Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

A Score and More Ways to Make Your Offer

Offers can be presented many different ways. Depending on not only what your offer is but how it is presented will greatly change the response your audience will give you. For instance, here are three ways to say the same thing:

  • 1/2 price
  • 50% off
  • Buy one, get one FREE

All 3 are very similar—not exactly alike, but very similar. And yet they "sound" extremely different. Depending on how you use them, your offer will be understood, or not.

Here is another set of similar offers:

  • Save 25%
  • Buy 9—get 3 FREE

Again, 2 ways to say the same thing. Many times a retailer or distributor selling supplies will do a "buy 9—get 3 free." Buy 9-dozen pencils and you get 3-dozen free. It works, because you were only considering buying 6-dozen pencils. But with an offer like "buy 9 get 3 free," how can you refuse?

That is not to say that sometimes a straight 25% off isn’t better. Sometimes it is; sometimes it is not.

And a third example:

  • FREE trial
  • Money-back guarantee

Really, the same thing again. In one case you get a free trial before you pay. In the other you pay up front, but have a money-back guarantee. They are different . . . yet they are the same.

And one more:

  • 25¢ a day
  • $7.50 a month
  • $90.00 a year

These 3 ways of talking about money are equal: 25¢ a day equals $7.50 a month equals $90.00 a year. Which sounds better to you? Which is the better way to talk about how much this is going to cost you? It probably depends; but 25¢ is so little (less than the cost of a cup of coffee) that almost anyone could afford that—and could easily relate the small cost to the benefits of the offer.

Here are some more offers. Selected from magazine, newspaper, and direct mail packages:

  • 100% double tax free—a financial offer
  • 100% fat free—a nutrition offer
  • Summertime . . . save 20% on slides—an offer made to me by a slide manufacturer/producer (He knows I use slides in my seminars. And during the summer his business is slow. It is a good offer for each of us.)
  • One size fits all—a clothing manufacturer’s sweatshirt offer
  • Custom tailor—special offer from a Hong Kong tailor
  • The 15-minute loan is now available from these convenient locations—an offer from the Bank of Boston. (It states that from any telephone, anywhere, at any time, they will take your loan application over the telephone. And do it in 15 minutes. A very good offer.)

What is it that will make the prospect take some action? Your offer must be perceived as having value to your prospect.

Make the most attractive offer you can afford:

  1. Free catalog
  2. Free booklet—helpful information
  3. Premium—allied to your service
  4. Free demonstration
  5. Free survey and estimate
  6. Special pricing
  7. Free trial offering
  8. Full and unconditional guarantee
  9. Buy one—get one free
  10. Volume discount
  11. Free gift (not a bribe)
  12. Newsletter, free "X" times a year
  13. Short term introductory offer
  14. Money back guarantee

Use involvement devices such as:

  • peel-offs
  • rub-outs
  • yes & no stickers
  • tear-here order forms
  • perforations
  • stubs
  • samples, if your product lends itself to that

Test them. They work for both consumer and business, both mail and space. They are creative approaches that work to get action on your offer.

Testing 2 (or more) totally and completely different creative packages and offers will help you learn what will sell best for you.In developing the creative approach for your offer, think about these questions.

  1. Will what you offer make the purchaser feel more important?
  2. Will it make the purchaser happier?
  3. Will it make the purchaser comfortable?
  4. Will it make the purchaser prosperous?
  5. Will it make the purchaser’s work easier?
  6. Will it make the purchaser feel more secure?
  7. Will it make the purchaser attractive or better liked?
  8. Will it provide the purchaser with some distinction?
  9. Will it appeal to the purchaser as a bargain?

The offer must be outstanding. A small percentage of your prospects will buy from you no matter what you say or how you say it.

A large number (usually over 90%) won’t give you the time of day, no matter how good or attractive your offer may be.

The difference between these 2 groups is where it’s at! It’s where you’ll make it or not. The fence sitters—make your offer to this group. Get them to cover over to your side.

An example of a good offer is a true story from Japan.

Many of you have probably visited Japan and have traveled to see 12,389-foot Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is one of those interesting mountains which stands alone. It is not part of a range; it is a solo peak. And consequently makes its own weather.

Many times the mountain cannot be seen from its base. It is foggy and rainy and the cloud cover is so low you can’t see the mountain itself. Since most people go to the Mt. Fuji area to see the mountain, they are obviously disappointed if they can’t.

At the base of Mt. Fuji there are a number of lakes, and on each of the lakes is a small inn. The owner of one of these inns on one of the lakes has come up with an excellent offer. If you come to the Mt. Fuji area and stay at that particular inn, any day you are there that you cannot see the mountain you do not have to pay your room rent. The room is free.

Now, think about it. This is an excellent offer. You’ve gone on a trip to see the mountain. You’re disappointed because you can’t. Here is an innkeeper that has recognized your plight. And is doing something about it. So you are a winner.

At the same time the inn wins, too. Why? Because the following things normally happen:

  1. Because you’ve gotten the night free you decide to stay another night. After all, you had planned on spending that money anyway.
  2. You can’t stay another night because of your schedule, so you spend the money another way. How?
  • You go out to the finest restaurant in the inn, rather than just the coffee shop.
  • You sit in the bar and drink sake!
  • You go into the inn gift shop and spend money you weren’t going to spend.
  • You decide to have a sauna and a massage.

You get the idea. The inn wins because they’ve made an excellent offer to you. You win by getting some benefits you didn’t plan on.

This is an example of a perfect offer. An offer is not designed to give the store away. The offer is designed to move more merchandise or services and to provide you a reward for doing business with this company at this time.

The idea is that each side gains from the exchange. WIN-WIN!

You want me to buy? Make me an offer I can’t refuse!

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