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How to Create Offers That Inspire Action

The single objective of any direct mail campaign is to get your recipients to take action.

While eye-catching design plays an important role and mailing to the right audience is essential, it’s your offer that will influence your target audience to respond. Follow these dos and don’ts to craft compelling, hard-to-ignore offers.

👍 Make Your Offer Relevant to Your Target Audience

Are you offering something of interest or something completely irrelevant? For example, if you offer “buy a bag of dog food, get one free” to a segment of your list who own cats, chances are those mailers are headed to the recycling bin because the offer isn’t relevant to them.

Individualizing offers based on your buyers’ purchasing behaviors will help you increase everything from response and sales to your ROI.

👎 Don’t Use Too-Good-To-Be-True Offers

If an offer seems too good to be true, people will be hesitant to act, even if the offer is real. Your best bet for good response is to remain realistic. Create a valuable offer that is tangible and relevant to your audience, and is aligned with your business offering.

👍 Create a Sense of Urgency

The goal of your marketing mailer is to drive response so including a time limit or deadline can influence your audience to use the offer soon so they don’t miss out. Using phrases such as “for a limited time only,” “offer ends May 15”, and “while supplies last” will entice people to respond quickly.

Show a sense of urgency

👎 Don’t Make Your Deadline too Short

After taking the time to develop the right offer and messaging, along with a standout design, the last thing you want is for the recipient to receive an expired offer. Depending on whether you are mailing locally or nationally, mailing at bulk rate can take anywhere from 5 to 15 business days for your mailers to be delivered.

Be sure your offer expiration allows all recipients enough time to respond.

👍 Make it Easy to Take Action

Your offers should always be supported by a call to action, clearly telling people what you want them to do and how to respond. Examples include: “order now at,” “call 800.959.8365 to redeem your offer,” or “request a free sample kit at

Make sure your offer and call to action are prominent and easy to find.

Create offers that inspire action

Offers that are relevant, valuable, tangible and clearly related to your company’s products or services will produce better results. They should be straightforward and easy to understand with minimal fine print. These tried and true offers have proven effective for direct mail:

  • Percentage off or dollar discount
  • Free trial or demo
  • Free shipping
  • Valuable gift w/purchase
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Buy one, get one free
  • Free guide or whitepaper

Developing the right offers is critical to the victory of your direct mail campaigns, so be sure to test your offers to learn which incentives best motivate your audience to act. Remember, when you are creating an offer, it’s not just to get a new customer for that initial transaction, but to gain a customer for life.

Modern Marketing Tip: Integrate Digital into Your Mail Campaign

We have found great success with increasing response and sales simply by incorporating a follow-up email to our mailings, reminding customers that their offer is expiring soon. Including additional marketing touch points—whether it be mail and email or multiple mailings—helps to ensure your offers are seen and acted upon.

Modern is here to help your brand stand out with successful print promotions and direct mail campaigns.

By Wendy Batara, Senior Marketing Program Manager, Modern Postcard

Call a Direct Marketing Specialist at 800.959.8365.

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