It's often said that 50 percent of all marketing works — we just don't know which 50 percent that is. I have a pretty good idea about which 50 percent doesn't work: marketing without a “can't refuse” offer. Too many companies think that if they simply tell customers how to find them, they'll generate leads and sales. Wrong. Way wrong. If you really want a powerful lead generation campaign, you have to come up with a compelling offer that makes customers feel as though they'll miss out on something valuable if they don't act immediately. This is true of all marketing, whether you're sending direct-mail postcards or sales e-mails. It's not enough to simply offer a free consultation (which customers read as “sales pitch”). You have to give something away that your customers absolutely have to have. Here's the breakdown of a great offer that generates response:
- It speaks directly to the desires of a very specific audience. A real estate agent could give away a free guide about buying and selling houses, but that won't work for real estate investors. A guide on investing in commercial property during a recession would be exceedingly relevant, however, both in interest and current economic climate, and it stands an excellent chance of earning response.
- It gives something valuable away. This could be in tangible, electronic or discount form. Again, a real estate agent could give away a free guide. The website SparkPeople.com gives away free online tools for diet, weight loss and exercise tracking. A contractor could offer a free room remodel assessment, plus a coupon for $400 off a remodeling job if customers choose to go ahead with the work. Window companies are masters of this technique.
- It is strategically developed for customers who are likely to buy. A graphic designer could offer two free logo design concepts to area businesses, but should target this offer to businesses that have poor logos rather than those who have already spent money on developing a professional image. On the other hand, you'll only waste time if you market your offer to customers who can't afford your services, so choose your target audience accordingly.
- It denotes urgency. Your incredible offer should only be good for a limited period of time, so your customers have to act fast to take advantage of it.
- It only asks for information, not money. Extraordinary offers do not require an initial purchase — they give something away in exchange for information. Sell with your follow-up.
If you know your audience's motivations, you can create a compelling offer that they can't refuse. What can you add to this list?