What Makes a Great Offer Tick?

offersWhat does it take to get people to buy your stuff?

Heck, I wish I knew.

No, seriously – intuitively you can tell a great offer when you see it  But what’s the secret of a “killer” offer? It’s not just the copy. 

A couple of weeks ago I rewrote an email newsletter ad that for the past three weeks had gotten zero response. We changed a time limited discount from 10% to a “25% Memorial Day Special”  and got a sale within three minutes of broadcasting.  Now, you would think it was price – the discount rate. 

As it turns out, it was also the only sale of the day, so obviously not “statistically significant”.  But what changed the “response rate”? Almost certainly not the copy, because in this ad all we changed was discount rate and number of products it applied to (all, rather than just one). 

I once heard Mary Ellen Tribby, a seriously successful marketer, say the success of any campaign depends on three things, in about this ratio (if I remember right):

Offer: 40%
List: 35%
Copy: 25%

Click2Mail.com says it could be more like this:

Offer: 60%
List: 30%
Copy: 10%
Okay, so I get it – the offer is crucial.  But what makes for a winning offer?

Google “Killer Offers”. In between results about some bizarre murder stories (I mean really – freaking search engines have no sense of humor), you will find an article by Dean Rieck in Copyblogger that outlines 58 types of offers that fall into one of four categories:

  • Offers That Raise Response and Lower Risk
  • Offers That Reduce Price and Increase Urgency
  • Offers That Improve Terms, Add Services, and Make Bribes
  • Offers That Increase Profits and Generate Inquiries

So one method is, use a template.

Another more radical approach is to find a “Blue Ocean” offer.  More of a commitment perhaps, but obviously huge benefits are possible when you consider a few well known examples, where literally billions of dollars were made:

Starbucks made an ordinary cup of coffee an experience. 
CNN ran the same news stories, but  ran them 24/7. 
Curves took ordinary workouts at fitness clubs straight to women who felt self-conscious sweating in mixed company.

I’ll tell you what doesn’t work.  I heard a radio spot just last week advertising property management services for “home based” real estate investors.  Curious, I went to the web site.  Unfortunately, it was a complete mismatch to the ad – more about their franchise than getting the services promised in the ad.

Go figure.

Obviously, a clear, congruent, easy to follow response handler is critical.  Trust is very delicate at this stage.

More on this later – gotta run.  What’s your big challenge in the week ahead?
 (Image courtesy of  imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)