- Jamie Jensen is an award-winning writer and business strategist based in Los Angeles, CA.
- After discounting all of her products to $27 for four days, Jensen generated over 1,300 sales, 1,000 new email subscribers, 500 new customers, and $35,000.
- She shared with Business Insider the lessons this flash sale taught her about connecting with customers.
- Don’t lose sight of the value your business offers — and make sure you strategically promote that value.
- Discounting all of her products was not only simple and disruptive, but it also made it easier for existing and new customers to stock up.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Although I’ve run a small consulting, copywriting, and digital product business for seven years now, prior to 2020 I’d never run a
I’ve executed close to 15 other flash sales and supported clients with their Black Friday sales over the years, and last year I even launched an email marketing template especially for Black Friday to help my customers.
This year, I thought, “Why not put my own templates to use and see how a simple sale would perform?”
My intention was to do something straightforward, valuable, and low effort on the part of myself and my team. I never expected the results we saw. In less than five days, we amassed over 1,300 sales, 1,000 new email subscribers, 500 new customers, multiple offers to collaborate and promote my products (for free), loads of new word-of-mouth fans, and unsolicited testimonials and words of praise for my products.
And all I did was send five emails and post on social media about three times. That’s it.
First, I made a decision to discount all of my products (ranging from $97 to $997) to $27 for four days.
Here’s what happened next, and what I learned.
Read more: I’m a copywriter who’s worked on hundreds of business websites. Here are 4 key strategies I use to better drive sales online.
Lesson #1: Selling yourself short has nothing to do with price point
When you’re in the day to day of leading a small business, it’s really easy to disconnect from the value you deliver. If you’re selling online at volume or you’re not your own salesperson, there’s more distance between you and your customers. As a product creator and developer, you then miss out on the response your audience is having to your offers.
Simply put: You don’t personally experience a customer’s enthusiasm, curiosity, or interest. Over time, this can lead to forgetting just how valuable and exciting your offers can be. We often hear the phrase “don’t sell yourself short” and immediately think about price. But price point is not the one and only measurement of whether you’re selling your offers optimally.
The problem I see many business owners face as they work to sustain their operations year over year is that as their connection to their customers’ enthusiasm wanes, they stop making an effort to consistently market. This is how they sell themselves short: by pumping the brakes on their promotional efforts. They’ll avoid sending the extra email, adding the invitation to buy, or sharing their offer directly on social media.
When I made a decision that my sale would be just a discount, I also decided that I would still strategically promote it. I decided to showcase the offer days before it went live. We sent our first promotional email on Monday to tease what was coming Thursday evening, and instructed those interested to mark their calendars.
Here’s a snippet from that email:
The email subject line and preview text read: “Anything you want for $27; Seriously, don’t miss out.” It was a bold, clear, transparent message that gave us a runway of anticipation and enthusiasm.
Read more: A 37-year-old entrepreneur created a card game right before the pandemic that became an instant hit. Here’s how she made 6 figures in revenue in less than a year.
Lesson #2: Disrupt expectations
By discounting some of my most premium signature products, to the tune of cutting them down to 3 to 10% of the regular price, I disrupted the market norm. This was a shocking decision that defied expectations and ultimately, that’s what marketing is about: creating a splash by doing something completely unexpected.
In my industry, we typically see a bundle, combo offer, or 20 to 50% discount offered for Black Friday. But I wanted to do something more aggressive that was hard to ignore.
The main reason I chose to do this was that I wanted to make my products more accessible. That felt good from a value perspective. But it also made strategic sense. I would be able to gather data about what customers chose. Plus, over 5% of students who take my courses invest in another product or service from me. So I knew that by making my products more accessible, I would not only add value through generosity, I would also grow my audience and customer base.
Another benefit to doing something disruptive is that promotion doesn’t have to be fancy. The one post I created for Instagram during this sale was a basic black-on-white carousel of text. This made it easy for my network to share to their Instagram Stories or send to friends.
Sometimes, you have to do the unprecedented in order to get unprecedented results.
Lesson #3: Simple works because it gives buyers less decisions to make
I credit my inspiration for discounting all of my products to $27 to the dollar store. Everyone loves a dollar store because the concept of one-price-for-everything makes decision-making easy.
First, it makes the math of adding up a cart in your mind much simpler. And secondly, the lower price tag is lower risk, so the decision itself becomes less stressful.
The one-price-for-everything model also creates a freedom where customers can easily justify stocking up. And with our sale, that’s precisely what happened. Most customers were motivated to buy multiple items. As a matter of fact, we had hardly any customers buy only one product. What we did have were multiple requests to add a “buy it all” button to our sales page so they could easily fill their cart with one click.
The big lesson here is to keep things as simple as possible. This means when it comes to running a sale, choose one enticing option and go all-in with it. Your one thing could be free shipping, a wildly valuable bonus, a two-for-one deal, a consistent percentage off (and make it ubiquitous across your store), or like we did, one-price-for-everything. You also want to make sure you’re directing your customers to one page that features your most popular products.
Since customers aren’t “in the store” with you, you can’t read their face if they’re confused and ask if they have questions. Instead, you have to predict their needs and properly direct their attention to the best options. To keep it simple, we created one main URL for the sale and included all of our most popular products on the page.
Read more: Entrepreneurs say Instagram Stories have helped them sell products faster and attract customers from home. Here’s how they leverage the social media feature to grow their businesses.
Lesson #4: Make it easy for someone to become a customer
If you’re not making it easy for someone to become a customer, you’re making it harder for yourself to grow your business.
During the sale, I did something else to help drive buzz and make becoming a customer easy. As buyers and colleagues began sharing the sale on social media, we were tagged and pinged left and right. In that moment, I decided to make myself personally available to answer questions. This turned into approximately 30 personal conversations. These conversations led to additional sales and shares and relationships.
Now, not every business owner has the capacity or interest to engage in this way, but I highly recommend making sure you have someone on your team who excels in this area. When sales take off, you’re exposed to a ton of prospective customers who may be totally new to you. Showing that your brand is present and cares makes a buyer’s decision to become a customer much easier.
Lesson #5: Trust the process
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that uncertainty may be the only thing we can bank on. And in business, uncertainty makes all decisions difficult. In my case, uncertainty worked in my favor. I had no idea that my sale would perform so well. But this is also no overnight success story.
It took seven years of consistent work to build the products, relationships, and mailing list to pull this sale off. I’d even considered retiring some of these products and second-guessed creating them in the first place. What I learned is that you have to trust the process; there is always a way to innovate on older modes of doing business. It’s all a matter of rethinking how you package it up and put it out there.
My bestselling copywriting templates were initially created as part of a one-template-per-month subscription service four years ago. Today, I sell them outright, use them as bonuses, and bundle them with other products I offer.
We recently revamped my copywriting course “Copy That” from video modules to audio only so it’s easier for students to learn on-the-go. With podcast listenership growing and audio-based networks and apps taking off, we’re adapting how we deliver online education.
And, while my writing program Story School was originally created as a live course, we’ve since broken up the content so that the first module is free and the program is entirely self-led. There are endless ways to revamp, repurpose, and repackage your products to meet the evolving needs of customers. But, seeing how it all fits together can take time and practice.
Like doing a pull-up at the gym, it’s nearly impossible to get your weight above that bar until it’s easy. You simply keep doing it. And when you focus on sustainability, integrity, and agility, you can be more flexible in your approach. That will help you find new, inventive ways to repackage your value, disrupt the norm, and generate a burst of new business — whether you’re in year one or year 20.