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Make an Offer Your Prospects Can't Refuse

If your marketing campaigns don’t drive response, then why do them? Whether you are sending a direct mail piece, creating an email campaign, or tapping into another channel, you need to make an offer your prospects can’t refuse. And then you need to send that offer to the right prospects.

Snappy headlines and good design get a lot of attention. But the fact is, creating the right offer and using a targeted list are two things that, coupled together, will dramatically increase response. And increasing your sales is what marketing is all about.

Creating the Right Offer

Creating the right offer comes down to understanding your audience and what they care about or need. The right offer for your business is as unique as you are. Looking at customer behaviors can give you good insight into what is likely to interest your audience.

Regardless of what type of business you have or what specific offer is right for your customers, there are five things that effective offers (or calls to action) include:

  1. Something the prospect really wants (even if they don’t know it yet). It may be a sample of your new food product, want tips on a business process, a discount on your membership fee? It should be specific and targeted to your ideal prospect.
  2. Clearly stated benefits. Help your prospects understand, right away, why they would want it. Generic offers don’t work any more, but an offer that shows the benefit will catch their attention.
  3. A no-obligation statement that removes or reduces risk. If people have never done business with you, asking them to make a full purchase won’t work. But if you can reduce the risk, they’ll be interested. A “try us, you’ll like us” offer includes free trials or no-obligation returns. Follow that up by making the returns very easy. That will give your prospects confidence to buy.
  4. Some version of the standard direct mail “mail your acceptance card,” which in email would read “click the button.” Why? Because you have to tell people what to do next. Don’t make them guess. Yes, you have a free offer. But they need to explicitly know what to do to claim that prize.
  5. The encouragement to respond immediately, which is also a standard direct mail tactic. If you give people the option to wait and think, they won’t act. Put some sort of time limit on your offer—offer ends at noon, only available to the first 100 responders, etc.

Creating the right offer is just one step toward success. For it to work, the right audience needs to receive your message. And that is the job of your list.

Sending to a Targeted List

Targeted mailing lists pull at a rate 10 times that of other lists. You will simply have a better response if you send your offer to people likely to want it. Makes sense. So how do you do that?

The first step in sending to a targeted list is doing some list hygiene on your house list. Are your contacts current, how long has it been since you refreshed your list? What does your house list tell you about your customers. You can use this data to help define the parameters of a new, expanded list.

You can expand your list by purchasing or renting a list—it’s a great way to get in front of people who don’t know you. And you can choose filters that will help you target the list with virtually any parameter imaginable—hobbies, age, gender, email usage, and more. It’s easy to find the people who are likely to want what you are offering.

The key to augmenting your list is working with an experienced mailing list provider that offers quality lists. For email, you want to make sure they offer permission-based email lists. You can learn more about what to look for in a list here.

Once you have your list, experiment with segmenting it for higher response. If you have an offer that pertains to new customers, send the list to people who haven’t purchased from you. Or perhaps you have a gender- or age-specific offer. Segment your list to those that fit the profile. The more targeted you can make your list, the higher your response rates.

As you plan your marketing campaigns for the coming year, make sure you are making offers your prospects can’t refuse and you will see your response rates soar.