Is your offer any good?

bad sale imageThere’s a lot of misunderstanding about “offers.” When many people hear the word, they think it means a sale or a promotion of some kind, such as “two for one” or “30% off.”

Both are offers, but here’s the confusing part, an offer doesn’t have to be a sale. It’s just whatever you’re giving in return for something else.

A free book in return for an email address is an offer. So is a mens dress shirt for $30.

What’s an offer?

It’s a combination of:

  • how many are included
  • the price
  • any personalization (like monogramming)
  • payment terms (all at once, in installments)
  • any bonuses (free cufflinks, or free monogramming)
  • a  guarantee
  • a deadline to respond
  • number available (if limited)
  • shipping charges
  • future obligations (the shirt-a-month club, or must buy three more shirts in six months)

(thanks to Dean Rieck for this comprehensive list)

Free starter kit

For instance, yesterday I passed a truck that had a web site address along the top, with an offer of a free starter kit. Further down, it said, “dry cleaning services.”

Without knowing anything more about the company, I can’t tell if this is a good offer or a bad one. And, who is the kit for? Are they trying to reach would-be owners of dry cleaning stores (with a starter package to set up shop)? Or consumers with dirty clothes?

What are the terms?

If they’re offering dry cleaning services to consumers, why do I need a starter kit? What’s in it? Why would I want one? Don’t I just bring in my clothes? Or, do they pick up and deliver, and offer a starter set of forms or labels of some kind? It didn’t say.

An offer is no good, particularly one on the side of a truck, if its terms are unclear, the audience is fuzzy, and the benefits are unknown.

What’s your offer? Have you tested it? Tried 20% off versus $10 discount? Is everything spelled out clearly? Go take look. I’ll wait. Come back later and let me know what you found.

Or, ask a question. I’ll answer it. Free. How’s that for an offer?

Image thanks to cosmickitty

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