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Harbor Freight’s Marketing Secret

Today, I want to share with you two ads from Harbor Freight and their “secret” to their marketing.

First, I’m going to show you the two ads.  Then, I’ll explain the “secret” to their marketing.  Can you spot the secret???

Harbor Freight Ad 1

Harbor Freight Ad 2

So, what did you notice after reviewing the two ads?  What are some marketing tactics that stand out?  Did you find the secret?

Ready for it??  The secret is… offering “Premiums.” 

Premiums are free gifts offered to get the customer to buy from you.  They can be linked to a certain products and delivered upon purchase, or, like Harbor Freight, can be totally free just by coming into the store.

According to Dan Kennedy, in his book The Ultimate Marketing Plan, he says, “Premiums can and do drive sales.  They can flush customers out of the woodwork who’ve been inactive and encourage regular customers to buy or renew earlier than their need or buy different items or services than they usually buy.  Thus, they can be used not only to create a cash flow surge but also strategically to influence and alter customer behavior.”

Look at Harbor Freight’s ads.  In BIG BOLD letters they have the word “FREE” along with “No Purchase Required.”

The word FREE draws you into the ad, because, well, who doesn’t love free?!

Then, you see FREE three more times with “No Purchase Required” in the coupons offering the premiums.  Each premium is different (this is actually another secret… offering more than one premium).  By having different premiums, you appeal to more buyers.  Maybe I already have a flashlight, but the work gloves… I’ve been wanting to get a pair.

So, if they were just offering the flashlight, I’d throw out the ad and it’d all be over.  But, since they’re also offering free work gloves… now I’m interested.

According to Bill Glazer, in his book Outrageous Advertising, he says, “Giving a choice of premiums instead of just one is a very powerful marketing technique, which is called “INVOLVEMENT.”  In the case of the choice of premiums, you “involve” the prospect in thinking about which premium he wants versus whether he wants the premium at all.  Typically involving the prospect will increase response even more.”

As a customer, you may be wondering, “Why on Earth would they give away a free gift, for nothing?!”

Great questions!  If you look at the ads again, you’ll see a “Reason Why.”  This tells why they would offer a free gift. 

Here’s Harbor Freight’s reason why, “WHY A FREE GIFT?  Because once you see our GREAT QUALITY and RIDICULOUSLY LOW PRICES, you’ll never buy tools anywhere else!”

Wow!  That’s one heck of a reason why.

Also, if you check out the second ad, they mention, “How Does Harbor Freight Sell GREAT QUALITY Tools at the LOWEST Prices?”  They then go on to explain their reasoning.

So, I urge you to study these ads and see how you can “swipe” their ideas into your marketing.

Now, before I go, I want to mention a few more tactics in these two ads.

Notice, the ads are busy!  Lots of info crammed into a small area.  Do you see the huge 20% OFF Super Coupon (How could you miss it)?  How about… a couple of their ads look like they have already been cut out (this draws attention, and, obviously, they want you to check out those coupons first).

Also, Harbor Freight seems to advertise in EVERYTHING!!  Those two ads are from different sources.  I’ve also seen their ads in magazines, local papers, and online.  You can’t get away from them if you tried.

So, what kind of premiums can you offer in your ads?  What are some ideas from the ads above you are planning on using in your next ads?  Be sure to comment below.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing!

Ahem… excuse me while I go get some work gloves… and a screwdriver set.

Now go take action!

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