The reason to integrate an occasional direct response offer into your longterm bonding campaign is this: It’s easier – and a lot cheaper – to get a customer to buy from you a second time than it is the first time. So let’s get that first visit behind us, okay? Let’s convince your customer to reach out to you and make first contact.
(A.) The successful integration of a direct response ad into a bonding campaign must revolve around a featured item or a featured offer. But the featured offer should NOT be a discount unless you want to train your customer to “wait until they have a sale.”
As the wizard pointed out in this week’s Monday Morning Memo, your feature item or feature offer can be content on your website: entertainment, information, insights, encouragement, anything that triggers customer engagement.
Here are a few of the other kinds of direct response offers the wizard has injected into his longterm bonding campaigns:
(1.) 1-800-GotJunk offered to come and haul away your dead TV for just $29. “All you have to do is point.” A full service junk removal company cannot subsist on $29 visits, but we needed the specificity of an item and a price to help the customer understand the larger, more abstract concept of full-service junk removal. The results of this direct response ad were easily measured by the number of calls we got to come and haul away dead TVs. We were gambling that a high percentage of those people would have more than just a TV they needed hauled away. And our gamble paid off. This is an example of a direct response offer for a service.
(2.) Kesslers Diamond Center wanted to stimulate store traffic and positive feelings among the public. Their direct response offer was a 12-inch American Beauty rose electroplated in pure, 24-karat gold, presented in a lead-crystal, cut glass vase. Priced at just $69.95, these roses were sold for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day each year, (a regional Valentine’s-like day in the autumn, celebrated only in a few midwestern states.) At the end of each ad, Kesslers promised to donate $5.00 from the sale of each gold rose toward breast cancer research. Their donations to breast cancer research totaled more than $400,000.00. Do the math. This is an example of a direct response offer for a product.
(B.) A free sample is a marvelous direct response offer. The goal of advertising is to get people to try your product, right? If they buy it once and like it, perhaps they will buy it again and again. The answer: give it to them once for free. Product costs are often cheaper than advertising costs.
Andy’s Frozen Custard was the first client to which the wizard recommended “free.” It was the middle of the winter, 1989. The temperatures were bitterly cold and Andy’s had no inside dining. Their 2 little locations offered walk-up and drive-thru only. They said they wanted to invest $10,000 in the hope stimulating sluggish wintertime sales of their frozen dairy confectionary.
The wizard asked, “What do you hope to see for your investment of $10,000?
They said, “We’d like to see 500 new customers.” This is where most ad guys would have begun arguing or walked away.
“How will you know if they’re new?”
“The only people who come here in the wintertime are custard addicts. We know their name, their kids’ names and their dog’s name. Sometimes we can even give you their license tag number. We can tell you what they’re going to order as soon as we see them coming. Trust us. When a new customer walks up to that window, we’ll know it.”
“Do you care how I spend the money?”
“No. We just want to see results.”
The wizard spent $500 on advertising and $1,700 on custard mix. His 60-second ad ran twice an hour on the smallest radio station in the city from 7AM until Midnight; 34 ads in 17 hours. The ad said, “You haven’t tried it because you weren’t sure you’d like it. So we’re giving a full size custard cone to everyone who comes by before midnight. We’re convinced that if you try one, you’ll be hooked.” More than 11,000 cones were given away that day. Andy’s saw an immediate sales increase of 80 percent that never declined. Bottom Line: Custard mix is cheaper than advertising. The wizard used the first to accelerate the results of the second.
Full price is good.
Free is good.
A discount is almost never good.