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Offer Better Terms, Services and Bribes

This is part three of a four-part series on offers.

In previous installments, we established that there are three things you must do to create effective direct response advertising: 1) make an offer, 2) provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer and 3) provide an easy means of responding to your offer. One way or another, it all comes down to your offer.

We’ve already looked at some classic response-boosting offers along with offers that reduce risk, reduce price and increase urgency. This time we’ll continue by looking at offers that improve terms or that offer services or bribes.

As always, if the suspense is too much for you to bear and you simply must have the whole list of winning offers right now, go to www.DirectCreative.com.

Improving Terms

Payment with order. This is not a motivating offer by itself, but it is simple, straightforward and easy to understand. It’s often used with a money-back guarantee and sometimes with other incentives, such as a credit card payment option or a premium.

Bill me later. You get some of the promotional power of a free trial offer but with a stronger sense of obligation. This appeals to the modern consumer who has been trained to postpone payment until the last possible moment. It can double response over a straight cash upfront offer.

Installments. This offer takes a larger price and divides it into a set number of smaller monthly payments, usually with no interest. This makes a high price less painful. It’s most effective when you highlight the installment amount and de-emphasize the total price.

Positive option. This is the reverse of a negative option because the customer must take some action in order for an item to be shipped. Response to this offer is lower than to a negative option, but overall customer quality is often better.

Reservation option. You offer to reserve or set aside an item that will soon be announced to the general public and which may sell out. You also may give a special price or a premium as a reward for responding by a certain date. It’s similar to the prepublication offer but with more urgency.

Offering Services

Free shipping. People are used to paying extra for shipping and consider it a necessary evil. But you can offer it free as an unexpected and inexpensive incentive.

Gift shipment service. A customer sends you a gift list, and you send the gifts directly to everyone on the list for free or for a nominal charge. This offers your customer convenience and you generate a lot of orders simultaneously.

Rush shipping service. You promise to ship an item overnight or within a shorter time than normal shipping. As with gift shipping, you can offer this for free or for a small additional charge to cover the extra cost of FedEx, UPS or other service.

Offering Bribes

Free keeper gift. This encourages prospects to make the decision to try your product or service. You offer a gift, and they can keep it even if they change their minds later.

Free gift with payment. This encourages prompt payment, increases cash flow and helps reduce no-pays. You can offer a gift for every paid order or for orders of a minimum value. You can offer one gift or multiple gifts.

Choice of free gifts. Here, you offer a choice between two or more gifts. Though this seems very appealing, it often does not work as well as offering a single gift, because the choice may create indecision and inertia.

Stepped free gifts. You reward customers based on the size of their orders. The more they order, the more gifts they get or the higher the gift quality.

Two-step gift. The customer gets a small gift for a first step and a bigger gift for the next step. For example, you can offer a freebie for trying your product, then another freebie for actually buying it.

Cumulative incentives. This is a reward for customer loyalty, such as points for buying books, frequent-flier miles or every 13th rental free. This works best when the customer can see the value increasing. For example, you can provide a running total of points earned on each billing statement or order form.

In our final installment, we’ll look at offers that increase dollar sales and offers that generate inquiries.

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