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How To Create Offers People Act On

by Judy Murdoch

A marketing issue that baffles and frustrates many small business owners is when they make an offer to sample a product or service they sell and there are no takers.

Example: Why isn't the Phone Ringing?

Diane wants to build her real estate business by attracting more first time home buyers. On her web site's home page, along with the usual listings, she has an offer which reads, Are you buying your first home? Call me for f*ree consultation at 1-800-NEW-HOME.

The offer has been up for six weeks and although people are visiting her website, the phone isn't ringing. Diane is discouraged and wondering if "this Internet marketing stuff really works?"

Has this happened to you? You create an offer--maybe a very generous offer--and no one takes you up on it.

It's really discouraging. I know. It's happened to me more than once.

No, It's Not Your Breath

So what's going on here? Bottom line: your offer may be a good one but you're making it at the wrong time for most of the people visiting your website.

What do I mean by "wrong time"? Here's an example:

Dan and Lisa are married couple looking for their first home. They're great prospective clients for Diane. Lisa is on the Internet checking out homes for sale in the neighborhoods in which they're interested and one of the websites she looks at is Diane's.

Now, let's assume that Lisa sees Diane's offer. Why doesn't she pick up the phone and call?

For the same reason most of us don't pick up the phone and call: we're concerned we're going to get a sales pitch and be pressured to do something we're not ready to do.

Solution: Small Steps Over Time

The way to create offers that people act on is to set up a series of small steps you ask prospects to take over a period of time.

For example, let's say that instead of offering a f*ree consultation, Diane's offer is this:

"Click here to get my free report, The Ten Biggest Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make."

When a prospect clicks the link they are asked for their email address so Diane can send them the report.

She will get a lot of takers on this offer.

Now that Diane has collected some emails what are the next offers she might make?

She sends those who downloaded the report two emails in the next 30 days that focus on specific points in her report. These emails also include an invitation to subscribe to her weekly ezine.

Those who subscribe receive a weekly ezine with information that's useful to first time home buyers.

In each ezine, Diane includes her original offer for the free 30-minute consultation.

Diane's f*ree consultation offer is still there but prospects see the offer after taking two intermediate steps: (1.) Getting the free report; (2.) subscribing to her weekly ezine.

How Long Does It Take?

Some people will point out, "Yes, but won't it take longer to get prospects to the phone...what she wanted to begin with?" These folks worry that they're wasting time with little intermediate steps instead of just cutting to the chase.

It does take longer. Depending on the service your business provides, it can take anywhere from 8 weeks to several months. And there will be people who read your free reports and ezines for quite a while before they buy something.

But here's why offering small steps is so important. Why several small steps over time work so much better than asking for a giant step right away:

Effective marketing and sales are all about building trust and credibility. As human beings, we develop trust when we experience repeated demonstrations of trustworthiness over time. No matter how persuasive the sales pitch, no matter how many testimonials are in the copy, very few people will make a large financial or emotional commitment at first sight.

They will, however, make small, low cost commitments at first sight. And they will be willing to make larger commitments over time as you demonstrate value again and again.

Final Word

If you are making a generous offer to prospects but very few if any are responding, you may be asking them to do too much too soon. Consider adding at least one low cost, low commitment intermediate offer that gives you the opportunity to build trust over time.

Discuss this in our Forum

About The Author:

Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" go to You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or [email protected]

Copyright © 2007 Judy Murdoch

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