Direct Mail Best Practice #9 – Offers

Special offers are a valuable way to boost the sales from direct marketing that can be used to incent a sale, set a deadline, brush away fears about a product or offer increased value.

Your special offers should be simply irresistible to the reader, and preferably come at little or no cost to you. Special offers work so well there is really little reason must have a special offer(s) as part of your direct marketing postcard.

It’s Free!

The offers that get the biggest uptake are those that offer something for free. Here’s a few common ways you can weave this into your marketing:

  • Buy One, Get one Free! – It’s been proven that this message works much better than ‘50% off’
  • Free Workshops, Manuals or Training – Best for more complex products, offer a free workshop, or online training in how to use the product or service. This can ultimately work out making you more money in the future as the customer gets more from your service and feels comfortable using it, allowing you to upsell and cross-sell other services later.
  • Free Delivery – Simply factor in the delivery cost to the price.
  • Free Quotation or Initial Consultation – Gets your foot in the door.
  • Free X if you buy Before April 30th! – Great for setting a deadline on your sale to motivate a purchase. Specify in detail the gift you will be offering to help the customer visualize it.
  • Free X with every Purchase – Use this to offer more value to a purchase. Again, be specific about what the extra incentive is, and keep it related to the main purchase (e.g. free insurance for 1 year with every Ford Mondeo.)

Other Offers

You don’t need to give something away as part of your offer, there are other ways to sweeten the deal for the reader and make the purchase a “no-brainer”.

For example, offer better payment terms like “buy now, pay next year”. These offers work well when the customer may struggle to purchase a big-ticket item immediately. Offer the customer a percentage discount for being a loyal customer if their purchases have dropped off recently, bringing them back into the fold and making them feel valued. Offer a free trial of your product if customers may not trust your company because it’s new or untested.

Here are four more tried and true offers that have proven themselves over the years:

  1. Money-Back Guarantee. This is perhaps the second best offer. A customer pays upfront but, if dissatisfied, can return the item for a full refund. Like the free trial, this offer removes risk but allows you to use customer inertia to your benefit since few people will take the trouble to return something.
  2. Yes/No. You ask your prospect to respond positively or negatively, usually by affixing a “yes” stamp or a “no” stamp or by checking one of two boxes. This offer is involving and usually pulls more response than an offer that does not offer a “no” option. It works because it clarifies the need for a decision right away.
  3. Credit Card Payment. Nothing is easier than paying with plastic. These days, there’s no reason not to accept payment this way by phone, mail, fax, or the Internet. In fact, this has moved beyond an offer and has become an expectation.
  4. Sweepstakes. This increases your order volume if you’re selling easy-to-understand impulse items. However, these customers aren’t loyal, and you may find yourself forever trapped in an endless cycle of contests.

If you have any questions about how best to put together your direct marketing postcards, we’re ready to help.