Direct Mail: Energize Your Offer
Can you add optional features? Free shipping? Additional incentives? By strengthening the parts, you can energize the whole.
Keep a few things in mind:
- Making a simple offer helps people understand your offer.
- Adding something free is usually better than reducing your price.
- Building perceived product value improves the overall perception of your offer.
- Reducing perceived risk makes your offer easier to accept.
- Testing new offers is always a good idea. Don’t get married to one offer.
Consider the World’s Greatest Offer
Harry Aldrich loved cedar plank-cooked salmon in fine restaurants. He and his partner wanted to sell a home version consisting of small cedar planks sold in grocery stores. So when Aldrich met with the seafood buyer for the Fred Meyer stores in Portland, Ore., he simply gave the buyer a piece of cedar plank-cooked fish and a fork. Within a week, he had lucrative orders from more than 100 stores.
The lesson? One of the best ways to sell is to let people sell themselves. In direct marketing, you can do this with a free trial.
The free trial is hands down the world’s greatest direct response offer because it allows people to sample what you’re selling. It comes in many flavors but is usually tied to a time period: 30 days, 90 days or more. The free trial also can be tied to a negative option, as in this example:
Try 3 free issues of Entertainment Weekly. If you like it, you’ll get a full year for just $38.95. If you don’t, just write “cancel” on the bill. But keep the first 3 free issues as our gift to you
A negative option is not necessary to make a free trial work. A good example of the “positive option” free trial is Carbonite, the online computer backup service. Carbonite offers a 15-day free trial during which you can back up an unlimited amount of data at no cost, without providing a credit card number. It certainly sold me on the service.