How to Create Compelling Offers that Increase Response Rates

You can improve your response rate by simply making a better direct mail offer.

A recent mailing from a Positive Response client included free samples, and it received a response of 7.5%. Here are some details:

My client, a manufacturer and wholesaler of skin care products, offered free samples to licensed estheticians. The offer and the list were by far the two most important factors for the success of the client. Copy was the third factor, and it was by far the least important. It was important, and it had an effect. It’s unlikely, however, that the mailing would have generated more than a few responses without the excellent offer of free samples.

First, do your homework.

Free samples are not appropriate for every business. You can still create a more attractive offer to increase your response.

Consider the economics of your company before you create an offer. What is the most affordable offer you can make? You run a high-end printing business, for example. You know that your top 20% of customers spend an average of $42,000 per year with you. These top clients are loyal to you because of your high-quality work and outstanding customer service. They stay with you on average for seven years. You may find that if you view your business from this perspective, you can afford to offer a more generous deal when you target companies with the same profile.

You might decide to give prospects a significant discount on their initial order. For example, you could offer four-color printing at the same price as black and white or free shipping for all orders placed during the first twelve months.

Create a Creative Offer

Let me continue the example above and show you how creativity can help create an offer that is even more unique and compelling.

Say you think that offering a discount on your first order would devalue the image of high-end quality you have worked so hard to create for your printing business. You and your team brainstorm and come up with a new idea. You decide to test a special offer after carefully considering the potential $294,000 income stream each name can produce. A mailing that is both figuratively and literally designed to reinforce your company’s image as an elegant, unique organization.

You can use this as a sales tool to show the prospect your world-class facility, which is equipped with digital imaging and cutting-edge presses. You offer to give a guided tour through your facility.

Here’s the real kicker: you arrange for a limo service to transport each prospect from their office to your store and back. I can now see the copy on the envelope. “May I send a limo to pick you up?” What would you not want to know?

You can also schedule the tour to end right at lunchtime, adding a touch of class and allowing you more time to sell with the prospect. You and your chance then dine in your executive office with a restaurant lunch that you have ordered. After lunch, you take your future customers to the limo. All the way to class.

A marketing professional would be able, with ease, to use a campaign like this and gain local and national exposure. Please let me know if you implement this idea. If you have great success with this idea, would you mind sending me a box of Omaha Steaks if I get good results?

Maybe your business is not suited to the kind of offer that I described. It doesn’t really matter. This example has two main points that I want you all to remember:

  1. Don’t just focus on the short-term profit of a sale when calculating ROI. Consider the more significant and profitable result of gaining a new customer.
  2. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box when creating an offer. Try to make it fun, interesting, and compelling. What would you do if I received this offer instead of sending it to others?

Proven Business to Business Offers

Especially when mailing to a large number of prospects, the circumstances can limit your creativity or generosity.

To help you achieve your goals, I’d like to share two low-cost offers for generating business-to-business leads. First, let’s take a look at one of the biggest challenges facing business-to-business marketing.

Many business-to-business deals are nothing more than “Call Us for More Information.” This offer lacks motivation, so the prospect is not motivated to act. The only people who will respond to this offer are those already interested in purchasing the product or using your service. In the end, “Call us to learn more” may produce high-quality leads, but not enough for your salespeople to be happy or your marketing program to be successful.

A gift such as a mag-lite flashlight will produce a large number of leads but with a significant drop in quality.

You can solve the quantity/quality problem by using one of two offers:

The reading material available to today’s business owners and executives is overwhelming.

Paradoxically, they are constantly on the lookout for advice, tips, guidance, and information that can help them improve their performance at work or in their business. Your reading of this article is an excellent example. Thank you, too.

Your booklet’s topic should be something that is of real interest to the people you are targeting. It should provide relevant, useful, and meaningful information in an unbiased, neutral manner. The information you provide in your booklet will also help to sell your product or service. Your brochure can be edited to help explain how you can achieve a specific result or how to choose a product to assist your prospects in attaining that goal. You want your material to be slanted in a way that will make the reader favor your development or approach.

After you have chosen the subject and content of your booklet, please give it a name that will grab attention and get people to respond. The title will determine the success of your free booklet. Here are some examples of effective titles for business-to-business brochures:

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