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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Direct Mail Marketing Tips From Bob Bly

My friend Eileen Brown shared this recently in her business networking forum at Ryze.com .... ABHP - A Bit of Humble Pie. Good stuff from Bob's newsletter (sorry ... I don't have a link).

Here is what Bob had to say:

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I have seen a strongly worded offer outsell a weaker one - for the same product, at the same price - as much as tenfold.

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

1 - Be different

Don't give away yet another free coffee mug or free bonus report; the best offers are fresh and new.

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 that is 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 - High perceived value

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.

In a promotion tied in with their sponsorship of the Olympics, 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.

IBM held a tele-seminar on improving Web site 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.

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Great advice and does make you think...

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