Your direct mail offers are the central piece of your direct marketing campaign
Besides a fine-tuned and freshly updated mailing list, your direct mail offers are the central piece of your direct marketing campaigns. More than other elements of your direct mail, the offer is what drives your direct response.
It’s a well-known fact that 40% of your direct mail success depends on the offer. One of the prominent marketers of the early 1960s, Ed Mayer, observed this pattern and started it in the 40/40/20 rule. This rule says that 40% of the success depends on your mailing list, 40% on the offer, and 20% on everything else including the format of your mailer, the design, the copy, the distribution, etc.
So, a question arises: how do you craft a compelling offer, so that you can count on that 40% of success. What does an attractive offer sound like? Let’s take a closer look at what we consider to have value, and drives responses in direct mail offer marketing.
As a rule of thumb, don’t add your offer to the ad copy after everything else has been said. Build your creative elements around your offer, put it at the center of your mailpiece!
1.Dropping your prices
The first thing that comes to the mind of marketers when they want to incentivize people to buy is dropping the prices. But is it a good idea? Most businesses lower their prices because it’s an easy thing to do. Offering a product you already sell doesn’t require doing anything special, it’s all about cutting your profits.
It’s a common practice to drop prices for seasonal sales, new products, large quantity orders, or when breaking into a new market. These are the perfect times to bring out “buy one, get one free” promotions.
2. Showing your value
On the other hand, with all the information available online for informed purchasing decisions, it’s more difficult to convince someone to buy just because it’s cheaper. When it comes right down to it, quality is the breaking point. People need to see the value in the offers that they respond to. So, instead of dropping your price, help your customer to perceive the value of your offer.
How can you increase the perceived value of your offer? Here are just a few ideas: improve the image and the package of your product; prove your authenticity to convert the doubters into believers; compare your products with other similar products on the market and show the value of your proposition.
3. Free incentives
Another encouraging method is to include some freebies along with the main offer such as free shipping or free returns. Recent studies have shown that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product online when offered free shipping. But sometimes this approach can simply destroy your profit margins. Offer it only if it’s viable for your business.
You can offer free shipping for all your items in conjunction with a minimum purchase, for certain items, or for a certain period of time, and of course for your direct mail campaign. When it’s doable, free shipping can immediately boost your online sales, leading to more orders and profits. Free returns, another free incentive, can increase spending by 158-457%. And free consultations will help your prospects to become familiar with your business and see the value in your business.
When we give freely, with no strings attached, people pay close attention. Give away free bite-size samples, valuable content, tools, or other valuable free services and you’ll attract plenty of potential customers.
4. The scarcity
Everything that has value should come in a limited amount or for a limited time. It’s a simple trick of the mind, if something might run out it suddenly becomes more valuable. If it seems more valuable, and the clock is counting down we will quickly rush to buy. it might not be there tomorrow!
Think about your product or service and identify the aspects in which it is limited. Your inventory isn’t endless. You can’t be available for a free consultation at any time. Make your offer time-limited, and highlight the scarcity of your valuable offer by using words like special and exclusive. Infuse your offer with the sense of urgency with phrases like these:
- Ends Sunday at Midnight.
- Last Chance!
- Only 24 hours left.
- Holiday Deals, Limited-Time Offers.
5. Social Proof
Using social proof techniques are great at increasing your offer attractiveness. The Social Proof Theory, popularized by psychologist Robert Cialdini, states that a person who does not know how to properly behave in a certain situation will look to other people to imitate what they are doing.
Communicate in your offer the fact that many others have already advantage, validating the quality you’re putting forth. When establishing your credibility with a reference make sure the person/institution that offers it is someone your customer can trust.
- Trusted by the Pediatricians Association and recommended by moms.
- #1 choice of US Hospitals, etc.
6. It should all BE CLEAR
Make clear WHAT you are giving away and HOW they can take advantage of it. The offer needs to be structured in a way that both the mailer and the customer are clear about their commitments.
If you offer a freebie in exchange for personal data, make your requirements clear: an email address, a phone number, an answer to some questions, the permission to receive Phone calls or a like & share of your social media posts.
If you have an order generation offer, make clear what is included in the price, if the payment has to be made in advance, broken into several installments, or if the customer will be billed later.
See also Direct Response Marketing: How to Write Catchy Business Postcards or Sales Letters
7. Pricing Strategies
When it comes to money there are a lot of pricing strategies. Choose the one that suits you best. Here are some of your options:
- Price anchoring technique: offer three price points. It’s likely people will order the middle one since it will be perceived to have more value, but still a good deal.
- Buy one get one free: an oldie but a goodie, everyone loves a good BOGO promotion.
- Charm pricing – make sure your price ends with a 9. Even if the price $2.99 is practically $3, our brain registers the price as only $2 making it seem like a much better price.
8. Free Offers
Come with a free offer rather than a price based offer for lead generation campaigns. This way you’ll get more responses from those who are interested in your specific products.
Make a price offer for order generation campaign. Price offers typically lower response rates. But a high response rate doesn’t mean necessarily high-quality leads. Make it easier to understand “what’s in it for me” at first glance: give them an obvious reason to do business with you.
An in-store traffic offer targets the customers that are more likely to name “price” as their primary reason to buy with discount coupons or free event promotions.
A fundraising offer asks for a donation in return and fulfills a need of donating to a worthy cause. Formulate your ”ask” amount so that it would sound like an actual offer.
9. Targeted offers
It’s not easy to target the right offers to the right segment of your audience, but it’s really worth it. Create a spreadsheet that allows you to list all the offers you currently have, highlight the product/services of your business that weren’t offered yet, and map offers to the various points in your business’ sales process. You’ll end up with a variety of offers that will serve different audiences and their specific needs, goals, and challenges.
10. Create content around your offer
The last thing to do, but definitely not the least is to create blog content around your offers to help launch and promote them on your website, Google or social media. Write content that highlights the exact product and service you’ve offered and direct the attention of your recipient to your website, where they can learn more.
In conclusion, an attractive offer is addressed to the right mailing list and it gives a clear reason to buy. It’s mutually and exclusively advantageous both for the buyer and the seller. A special offer is worthwhile to respond to, is always time-limited and socially approved. Sometimes it goes smoother with a free incentive, other times it can be encouraged with a “price charming”. Make it the heart of your direct mail piece and build the rest of your copy around it.