"The Four Components of Every Offer" (510 words)
Types of Incentives
You can choose from six different types of premiums:
There are infinite options available for merchandise premiums, such as electronic gadgets, clothing, luggage, toys, etc. If you try these, be prepared to manage the logistics. Manufacturing and shipping can take several months, and inventory must be planned, tracked and managed accordingly.
Editorial-based content can be packaged effectively and inexpensively. It's particularly useful for downloadable premiums for online offers—instant wish fulfillment and no inventory to manage!
The Product Itself
Incentivizing purchase with free initial shipments of the product can be very effective provided that your cost of goods is low, and it certainly makes the "premium" easy for the recipient to understand.
Discounts can certainly increase response rates. But if yours is a periodical or continuity offer, they lock you into a lower price in later years. Consider offering an "Introductory Instant Rebate" instead, applied as a one-time discount. Or consider offering free shipping and handling.
Mystery gift offers are especially convenient if you use a variety of premiums for different product lines or sources, because you can use them to liquidate excess inventory.
These are generally most effective as incentives for re-purchase or loyalty programs. However, they do require an investment in awareness, tracking and reward delivery programs. To work, like all incentive offers, the points must be perceived as credible, tangible and valuable.
You can find this entire four-part series of articles in the Reference Library at www.directmarketinguniversity.com, as well as detailed offer wording examples and a brainstorming list of 99 more offer ideas.
Bill Baird is a direct marketing consultant and the creator of Direct Marketing University, a customizable seminar for companies who want to provide in-house employee training. He can be reached at www.bairddirect.com, or by calling (203) 912 -8958.