Give Customers A Little Credit

Inboxes are overflowing with discount-oriented subject lines – “Take $10 off your next purchase” or “Save $5 on the JuiceMaster 5000WKRP.” Do customers even care anymore? Did they ever?

The problem with these subject lines is they’re just offers. And every website they’ve subscribed to is making them an offer that’s easy to refuse.

But take a look at this subject line:

You Have a $10 Credit With 1-800-Headsets

This is psychologically powerful. Of course, unless a credit is issued as part of a refund (credit note) or a gift card, a “credit” is just a clever name for a discount. (In this case, the credit is offered because of a previous purchase – i.e. a X-off-next-purchase coupon). But the word credit suggests “we have $10 of your money on our books, come and redeem the goods that are rightfully yours.” This may be more motivational than the played-out discount offer.

Definitely worth testing.

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4 Responses to “Give Customers A Little Credit”

  1. Linda, great quick post this morning. To build on that thought a little more I’d just really encourage people when testing this promotion to think about when is the customer most receptive to that offer? Are you studying your customer behavior? Jim Novo sells a great book called Drilling Down that helps anyone with some rudimentary Excel skills become a data-mining data-base marketer. Definitely worth a read.

    Typically, what I see is that many online retailers are still simply taking a message like that and blasting it to their entire customer base. Why not, I can push the button and hit 10,000 customers just as easy as hitting 1,000 and I’ve already spent all this time and energy designing the creative. That is one of the main reasons behind the overflowing inboxes and the over the top promotional efforts being used to try and get someone’s attention. Try testing (with a control group) smaller segments of the customer base at the right time when a customer’s behavior needs that extra incentive to make their next purchase. You’ll see likely see an increase in response rates, but in time you’ll see a more important increase in the lifetime value of your customers.


  2. Hi Linda,

    Love this post.

    This is the exact reason why businesses should split test emails.



  3. Noa Noa says:

    This is an interesting thought, the subject line is so important. I like the idea of claiming whats yours rather than do something to get something.

  4. That is a very good strategy but people nowadays, are very skeptic regarding this king of promotions.

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