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Denny’s Daily Zinger: Vistaprint’s Bait-‘n’-Switch Scheme

June 26, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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I design my own business cards—and print them on glossy stock.

For months, I watched the Vistaprint TV spot offering 250 Business Cards for $10, with free shipping.

Okay, I thought, I'll try these guys. Two reasons:

  • My time, glossy card stock and toner equals more than $10 for 250 cards.
  • I can do a column on how Vistaprint makes an offer with textbook follow-up that lands repeat customers and lifetime value.

I copied down the Vistaprint Web address and here's what happened:

  1. I came to the Vistaprint landing page offering 15 percent off on custom T-shirts, plus "WEEKLY SPECIALS."
  2. I saw no reference to the TV offer of 250 premium business cards for $10.
  3. I clicked on "Business Cards/Premium Business Cards."
  4. The offer: 250 business cards for $20, with no mention of free shipping.

Where I come from, this is called "bait-'n'-switch."

Takeaways to Consider

  • Maybe this bait-'n'-switch scheme works for Vistaprint.
  • It pissed me off. I will never again trust Vistaprint.
  • If you run an ad anywhere, online, on TV, off-the-page or via direct mail, do not send the prospect to your generic landing page.
  • Set up a satellite landing page that reprises the offer with a warm welcome from the CEO, a photograph and a real signature.
  • Always make it easy-peasy to order.
  • If I were CEO of Vistaprint, I'd send 250 spiffy business cards for $10 and test a surprise welcome gift of a personalized T-shirt. With a personalized thank-you and welcome letter.
Denny Hatch's new book is "Write Everything Right!" Basia Christ writes, "I read the book in two days … I couldn't put it down! It is fun reading filled with resources, anecdotes, and although I have an MBA in marketing, I learned much more from your book than many of my classes." Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at dennyhatch@yahoo.com.
 
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