Many marketers have a love/hate relationship with offers…
Especially copywriters. If you create a new marketing piece for a really great offer, you secretly love the offer. Because an offer that the market can’t get enough of can make you look like a hero.
My best personal example: The Titans of Direct Response.
Although I got praise from many including Gary Bencivenga himself for that promo, I always saw myself as having one big job: don’t get in the way of the offer.
Brian Kurtz put together a once-in-a-lifetime event featuring many of the biggest direct response marketing Titans of our time. It was an offer that hasn’t been beaten in its market since then. As long as I didn’t get in the way of the offer (for example, by making my copy too creative), I’d be good. As expected, we packed the room, and I got praise for the copy. But deep inside, I knew it was only because I honored the offer that the copy really shone — or “sung” in Gary B’s words…
On the other hand, there are offers that the market just doesn’t want. And no matter how good your copy is, you’ll fail to meet expectations. (I hate the illustration of selling ice to Eskimos for this reason — if they don’t need the damn ice, why sell it to them?)
And because it’s hard to tease out why something did or didn’t perform, the copywriter or marketer can often get the blame for the lack of response. When really it was the offer. Which is where the hate side of the love/hate relationship comes in.
This is why it’s so important to remember the classic direct response truism: that only 20% of response comes from the creative itself, that 40% comes from the list you’re sending it to, and 40% comes from the offer.
In fact, since learning that — sometimes called the 40-40-20 rule — I’ve considered consulting on offers to be one of the more valuable things I do with clients, even more valuable than writing copy itself.
I’ve created breakthroughs to the tune of $100,000s in profit by tweaking an offer, before writing a word of copy.
And I’ve become a student of offers, watching for great offer ideas that can be transferred from industry to industry, market to market, and business to business.
One of the most powerful, customer-getting offers you can use is…
Something called the “value-first” offer.
Dean Jackson teaches a variation on this, starting with the question: “What would you do if you only got paid if your client got the desired result?”
Imagine how easy it is, from the customer’s perspective, to say “yes” to your offer if they literally don’t have to pay you until AFTER they get the desired result.
For example, let’s say you have an ROI-oriented offer. Dean sells systems to real estate agents to help them get more listings, and his offer is a great example. Dean could spend a ton of money on sales and marketing, trying to convince agents to try his system. Or, he could do what he does and say, “Let me set up this website for you. Let me pay to run the first few ads. Let my team do all of this for you. And after you’ve gotten your first 3 listings through the system — which will happen within 90 days but likely in 30 or less… Then and only then do I want you to start paying the monthly fee to keep this system up and running, generating listings for you.” (This may not be precisely the offer as I’m doing it from memory, but you get the gist.)
They control the process, start-to-finish, setting it up for the agents to get listings right away, and only pay when the system has proven its ability to get their desired result (which will lead to commissions far outweighing the monthly investment in keeping the system up).
This is pure irresistible offer. It’s harder to say “no” than “yes.”
(This is also basically what I did to land my first copywriting client.)
Even if you don’t shift completely to this payment model, asking the question forces you to focus on how to best get the client the desired result, as fast as possible.
For example, a slightly less-effective but maybe more palatable variation on this is the 100% risk-free offer.
I actually am launching something big Thursday that comes with this guarantee:
“Try us for your first month, at zero risk or obligation. If you’re not totally satisfied for any reason, let us know. You’ll get a prompt and courteous full refund of your first month’s fee. After your first month, cancel anytime, and you won’t be billed a penny more.”
This is a softer version of the value-first offer. If you try and aren’t satisfied, you’re out nothing. The risk of the transaction is not on you, the client, but on me, the seller.
The big idea is to take on as much of the risk of the transaction as possible, so the client feels like they’re out absolutely nothing if you fail. Their life, business, career, whatever can only be improved by saying “yes.”
Depending on where you fall, you can put out offers anywhere on the spectrum. From risk-free to only taking payment after you’ve gotten results for the client.
No matter how you do this, this is a highly-effective way to structure your offer to bring more people in the door.
Before we go, another real-life example…
In preparation for my launch this Thursday, I signed up for a service called Stunning. This is a service that connects to Stripe’s payment processing for subscriptions, and sends out emails to help you manage recurring payments, keeping everyone’s accounts current and ensuring uninterrupted access for users.
And a big part of this business is in “recovered revenue.” That is, if someone lets a credit card expire, or a payment fails, or whatever… Stunning is designed to help that person get their new information on file, so they can keep access to your subscription product.
And for brand new businesses or new subscription products, they have a by-request-only option called the “value-based plan.”
Here’s their description of it, with a brief analysis to follow:
Since it takes longer to get a lot of value out of Stunning if you don’t have enough customers, we offer a way to use all of our features for free until we have saved recurring revenue for you (in which case Stunning will be paying for itself).
Then, we’ll only charge 30% of the amount of recurring revenue that we’ve saved you as your monthly payment, until 30% of what we’ve saved you equals $50/month or you hit 250 customers. At that time, we’ll switch you over to the $50/month plan.
So if we haven’t saved any revenue, we charge you $0. If we’ve saved you $20/month in revenue, we charge you $6/month, etc.
We count revenue from each customer that meets all of the following 3 conditions:
1: Received a message from Stunning (it could be a dunning email, pre-dunning email or an in app notification)
2: Updated their billing information
3: Were successfully charged after updating their billing information
Is that something that you’d be interested in? It’s basically a free trial that lasts as long as you need it to, and it grows as your business grows and you get more value out of Stunning.
To get started, you’ll need to sign up for the $50 plan and add all of your Dunning and Pre-Dunning emails in Live Mode ASAP. It’s a 15 day trial until you add those emails (3 dunning, and 3 pre-dunning, one for each payment attempt). Make sure that you set up your pre-dunning and dunning emails the way that you’d like before you set them to live, because you will only be able to edit, not disable them, as long as you’re on the value based plan. When it’s done, let me know and we’ll switch you over to the value based plan, and you won’t be charged until we start saving revenue for you. You can sign up here: [[URL]]
Have a good one!
(Note: This was a direct response to me and is included for illustration purposes. If you’re considering stunning, visit their site for current offer information.)
I know some of that might be a little confusing if you’re not familiar with the product, its purpose, and how it works. But let me highlight what makes this so irresistible…
- Every subscription business has churn and customer loss based on failed recurring payments. It’s the nature of the beast, and Stunning is built to help with that. (To date, they’ve helped customers recover over $1 billion in recurring revenue, and have a live counter on their site.)
- They realize that smaller businesses or new projects that could be great customers later might not want to immediately pay $50/month for this service, until the customer base and usage justifies it.
- They also know that if they start to rescue revenue for you, it’ll be hard to deny the value of the service — especially when it’s priced at a fraction of the rescued revenue.
- They structured their starter “Value Based” offer to get you using the service and getting value, before they ask you to pay for it.
- Only once you’re getting value will they automatically upgrade you based on a portion of the value you’re getting, until you hit a threshold where the standard service tiers are an even better deal.
In their industry, for their business, this is the perfect answer to Dean Jackson’s question: “What would you do if you only got paid if your client got the desired result?”
They’ve created a scalable system that brings customers on board in a way where they only start charging the clients after they’ve gotten the clients the results promised. And since their business is so closely integrated with the payment processing for Stripe, it’s ultra-easy for them to implement this in a completely automatic way.
What can you do, today, for your current offer (for your business or your client’s) that can make it completely irresistible? How can you shift your offer or its positioning so the risk is 100% on your shoulders as the seller, and the client can be confident they’ll get the expected result or be out nothing?
The closer you can get to that condition, the easier it will be for new clients to say “yes,” and the more effective everything else you do in marketing will be.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: Curious about Thursday’s launch? Watch your inbox early in the morning. It’s been in the works for months, and is probably the most important thing I’ve ever done. And, it’ll be 100% risk-free for you to give it a try…