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How to devise irresistible guarantees. (Promotion).

Your product's guarantee is more than a policy statement tacked on at the end of your letter. It demonstrates the integrity of your company (puts the customer first) and the strength of your sales message (stands behind the claims).

Your guarantee shows the amount of risk you're willing to assume. Yet many publishers act unnecessarily prudent in such cases, usually offering a refund limited to all unmailed issues. Why? Anecdotal evidence suggests that only a tiny percentage of subscribers ask for their money back at the end of full-refund subscriptions.

In evaluating your current guarantee, consider these recommendations:

1. State the terms of your guarantee in simple, direct, clear language.

2. The fewer conditions you impose, the more persuasive your offer. To illustrate:

* A strong guarantee refunds 100 percent of the customer's money within a specified period.

* A stronger guarantee allows the customer to return your product (or cancel a subscription) at any time and get a full refund.

* A still stronger guarantee refunds the customer's money at any time and gives him or her something to keep too--for example, a bonus or other freebie that costs you little but has a high perceived value.

* Following this progression, you could offer a double-your-money-back guarantee. While the force of this guarantee is hard to beat, it's also rare, and rightly so.

3. Your guarantee should flow naturally from your sales story.

* While boilerplate copy is acceptable and adequate ("Cancel within 30 days for a full refund"), copy that dramatizes the guarantee with particular performance levels sounds more convincing.

For example, "If you don't slash your medical bills in half with the Health Handbook ... if you don't find it a convenient source of soothing relief that cuts your visits to the doctor's office ... then I insist you send it back immediately at our expense. You'll get all your money back--every single penny--quickly and cheerfully. Other products claim to give you complete satisfaction. We intend to prove we really mean it every time!"

4. Rethinking and rewording a typical guarantee can give it bold new life. Joe Karbo put an eyebrow-raising twist on the standard 30-day guarantee when he promised to return his buyers' checks uncashed if they cancelled within the allotted preview period.

5. Consider putting a certificate border around the guarantee, adding your signature or other official seal of approval.

6. Agreeing to pay return shipping charges, even including a pre-addressed return label or BRE, works well.

When in doubt, follow this simple rule: Offer the best guarantee you're capable of. Who can find fault with that?

Robert Lerose is a freelance copywriter with over 20 years' experience in subscription marketing. He specializes in new subscriber acquisition packages and renewal and invoice series far both consumer and b-to-b publishers. 628 Meadowbrook Rd. Uniondale, NY 11553, 516-486-0472,
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Author:Lerose, Robert
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Jun 15, 2003
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