrupt that’s taking place in your industry?

Come up with a compelling reason why you’re offering a discount. A sale is infinitely more intriguing, meaningful, and fun if there’s a unique or specific reason behind it. Without a reason, it comes across as arbitrary, or as if you’re desperate for sales.

One of my most popular emails had the subject line, “Sorry, No Black Friday Sales Here.” In it, I refused to participate in the stupid holiday known as “Black Friday.” My readers loved it. I joked about how we never hear from some companies until it’s the end of the year…then suddenly every business is conveniently offering an “insane Black Friday sale”? Are you kidding me? There’s zero creativity and personalization in that. It’s cliche.

Just because everyone else is doing it is not a valid reason why you should do it.

4. Offer a discount only for a limited time, and keep it ultra exclusive.

The nature of a discount is that it’s temporary. It vanishes after a certain timeframe. It should never be an ongoing, permanent thing… unless you’re a fan of having no profits.

Give people a deadline to take action on your discount (i.e., buy the product), or else they lose the privilege.

The exception is if you’re offering a discount on bundled items, or bulk orders. In that case, your special pricing can be ongoing, as a reward for customers buying more of something at one time. (But even then, you can raise your prices every few years, as needed.)

Another exception is if you’re going to be working with a NEW client whom you’re excited to work with, and they’re initially requesting lower pricing than what you quoted. If you’re super stoked about working with them, then go for it. The lower rate can be a way to test the waters, gauge them as a client, and/or simply open the door to working with them. You can bump your prices up later.

(But beware: if they’re awful to work with, fire them as a client and don’t offer any future discounts to them.)

“Ultra exclusive” means you reserve your discounts for your best customers or clients (i.e., top fans) — people who’ve already spent big money with you, or those who are subscribed to your email list and reading everything you write.

Discounts are a courtesy or reward for their continued purchases…not for total strangers who’ve never heard of you and don’t even know what you’re selling yet. What those people need is your ANTI-MARKETING CONTENT, which will get them excited to pay full price for whatever you’re offering!

5. Charge full price most of the time.

If you offer too many discounts to your existing customer base, you’ll inadvertently train people not to buy from you unless you’re offering a coupon code.

Long-term, this results in low sales, shitty profit margins, and driving yourself out of business. It also trains people to devalue your product. It annoys PFCs who value your product and are happy to pay full price. This also butchers your premium brand.

Over-discounting is totally unnecessary, and not required to sell.

Get into the habit of charging full price for your premium product or service. You can use the 90/10 principle as a general rule of thumb — charge full price for your product 90% of the time, and offer a discount 10% of time, as desired. Adjust this ratio as you see fit.

6. Never treat your premium product or service like a commodity.

Understand that your product is valuable, high quality, unique, and worth paying more for. (If it’s not, then why are you even reading this blog post?)

If you want to play the commodity game, that’s fine — but know that you’ll always be doomed to competing on price.

As a premium provider, you get to decide what your product or service is worth, and then test this assumption against what your perfect fit customers are willing to pay in real life. If absolutely no one is buying, then yes, you may need to lower your prices — or sell a different product that people actually want. (Or even offer to work for free, until you know what the hell you’re doing.)

Discounting intelligently means you proactively decide when, why, and how you’ll offer a discount. It’s not a random, desperate, or haphazard act.

The entrepreneur who learns how to discount effectively can make HUGE cash from the discount hook that drives people into an excited buying frenzy.

After you make your offer, your fans will go nuts. The sales pour in. You achieve your intended outcome. Ultimately, you profit big — with huge margins.

If you have a truly amazing product, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be swimming in profits!


Are your discounts and coupon codes not yielding you the big profits you hoped they would?

Email me to request edits to your sales copy.

About the Author

Michelle Lopez Boggs is a copywriter, editor, and author of The Anti-Marketing Manifesto: How to Sell Without Being a Sellout. She writes for 8-figure brands and teaches her clients follow the MEI(S) principle: motivate, educate, inspire, and sell. To download a FREE copy of her book, click here.

Confused About How to Increase Conversions?

Download my FREE cheat sheet, “5 Tips for Increasing Conversions on Natural, Organic, Non-Toxic Products”