Five Ways to Use Premiums to Close the Deal for Good
The thought of receiving something for nearly nothing is seemingly irresistible—after all, we’ve built entire holidays around the thrill of getting gifts—and because of this, the addition of a premium to your offer can boost response to your direct mail campaign. However, many mailers overlook the fact that premiums have the potential to lead less-than-desirable prospects to your offer. It’s sad but true; “Some people respond to direct mail offers just to get the premium, then they cancel their order,” says Alan Sharpe, president of Sharpe Copy, a direct mail copywriting agency based in London, Ontario. And there lies the rub.
The hidden issue with premiums is that of quality vs. quantity—if mailers aren’t prepared for the masses who are just in it for the iPod, tote bag, cake pan or clock radio, the negative impact on the bottom line can be considerable, and that’s not just in terms of dollars and cents. According to Dean Rieck, president of Westerville, Ohio-based copy and design firm Direct Creative, “If all you do is boost response, then have returns and cancellations and a poor customer list, the premium is counterproductive. … The real issue is boosting response among customers you want.”
Read on for a few ways to employ premiums that will help you increase your net profit without sacrificing the integrity of your customer pool.
• Promote the product, not the premium. According to Sharpe, “Your premium is the bribe for saying yes now … not the reason to act.” And although this is a rather elementary rule, it’s often broken by mailers too enamored with a popular or particularly desirable gift. Should the premium overshadow the product, Rieck says, “[it] can lead to returns and fickle customers. If your premium is better than what you’re selling, maybe you should be selling the premium instead.”