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How To Make Offers That Compel Prospects to Buy

Pfau's Hardware

Direct-response copywriters have known for decades that one way to boost cash-flow immediately in your business is to write compelling copy — in your ads, sales letters and webpages — that causes the reader to make a purchase. But if you don’t have this specialized copywriting experience, you can still execute the Instant Income strategies and bring in the cash by remembering this key principle: Make specific product and service offers in your ads and marketing copy.

So many businesses say things like, “We have quality products,” or “We have low prices.” But instead of sounding like every other business in town, why not make an specific offer instead that has a sense of urgency about it and gets people to pick up the phone and call you to purchase?

If you have an air-conditioning service company for example, you could say, “For the next 14 days, we’ll install a brand new top-of-the-line heating and air conditioning unit for just $3,285 including a 5-year-written warranty and free replacement filters for as long as you own your home.” That’s a lot different from just, “We have low prices.”

Making specific offers like this is one of the easiest Instant Income strategies to execute because it’s just a matter of changing the way you advertise your products in print or tell people about your company when they call on the phone.

To help you formulate specific offers, take time now to jot down your most popular product or service packages, your most popular pricing plans, and any discounts that customers respond enthusiastically to. These elements — that is, the product or service being sold, the price, the buying terms, any discounts, the limited supply, cut-off date for purchasing and so on — are all part of any compelling offer.

Jot down what’s worked for you in the past — you can post your best examples on my blog to help your fellow small business owners formulate ideas of their own.

And if you still need help with offers that work, stay tuned for my next post when I’ll list the top 5 most proven types of offers.

Until next time,

Janet Switzer

Two-Step Marketing

Cowboy Boot Tassels

Two-step marketing is a prospecting system where you break the sales process into two or more parts. It’s often the best system to use when the prospect needs to be educated before they will purchase, when you sell expensive or high risk products (investing, advertising, cosmetic surgery), or when it’s important for them to try out your product or service before buying.

Here’s how it works:

Free ReportIn Step One, you use advertising vehicles — such as newspaper advertisements, radio spots, direct mail, press releases, contextual search on the Internet — to offer free information, sample items, a demonstration, a special report, an audio CD preview and so on to encourage prospects to identify themselves to you.

In Step Two, the informational item you promised does the job of converting the prospect into a buyer — or your salespeople follow-up with prospects once they’ve received or experienced the free item or service, then close the sale by telephone.

Just a few examples of two-step prospecting are:

• Expensive resort timeshares that offer you free vacations
• Ads that offer a free information kit when you call a toll-free phone number
• A martial arts studio that offers a free lesson or a health club that offers a free trial week

Why does two-step prospecting work?

First, your sales team wont be prospecting for cold leads, but rather will be focusing on well educated and well qualified prospects. Secondly, a compelling special report, audio CD, or DVD preview can be sent inexpensively to thousands of people at a time (or distributed free via the Internet at no cost) — converting a much larger group of prospects than you and your sales staff might ever be able to talk to personally personally.

In my next blog post, we’ll dig into two-step marketing in earnest by discussing how to run a two-step advertisement in the newspaper, a magazine, on the Internet and elsewhere.

Have you registered to get the blog feed yet? Don’t miss what’s coming up. Click here to add it to your feed reader.

Finally, feel free comment on what you’ve read so far. Are you beginning to think differently about generating new customers — and ultimately cash — for your business?

Tell me by leaving a reply below.

Until next time,

Janet Switzer

Continue to Part 2…
How to Run a Two-Step Advertisement

How to Run a Two-Step Advertisement

An ad that specifically offers further sales help or an information package, sample or other giveaway is called a two-step ad.

Step One is using your display advertisement to compel prospects to contact you for more information.

Step Two is converting the prospect into a paying customer through: Mailing a printed literature package, making a sales call to prospects who identify themselves to you, following up with future telemarketing or email offers, or making an in-store sales pitch when prospects visit your store.

Often times, smart marketers will use a variety of sales devices in the follow-up package: Audio CDs of interviews, DVD brochures, PDF files of a colorful brochure that can be immediately emailed to prospects (instead of a printed package that must be mailed through the Post Office), printed reports, and so on.

Successful two-step ads are most often written in “direct-response style.” You’ve probably seen these style of ads — full-page, half-page and fractional-page ads that look like articles with a headline and column after column of text.

Smart two-step advertisers use this type of display ad because direct-response advertising has long been known to generate greater response and more revenue than highly designed, graphically pleasing, more “attractive” ad agency-style advertisements.

Done right, display advertising is also one of the most cost-effective vehicles for getting information out about your products and services to thousands of people. Plus, depending on how your products and services are priced, the return-on-investment (ROI) can be substantial.

The best place to advertise if you’re selling products or services that cater directly to small businesses or large corporations is in trade publications.

Unlike huge consumer publications such as Newsweek or the Los Angeles Times, “trade pub” readers are more likely to want what you have to offer.

Plus, you end up paying only to reach people who are perfect prospects to buy what you’re selling. By contrast, Newsweek goes to millions of readers who will likely never buy your business-related product.

What if you don’t sell to businesses?

Even products and services that appeal to consumers can be far more easily (and economically) advertised in non-mainstream publications. Determine first who your consumer prospects truly are, then look for publications they likely read.

Are they sports fans? Arts patrons? Wine connoisseurs? Gardeners? Boating hobbyists or bass fisherman? World travelers? Executive women? Teenagers? Start compiling a list of likely publications—either local or nationally distributed—where you might advertise.

Write your ad as if you were selling the actual product or service. Craft a compelling headline that gets prospects to read the entire ad. Talk about how your product or service is a solution to the reader’s pain — or alternatively, how it will help them accomplish a goal or pursue a specific ambition.

Fill your ad with the benefits of your product or service (not just the features) and, of course, the benefits of doing business with you or choosing your product over the hundreds or thousands of other option they might choose.

Perhaps the most singular feature of these direct-response style advertisements is their focus on the reader—rather than on a list of reasons why your business is so wonderful.

What will your product do for the reader? How will it help them? What will their lifestyle, relationships, business, personal finances, career, free time, health, abilities, skills or other personal attributes look like once they are using your product or service? What has it done for other people? What is the superior customer benefit of doing business with you versus the competition—once the prospect has decided to buy this particular product or service? What are the further benefits of doing business with you? These are all benefits that you should be writing about in your advertising copy.

Be sure to include a copywriting element called a “Call to Action” or CTA. Detail exactly what the reader should do to respond and get the information package (Step Two of the two-step campaign) — whether it’s opting-in at your website or calling your office by phone.

In my next blog post, I’ll tell you what to do with the potentially thousands of prospective new customers who respond to your two-step ad.

Finally, feel free comment on what you’ve read so far. Are you beginning to think differently about generating new customers — and ultimately cash — for your business?

Tell me by leaving a reply below.

Until next time,

Janet Switzer

Continue to Part 3…
Converting Two-Step Responders Into Cash-Paying Customers

Converting Two-Step Responders Into Cash-Paying Customers

Carolina Panthers FanFest

A two-step offer that convinces someone to take the next step — to call for more information or to click through to a website or to schedule an appointment with a sales representative — will be successful only if the “next step” item is valuable and appealing — and actually converts the prospect into a cash-paying customer.

What can you offer?

• A free teleseminar about a controversial new law or other matter that affects the prospect’s livelihood, lifestyle, health or career. You can also record the telseminar and make that recording available for download at your website for future prospects.

• A free audio CD or DVD explaining a new process or service. You can also sell the CD as a $9.95 sampler product.

A free printed special report—or less expensively, a colorful PDF file you can email to them (or have them download at your website) once they identify themselves to you.

• A free sample monthly issue of your ezine or other periodical.

A free buyer’s guide that helps the prospect compare all suppliers of a particular item or service—written in such a way that your product or service ranks near the top. You can easily create this document using colorful graphics, then distill it into a PDF file for easy, free delivery via email.

• A free 14-day business short-course on a specific topic—delivered via email using an autoresponder service.

A free weekend seminar or evening workshop where you present an expensive service or consulting package for sale.

• A free evaluation by one of your specialists (who are, in reality, trained salespeople).

A free session with your assessment team to see if the prospect qualifies to become your client or customer.  If you have a high-profile consulting practice, sell exclusive dealerships by territory or otherwise limit whom you sell to, you can run a “see if you qualify” campaign to sift through prospects and choose only those you really want to work with. This technique also works to instantly boost sales from these prospects because it employs what’s called the “take-away” close.   It sets up the notion in the prospect’s mind that they might not be able to have what you’re offering. And how do people react when they think they can’t have something? They want it even more.

Of course, income from two-step campaigns is not as “instant” as other income, but it often gets generated more easily.

When you do the advance work of getting people to contact you for more information or to get something free or to see if they qualify, you completely change the sales dynamic and make it much easier to sell to these leads.

An especially good technique is the “see if you qualify” offer, since it often turns the tables and causes the prospect to start convincing you to let them buy what you’re offering.

Two-step campaigns, while more time-consuming, can also help you sell to a larger percentage of readers than you might by advertising your entire offer and your big price tag—which you can’t possibly explain or justify in a limited display ad space.

These campaigns very often save on advertising dollars, too, since you can run a much smaller ad or mail a short letter with a compelling headline and a few lines of marketing copy—ending with an invitation to “call or click” (by telephoning or visiting your website).

Are you enjoying this continuing series of proven Instant Income methods?

Then, tell me about your idea for a two-step campaign: Do you have questions about what to talk about in your ad? Want to ask about crafting your conversion package? Have you tried a two-step campaign before but experienced difficulty I can help you with?

Leave a reply below and let me know.

Until next time,

Janet Switzer