5 Easy Ways to Pump Up Your Offer Power
by Dean Rieck
There are three elements that characterize direct response advertising: making an offer, supplying enough information for a decision, and providing an easy means of response. While most people have little difficulty with the latter two, the first usually needs improvement.
So before you start tinkering with other elements in your direct mail and ads, look at the offer. It's at the heart of your response rate. Any improvement you can make to the offer will almost always translate into higher response. Here are a few ideas:
- Sell the offer. In direct marketing, people don't buy products, they accept offers. So if you're going to all the trouble and expense of selling directly, don't be subtle with your offer. Be direct and clear. Feature it. Make it the star. Put your offer in headlines. Build your whole promotion around it. And when you think you're finished, show your direct mail piece or ad to a few objective people outside your office. If they don't understand your basic offer in a few seconds, you still have work to do.
- Make your offer irresistible. People will accept a fair offer, where it appears that they are paying exactly what your product or service is worth. However, a fair offer isn't particularly motivating. Make an offer that seems unfair unfair for you, that is. Make it appear that you're offering value in excess of the price you're asking. If your product retails for $59.00, offer it for $39.00. Stress that this is a 34% or $20.00 savings. Throw in a free premium. Mention other benefits and privileges. Point out special features. Stress the exclusivity.
- Include all the key elements. An offer consists of the thing you're offering, unit of sale (each? two for? set?), optional features (personalization? odd sizes? special colors?), price ($30 or $29.95?), presentation of price ($12 a month or 40 cents a day?), terms (credit cards? delayed billing? installments?), incentives (premiums? discounts? sweepstakes?), guarantee (money-back? buy-back? refund unused portion?), trial period (30 days? 60 days? 90 days?), time or quantity limit (respond before date? reply in 10 days? only 500 available?), shipping and handling (extra or included?), future obligations (buy 3 more in 6 months? no obligation?), etc.
- Offer something FREE. "Free" is perhaps the most powerful concept in direct marketing, so you should use it everywhere you can. Offer free trial subscriptions, free examinations, free samples, free books and catalogs, free estimates, free information, free gifts, or free guides on how to use your product.
- Make your price appealing. For lower cost items, use price breaks to make a price more attractive: $9.95, $19,95, $29.95. Price breaks make a price seem lower while it costs you almost nothing. If you want a more prestigious image, though, use round figures: $120, $250, $370. Round figures say, "We don't have to worry about pennies." To emphasize a low price, eliminate the zeros on a round price ($9), but to emphasize the value of a premium, add the zeros ($9.00).
- Use a time limit. Inertia and indecision are your enemies. Time limits create urgency to make a decision immediately while your offer and benefits are clearly in mind. Psychology and sales experience shows that the faster you can get people to make a decision, the more likely it will be in your favor.
Copyright © 2000 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.
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