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.

Ready? Here we go.

Reducing Price

No matter what you’re selling, eventually it comes down to price. Saving money can be a good motivator, especially when you’re operating in a competitive environment.

Dollars Off — You offer a certificate with a dollar value that may be redeemed toward a purchase. Or you simply show the original price, cross it out, and offer a lower price. However, test carefully because a free gift of equal value often works better.

Refunds and Rebates — With a refund, you may ask $5 for your catalog, report, or other promotional item, then send a $5 discount certificate to be used on a first order. With a rebate, you offer a delayed discount, which encourages a purchase, then send a coupon which can be redeemed for dollars back.

Sales — A seasonal sale is a trusty standby to raise volume. A “reason why” sale is similar but gives some explanation for lowering the price, such as going out of business, inventory reduction, or overstock.

Introductory Price — This allows people to try something at a reduced cost for a short period of time. You can use this to get new customers, though it may annoy loyal customers who might feel they should get the best price.

Relationship Discount — This is the opposite of the introductory price. For example, new customers pay $30, while regular customers pay just $25. The goal here is to reward current customers, not to get new customers.

Group Discount — To target certain markets, you can offer a special discount exclusive to a type of profession, industry, club, etc. For example, an investment newsletter can offer a “professional discount” for accountants.

Quantity Discount — The larger the order, the better the deal. Or if your customer orders five items, you provide a 5 percent discount. Or you offer a lower per-item price for a two-year commitment than for a one-year commitment.

Step-Up Discount — This resembles the quantity discount, but is based on the incremental dollar amount. For example, a 5 percent discount for orders over $50, a 10 percent discount for orders over $100, and a 15 percent discount for orders over $250.

Early-Bird Discount — This encourages more and faster orders. Make sure the discount is a real discount. Don’t just raise prices for those who order later.

Price Matching — If you compete on price, you offer to match any competitor’s price. The idea is to assure prospects that you offer low prices.

Trade-in — You offer dollars off when a customer trades in a previous model or version and buys a new one. The trade-in can be your own brand or a competitor’s.

Increasing Urgency

In every sale there’s always a little hesitation at the last moment. By creating a short window of opportunity, you provide the push needed to help people make a decision.

Last Chance — This is usually a reminder that you’ve previously made an offer and time is running out. If you say “last chance,” mean it.

Limited Edition — This works well for art, plates, coins, special book printings, and other collectibles or rare items. The item is special in some way and there are only X number available or there’s a time limit.

Enrollment Period — You establish a “window of opportunity” when people may enroll, for learning courses or business services, for example.

Pre-Publication Offer — This is a popular offer used by publishers, especially for expensive reference works. You tell people that you need to plan ahead, so you offer a special deal to reserve copies. Readers are guaranteed to get a copy and save money, usually 10 percent or 15 percent off what others will pay.

Price Increase Announcement — If prices are going up, you can announce it ahead of time so people can take advantage of the old prices one last time or stock up.

Charter Membership — You offer a prospect the chance to be one of the first to subscribe to a publication or join a club or organization. A special introductory price, gift, or other incentive is usually included.

Next time, we’ll look at offers that improve selling terms and provide services and bribes.

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