Why does direct marketing work so well?
We’ve all seen those annoying direct marketing ads on TV. We can’t stand them. We make fun of them. Yet, we all know someone (if not ourselves) who has bought something because of them.
So why do they work so well at captivating people to buy? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer (otherwise we’d all be rich!). The success of these annoying direct marketing ads comes from a mix of many contributing factors.
However, there is one factor that stands out far above the rest when it comes to making the hard sale: “How about a free set of steak knives?” Sound familiar?
That’s right, the offer! It’s the incentive to buy. We watch and think, “Hmmm, this sounds pretty good,” but you don’t actually pick up the phone until the person on TV throws something else in there for you, for free.
There is absolutely no reason why we can’t apply this idea to the web. If you’re looking to generate more leads or increase your sales, why don’t you offer your visitors something special that they just can’t refuse?
Use an offer to get attention, and keep it!
With a staggering number of ecommerce websites being created everyday, businesses are finding it more and more difficult to draw traffic to their site. In addition to this, viewers are spending less and less time on each site as they search for something that captures their attention.
What many businesses don’t recognise is the power of this special offer that direct marketers use so well.
If your business can clearly promote a special offer online, you can lure more traffic to your site. You also increase the chances of converting your potential customer into a hot prospect or hard sale once they’re on there. (Of course, your special offer needs to be obviously marketed in the headline of your Google Adwords campaign or outrageously visible on your homepage for this to work.)
When there’s not that much difference between you and your competitors, remember that your offer can make or break the sale. It’s all about adding value that your customer can appreciate to encourage them to buy.
Many successful websites use this strategy. They rotate special offers, so there is always something new to interest the visitor, and always something worth coming back to the site for.
What can I offer that will work?
If you’re a business struggling to think of the best offer you can provide, remember this:
The best offer is one with the highest perceived value but the lowest actual cost.
Try to think of something that doesn’t cost your business a lot to produce, but still costs the consumer money to buy.
A useful and informative e-book that your business has written is a great example — it doesn’t cost your business anything to produce other than time. Give it away in exchange for the visitor’s email address. The consumer gets their hands on some interesting and helpful information for free, while you’re able to collect the details of likely buyers for future reference — it’s a win-win situation.
To see some businesses that have used this idea, check out:
- Free hypnotherapy report at Life In Sync (www.lifeinsync.com.au)
- Free marketing tools at MacInnis Marketing (www.macinnismarketing.com.au/marketingresources.html)
- Free budget calculator at Choose Your Money (www.chooseyourmoney.com.au)
Other good examples of common offers include:
- Free delivery with any Amazon Books order (www.amazon.com)
- $100 free fitness gear when you sign up for memberships at Fitness First (www.fitnessfirst.com.au)
- Free jewellery box or bag with any Pandora purchase over $100 (www.charmme.com.au/pandora-free-gift-with-purchase.html)
- Buy one car wash, get one free (www.starcafewash.com.au)
Alternatively, your business could dive into the deep end and offer something completely free, in the hope that the customer will buy more items from your business while browsing your site. Vistaprint (www.vistaprint.com) is a fantastic example; they give away up to 250 free business cards but always up-sell other products that are more expensive on their site.
One last secret: limited time only!
The secret to making an offer really work is to put a time limit on it. Once you’ve made it loud and clear that you can give your visitors a fantastic deal, the best way to nail the sale is to tell them that the offer is available for a limited time only.
If people think that the offer won’t be available next week, they’re much more likely to purchase right then and there. It’s the law of the few — when something is scarce, it is perceived as being much more valuable! Some businesses thrive on this idea… Don’t you love it when you snap up a rare bargain at a closing down sale, only to see the business has opened a new warehouse just across the road?
Jetstar’s Friday Frenzy uses this foolproof marketing strategy. The appropriate name ‘Friday Frenzy’ tells you that the offer is only available for that Friday. If you don’t book by midnight, the magical airfare is lost. But this is just one example. Look around; you’ll notice how commonly this marketing tactic is used in sales. And it works. It’s amazing how quickly people will react to a good deal if they think it will soon disappear forever.
So if you’re looking to boost your sales, try to differentiate your business from your competitors with a special offer. Ask yourself what you can provide at little cost that will be of interest to your customers. Your special offer doesn’t have to be worth a million dollars, just something of high perceived value — and preferably available for a short time only.
We can help with ecommerce if your looking to get your business online, or in need of a website upgrade. Setting up special offers is simple with our shopping cart software.