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More About Offers Because ... Why Not?


A couple of weeks ago, we talked about offers that generate quality and those that result in quantity. But, whether you're looking for sheer numbers or highly qualified leads, coming up with a good offer can be key to whether your next campaign is a hit or a dud.

Like any creative undertaking, brainstorming offers can benefit from a combination of left-brain and right-brain thinking. 

On the one hand, you want to incorporate all of the data and insight you've uncovered and absorbed already. Who is your target audience? What matters most to them? What price point makes sense given the value of your product or service, and the effort you're asking for? A $5 gift card to Starbucks might motivate someone to watch an online demo. But, you may have to sweeten that offer considerably if you're hoping to get an in-person meeting.

It's good to approach offers from an analytical perspective. But, you need to think "out of the box" too. Visit a museum gift shop or store toy, free associate premium items that complement key benefits of your product. Get a group together over lunch and have each person share the best/funniest/most compelling offer they've ever received. 

You also want to make connections. Your software solution may have nothing to do with comic books. But, if your audience reads comics in their spare time (as many B2B technology geeks do), can you find a way to incorporate their personal likes into a professional offer? Books can make great offers and also feel like a subtle endorsement of your product.

Can you come up with an offer that is personalized in a particularly creative fashion? People find it difficult to throw their own name away — especially if the item itself (a poster, a tee shirt, a mug) positions the recipient as a hero or superstar.

Can you think of something that gets you "real estate" in their desk or cube (or on the refrigerator, if you're marketing B2C)? It might be as simple as a calendar or magnet, as custom as a trophy. Years ago, we provided "rear view mirrors" for PC monitors. More recently, we customized retractable power cords for mobile phones and tablets.

Can you combine offers, giving them something that helps them succeed at work (a white paper, an ROI calculator) with something they'll enjoy (a dozen gourmet cookies or their favorite songs from iTunes). 

The best approach is to come up with a few dozen ideas and then score them against each other. We literally use an Offer Score Board, that includes the following important criteria:

Is it compelling?

Is it unique?

Is it credible?

Is it brand-building?

Is it relationship-building?

Does it have professional value?

Does it have personal value?

You can also add any other criteria that's specific to your campaign or product. One client, many moons ago, asked us to add "Does it suck?" to the criteria. Even though we had explained the usual "No idea is a bad idea" rule of brainstorming, this client (a popular on-air host of an NPR program) was adamant that the idea had to NOT "suck." 

It worked, apparently. The campaign was a great success.

After all, no matter what you choose to include on your own Offer Score Board, having a weak offer or — worse still — no offer at all, is a sure way to doom your campaign.

And that would certainly "suck."

Subject Lines: A Few Words Can Make or Break Your ...
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