Buy One Get One! …Get 15% Off! …Save $50 off regular price!
Oh <YAWN>… you’ve heard it all before. Does anyone even care any more?
In-market testing continues to show that, yes indeed they do.
From “15% off” to Free Gas Cards, isn’t the old “tried & true” just getting tired? Well, yes…and no. Proven offers do continue to work. But expected, “me-too” deals get passed by more often. Still, you can take heart — with imagination, you can devise new and inventive options…many of which need not cost you a cent to provide, or fulfill.
The age-old “40/40/20 Rule” (like gravity) remains stubbornly in effect. That maxim states: 40% of your next program’s success will be due to targeting; 40% driven by offer; and the remaining 20% by creative.
It makes sense. Even the best creative, viewed by the wrong people, will fall flat. Great art & copy, seen by the right people, but lacking a persuasive offer, offer (literally) little motivation for them to “Act Now!” With decades of data-driven science going into targeting, many response pros will argue that substantial 40% fueled by offer is the most critical element in the formula. And often the most elusive.
What’s an offer worth offering? While the offers which come quickly to mind are the typical discounts, coupons and such, a winning offer need not be a financial incentive. Inventing non-financial offers isn’t always easy, but our experience shows the effort can pay off handsomely.
Fortunately for all of us live-for-the-newest-next-idea creative folks, these offers aren’t just another number plugged into a percentage-off formula. Fortunately for bottom-line-driven product managers, those non-discount offers also tend to deliver a higher ROI. Because they don’t cost anything extra – just the time to invent a new spin on services that are already there.
Enter the “Next-Gen” response offer. “If an offer to urge response isn’t about money,” you might wonder, “what is it about?”
We look to other motivation factors in the human psyche. Ego, for example. And fear. Exclusivity. Convenience. The desire to be “the first,” to get special treatment, not fall behind in the knowledge game. All of these can get people off the dime and onto your website or inbound telemarketing line. There’s also a broader category of “Greed,” encompassing rewards other than money. A few examples of alternative offers we have used with success…
1. Add value via packaging & presentation. After all, it’s about perceived value. An offer for a “Free Phone Consultation” can attract more qualified response than just another invitation to “Call for free quote.”
Developing the Admittance Ticket shown above, for a series of existing free information seminars, created an event out of a standard sales presentation, adding cache and an attractive new offer to “redeem” your ticket.
Another technique for presenting the “same old” benefits is shown at right. Suddenly, by using a retail coupon look, the value of a standard product feature gets it’s full due and it’s seen as “special.” You’ve created a new offer, attracted new attention — and boosted response.
2. Enhance exclusivity & prestige. To urge response for PlanPrescriber, a Rx drug plan, we created the VIP card shown here. Sending it to prospects with an offer to receive “personal” information (which was always personalized) when agreeing to a salesperson’s visit, is a “new” and compelling offer with increased percieved value.
For Chartis, which serves a very high-end clientele, re-positioning and renaming a sales call as a “Complimentary Lifestyle and Insurance Portfolio Review” proved to be a very effective new positioning of their existing service, and ore accurately reflected the value of that conversation, as well.
3. Polishing up the hidden luster in your “same old” service. Sometimes, a talented copywriter can spin new gold from services a company takes for granted. One client of ours routinely meets with prospects in their homes – driving up in VW Beetles emblazoned with custom graphics. Old hat for them; but new and different for the prospect being visited. By showing the unique car and calling attention to the value in that visit as a “House Call,” we created a new and attractive offer of personal service.
Similarly, merchandising a “its just what we do” concierge customer service for Network Health, created a differentiator which helped their brand increase market share many times over. Touting another client’s phone center operations as “5 min / 5Q that can change your life,” similarly created a new offer to urge shoppers to get on the phone and call.
4. Give the gift of knowledge. Offering a Free Booklet or Free Information is an time-tested offer that continues to work just as it has for decades. Today, that chestnut is often updated as an invitation to download a whitepaper. But you can seriously plus-up that update. Offering a VIP Password to access a download can be very effective. Also, crafting an offer which invites prospects to send for information via a flash drive, essentially creates a “Two-Fer” offer — Free info plus a Free memory stick. And it has the added bonus (for you) of not only literally bringing home your logo, but allowing you to load additional video content or other assets to tune up the sales pitch beyond the requested content.
5. Finding the appropriate free gift. While gas cards can be an effective offer, they aren’t spot-on for every situation and target audience. For Meemic, an affinity marketer dedicated to serving teachers, a broad-use gift card they can use to buy supplies for their budget-strapped classroom—at Staples, Office Max a teachers supply, or wherever (including gas, if they wish) — feels right, and performs in market. But, for a B2B marketer, we seriously amped up the offer: sending V.P.-level prospects for a high ticket sale a working cell phone. The phone was loaded with a bank of call time, and an invitation to use 5 of those minutes to call and learn about a new service that could substantially impact their business. Each situation calls for it’s own solution.
To Sum Up — it pays to get creative with your offer. And, of course, to marry whatever offer you use with a deadline date. Phrase it as a “Response deadline,” “Please reply by,” “Response requested before,” or whatever — but DO put a deadline on it.
As you can see from the above examples, the options need not carry a high price tag and can be virtually “free” — simply more appropriately merchandising existing services. The possibilities and are limited only by the imagination of your team. If you ask our Creative Department, they’ll say that means the possibilities to boost your response are unlimited. And there’s an offer that’s hard to refuse!