15 Offer Elements to Test in Your Next Campaign
Your offer is everything you’re willing to give in exchange for response — whether that’s a click, call or
in-store purchase. The offer includes price, product and more.
Offers are so important because they can address buying objections, provide a competitive edge and answer your customer’s big question: “What’s in it for me?”
Sales-driven writers have long known that the offer (and how it’s presented) can mean the difference between success and failure. However, today’s copywriters are often impatient. They stop thinking about the offer after shouting “FREE SHIPPING” or “40% OFF!” They assume that’s all it takes to get people to act.
According to the late Bob Stone, an all-time-great copywriter and marketing strategist, “Not only is the offer you make the key to success or failure, but the manner in which an offer is presented can have an equally dramatic effect.”
He goes on to give this example:
- Half price!
- Buy one — get one free!
- 50% off!
Each phrase presents the same offer in different words (the art). But when tested (the science) to the same audience, No. 2 outpulls No. 1 and No. 3 by as much as 40 percent.
So, consider the potential importance of the following offer elements as you write your own marketing messages.
While your product is what you sell, it takes more than features and benefits to stand apart from your competition. That’s where your offer package comes in, so keep reading.
Customers love deals. How you position your pricing can differentiate you from your competition. You can use wholesale, direct-from-the-manufacturer, value-added or discounted pricing.
Payment options can make a big difference in response. Make sure you’re using and disclosing those your audience prefers. Your options include PayPal, cash, credit, debit, check, money order and electronic transfer.
Limited quantities, limited time — limited anything — increases response. People assume things difficult to obtain are better than those readily available. Use terms like only X left, daily deal, one-of-a-kind, pre-order special, out of stock, wait list, limited edition and exclusive.
5. Free Trial
A free trial overcomes the objection, “I don’t believe it — this sounds too good to be true.” Test the words free trial, free sample, free swatch, free demo or
A strong guarantee is a must for prospecting. It’s reassurance for first-time triers. It can also differentiate you from your competition. Keep it simple and straightforward, like Lands’ End: “Guaranteed. Period.”
7. Free Gift/Premium
A free gift adds perceived value to your offer. Just make sure it’s related to your end sale. For example,
offering free golf balls doesn’t necessarily generate qualified leads for buyers of financial services, but it does identify golfers.
TIP: Mention the dollar value of a free gift (“$9.95 retail”) for added impact.
Deadlines create urgency that motivates procrastinators and fence-sitters. Call attention to a deadline by giving it a name and providing an incentive, e.g., “Early Bird Deadline — Save an additional 20%.”
TIP: Try a “Fast 50” offer that gives the first 50 people to respond a special incentive.
There’s nothing like a pat on the back to reinforce good behavior. It can be as simple as recognizing how long someone’s been a loyalty member, cardholder or customer. Give it a name, like VIP or Preferred Customer, and it’s even more powerful.
TIP: The offer you make to loyal customers shouldn’t be the same as the offer you make to a prospect.
Testing shows that a Yes/No option gives prospects the chance to say, “No, I’m not ready to buy, but, yes, please continue sending me updates.” In some tests, the Yes/No option increased both “yes” responses and overall response.
Frequent buyer programs build loyalty for everything from dry-cleaning services to air travel to ink
cartridges, such as the HP Instant Ink replacement service. HP encourages loyalty by providing savings and convenience, as seen on this landing page.
12. Free Information
While it’s a popular B-to-B lead generation offer, the term “free information” is non-specific. And no one longs for more information. What customers really want are quick tips and problem-solving ideas to help them make informed decisions.
TIP: Repackage a free information offer. Give it a name that promises a benefit, such as a kit (read more about this in my previous column, “The Kit Factor,” ow.ly/ah4H309IH67) or whitepaper.
13. Response Options
Offering response options — phone, Web, email, mail, fax — provides convenience. But don’t confuse your customer by offering too many. Test to see which list works best.
Long before telecommunications and bank marketers bundled services, catalog marketers used bundling to increase average order size and profitably sell lower-priced, lower-margin items.
TIP: Test a variety of bundles at different price points to find your best-sellers.
15. Customer Service
Your offer also includes “little” details, such as how your phone is answered, phone menus that callers have to navigate, the demeanor of customer reps and your shopping cart. Don’t overlook the role customer service plays in your offer. It can be a deal-maker or deal-breaker.