Optimizing Sales/Conversions:
How to Create Stronger Offers

If you're looking for a marketing strategy to increase the effectiveness of your conversion rate (rate of prospects who become buyers, clients & customers), consider increasing the strength of your offer. The stronger your offer, the more the likelihood your prospect will take you up on it.

With that in mind, here are 3 suggestions that can make your offers stronger: 

1) Be Unique. Don’t give away yet another free coffee mug or free bonus report; the best offers are fresh and new. Do something different.

For instance, the sweepstakes mailing that successfully launched New York magazine offered a unique grand prize: dinner at Gracie Mansion with New York City’s mayor.

Most investment newsletters offer free special reports as premiums. The Sovereign Society, a newsletter on offshore investing, offered something different: a free Swiss bank account—a gift not given by any other investment newsletter. 

2) Offer something highly desirable. Unless you are offering something people really want, your promotion is not going to work, no matter how clever or creative.

A publisher was selling a loose-leaf service on how to manage Novell NetWare local area networks. Response rates doubled when a new direct mail promotion offered a disk with free software—a collection of utilities for Novell networks.

The 100% increase in orders confirmed that these software programs were tools network administrators obviously wanted to get their hands on. The outer envelope teaser read: 

“Yours FREE! – 5 Powerful Programs to Help You Manage Your Novell NetWare Network More Efficiently and Easily – See Inside for Details on This Special Time- Limited Offer.” 

3) Throw in a high perceived value, low-cost to produce item as a bonus. The more valuable prospects think your offer is, the more likely they are to act on it.

Software is a great premium for this very reason. It has a high perceived value: software packages can easily sell for $49 to $300 or more. Yet a CD with code on it can be duplicated for about a dollar.

So offering some free software can increase response but cost you relatively little to deliver. The same holds true for helpful information (reports, whitepapers, books, etc.) or anything useful (images, audios, videos, etc.) you can deliver on a CD or even through online download. 

Anything of perceived value can increase your effectiveness. For example, in a promotion tied in with their sponsorship of the Olympic Games, IBM offered a special IBM Olympic pin as a premium. It probably only cost IBM a buck or so each. But the mailer copy hinted that the item could become a collectible, creating an impression of potentially high value.

In another example, IBM held a tele-seminar on improving Website performance. When they offered an audio CD of the conference as a premium in a lead-generating direct mail piece promoting their Web services, it increased the response rate six-fold vs. the same piece without the free CD offer.

Always be on the lookout for ways you can provide something desirable, has a high perceived value with low cost to deliver or unique that you can use to significantly increase the value of your offer without the need for raising the price.

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