In part 1 of this series, we discussed how to use emotion in direct mail to drive results. Now we will discuss how to use loss aversion to increase your direct mail sales. By using these human behaviors, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase sales. The human drive to avoid the pain of loss is extremely motivating. So, we will look at how to use this in your direct mail campaigns to motivate people to buy.
We all know that benefits sell, but are you really using benefits that are genuinely customer benefits? Make sure that you use real customer benefits not fun features of your product or service. However, benefits alone will not sell your product or service. You need to also explain what they are missing out on or what they stand to lose if they don’t buy from you. The copy focus needs to be on what they want to hear, not on what you want to say.
Surprisingly, behavioral scientists have found that people are approximately twice as motivated to avoid the pain of loss as they are to acquire the pleasure of gain. In direct mail we can use loss aversion to our advantage! Fear does not just drive sales, it can drive more expensive sales.
How to add fear of loss into your direct mail:
- When you have a limited number of items in stock list how many are left.
- When you are doing an event, let people know they don’t want to miss it because this will only happen once this year.
- Provide a one time offer.
- Use Don’t Miss Out in your copy.
- Create deadlines for response and make sure they are bold.
- Offer a free trial.
- Create a teaser about mistakes they could avoid.
The rule you must follow in using loss aversion in direct mail is to always use it ethically and responsibly. You need to give your prospects and customers the respect they deserve! You don’t want to be shifty. Honestly is important. You are not making up fake loss, you are showing them how your product or services helps them avoid a real loss.
How do you find that loss? You look at a benefit and turn it into loss because they don’t have that unless they buy your product or service. Did you know that people place more value on what they already own than an item they intend to purchase? The takeaway from this is to get people to feel ownership of your product or service.
When we create the feeling of ownership of our product or service, we solidify them as a customer. Free trials are great for this because people use the product or service and feel that it is theirs. When the trial runs out, they don’t want to lose out, so they make the purchase. Direct mail with a free trail offer is very powerful.
If you are presentation two options in your direct mail offer, lead with the strongest one. Once they read about all the great things that come with that option the next option which has less benefits, will appear to them to be a loss of benefits and they will purchase the more expensive one.
As you can see loss aversion is a powerful direct mail strategy to drive sales. Are you ready to get started using it? Not sure if this will work for you? Test it! Split your list in half and try loss aversion to half your list and your regular mailer to the other half. You may be surprised with your results. In our next article we will discuss how to use scarcity to drive sales with direct mail.