UPDATE the Oldest Tricks in the MAILBOX
Asmart marketer needs good, satisfied customers the way human beings need oxygen. Without them, a once-lucrative business will be left gasping for air—in essence, happy buyers constitute the most basic need of a company. But that’s what prospects do for you. Now stop and think for a moment. What have you done for them lately?
Using gifts to light the spark of interest in a mail piece is one of the oldest practices in the direct mail world. If your offer’s already good, nothing will make it more attractive than giving a customer a free item just for signing on. Or, if a freemium already is included in the mailing, hopefully the prospect will respond with proper etiquette—after all, they should at least peruse the offer, it’s just good manners.
In either case, the outcome is the same: a premium or freemium increases a prospect’s faith in her investment, and not just financially speaking. Even more than making money, they also can go a long way in creating feelings of goodwill toward a company, providing a much-needed breath of fresh air for both prospects tired of the hard sell and marketers in need of sustenance.
Cure What Ails Ye
If the postal rate increase has not quite yet stimulated enough neurons to impel a testing spree, there are more than a few cost-effective options out there to round out the to-do list (see sidebar). However, budget concerns aside, subbing premiums and freemiums in or out of your package is a great step towards achieving a multitude of goals: reviving a fatiguing control, resonating with the right audience, helping your branding efforts, etc. Here are a few head-to-head tests, dissected:
• Premium vs. freemium. “A freemium … is some sort of free gift that’s given up front. A premium is one that is more expensive, maybe more high-end, and typically given [on the] back end,” explains Judy Mann, president of Providence, R.I.– based freemium supplier Capital Designs. Testing one against the other certainly opens the door to various questions—e.g., how can a mailer know it’s not simply a great gift that’s attracting response, rather than when it’s sent?—but deciding how to reward your customers can lead to big dividends. While Mann states that, on the whole, freemiums have worked better for her clients, Stan Konik—president and CEO of promotional products marketing firm Konik & Company—is decidedly pro-premium. He maintains that freemiums scream “direct mail” a little too loudly and that a prospect is likely to retain the gift, yet throw the mailer out.