How to Do Direct Mail Part 2 – The Offer
You’ve got your list assembled. Now it’s time to figure out what you’re going to offer them.
After the list, this is the most important part of your mailing.
Truth time: Your customer is going to toss your letter in the trash (unread)- unless you give them a good reason not to.
Your offer is that reason.
A strong offer written at a 3rd grade level will outperform a poor offer written by a pro every time. “Buy one get one free” takes no talent whatsoever to write, yet it will pull customers to your store by droves (assuming whatever it is you sell is worth buying at all… )
What if you don’t have an offer to make – or don’t want to? Don’t mail.
Seriously. Save your money and do something else instead. Sending out a mailing without making an offer is a waste of time and money.
But lets assume you are in fact going to include an offer. What makes a good one?
Your offer needs to be something valuable enough to get your reader to do what you’re asking them to do.
Are you trying to get them to come to your store? A special sale is a good way to do it, and a good offer to make.
A warning: Not all sales are equal. “5% off select items” does not have the same ring as “25% off entire store.”
Now not all sales have to be “buy one get one” but you can’t cheap out on your customers either. Believe it or not, they know when you’re offer stinks.
Not only that, but your offer has to get their attention. It could be very valuable, but if it doesn’t grab your reader at first glance, it’s probably not gonna work.
Your offer, in the case of direct mail, is competing against a thousand other things for your reader’s time. It has to stand out or it’s gonna get passed over.
This is where you get creative. You know your customers far better than I do.
Ask yourself: Why do they buy from you? What do you have that they want that you can give them?
Will they want it badly enough to get off their butts and go down to your store? Or fill out your order form? Or sign up for your newsletter, or whatever it is you’re trying to get them to do?
Do you have something your customers can’t get anywhere else? Or maybe something they can only get at a certain time of the year? Can you give it away, or discount it in some meaningful way?
Whatever offer you settle on, make sure it’s simple, and easy to understand. You have to get your point across clearly, quickly.
Your customer isn’t going to waste time trying to figure out what you’re saying. If you don’t grab their attention, they’re gonna toss your letter in the trash and move on with their day.
One last thing:
You may not be able to come up with a good offer. That’s fine. It just means you shouldn’t waste your time or money on a mailing at the moment.