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The Offer


Answering the age-old question “What’s in it for me?”

Consumers (and that’s all of us) are selfish. And rightly so. If a business asks us to part with our hard-earned cash, there has to be a good reason for that expenditure.

That’s why the offer is the heart of any direct response marketing effort.

But if you don’t offer more than an inventory of products, a listing of services or a history of the company – if you don’t answer the consumer’s question “what’s in it for me?” - your campaign won’t work and your direct marketing budget will be wasted.

To avoid those unpleasant possibilities, you’ve got to give your target audience a good reason to act. Offering a tangible, beneficial reason is the way to make people respond.

Obviously, the better your offer, the better the response. Plus, direct response is a marketing medium that’s easily modified and tested, so you can fine-tune your offer over time to maximize profit.

Tried & true offers that boost response

There are many offers that have consistently proven themselves over the years and almost always raise response rates. In your next direct marketing effort, you may want to consider:

Free Trial.
This may be the best offer ever devised. A customer can try out your product free and without obligation for 10 days, 15 days, 30 days, or more. The time frame should fit the product. This offer removes risk for the prospect, overcomes inertia, and works with just about any product.

Money-Back Guarantee.
This is perhaps the second best offer. A customer pays up front but, if dissatisfied, can return the item for a full refund. Like the free trial, this offer removes risk but allows you to use customer inertia to your benefit since few people will take the trouble to return something.

Free Gift. When you offer a freebie your customer wants, your offer will usually outpull a discount offer of similar value. That’s because a gift is a more tangible benefit. This also has the advantage of not devaluing your product with a price reduction.

Sweepstakes. This increases your order volume if you’re selling easy-to-understand impulse items. However, these customers aren’t loyal, and you may find yourself forever trapped in an endless cycle of contests.1

Other offer examples include discounts, coupons, complimentary consultations, analyses, diagnostics or other value-added services. Whatever your offer, make sure it’s clear and concise, fulfills a perceived need, sets you apart from your competitors, and has a clear connection with your brand.

Finally, keep in mind that your offer depends on a compelling call-to-action, which tells your prospects or customers exactly what you want them to do. An offer presented without a strong CTA can leave your target audience in the dark about how to respond, and they won’t take action.

Safeguard’s offer to you? A free consultation.

To learn more about integrating the offer, the list and the creative into engaging, effective direct marketing materials that generate response and drive ROI, email or call your Safeguard advisor today for a free consultation.

1From “The Top 8 Direct Marketing Offers of All Time” by Dean Rieck, 2003