One of the most misunderstood and overlooked aspects of a direct mail campaign is the offer. Many companies will spend significant amounts of time and resources on audience targeting and segmentation and development of copy and creative, without giving any consideration to an offer. As a marketer and a consumer, I find this perplexing. The goal of a direct marketing campaign is to generate a desired response. The offer is what tips the scale and spurs someone to take action. By incorporating an offer into your plan, you will be more likely to increase your response rates.
The type of offer to include in your campaign depends on your marketing objectives. Are you trying to sell a product or service? Generate sales leads? Increase traffic? The way you craft the offer can be as unique as your customer or your product. Here are some of the most common offer categories:
Free gifts – This can include merchandise, a cash reward, a free service, or information such as white papers etc.
Discounted prices – Special pricing, lower rates, extended terms, coupons etc.
Free trials – A no obligation trial of a product or service for a specified amount of time
Sweepstakes – Mainly intended to increase volume. Advice: Although sweepstakes can be flashy and fun, be careful how you construct these and work very closely with your legal team.
Money-back guarantees – These tend to work because they reduce purchase barriers/risk and the actual number of returns is low.
Pump up the results of your next direct response campaign by considering the offer early in the process and incorporating it into your campaign plan and marketing budget. Then, continue to test and refine your offers to maximize your ROI (return on investment).