Driving Action With A Compelling Offer For Your Printing Business Marketing
How do you know if you have an effective offer? Here are the six criteria every business offer should meet:
Types of Offers
Although by no means inclusive, here are some examples of offers that work for business-to-business products and services:
Straight Sale – The straight sale offer is basically an exchange of product or service for money, with no added inducement. Given all the other possibilities, this is a relatively weak type of offer.
Special Pricing – This offer works well with later-stage prospects who already know about your product or service. The special pricing offer could be a discount for prompt action or an urge to "buy now before the price goes up."
Introductory Offer – An introductory offer is used to introduce new prospects to your company. It will have the greatest effect when the discount is significant. You have to be careful, however, not to offend existing customers who just purchased the same product for more money than you charge new buyers.
Multiple Product – With this offer, buyers get the second or subsequent products at no charge, or at a large discount.
Premium – Something extra is given away to spur the prospect to purchase now. Premiums range from advertising specialties such as desk calendars and pens, to expensive items such as trips and electronic equipment.
Free Information – Similar to the premium offer, but you give away information instead of a product. This is especially effective with a business audience, since people are always interested in ways to save money and perform their jobs better. Plus, this type of offer can often be fulfilled immediately via a computer download.
Trade-in or Trade-up Offer – The prospect trades in an old item and gets a discount on the new item. For example, a computer manufacturer can give businesses that trade in a competitor's equipment a $500 credit toward the purchase of a new computer. This way you meet two objectives: sell a product and displace the competitor.
Demo/Free Trial – If you have confidence in your product, let potential customers try it out in their office for thirty days. This has been a strong offer for Cloud software companies, equipment manufacturers, and publishers.
Satisfaction Guarantee – While a guarantee should be part of every offer, an extra-strong guarantee can serve as its own offer. An example would be "double your money back if not completely satisfied."
Send a Salesperson – This works for only the most qualified leads: those who are ready, willing, and able to buy. You must be careful with this offer (or offer a less threatening alternative as well) since it will scare off many lukewarm prospects.
Cash Discount – A special price can be given to help force the purchase decision. This offer works well in combination with free trial offers. The prospect has the option to try the product and pay full price if he decides to keep it, or pay for the product now and receive a substantial discount.
Special Terms – This can work as well as a cash discount. For instance, "Receive the item now and take up to six months to pay with no interest." In some cases, purchasers will be more interested in the monthly payment terms than the total cash amount.
Sweepstakes – With this offer, any prospect who replies to your offer is automatically entered into a prize drawing. Due to state and federal regulations, you will probably not be able to restrict the sweepstakes to purchasers only, but the offer still works because many people think they have a better chance of winning if they order something.
Free Samples – Free samples are an effective way to highlight your product. For instance, an office product manufacturer can offer day planners or desk lamps as a bonus for purchasing a desk set.
Performance Guarantee – The customer gets to use the product for a period of time. If it does not live up to the specified criteria, she can return it for a full refund. This offer works well if your product is clearly superior to its competition.
Special Inducement – Something extra is given to the prospect if he acts immediately. The inducement could be extra product, better terms, free training, or extended maintenance.