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Offers That Bring In the Cash

Free offers

When it comes to making compelling offers in your advertisements, sales letters and webpages, I like offers that say:

There’s only one package, it includes these items (or services), the price is this, and here’s why that price is such a great deal.

I never recommend gimmicks like bronze, silver and gold packages with different benefits and different prices. Too many choices can confuse the reader — and a confused reader will say “no” every time, rather than struggle through too many details.

Unlike the Two-Step Offer I talked about previously, a “straight sale” offer is designed to close the sale and persuade the reader make a buying decision solely from the piece they’re reading at that moment. This might be a letter, a newspaper ad, an email… even a postcard. It’s designed to induce the reader to act immediately on what they read and make a purchase from you.

What kinds of straight sale offers work? Here are the top five:

1. Limited Time Offer. It works well if you’re promoting a service with an upcoming start date or a product where the special pricing or combination of items in the product bundle won’t be available after a certain date. Why? Because there’s a time limit for people making a buying decision. Limited-time offers convey a “sense of urgency.”

2. Discounted Price Offer. I dislike random or percentage-off discounting because I think it sends the wrong message to your prospect — that somehow when you charged full price you were charging more than was reasonable or fair. But if you have a legitimate reason to discount, this kind of offer works well. If you sell equipment, for example, and recently bought inventory of the newest model, you could say, “We just received a shipment of the brand new XK-48 Widget. But we also have lots of the previous model left over. They’re still excellent units, but you know what? We need to sell them to make room in our warehouse. We have 127 units left. As a favor to you, we’re going to offer it to you, not at the original price of $995, not even at the discounted price of $695. We are going to offer it to you for our cost — just $422.68.”

3. Limited Availability Offer. This is a very effective offer for any kind of service that people are eager to schedule. For example, once the weekday morning downtime in your day spa is filled, you won’t be able to offer your premium aromatherapy massages at half-price anymore just to fill your schedule. There is tremendous incentive in these types of offers for people to respond before all spots are taken.

4. “Don’t Let Competitors Respond First.” This is a very compelling offer, particularly for high priced business products or services where you are able to limit who you sell to. Being naturally competitive, most business owners will jump at the chance to be the one and only person who captures the product or service you’re offering — thereby cutting their competition out of the running for your product or service. It causes prospects to decide more quickly…and to not think about it too much.

5. Free Bonus. You may have heard other marketers say, Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak. What this means is that you create your offer in such a way that you talk more about the valuable bonus than you do about the actual product or service you’re selling.

In my next blog post, I’ll give you a short tutorial to help you write your own offers.

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Finally, feel free comment on what you’ve read so far. What changes, if any, will you make to the way you promote and sell your products and services? What kinds of offers are you making right now that work.

Tell me by leaving a reply below.

Until next time,

Janet Switzer

Creative Commons License photo credit: Eleventh Earl of Mar

How to Write Newspaper Ads That Generate Cash-Flow

If you have a local business, one of the easiest ways to generate instant income—and create new customers at the same time—is to write a compelling newspaper ad today, run it in the newspaper tomorrow and watch sales and phone calls flood into your business over the next 24 hours.

To craft these compelling messages, top marketing copywriters use a technique called direct-response advertising.  Direct-response advertising is a method that causes the reader to take immediate action.

It’s based on the premise that if you give a reader all the information they need in order to make a buying decision, then add a number of scientifically tested words and phrases that trigger an emotional reaction, readers will respond almost immediately to your ad—and will respond in much higher numbers.

It’s easy to use direct-response techniques to write newspaper ads that get attention.  In fact, by using direct response copywriting, your ad will stand out simply because it’s so different looking from others that appear in the paper.

One of the most successful newspaper ads I ever created was a half-page that featured a client-testimonial ad (inside its own boxed border) on the right third of the space, while the remaining two-thirds was filled with what appeared to be a lengthy “feature story” about the business being advertised.

The “feature story” had its own headline, photo and photo caption and actually appeared to be separate from the boxed ad to the right.  The “ad” used direct-response techniques, while the “feature story” was written in typical journalistic style.

How can you create direct-response style advertisements? More »

Three Seconds Is All You Get to Capture the Interest of Visitors to Your Website.

websiteHere’s How to Make Sure They Keep Reading…AND Become Customers.

A headline and the first two paragraphs…that’s about all the time you have to hook website visitors and get them to opt-in without clicking away from your site.

But unfortunately, most businesses fail this 3-second test — or worse, they ask website visitors to make too many decisions when landing on their homepage.

What Your Website MUST Have in Place to Generate Both Instant Income and Long-Term Revenue

Most business owners understand the need for a website, but all too few understand what a website is really supposed to do. Your website is a delivery vehicle for your message, just like newspaper ads, postcards, telemarketing or direct-mail packages. And like those other devices, your website must immediately capture the interest of visitors — then convince them to identify themselves as prospects for your product or service.

To begin with, your website must convince visitors to provide their name, email address and other identifying information in order to access a free giveaway that has value — such as a buyer’s guide, online tutorial, savings coupon, newsletter subscription, evaluation, self-audit or other instant download. The format of your giveaway item doesn’t matter–whether PDF, audio MP3 or other format–just as long as it can be easily opened, read, listened to, viewed or otherwise used by the people who opt-in at your site to get it.

It should be downloadable at your website to keep your delivery costs at zero.

And it must be compelling. These days, convincing visitors to opt-in isn’t as easy as it used to be–mainly because registrants know they’ll be emailed advertisements and promotions later. You need to provide a tangible benefit in return. Even giving things away for free requires a persuasive and specific offer.

“We have great prices!” is not an offer. Similarly, “27 years in business!” is not an offer. And “Sign up for our newsletter” has not worked as an offer for at least a few years. More »

How to Craft Offers That Bring In the Cash

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Typically in any ad, sales letter, webpage or other marketing device, you’ll want to talk about the features and benefits of your product or service first — before detailing the offer. (Remember that the offer includes elements like the price, purchase terms, any discounts, cut-off date to purchase and so on.)

If you’re writing a longer direct-response style letter or webpage, before detailing the actual offer, list what’s included in the product or service package you’re selling, the benefits a customer would receive, the new lifestyle they’ll enjoy once they own the product or service, testimonials and case studies, and any other compelling information.

All copy that sells the reader on the package being offered — before you ever mention the price.

This proven formula — of discussing all the benefits before discussing the price — is a formula that could literally transform the response rates you’ve experienced in your marketing efforts so far.

By the time you finally discuss the price — that is, the actual offer — you have two things in your favor:

(1) a committed, qualified reader who is interested enough to have read this far into your sales letter or ad, and;

(2) a potential buyer who is virtually pre-sold to the point where price almost becomes no object. In fact, if you’ve done your job of presenting your product or service in such a way that the reader simply must have it, price will NEVER be a deciding factor. If the reader wants it bad enough, they’ll find the money to purchase.

Start writing the offer by restating briefly what the buyer will get when they purchase and what their results might be if they buy. Then — and only then — mention the price of your product or service. When you structure your offer this way — and after reading about everything they’re going to get and the major changes that will happen in their life as a result of buying from you, the prospective buyer’s natural reaction should be, “Wow, I’d pay anything for that.”

Are you enjoying this continuing series of proven Instant Income methods? Watch for my next email and blog post — arriving in your inbox soon.

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Then, tell me about your idea for an offer: Do you have questions about what offers to make in your ads, sales letters and webpages? Want to ask about developing a compelling price or product bundle?

Leave a reply below and let me know.

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