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To market your newsletter on the web, you must creatively construct your website offer just as you would an offline offer. Like other media, your offer can be as much as 50% of the success or failure of your web campaign.
Too many newsletter publishers have approached the Internet as being completely different from traditional offline media. The thought seems to be, “I may have to use traditional offers offline, but on the web they will be different.” That is like saying human psychology for business and consumer marketing is suspended online. It is completely false to assume this different mind-set takes over while online.
Many publishers have been disappointed with their results from the
I have 11 key strategies for success on the web, and the first 5 can be used for offline marketing as well. These strategies are applicable for any publication. Omitting one will cripple your response. The best thing to do if you are a skeptic is to test the online offer as you would direct mail.
STRATEGY #1—Introductory Discount
People love to look for a perceived bargain. A discount can be a great motivator that causes the prospect to think his or her purchasing decision is wise and not frivolous. The discount can be 10%, 20% or even half off. Your offer discount can help drive in new sales.
STRATEGY #2—The Price Point
The price is part of the offer. A higher price will lower your response. A lower price will increase your response. Each publication has its own ideal price. Maybe testing for a 3-month or 6-month pricing would be successful. If you get the prospect to use his or her credit card and automatically charge after the 3-month trial, you will find a very profitable relationship has already developed.
STRATEGY #3—Hard Offer vs. Soft Offer
With offline marketing, a soft offer will increase your response over a hard offer; however, it may not pay off in the long run. This same strategy applies to online offers. That is why testing is so important.
The Cabot Market Letter and The Wall Street Digest are both viable web models. Cabot uses a soft offer successfully. The Wall Street Digest uses a hard offer. Which is best? Neither would know unless they tested. Success has been found when credit cards were charged on a quarterly basis after the trial run.
With offline marketing, the higher your price, the stronger the guarantee should be. Online guarantees are just as important. A strong guarantee will help increase response.
I created a website for Dr. Bruce West, publisher of the Health Alert newsletter, using his picture and a border on the guarantee.
Almost every marketer who has used a powerful editorial premium offline will also use premiums in online marketing. It helps increase sales, and the perception of value for subscribing is greater. For example, for the Psychopharmacology Update website, I created the following premiums for a
Online-only offer strategies
The following offer strategies work exclusively for online marketing. Always use powerful sales copy to reinforce your benefits.
ONLINE STRATEGY #6—Privacy and Security
Your privacy and security policies should appear next to your ordering information. These are important to a certain segment of your potential subscribers. However, don’t let the copy dominate or distract from the ordering process.
ONLINE STRATEGY #7—Capturing Names
Capturing email addresses (even from those who do not immediately order) supplies the data needed for a conversion campaign. Include a “no, not at this time” box in the ordering information. If the prospect clicks it, they come to a page that gives the option of free, additional, value-added information for the future. Make it interesting, but not as attractive as ordering.
ONLINE STRATEGY #8—FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are often misused on the home page or entry page of a site. FAQs should only be used at the point of purchasing. On the order page, the FAQs can help increase your response. An estimated 40% of people who are ready to buy will go to the FAQs page. This means you need to rationalize the price, resell the premiums and reinforce the guarantee.
ONLINE STRATEGY #9—Navigation
Make the navigation of your website simple, uncluttered and without too many options. Don’t give options that will steer the prospect away from ordering. The ordering process should be quick and easy.
ONLINE STRATEGY #10— Acknowledgment
When an order is made online, be sure the prospect receives an immediate acknowledgment.
ONLINE STRATEGY #11—Value-added Offer
Obviously, a value-added offer will boost your response by clearly promoting the online archive of your newsletter, PDF delivery of the newsletter and any other tools you offer to a subscriber.
How does your checklist stand up? If it is deficient, it may be pointing to the reason why you should incorporate professional, time-tested, proven direct marketing strategies on your site.
If you have questions or samples of successful offers, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.