| Ivan Levison
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting
Be sure you make the right offer!
Everybody knows that one of the keys to direct mail copywriting success is the quality of the offer. If you're out there prospecting in this competitive marketplace, you'd better be selling at the right price-point and sweetening the deal with an attractive and irresistible bonus offer.
For example, a while ago I got a #10 envelope package from Intuit, urging me to get TurboTax when it's released in mid-January: "Respond by October 31, 1994 and you'll also receive the award-winning education program, Dinosaur Adventure a $49.95 value absolutely FREE."
This is the kind of off-beat, creative offer from a terrific direct response copywriter, that aggressive marketers are testing every day. But don't think that imaginative offers like Intuit's should only be made in prospecting packages. Your upgrade mailings should also feature exciting offers that your installed base just can't resist!
Let's take a look at an upgrade offer made by Lotus that's flatter than a pancake. (Unfortunately, it's like all too many upgrade offers being mailed these days!) Here's what the direct response copywriter wrote:
That's it. Here's the product, take it or leave it. A company like Lotus should really know better! Why not try throwing in a bonus item or at least cross-sell other products? Lotus may have a world-class house list but with this tepid offer, they're blowing a golden opportunity!
Let's take a look at the other extreme -- a high-energy, powerhouse upgrade mailing for Alpha Four Version 4, written by a talented direct response copywriter.
This package originates from Tiger Direct, a street-smart, aggressive company famous for its hot offers and exciting packages. The Business Reply Card reads:
At the bottom of the order form you can choose the vanilla upgrade for $49 or get Version 4 plus your choice of three different font packs ($19.95 each), a Designer Report Pack ($19.95), or an Updated Zipcode Database ($14.95). You can also buy the "Ultimate Upgrade" and get everything, including a screen saver ("a $39.95 value"), for $99.95.
Now that's an offer! You can get your upgrade for $49.95 but it's easy to spend your way up to $99.95 without breaking a sweat.
Of course, every hot deal doesn't have to be as complex as the Alpha Four offer. Sometimes a single, simple extra inducement to order is all it takes. Let me give you three specific examples of how a direct response copywriter might handle this:
1. A while ago, I wrote an upgrade package for Avantos, creators of ManagePro. The deal: users get the upgrade for just $99 -- a savings of almost $300 off the suggested retail price of $395. We sweetened the offer by telling customers that if they ordered by a specific cut-off date, they were also eligible to purchase up to five additional copies of ManagePro for the special price of just $99 each. This "extra copies" offer is a natural for a product like ManagePro that is used in a workgroup setting.
2. Another upgrade package worth looking at is one I recently created for Inset's HiJaak Graphics Suite for Windows.
The installed base was offered a terrific price on a major upgrade. But Inset didn't stop there. They also included 2600 terrific clip art images and 250 extra photo images.
This is the kind of added-value offer that direct response copywriters can use to motivate customers!
3. Finally, let's take a look at an upgrade package I recently wrote for Manzanita Software Systems.
The bonus here was a discount on the company's outstanding customer support. Instead of simply cutting the price of the upgrade, Manzanita offered their Customer Support Service for an entire year, at a hefty cut in price.
The customer gets something of value and Manzanita gets users to enter the support track.
As you can see, there are many ways a direct response copywriter can slice and dice an offer!
© 2013, Ivan Levison & Associates. All rights reserved.