Five Tactics for Offers in Your Direct Marketing Campaigns

In an earlier blog post Using Offers in Your Marketing Strategy we talked about the direct marketing offer: “What we’re gonna give you.” The offer can be a product or a service, and it can cover price, discounts, demos, upgrades, guarantees, shipping, and premiums – free items to lure prospects in.

Here are some tips on using offers in your B2B direct marketing campaigns:

  • Offers must create involvement – both physical and emotional. By physical involvement, we mean: get their hands moving. Make the prospect take action. Whether it’s clicking a link, tearing out a coupon, keying in info, calling an 800 number, completing a reply card, or sending a text… the ultimate purpose of the offer is to generate a response.
     
  • Don’t get trapped into thinking that businesspeople are a different species. Certainly, offers must be geared toward their thinking in their job function, but they still want to save time, reduce effort, eliminate stress, and look good in front of their peers. Does your offer fill at least one of these motivators?
     
  • Consider when to use a soft offer, and when to use a hard offer:
    • Soft offers don’t require a purchase now – they’re used in a two-step approach. Examples are free gifts, more info (like ‘Click to this landing page’), or a limited-time trial.
    • Hard offers ask for the immediate order: Save $75 by ordering online -- get free shipping with a 2nd item -- save 10%.
       
  • Do the math! Offers must make profitable marketing sense, so you need to do a break-even analysis. On a higher ticket item ($995 software) you can afford a $50 premium. But on mid-ticket items, while a $50 premium would generate plenty of response, would you spend more than you’d gain?
     
  • On that note – be careful your offer isn’t too good and either attracts the wrong audience or turns off the right audience. For example, a niche software company once ran a campaign offering a free iPod, simply for requesting more info. They spent a fortune sending the expensive offer to unqualified prospects, and their sales force quickly burned out after wasting time with uninterested prospects. On the flip side, something that appears to be ‘too good to be true’ can also deter someone from responding, since they might think there’s a catch in there somewhere.
     

As you develop the offer as part of a B2B marketing campaign, use these tips as a checklist in both development and as a final check to develop an effective campaign. By considering your entire process of nurturing prospects, including in-depth industry knowledge and vocabulary, competitors, and pain points, you will be able to develop an offer that benefits the right target and supports the sales cycle.

Have you ever seen an offer that you thought was unbelievable because it was too generous? Or too insignificant to be bothered with? Or, how about offers that you’ve jumped on right away and have been pleased with the results? How do your own experiences reflect the tips above?
 

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