Any direct marketer will tell you that offering a valuable incentive increases response. I should add, however, that it helps to do it right.
I received a flyer from a company by the name of Vocus offering a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card in exchange for checking out their product. Since books happen to be my drug of choice, the $50 B&N card made it worth my while to give Vocus a look-see. Besides, I reasoned, who knows? Maybe I could use their software.
Which is exactly how incentive offers are supposed to work.
I could reply online, by phone or by mail. I chose online. There I was greeted by a form requiring all of my business contact info. Fair enough. After all, they were bribing me with $50 in books.
But on the web page I saw three little words that weren’t in the flyer: “While supplies last.”
Just a darned minute. It’s not as if only a few B&N gift cards are produced during a brief growing season such that when they’re gone they’re gone. Nor was this a ploy to make me hurry — a May 31 expiration date had already taken care of that. Nay. Vocus, it seemed, was afraid they might have to give away more gift cards than they cared to pay for. So they left themselves an out.
With those three words, the offer went from “we’ll send you a gift card” to “we might send you a gift card.”
Uh-uh. I logged off.
Ironically, the software product Vocus is selling purports to help companies with PR.