Being Believable in Your Direct Mail

By Travis Lee

What you’re about to read was first published in my monthly newsletter, The Copywriter’s Corner, September, 2010.  To get more information on it, visit this link.

Whenever you make an offer, you want it to be believable.  People are naturally skeptical, especially when it appears that an offer is too good to be true.  You’ll often hear this referred to as “reason why” copy in this newsletter.

When you add a reason why your offer instantly becomes more believable and increases your sales.  Below are a few ways to make your offers believable.

Ability to pass along savings – Some examples of these include finding a new vendor, or a new vendor extending great introductory pricing.  This is one I use quite often, because it happens quite often.  When we found a new source to produce our bank bag mailers, we offered special “pre-order” pricing before we put in our big order with our manufacturer.  We’ve also done this in our other business, American Retail Supply with show cases, computers, acrylic displays, etc.

Moving Sale – This one is fairly self-explanatory, but of course, you really need to be moving.  You can easily explain that you simply can’t take it all with you, and it will cut down on your moving costs significantly if you sell it now.  Variations on this include a “clean out the garage” sale, “found this in my warehouse…”, “My wife says it has to go…”, you get the idea.   You’re only limited by your own creativity.

Reward for fast response – Again fairly self-explanatory, but still under used.  The premise is, ‘If you invest by , you’ll get , etc.

Scratch & Dent Sale – This is one that anybody selling a physical product should be doing, if for no other reason than to clear our old, outdated, and/or obsolete inventory.  Most information marketers who sell a physical product do this often, but it certainly isn’t limited to this niche.  In our American Retail Supply business, we take a few high-end showcases to every show.  Over the years we amassed quite a few that weren’t in new condition, but certainly would be of value to many of our customers at less than full retail price.  We’ve steadily sold dozens of these showcases, freeing up inventory space, as well as putting cash back in our coffers.  I’ve seen it done in retail, B2B, MLM, information marketing… the list goes on and on.

Maybe one of your vendors printed something incorrectly, or a batch of widgets arrived just a little too big, anything really.  Everything else may be perfect, but now you have a reason for the offer.  This can go hand-in-hand with the ‘silly’ reasons below.

Charter Member/Introductory Offer – This is most often used when you offer a new product/service, or when you have a new group of clients or prospects to sell to.  I’ve also used this strategy over the years, as have many of our members.  When I first launched this newsletter, I gave introductory pricing to many of my VIP clients.  It wasn’t offered anywhere else.  I know of one particular chiropractor who had great success with this when he brought in the newest and greatest machine to help back pain suffers.

Seasonal/Holiday – This one should be real obvious for readers of this newsletter, we hit on it nearly every month.  Just this year in this newsletter we’ve celebrated Teddy Bear Day, Remembered 9/11, had a ‘welcome summer’ sale, a back to school sale, and celebrated Earth Day,  just to name a few.

You can also tie in your offers to the seasonality of your business.  Many B2B businesses are slow around the holiday season, so you’d be wise ratchet up your marketing around these slow times.  For restaurants, Mother’s Day is a huge event, so you’d be wise to do something around it.  There are dozens of these types of seasonal events in every conceivable business.

Celebration – The best reason for a celebratory offer is an anniversary sale. In fact for American Retail Supply we just celebrated our 41st Anniversary.  To piggy back on our seasonality issues above, we celebrate it during January and February, our slowest months of the year.  For the past two years our anniversary sale has been a huge success.  We use to play ‘catch up’ in March because of lousy Jan-Feb, but that’s not the case any longer.

Marketing Test – You want to offer something because you’re testing a new offer, price, product/service etc.  This an under utilized tactic.

Silly Reasons – When you’re having trouble coming up with a reason from the list above, sometimes it’s just as easy to make up a fun and entertaining reasons, or use something that’s happening in your personal life.  They can include:

  • My accountant is out of town
  • I made a bet with my employees
  • I’m on vacation (while the cat’s away…)
  • Since the Fed’s printing money, I can too…
  • It’s my spouse/son/daughter/cat/dog’s birthday

So now that we have a great reason why for our offer, how can we improve it further without discounting?  When people create offers, they almost instantly go to discounting, but that isn’t always the best option.  Discounts train your clients to wait for the sale.  I’m not saying you can’t do this, but you can’t beat it up either.  When was the last time it wasn’t “Truck Month” at the local Ford dealership?

The first way we’ve discussed here in great detail recently, so I won’t go too deep here.  It is a premium/free gift.  This is anything of value your prospect/client/patient receives for taking some action you want. Often, the best premiums are not tied to whatever it is you’re offering! It’s often an unrelated item for the personal use of the buyer and not even for their business (if you’re selling B2B). The key is that is has perceived high value. It may not cost a lot, but it should look like it cost a lot.

There are always ways to improve your offer without discounting by actually manipulating and playing with the price.  Here are just a few examples:

Extend the price with installments.  You can often raise your price when you do this, i.e. 4 equal payments of $29 will usually outperform 1 payment of $99, but you’ll need to test this.

  • Pay half now and half in 60 days after your trial
  • We’ll hold your check for XX days
  • ‘XX’ Days same as cash
  • ‘X’ Month free trial offer (done extensively in the newsletter and subscription industry)

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