3 Golden Rules to Unlocking the Potency of your Online Direct Marketing Offer

As a young direct marketer I was taught that in terms of the impact on response to your communication the ‘Offer’ is the most critical element. That doesn’t mean that the media you use, the format of your communication, and the creative idea are unimportant, just that getting the offer right has more impact on response than those factors do. After my recent musings on the eFuture of direct marketing I started to think about  how that golden rule might play out on line. How effectively are offers being presented?

The power of the offer
I recently got this e-mail from AAMI and the lack of an offer really lets its down. Ironically my insurance is due for renewal soon, so the communication is timely and relevant. But how much more powerful would this have been with a line that said – ‘and if you apply on-line we’ll give you a further 5% discount’ – or if it had made an offer linked to my car insurance, which also comes up for renewal at the same time – a fact AAMI is aware of.

Even when I go to the the AAMI site there is no offer. By comparison this is what I see when I go to the Allianz site and look for Home insurance.

That feels much more powerful to me.

Use what you know and force a decision
Tailoring the offer can be so powerful and with online direct marketing we have more flexibility than ever to do that. Here are some other examples that really caught my eye recently – either because they are leveraging an existing relationship, they use what they know about me or they are just easy to understand.

McAfee knew I was unprotected, after 3 years as a customer…..so they made me a timely and relevant offer – and used another DM trick a close out date to control my response .

Or what about Borders. I’m pretty sure they’re using information from the Australia Post Lifestyle Survey I completed to target me. I will have indicated I have children, have an interest in children’s books and CD’s and it would be nice to think they’ve used that data to tailor the offer to me – something that can so easily be done in online direct marketing. I love the straight forward % off and 3 for 2 offer variants, and again the use of close dates.



More power to online direct marketing
If you’re about to embark on online direct marketing don’t forget the potential of the offer to boost its effectiveness.

(1) Remember an offer can be the most important element in closing a sale – so make sure you include one.

(2) Use what you know to tailor the offer – so capture that data whenever you can, (but don’t forget to ask the customer to opt in to receive communications)

(3) Use close dates – to force action, or so you can set up a second offer if  they don’t respond by the date.

At Truly Deeply we work with many client advising them on their most effective go to market strategies. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your direct marketing, offline or online, give us a call.

Malcolm Harvey
Client Experience Director and DM go-to guy


  1. I find it really interesting that all the rules of direct marketing seem to work even better on-line. Great reminder to stick to the principles of DM and not be distracted by all the shiny bells and whistles on the net.

  2. Point well made Rusty – and of course very much another example of don’t forget what made DM such a powerful off-line tool. ‘Test Test Test’ was what my DM mentor would be screaming at me as I pulled together a strategy document. Plus you can test on-line and costs and timelines are much more acceptable than for direct mail.

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