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How Do Your Incentives Measure Up?

CarrotsWhen prospecting, many marketers use some kind of incentive to boost response. “Come in early, and receive a discount!” “Log into your personalized URL to be entered into a sweepstakes!”

But let’s face it. Not all response incentives are created equal. To be successful, you need to put as much thought into the incentive as you do your list, your creative and your message. You also need to match the value of the incentive to how much the response is worth to you.

When one company wanted to add more value-added resellers, for example (something in which even bringing on one more could bring in millions over time), it offered a sweepstakes featuring a trip to the Caribbean. When another wanted to access high-level executives, it offered remote control cars personalized with the recipient’s name.

Value Doesn’t Mean Pricey

Just because your incentive has a high dollar value, however, doesn’t mean that it’s the right offer for your client or prospect base. The important thing is to ensure that the incentive is a good match for the campaign.

For example, you might not want to give away free digital cameras to a very camera-savvy audience that most likely already has one (or three). Perhaps to this audience, you might want to offer something more unusual, such as a digital picture frame that attaches to a key ring.

Also keep in mind that just because an incentive doesn’t cost a lot, that doesn’t mean that it’s not highly motivating.

One marketer used the “hook” during its Christmastime promotion of allowing respondents to help select the charity to receive its end-of-year donation. Others have given away free saplings to environmentally conscious prospects around Earth Day. We recently read about another marketer that gave away United States Postal Service “Forever” stamps to promote the use of direct mail.

The point is simply to match the incentive to the audience you are trying to reach. One size doesn’t fit all. Also match the value of the incentive to the value of the contact to your bottom line.