You may have noticed that when there’s a sale in the Marketing Mentor Shop, the offer is always time-sensitive because deadlines tend to move people to action. What’s your offer to prospects? What’s the message that will make your prospect take action? Do you know? This guest post, from Brad Shorr, of Straight North, provides a clear way to think about a winning offer for your creative business.
Two factors determine the success or failure of any marketing campaign: technical execution and qualitative execution. On the technical side, important elements include keyword selection, lead tracking and search engine optimization.
Even if a marketing campaign is executed to technical perfection, it will fail if the qualitative elements are weak. Most important, without a great offer, very few people will convert into prospects or customers. So let’s take a look at what goes into crafting a great offer.
- The brain: high value. Obviously, the more people have to gain, the more likely they will act on the offer. Thus, $50 off is much stronger than $5 off; one free with five is better than one with 10. Not sure where your tipping point is? No worries. Start on the low side and test higher-value offers. When conversions pick up, you’ve hit your sweet spot.
- The nervous system: time sensitivity. By nature, human beings are loath to make decisions. Applying a bit of gentle pressure in the offer is necessary to provoke action now. Tried-and-true methods of adding time sensitivity include “order by” a specific date, or through statements such as “while supplies last.”
- The heart: emotional appeal. Even in B2B, personal, emotional benefits stimulate action and should be part of the offer’s narrative. Effective (and age-old) approaches include: home/job security, safety for oneself and/or family, status, power, wealth.
- The feet: strong foundation. Unless people know your brand, they will be skeptical. In fact, the stronger the offer, the more apt they are to think it’s too good to be true. Add credibility elements to the offer to overcome skepticism: BBB accreditation, years in business, number of customers, size of business, etc.
- The mouth: customer testimonials. Word-of-mouth endorsements — customer testimonials — are powerful persuaders. People are usually more impressed by what satisfied customers have to say about a product or service than what the company says. Ideally, customer testimonials are brief, highlight one or two specific sales points and are attributed (so readers know they weren’t made up).
- The eyes and ears: show, don’t tell. Photos, custom imagery and video are far more compelling than plain text, so use them whenever possible to convey testimonials, product/service benefits and even the offer itself. If the primary audience will be viewing the offer on a mobile device, visual messaging becomes even more powerful and important — nobody likes to read on a cellphone.
- The stomach: customer assurance. To make the offer really tasty, make sure to season it with a strong guarantee. Satisfaction guarantees take away the last bit of skepticism or fear that prevents people from converting. The best guarantees cover all costs, and are transparent and detailed.
By putting all of these elements together, your offer will be uber-strong from head to toe, maximizing your conversion rate and producing the ROI you need from your marketing campaigns.
One final point: Just as human bodies need a physical exam now and then, your offer needs periodic review and ongoing testing. Seldom does the initial offer perform as well as latter versions that are the product of systematic split testing of the value proposition, testimonials, visual elements, etc.
Be sure to incorporate a long-term testing strategy into every offer.
About Brad Shorr
With more than 25 years of marketing, sales and management experience, Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy to Straight North — a B2B Internet marketing company that offers services for SEO, PPC and Web design to clients across the United States. Brad has written for leading online publications including Forbes, Moz and Entrepreneur.