#1: The offer must be clear. People must be able to understand it instantly. Confused people do not respond. For example, half off is better than 50% off and a lot better than 35% or even 60% off. People have difficulty understanding percentages. Two for one is usually better than half off.
“Is your product positioned as part of a general class, then differentiated on the basis of it's most needed attribute? That's the way people hold things in their heads: "the dandruff shampoo that doesn't dry out your hair". The cereal that adults have grown to love." "The luxury four wheel drive". If you can't state your product in such succinct terms, chances are your customers will not be able to describe your product either. And if your product can't survive word of mouth, it probably can't survive at all.” - The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, George Silverman
“Always remember - The confused mind says ‘no’. If there’s too much information, consumers get overwhelmed and they don’t know what to do. What happens is they stop, dead in their tracks. We find if you offer people more than 3 options, they won’t make a decision. They’ll just sit and look over and ponder the information.” - Colette Chandler, www.marketing-insider.com
#2: The offer must be a good value. It has to be understood as a good value. That's why percentage off coupons doesn't usually work well. People get suspicious. They think as soon as they see I have coupons they'll just raise the price to recover the discount. Percentage off coupons work well where there are known published prices.
#3: The offer should involve either a discount or a premium or preferably both. Sometimes premiums work much better than discounts. A premium is something you give away as a free gift to someone who comes in or who makes a purchase. Bill Glazer in his retail store meticulously track results of all his offers and has found that by adding a premium he will average a 30% increase in response.
#4: There should be a logical reason for the offer. If you discount or give something away without an explanation you create skepticism and suspicion. People have been told all their lives there's no such thing as a free lunch. You have to explain. We're doing this to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood as an introductory offer in celebration of opening our new store, as an anniversary sale, a clearance sale, customer appreciation week. Just about any explanation will do but there needs to be an explanation.
#5: There should be a reason for immediate action - expiration dates, limited availability or a bonus for fast response. These all work well in creating a sense of urgency on the consumer's part.
#6: There should be a strong, clear, direct call to action. Tell the person exactly what you want him to do. Do you want him to pick up the phone and call? Go to a website? Come in to a business? When? What will happen when he does?
Here's a good call to action, for example. Cut this coupon out of your newspaper. Bring it in to any of our locations any day of this week from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Take it to the cashier at the counter; she'll give you your free travel alarm clock a gift for just coming in while the supply lasts. Then feel free to browse through our unique travel store. Take advantage of the huge mark downs and sale prices and get a second travel clock free with any $50.00 purchase to give to a friend.
#7: Consider mentioning or even emphasizing your guarantee. Guarantees are not tired, not worn out - they still work. They're still important to people. If you offer any kind of guarantee I think it ought to be an integral part of all your advertising.