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Postcard Calls to Action: The Importance of a Great Offer

August 4, 2014

Importance of Postcard Offer

Whether you’re selling a product or a service, a luxury product or a competitively priced commodity, the way you present your offer to your audience has a massive effect on the response rate and profitability of your direct marketing campaign.

In this blog post, we’ll look at one of the most important parts of any direct mail campaign: crafting an effective offer. From wording to value, read on to learn the basics of designing an offer that your target audience responds to en masse.

What is a marketing offer and why does it matter?

Your offer is the product or service you’re giving to customers – either for free or at a discount – in order to generate leads. Offers can be products, services, reports and more. Anything that acts as an incentive for customers can be a marketing offer.

Popular marketing offers include discounts and buy-one-get-one-free deals, special reports and quotes, company merchandise and accessories, prize draw and raffles, free trials of a product or service, and more.

Offers are highly important because they’re the primary incentive behind a prospect responding to any of your direct marketing messages. Without a compelling offer to draw in prospects, even a carefully crafted direct mail postcard can be a failure.

What elements make a marketing offer successful?

What does your business specialize in? The best direct marketing offers show your prospects the value of your product or service. For example, if you run a gardening business, your sample offer could be a free landscaping plan for local homeowners.

If you’re a massage therapist, your free offer could be a report on the most common muscular injuries and a guide to treating them with massage therapy. If you operate an auto shop, you could offer people 20% off their next car or motorcycle service.

When crafting an offer, keep two things in mind. First, it needs to show the value of your product or service to prospects. Secondly, it needs to be worth enough to make prospects take action and respond to your direct mail postcard.

Think of the value of your offer from the customer’s perspective. Sometimes a great offer can be something that costs your business very little but offers a huge amount of value to your target audience.

When it comes to offers, wording makes a big difference

Even the best offer will struggle to catch people’s attention if it isn’t presented in a persuasive manner. Wording makes a huge difference to how your audience views your offer, and choosing the right words can double (or triple) your response rate.

In Successful Direct Marketing Methods, author Bob Stone presents an interesting experiment in wording. A marketer presented the same offer – a product sold for half of its normal retail price – in three different ways:

“Half Price!”

“Buy One, Get One Free!”

“50 Percent Off!”

Each statement conveys exactly the same offer: a product at half the usual purchase price. Despite this, the second wording was considered the most attractive offer by most customers and pulled in 40 percent more business than the other two.

The reason for this is simple: customers perceive “Buy One, Get One Free!” differently from the way they perceive discount offers. Statement one and three are about value for money, while the second statement is about receiving something for free.

The wording of your offer makes a huge difference to your response rate. If you’re a data-driven marketer, try A/B testing different variations of the same offer to learn which wording generates the best response from your audience.

How to craft an offer that matches your target audience

Whether you sell cakes or cars, the structure of your offer (and the way you present it to prospects) will define your audience. Offers can be built around value, scarcity, quality and many other characteristics, with each attracting a different audience.

One of the most important steps in creating your offer is making sure it matches the audience you want to attract. Do you want to attract repeat customers or does your business focus on one-off purchases? Is your product inexpensive or luxurious?

An offer that’s too lucrative can often attract people who aren’t really interested in becoming long-term customers. Likewise, an offer that’s too conservative might not encourage people to take action and try your product or service.

When developing an offer, aim to strike a balance between offering enough value to mobilize and motivate your target market and crafting your offer to attract the type of customers your business thrives on.

6 questions to ask yourself when creating an offer

Are you preparing for your first direct mail campaign? Ask yourself the six questions below while you prepare your campaign with your postcard marketing company to make sure you’re on the right track:

  • Does my offer fulfill a perceived need of my target audience?
  • Is my offer better value than what my competitors are offering?
  • Is my offer practical enough for my target audience to respond to?
  • Is my offer unique, different and interesting enough to attract attention?
  • Is my offer appropriate for my brand and target audience?
  • Does my target offer have a clear connection with my brand?

Did you answer yes to all six questions? If so, your offer likely has the right balance of value, branding and uniqueness to attract the type of customers your business is focused on acquiring.