How to Charge $500 for a few Bits of Plastic

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When I receive orders in the mail as well as magazines wrapped in plastic, there’s always some sort of advertisements inside.

You know the ones: They’re colorful and offer something that just looks peachy keen wonderful but you really don’t need it.

First lesson: If you’re sending anything through the mail, let another company pay for your postage by charging them to include their advertising piece.

Yesterday I received a magazine wrapped in plastic from the United States. Inside there was an oversized postcard with the following headline:

SNOOPY

Through the Year Perpetual Calendar

The Only Calendar You will

Ever Need

PEANUTS

Not exactly a catchy or even grammatically correct headline but it doesn’t matter because no one is going to read this headline first. Instead, your eyes are immediately drawn to a big picture of the Snoopy calendar consisting of a plastic wall unit, moveable tiles for the days of the month and 12 different Snoopy figurines.

It’s the figurines that sell it, of course. Every month Snoopy and Woodstock (Snoopy’s little yellow bird) are depicted doing something related to the month, like looking at a snowman in January, holding hearts in February and so forth.

Lesson Two – When it makes sense, let a picture do most of your selling for you.

This is all well and good and frankly I think it’s pretty cute.

But… when you read the fine print – and I do mean FINE print that just about requires eagle eyes or a magnifying glass – you’ll discover that these 12 figures are sent (issued) 2 at a time, at the rate of $59.99 payable in two monthly installments of $29.99. Yes, the math is a penny off because $29.99 times 2 is $59.98.

Furthermore, the wall unit counts as an “issue” all by itself, making 7 issues total.

So far we’re up to 7 units times $59.98 each.

But wait, you pay more! Because the even tinier print (I had to hold this in full daylight to make it out) says that each edition is going to cost an additional $10.99 for shipping and ‘service’.

Now we’re up to a total of $496.79.

Lesson #3: In case someone does the math, make it come out to less than a round number – in this case, less than $500 – to make it appear less expensive.

And what do you get for almost $500? A few bits of plastic shaped and colored like Snoopy and Woodstock.

And I bet they are selling like hotcakes, too.

Why?

Who doesn’t love Snoopy and Woodstock?

Lesson #4: Relating this to online marketing, when possible, attach your product to a known celebrity, or even make your product about that celebrity.

Of course, almost no one would pay $496.79 up front for this calendar without a heck of a lot more selling and arm twisting than this postcard is capable of doing.

But heck, it’s only $29.99 to get started, right?

Everyone can afford that.

Lesson #5: When possible, offer easily affordable payments.

And notice that they NEVER tell you how much this will cost altogether. That’s something you have to figure out for yourself, and they’re betting that most people won’t do it.

Lesson #6: If you’re offering payments or a monthly membership, then maybe there is NO NEED to talk about the total price. Instead, just focus on that low and totally manageable monthly payment.

When you flip this card over, you see that the bottom half of it is a tear off postcard with the postage paid by the addressee, which in this case is the Bradford Exchange in Illinois.

This makes it super easy for a person to order. All they do is enter their name and address and mail the card. Or if they prefer, there is a URL where they can order.

Lesson #7: Make it super easy for the customer to BUY your stuff.

And there are bonuses, too.

There is a Snoopy doghouse on which the monthly figurine is placed (adorable!) and you can, “Customize your calendar with the incredible assortment of tiles including date, holiday and special event tiles!”

Whoo-hoo and party on!!! 😉

Lesson #8: The right bonuses that enhance your main product will increase sales.

Finally, they let you know that the calendar itself is a $130 value, and yet you’ll only be paying 2 installments of $29.99.

Lesson #9: Tell them how this purchase SAVES them money.

They could have also said that you will no longer need to purchase a new calendar every year, which means this will pay for itself in about 25 years.

Okay, I guess we can see why they didn’t use that as a selling point.

Finally, you get a 365 day money-back guarantee, you may cancel at any time, and you send no money now.

Lesson #10: Take all of the risk away from the customer by giving a strong guarantee. If it makes sense, let your customers start with no money down or with a token amount, such as a free membership that gives access to limited features or $1 for the first few days with full access.

I can tell you for an absolute fact that this postcard is making a profit because this is May of 2022, and yet the postcard is copyrighted for 2021. This means it’s been in use for at least 6 months and possibly as long as 17 months. They would not continue to use this if it wasn’t making them a tidy profit.

And finally, here’s the one thing I’m hoping you will take away from all this:

Lesson #10.5: Watch what other marketers do, both online and offline, and see what you can learn and what you can borrow for your own purposes.