55 Irresistible Offers to Direct Marketing Success

During the holiday season we will be looking back to our best blog posts of the year. Here are the past post winners.

Best Post Number 4!

Written By Mark Weinstein, President

The true secret to direct marketing success whether in direct mail, emails, the web, social media, or traditional print and broadcast media is continuous testing and improvement. Testing helps you identify the 1) strongest media, database segments, and mailing lists, 2) the most powerful offers and the 3) most compelling copy and design treatments.

Each of these three elements of a direct marketing campaign has an essential role to play.  But, recently we find the offer is often given the least consideration.  When asked about the offer and offer testing, we all-to-often hear, “Oh.  We’ll just have them respond for more information.”

Offers are the heart of all direct response advertising and the right offer can contribute 30% to 50% of the success of a campaign.

An offer is not just a statement of your price. It’s the deal you’re making. It’s the total of what the customer gets plus what the customer has to do or pay to get it. By making an offer, you’re saying, “You do this for me, and I’ll do this for you.”

To help you develop this critical success component of your direct marketing campaign, here’s a list of 55 tried and true direct marketing offers (in alphabetical order) you can use to as a starting point toward developing your own irresistible offer.

Be creative in developing offers. There’s no rule against combining offers.

Our TWO Sense: 55 Irresistible Offers to Direct Marketing Success

1. BOGO (Buy one get one free)

2. Bounce back
Extended right after the sale offering additional products or services related to the purchase.

3. Buy before the price increases sale, or enrollment period ends

4. Charitable donation
A dollar amount or percentage of each sale is donated to a specified charity.

5. Clearance sale

6. Always perceived as the lowest prices with limited supplies

7. Continuity load up
Continue to buy one a month or everything all at once and save more.

8. Coupon for discount on future purchase

9. Cross sell (aka Add-on or Piggyback)
Suggests related products or services.

10. Delayed Billing (aka Bill me later or No payment until XXX date)

11. Deluxe offer
Includes limited editions and exclusive product upgrades or personalization.

12. Discount
Remember: Test both % off and $ off discounts.

13. Discount on second product

14. Discounted or free membership to a club/association

15. Double discount days
Coupons have double value on specified days.

16. Double your money back

17. Early bird discount Or, discount for purchasing on specific (usually slower) days

18. Free accessory or complimentary item with purchase
Examples: Free frame with picture purchase; Buy shampoo get conditioner free.

19. Free assistance or technical support

20. Free video download, white paper report

21. Free coupons

22. Free, no obligation estimate or consulting

23. Free gift card with purchase

24. Free gift for purchase or inquiry

25. Free gift tied to order size

26. Free gift wrap

27. Free registration

28. Free information (booklet, research, etc.)

29. Free maintenance with purchase
Example: Free oil changes with new car purchase, Free tire rotation with purchase of four new tires.

30. Free needs analysis

31. Free sample, trial, demo, taste test, preview, etc.

32. Free shipping

33. Free team schedule or event calendar

34. Free talent assessment
Can you draw the pirate? Are you a genius?

35. Frequent shopper/flyer points

36. Gift with purchase
Typically gift of product samples with major product purchase or “choose a gift for yourself” offer.

37. Guaranteed acceptance
Applicable to insurance products that do not require underwriting.

38. Guaranteed trade in

39. “Keeper” gift with trial order
If you cancel, keep the free gift.

40. Larger size at regular price
Get 25% more product free at the regular price.

41. Premier or lifetime membership

42. Limited quantity

43. Limited time

44. Member-get-a-member referral program

45. Minimal charge sample
Examples: You pay only shipping or Try it for $1.

46. Money-back guarantee

47. Multiple purchase bonus
Example: Buy 10 lunches get 11th free or Get every 5th video rental free.

48. Negative option (aka Ship ’till forbid)

49. Prepay Bonus
Example: Pay for your subscription now at the yearly rate and get an extra six months free.

50. Quid pro Quo
Free gift for attending a sales presentation, test drive, etc.

51. Rebate

52. Seasonal or event-driven sale

53. Sliding scale discount The more your buy the more you save

54. Sweepstakes: random drawing, lottery, scratch off game cards, etc.

55. Up sell (aka Good, better, best upgrade)

Be sure to spend sufficient time on offer development. This is where much of your leverage lies. For successful offer ideas for specific business categories and media channels, or if you have an offer that should be added to the list, drop me an email: mweinstein@twochicago.com

(Originally posted July 2013)