Turning Leads Into Candidates

An Online Lesson From Offline Marketing

Eli Robinson
Thursday, April 07 2016

I’d say that we have a bit of an odd curiosity with offline marketing here at FranchiseHelp. In one way, we’re completely obsessed with marketing in general. On the other hand, we really don’t know much about how the majority of marketing dollars are spent in the world.

Ultimately, the tenets of marketing are the same. The goal is to facilitate communication between a company and consumers in as productive a way possible. Be it on a billboard, Facebook ad, mailer, email, or in the local newspaper, companies are bring products to market every day in every way shape or form.

Before we dig into our lesson, I want to point y’all in the direction in some of our previous articles about email. You can check out our previous ruminations on subject lines, open rates, and the like here:

Ok. So first of all I want to introduce you to the first letter we got in the mail:

Low Open Rate Envelope

In the online business, we may call this SPAM. Things like “Special Offer” and “$300 Reward Card” are the exact words you’d see in a subject line that would cause you to throw it in the trash. And frankly, I was about to throw this envelope in the trash without ever opening it. It’s easy to imagine that the open rate on this email is spectacularly low. (We’ll come back to “click-through rate.”)

It just so happens that on the exact same day, we got an envelope that looks like this:

High Open Rate Envelope

Now this is something completely different. This envelope is begging to be opened. It is from the “Compliance Service Department” and it seems important. I immediately opened this envelope because I didn’t want to throw away something that we needed. And I’m going to guess that the vast majority of these letters were opened, whoever else got them.

But ultimately, both envelopes contained the same thing. The opportunity to sign up and pay for something. And this is when I began to laugh.

While the open rate on the second envelope is likely loads higher than the first, it’s also a classic example of the old bait and switch. I thought I was going to read something important, and I was lied to. Talk about a way to erode confidence quickly. These people must not be trustworthy. Meanwhile, when I actually looked in the first envelope, I was pretty happy with what I found. In fact, I found exactly the same thing that was written on the outside of the envelope.

So it struck me that the “click-through rate” (or the percentage of people who opened who actually took action) of the first envelope is likely astronomically higher than the second.

Which begs the question…which is a more effective marketing campaign?

I don’t actually know. And without access to data from the companies, I never will.

But here’s what I do know, the bait and switch is rarely a tactic that you want your brand associated with. Even if it causes you to get higher “open rates,” your brand will suffer.

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