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12 Steps to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign - Step 2: Craft the offer

Aug 25, 2015

Michael: Within an hour, he had a signed release for a certified check of $1000.

Kay Adams: How did he do that?

Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

When creating your direct mail marketing campaign, you clearly can’t make a Godfather-style offer that can’t be refused, but you should pay careful attention to your offer – it will have a significant effect on your response rate and, by extension, the return you see on your investment. In fact, it’s said that 40% of a mailer’s success is attributable to the list, another 40% to the offer, and just 20% to the copy and design.

Don’t embark on this Step 2 until you’ve completed Step 1. Your audience – their needs and wants, hopes and dreams – should be the foundation of your offer (after all, what is one man’s junk is another’s treasure; what is an irrefutable offer to some might be meaningless to others). Identifying that target audience is an important part of Step 1. Another important piece is listing your goals – how you craft your offer should also depend on what you’re aiming to achieve.

Crafting your offer

With an articulation of how your product or service serves those motivations – fulfills your targets’ needs and wants or helps them solve their problems or ease their worries – you have a solid core around which you can craft an effective offer. Like the Godfather’s, it should be one that only an idiot would turn down – make it incredibly easy to say yes, and incredibly hard to say no.  The types of offers you might use run the gamut:

  • Price incentives, which can include percentage off, dollar discounts, tiered
  • % off price incentives
  • Dollar value discounts
  • Tiered discounts (“Spend $50; get $3 off, spend $100 and get $10 off”)
  • "No payments for 90 days” payment options
  • Samples
  • Free trial
  • Free shipping
  • “Refer a friend and get your next month free”
  • Early bird offers
  • “Buy now and you’ll be entered to win” contests and sweepstakes
  • “Buy 2 get one free” multiple product offers
  • The money-back guarantee



Positioning the offer

Once you’ve crafted the offer – the 30-day money-back guarantee or 10% off, for example – you’ll need to position it, to write some copy that explains why your target should take the offer. While the offer itself is the most important, positioning the offer is where you explain its irrefutability.

The most effective positioning centers around the benefits that your product or service – and your offer – bring to your target. How will the target’s life be made better by responding to the offer? Rely heavily on the understanding you’ve gained about your audience’s needs and wants, hopes and dreams.

Calling to action


The best offer in the world will fall flat if you don’t expressly ask your target to take a particular action. This isn’t brand advertising, where the goal is simply to build people’s awareness and positive image of your company. In direct marketing, the goal is to generate a particular outcome – a web visit, a phone call, a sale. When you call your target to action, infuse a sense of urgency into the call. For example, “Act now! Offer expires on November 15” or maybe “Only 15 spots available. Act now to secure yours."

Test, test, test


You’ve decided to offer a discount on your oil change service. But should you offer a 10% off coupon or $5 off? You’ll discover the answer to that important question by testing. Measure the response from your first mailer (by including a unique identifying code on the coupon, for example), tweak your offer and then test again. The best marketers never stop testing, measuring, and tweaking, and http://www.click2mail.com/" makes it especially easy to test and tweak. Since there are no minimum volumes and your Click2Mail mailers are in the mail the next day, you can test mail several variations this week and have your response results in
hand within a few days.