Testing Offers (505 words)
Tricks for Testing Offers
By Hallie Mummert
REAlitY cHECK: When those response envelopes pour into the fulfillment house, it's largely due to the offer—not the great typeface that evoked the spirit of the product, or the photo of the item on the outer envelope, or the number of times the word "you" showed up in the sales letter.
These copy and design elements play an important part in getting the message across—but the message is the offer. So if you're thinking of tinkering with your offer, here are a few options for you to ponder.
. Shipping and Handling: You can play up or play down this necessary evil of mail order. The fee can be buried in the price of the product, or you can separate it out and then offer free shipping to get new customers to try you, lapsed customers to reactivate, or current customers to increase their order size.
. Wording: The semantics of an offer can make a difference, such as "Two for the Price of One" vs. "Half-Off Sale." For periodicals publishers, a two-year subscription offered for the price of one keeps customers in the fold longer—and may convince them to renew.
. Premium with Order vs. Premium with Payment: In both of these situations, the incentive encourages response. But the first option will drive a higher upfront response, whereas the latter will help qualify those tire-kickers while still promising a goodie.
. Payment Upfront vs. Bill-Me: This is your classic offer test. A hard offer will pull fewer orders, but your payment will be in hand. The soft offer generates greater response, but you have to invest the money to convert those prospects to buyers.
. Free Trial: A variation of the bill-me, this is the softest of soft offers. It allows the marketer to focus on the product, and not on price. It also addresses the objection of commitment. The free sample offer is the consumable products' counterpart to the free trial.