How to guarantee your message will be opened

I made my routine trip to the post office to check the PO Box this morning. Among the stacks of credit card offers, ads, coupons and my monthly CD from my CD club was a very thick envelope.

The outside of the envelope said, “Free gift for you inside.” I thought, heck, it’s thick, why not see what the gift is? I opened it to find a 10-page survey of about 200 questions that would take me at least an hour or two to fill out, an envelope to return said survey, and against the envelope was a brand new crisp $1 bill. Yup, a whole $1. At first I thought, Cool! I can get myself a Snicker’s with this.

Then I realized, they expected me to fill out the survey… for $1. Which I guess is a brilliant marketing technique since I did spend a few minutes looking over the material. Call me greedy, but for $5 I would have filled out the survey. My business requires I spend time working it, and $1 for two hours’ worth of my time is a total waste. Yeah, maybe $5 for two hours isn’t that great, either, but it’s a bit more of an incentive.

So how do you guarantee your message will be opened? Offer a free gift. But make it a good gift, something worth their while.

How to make sure your message will actually be read? Go above and beyond in giving that gift. Instead of a thank-you note, send a gift basket. Instead of a 2-page report, give them an ebook chock full of awesome information. Instead of a 1-minute video, give them a 5-minute video tutorial that will actually help them.

And almost more importantly, give them consistent, good information on a regular basis.

And they’ll ask themselves, If this is what she/he gives away FREE, imagine what the paid stuff will be like!

And you’ll get more business – guaranteed.

Do you have more ideas as to how to make sure your messages are opened and read? Comment below!

Leave a Comment

  • Pedro C.
    November 8, 2010

    They should have sent you a fat envelope with an actual Snickers bar inside… actually, make that three Snickers, next to a massive survey on nutrition and diet habits. They would promise that you could get a whole box of candy bars after sending back the finished survey – or a unique special offering, the choice being entirely up to you, the inquired. You would just have to answer all the questions to be entitled to your further compensation, of course.

    The final sections in the survey (about 20% of it) would not be meant to actually gather relevant data towards their study; it would serve the purpose of making surveyed readers feel guilty on their bad eating habits, as well as raising their awareness on the terrible dangers of obesity, that fledging modern plague. In the end of the survey they would thank you for taking the time to answer through all questions, finishing off with two tick boxes of which you could choose just one:

    “[ ] Box of candy [ ] 2 free appointments with our nutritionist and a booklet with diet tips.”

    So. Do you think that would fly?

  • Phil Anderson
    November 2, 2010

    Always over underpromise and overdeliver. Of course, that is the customer service approach. I’m not sure if that works if your asking people to take surveys. And then again, as a society, we expect businesses and advertisers to KNOW what we want but we don’t want to give them any information so that they can make an educated assumption.
    Am I rambling? I think I am, but that’s my two cents worth. Not enought to even by a Bazooka bubblegum anymore!

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    November 2, 2010

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  • Cindy Morus
    November 2, 2010

    The ones I’ve been getting lately are Return Address labels and they ask for a donation! Don’t they realize no one sends snail mail? I bet I don’t send 10 mailings a year and I won’t use ones that have someone else’s logo or some cutesy little picture either!