One of the best ways to get a prospect to act immediately is to offer an incentive. In business-to-business (B2B), the usual suspects are:
- Free information offers, such as white paper downloads
- Online gift certificates in small denominations, such as $10 Amazon.com gift certificates
- Drawings for higher-value gift certificates, such as $250 American Express Certificates
The above work well, depending on your audience and strategy. Sometimes, you want to try something a little different.
Here are two premiums I’ve used lately in email that performed well (though actual results are confidential).
Perfect Fit for Conference Promotion
Recently, I worked on an email for an IT conference that used a jigsaw puzzle graphic as part of its branding.
The event’s marketing manager suggested using an online Jigtopia jigsaw puzzle as a premium. If the user registered before a certain deadline, he could download this $19.95 puzzle for free.
I’d just attended a marketing event on online gaming where experts said men prefer action games and women prefer more intellectual games, such as puzzles. (I even wrote about it). I was sure this was the wrong premium for a largely male audience and was vocal with my reservations.
Boy, was I wrong. The promotion brought in an outstanding number of registrations. The marketing people think it’s because everyone who registered in response to this promotion got the puzzle, rather than participate in a drawing where the chance of winning would have been small small.
Moral: Try new things and test. What may not work for one product could for another. Of course, with email, testing costs are relatively low. So if one premium doesn’t work, try a different one.
New Twist on an Old Favorite
Most of my conference clients offer an early bird discount of $200 or more as their main incentive. Many IT conferences also offer research on CD-ROMs.
This matches up with overall conference/trade show industry trends as reported in “The DMA Response Rate Report.” According to the report, trade show marketers offer sales and discounts half the time, and free information 37.5 percent of the time. It also notes gifts are only offered 22.2 percent of the time. This is an underutilized incentive area.
Thinking a gift could add a little excitement to a data storage conference promotion I was involved in, I browsed through the ThinkGeek Web site for some cool gizmos. I knew I hit the jackpot when I found the Swiss Memory USB — dubbed the “ultimate geek tool.” Because it costs a minimum $54.99 (depending on the amount of memory capacity), we created a drawing for this incentive rather than a giveaway to every registrant.
One advantage to a fun product is your email can feature a photograph and a link to the description, which in this case was a great read. That the USB drive stores data tied in nicely to a storage event.
Net result: The Swiss Army Knife USB was indispensable. It attracted a high number of registrations.
Start thinking outside the old offer box. The Internet has opened up a world of many new products. Products such as online puzzles and gift certificates have no fulfillment costs. Also, doing online premium research is so much faster than when you had to order premium catalogs and wait for them to arrive through the regular mail.
Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.
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