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The Direct Response Specialist

Galen Stilson
Direct Response Copywriter/Consultant

Premiums Prime The Profit Pump

Too few mail marketers give premium selection the attention it deserves.

Considering that the offer (of which the premium is an integral part) can affect response by as much as 500%, it makes sense to spend considerable time selecting and testing premiums.

What you want to know is which premium or premiums have the most cost-effective impact on response and profits. Some premiums will have greater profit-impact on the front-end, while others will prove more profitable on the back-end.

Generally, the more closely aligned the premium is to the product (for example, a written report from a newsletter publisher on a subject related to the newsletter topic), the better the back-end results. If it’s not closely aligned, like a “telephone” premium for a newsletter subscription, you’re likely to get a higher front-end response, but a less profitable back-end ... resulting in more refund requests. Often, the free phone is what the prospect is ordering, not the subscription.

BUT ... sometimes the higher front-end results of a non-affiliated premium can be big enough that it also turns into higher back-end results. So summarily dismissing non-affiliated premiums as a waste of testing time and dollars is short-sighted.

While most marketers tend to stick with the standard premiums (printed info and electronic gadgets) there are some uncommon premiums that might tie nicely into your product while giving you a better shot at increased response. For example ...

Penny Stocks ... an investment newsletter could offer free penny stocks as a bonus.

Stock In Your Company ... Don’t really know how feasible this is, but if it’s “do-able” it would not only help attract a customer, it would make that customer more loyal.

Silver Coins ... One bank I know of offered new U.S. silver coins as a bonus for opening a new savings account.

Lottery Tickets ... You might give a free lottery ticket for every “$X” purchase. One of the real advantages of offering stock or lottery type bonuses is the potential for financial gain. (You’d want to check out the legal end first, though.)

Subscriptions ... Offer a free newsletter or magazine subscription that ties into the product or service being sold. It could be a publication you control, or an arrangement with another publisher. The promotional newsletter makes a marvelous give-away (assuming you include valuable info). Not only can you promote it as a freebie, but it ends up bringing the customers back for more.

Personalized Products ... People love to see their names prominently displayed, on virtually anything, from stationery to desk accessories to hobby equipment to clothing. Can you personalize the product you’re selling?

Free Consultation ... Assuming the product or service price justifies it — and there’s a need for it — offering free follow-up consultation can add a big response boost. Be cautious though so that you don’t promise more than you are willing to deliver.

A Tree ... A fund raising group raised their response 30% by mailing out a “tree in a tube?” Obviously it was a *baby* tree.  If you’re mailing to the “right” audience, it may work for you too.

Almost anything can be used successfully as a premium given the right circumstances (if the order margin of the product being sold will justify it).

If fact, if you’re not happy with the sales of your primary product ... you might consider offering it as the premium for a different product. You just may find that it will work better as a give away ... helping you generate more profits as a bonus than as a primary sales item.

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Copyright 2000 by Galen Stilson. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.