3 tricks kids can teach you about getting people to say “yes” to almost anything

kids manipulate adultsToday’s the big staff meeting and you’re running late. As you grab your briefcase and lunge toward the door, a little voice stops you cold.

“Are you getting my toy tonight?”

You feign ignorance. “Toy? What toy?”

Your child smiles, face full of expectation. “The Power Space Commando Ninja Mutant Laser Brain Blaster!”

Why do kids have such good memories? “I thought that was for your birthday. Besides I’ll be working late tonight, honey.”

Your child’s face screws up in dismay. “But you promised!”

You look at your watch. “Why do you need the toy tonight?”

“Because … (sniffle) … you said tonight. And I believed you!”

Your heart sinks. “Okay. I’ll stop by the toy store tonight. All right?”

The little face lights up again. “Thank you thank you thank you.”

Two minutes later as you drive away, you see your child waving frantically at you from the front window, eyes wide with glee.

You wonder … what just happened?

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14 offers to increase profit and generate sales inquiries

direct response offerspart 4 of a 4-part series

We’ve been looking at offers because offers are the heart of direct response advertising.

In fact, I’ll remind you yet again, there are three absolute requirements if you want to do direct response. You must:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to your offer.

If you’re not doing all three, you’re not doing direct response.

So far we’ve looked at 14 offers to raise response and lower risk, 17 offers to reduce price and increase urgency, and 13 offers to improve terms and provide services and bribes.

Finally, we’ll look at 14 offers to increase profit (specifically dollars per sale) and generate inquiries for multi-step sales.

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13 offers to improve terms and provide services and bribes

direct response offerspart 3 of a 4-part series

In this series, we’re looking at offers.

Back in part one, we listed three things you must do to create effective direct response advertising:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to your offer.

Then we looked at 14 offers to raise response and lower risk and 17 offers to reduce price and increase urgency.

Now we’ll consider 13 offers that improve terms and provide services and bribes.

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17 offers to reduce price and increase urgency

direct response offerspart 2 of a 4-part series

Last time, we established that there are three things you must do to create effective direct response advertising:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to your offer.

We kicked off by listing a few classic offers and offers that reduce perceived risk.

We’ll continue by looking at offers that reduce the price and increase the urgency.

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14 offers to raise response and lower risk

direct response offerspart 1 of a 4-part series

There are three things you must do in order to create effective direct response advertising:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to your offer.

One way or another, everything hinges on your offer.

Whole books could (and should) be written about offers and offer strategy, but I’ll forgo erudite lectures here and just give you a bare bones and practical list of offers that have proven to be winners over the years.

Just remember that most good offers are really combinations of two or more individual offers, so all of these are mix and match.

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How to use the ingenious “yes/maybe” offer

yes maybe offerA few years ago, Inside Direct Mail ran an article on offers and interviewed me about one of the most clever offers ever devised: the yes/maybe offer.

If you can be a fan of an offer, then I’m a fan of yes/maybe. It’s an offer you often see with subscriptions, but I’ve used it for many different products and services.

What is the yes/maybe offer? Here’s how I describe it in my list of proven offers:

Yes/Maybe – This is another way of making a low-commitment or no-obligation offer. You’re happy to get the “maybe” response, which could be for a free trial, product information, introductory offer, etc. And if you get some “yes” responses, that’s gravy.

In other words, the yes/maybe offer lets you make an offer for those who are ready to say “yes” and for those who might want more information before making a decision. “Yes” might mean a purchase while “maybe” could be an information kit. Or both could lead to more information.

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3 irrefutable proofs: people-centered ads win

people centered adsI’ve been seeing some pretty crappy advertising recently and it’s all crappy for the same reason. All of it tries to make a point with clever concepts rather than benefits and relevance.

It made me think of the following article I wrote a while back. Some of the examples may be a bit dated, but the point is still valid.

***

There’s a saying: Dumb people talk about people. Smart people talk about ideas.

This might be true in some areas of life. But in marketing, it’s flat out wrong.

In fact, I’m going to show you why people-centered ads are very smart indeed, much smarter than abstract concept-centered ads.

And I’ll prove it by taking you on a tour of my local grocery store, the experimental lab of evolutionary biologists, and my own advertising swipe file.

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Boost response by positioning your offer

In direct marketing, everything is built around offers. In fact, to create a true direct response ad in any medium, you must do 3 specific things:

  1. Make an offer.
  2. Provide sufficient information to accept the offer.
  3. Provide an easy means of responding to the offer.

So, in any direct mail piece or ad, the offer is the heart of the message. But while a rose may be a rose, an offer is not an offer.

An offer is more than a fixed monetary exchange. A 50% discount is not the same as “buy one widget, get the second widget free.” In dollar terms, these are identical. But how you position this deal creates different perceptions and different response rates.

Offer positioning is a vital step in the copywriting process. And businesses should be open to suggestions for more powerful ways to position offers.

Let’s look at an example.

Imagine you have a magazine subscription offer. The magazine sells for $3 an issue and 12 monthly issues are $36. The publisher wants to test a price reduction of 50%. Here are a few ways you can position this offer:

This is more than wordsmithing. Buyers perceive each of these offer positions differently, each with a unique perceived value.

And what’s the value of testing different ways to position your offer? Better response. For example, most tests show that a “buy one get one free” offer will beat a “half off offer.” Why? Greater perceived value. Getting something free carries more psychological weight than saving money, even when the monetary value is identical. “Free” is easier to understand and more tangible that a percentage savings, which is an intellectual mathematical concept.

The takeaway? Don’t accept your offer at face value. Try different ways to position the offer to make it feel more valuable.

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How to add oomph to your offer

Offers are the heart of direct marketing. So if you want a powerful way to improve response to any direct advertisement, look at your offer.

That’s the gist of a recent article I wrote for Target Marketing called Energize Your Offer.

I determined a long time ago that there are 3 essential elements of any direct response ad. You must:

1. Make an offer.
2. Provide sufficient information for acceptance of the offer.
3. Provide a means of easy response to act on the offer.

If you leave out any one of those elements, you not only will end up with a failure, you will be doing something other than direct response.

You can read the entire article over at Target Marketing. I provide a simple definition of “offer,” take a look at the guts of an offer, reveal the world’s best offer, and discuss how to test into offers the right way.

This is really all part of my simple “big picture” approach to effective copywriting. While little tweaks can sometimes boost response for giant promotions, and occasionally a small headline edit can make a difference, generally little changes produce little results. To get big improvements, you should concentrate on the big picture. In direct marketing that means the list, the offer, the format, and then the overall copy approach.

If you want to know more about offers, have a look at my list of 99 proven offers. You can also read a detailed explanation of the 3 elements of direct response.

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David Ogilvy on the Power of Direct Response Advertising

David Ogilvy called direct response advertising his “secret weapon.” When he started out in the advertising business, direct response wasn’t exactly a respected form of selling. It was in the red light district of the ad world.

But he was smart enough to know its potential and built his agency, at least in part, with the principles of direct response.

I’ve found a video of Ogilvy addressing a group of direct response advertising professionals and laying out the advantages of direct response over general advertising. This is a treat to watch.

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