Is a promo code a good idea?


I'm getting ready to "relaunch" my site. The site currently sells royalty-free Silverlight controls by independent developers (sort of an iStockPhoto business model). I'm working on a massive redesign, and I'm adding illustrations to the mix in order to attract designers as well.

I've already contacted a few bloggers asking if they'd be interested in writing something short about the site, and I'd include a promo code they can share in order to attract new contributors. The promo code would increase the payout percentage through the rest of the year.

But now I'm wondering if this is a good idea. Or would it be just as beneficial if I simply provided the increased rate to all contributors, and simply forget about any promo codes?

Marketing Promotion

asked Jun 21 '11 at 00:55
Steve Wortham
287 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • "Yes", "No" - who knows? Try both and measure, optimize and repeat. – Ross 13 years ago
  • I don't see how I could try both, because I'm not simply measuring conversion rates. It's a site launch/announcement designed to reach a large audience and build momentum, so I'm looking to maximize the results of the announcement. – Steve Wortham 13 years ago

2 Answers


Why complicate your launch... I would do away with the promo code and provide the increased rate to all contributors. If you really want to differentiate, setup some sort of tiered affiliate program that would manage payout amounts and percentages.

answered Jun 21 '11 at 06:26
509 points


Are you focused on the right issue?

At the moment you have a handful of contributing developers, something in the region of 10,000 views, decent (room for improvement, though) download:view ratios on free controls and no purchases that I can see.

Based on what you already know, more eyeballs <> more revenue. More contributors <> more revenue-earning contributors. More revenue share for new contributors = upset existing ones and promise new ones what you can't deliver.

You need to focus on the core issue: how to turn visitors into customers. If developers are going to hire you as their sales channel, you need to be able to sell.

answered Jun 21 '11 at 21:02
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points
  • I'm trying to focus on that issue as well, and I've made a few steps this time around which I'm hoping will improve things. Part of it is establishing trust, and the other part is setting expectations. But I still believe the biggest problem at this point is that customers are not finding what they're looking for (because the collection is so small). – Steve Wortham 13 years ago
  • I am beginning to lean away from the promo code idea though. I was planning on raising the rate of existing contributors as well. But still there's the issue of people coming in through other channels, not entering the promo code, and later becoming upset that they aren't getting the sweet deal. – Steve Wortham 13 years ago
  • Steve, I like the idea, but look at the numbers. The paid controls are getting a decent proportion of your total views but no downloads. So you need to focus hard on that challenge: getting people from view to download. Just behind that is how to turn downloaders into customers - how to reach them, how to reward sign-ups, how to bring them back for more. – Jeremy Parsons 13 years ago
  • It is a good point. In fact, there have been some sales (about 5 of them, I think). Which brings up another good point, if it wasn't obvious for you to figure out how well things are selling on the site, I should assume it's not going to be obvious to the average user. Perhaps the solution to that is to add the ability to sort & filter by price. Thanks again. – Steve Wortham 13 years ago
  • @Steve: Glad there are some sales - I looked at a fair sample but not 100%! You may want to think about what stats you present, where and to whom. There are different ways you could do this (and you can obviously A/B test). For instance, you could show some useful figure like total downloads for this developer - that's one way to get a prospective customer comfort that this control may be worth shelling out a few dollars. – Jeremy Parsons 13 years ago

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