Offers That Raise Response and Lower Risk

58 Killer Offers

This is the first installment of the 58 of the World’s Greatest Offers series from Dean Rieck.

Are you ready to start making offers that have been proven effective, time and time again?

This is the first of four articles where we’ll look at 58 offers that have proven to be winners over the years. I’ve organized the offers by function to make the list easier to use. This includes offers to raise response, lower risk, reduce price, increase urgency, improve terms, offer services, offer bribes, increase profits, and generate inquiries.

Let’s start off with offers that raise response and lower risk.

Raising Response

Technically, every type of offer is intended to boost response. However these are classic offers that are particularly good for raising your sales.

  • Free Trial—This may be the best offer ever devised. People can try out your product free and without obligation for 10 days, 15 days, 30 days, or more. The time frame should fit the product. This offer removes risk for the prospect and overcomes procrastination.
  • Money-Back Guarantee—This is perhaps the second best offer. A customer pays upfront, but if dissatisfied can return the item for a full refund. Like the free trial, this offer removes risk, but it allows you to use customer inertia to your benefit since only a small percentage of people will take the trouble to return something.
  • Free Gift—When you offer a freebie that your customer wants, your offer will usually outperform a discount offer of similar value. That’s because a gift is a more tangible benefit.
  • Limited-Time—An offer with a time limit gets more response than an offer without one, especially when you give a specific deadline. This forces a decision. The faster you can get a decision, the more likely it will be in your favor.
  • Yes/No—You ask your prospect to respond positively or negatively, by checking a “yes” box or a “no” box, for example. This offer creates involvement and usually pulls more response than an offer that does not offer a “no” reply.
  • Negative Option—This is generally used with a free trial. You allow your prospect to try your product for free and then automatically ship and/or bill unless the prospect specifically refuses the order within a certain time frame. This often results in higher returns and a few more irate phone calls, but it pulls better up-front and can produce higher overall sales.
  • Credit Card Installment Payments—Nothing is easier than paying with plastic over time. These days, there’s no reason not to accept payment this way whether by phone, mail, fax, or the Internet.
  • Sweepstakes—This can dramatically increase your order volume. Just remember that running a sweepstakes can be a pain. And sweepstakes customers are seldom loyal. Plus, many people find that once they start using sweepstakes, it’s hard to go back to more traditional offers.

Lowering Risk

Since people can’t touch or try your wares immediately, there’s always an element of perceived risk. By lowering the risk, you can raise sales.

  • Double-Your-Money-Back Guarantee—Most people never make a return or ask for their money back even when unhappy. So this is a simple way to dramatize both your offer and your guarantee for low-priced items.
  • Long-Term Guarantee—This is another way to dramatize your offer and guarantee. Instead of a 30- or 60-day guarantee, you offer a one-year, multi-year, or lifetime guarantee. If you can reasonably expect your product to last, this puts inertia and forgetfulness on your side because few people will take advantage of or even remember your guarantee later on.
  • Guaranteed Buy-Back—This is just another way of offering a standard money-back guarantee. You offer to “buy back” the item if your customer is not satisfied.
  • Guaranteed Acceptance—If people usually go through an application process to use your product, access your service, or join your club, you can give them a guarantee to accept them. This works best with something that appears hard to obtain.
  • Limited-Time Introduction—This lets prospects try something with little cost or risk before making a greater commitment. “Try it for 12 weeks for only $24.00.” You must track results, though, and be sure your sales conversions justify the lower price.
  • Yes/Maybe—This is another way of making a low-commitment or no-obligation offer. The “yes” response is for a purchase. The “maybe” response is for a free trial, product information, introductory offer, etc.

Next time, we’ll look at offers that reduce price and increase urgency.

Dean Rieck is one of today’s top direct marketing copywriters. For tips on copywriting and direct selling, sign up for Dean’s FREE Newsletter or subscribe to the Direct Creative Blog.

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Reader Comments (18)

  1. says

    Hi just a quick only related question:

    How do you automatify the bill policy (if you sell something you have to provide a bill to your customer). e.g. with paypal is there any program that offers to serve the client not only with the product (e-book or whatever) but also with a bill?

    thank you for you patience and the help with headlines that you recently did i definitly need it
    Jacky 😉

  2. says

    This is a good post for reminding us what we have to offer our customers. If you offer a combination of a few of these at the same time with a high demand product or service, then you have what is known as a Unique Selling Proposition which enables you to, well, rock.

    Rob Abraham is considered the wizard of business consulting and his book “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got” cover a lot of this in detail. You can get it for like $15 on Amazon! Good post Dean!

  3. says


    Fantastic article. I’ll be sure to look at these more closely as well as the offers in future articles to see how I can adapt some of them in my Real Estate business.

    Mostly for lead capture on my site (which I’m re-designing), plus other Real Estate site projects currently in development. Should be useful offline as well.

    Looking forward to the next article in the series!

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