Small Business Marketing Magic: The Secret Sauce to Compelling Offers

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If you follow any marketing blogs, one of the buzzwords you’ll see over and over again is “compelling offers.” You probably know what an offer is – e.g. a white paper, a helpful checklist, an eBook – but the question you might have is probably this: what transcends a regular old offer into a “compelling offer”?

Answer: it all comes down to value.Value

We’ve talked about the importance of “value” in other blog posts, like this one about creating effective email newsletters, and the same holds true here: you need to tune into what your customers will find valuable. How do you do this? Here are three approaches:

1. Think pain points. What is it that keeps your customers up at night? If you’re a financial planner, you might say it’s saving for retirement or for the kids’ college tuition. If you’re a mortgage company, you might say it’s issues with refinancing or avoiding foreclosure. If you’re a design/build firm, it might be how to plan for a major home renovation when there are kids or grandparents living in the house. You get the idea.

What you do with these “pain points,” these things that cause stress and confusion and lost sleep, is provide some solace in the form of information that will help diminish or even eliminate the pain. So, in the example of the financial planner, providing a “lunch ‘n learn” series on the ins and outs of college savings plans might be worthwhile to your target audience. For the design/build firm, offering a download on “What to expect during a major home renovation” can go a long way to easing minds. And for the mortgage company, providing a white paper on things to keep in mind before refinancing will give people something tangible that they can hold onto.

2. Think practical uses. We’re talking tips people can implement right away. While the offers we describe in #1 are a bit more involved, providing something practical – even if it’s small – can be compelling. If something can solve a problem I’m having right now, well, that’s an awesome offer. Think in terms of the power of three: three tips, three steps, three reasons (note that we used the power of three in this blog post). These can be short, pithy items that you offer as a download off your website (e.g. “Three uses for basil you’ve never considered” or “Three strategies for choosing the right paint for your kitchen”), documents you hand out to customers/prospects when you meet with them, or content for newsletters, blog posts, and even status updates on Facebook. Share enough of these gems, and people will consider you the go-to expert (which is the whole point).

3. Think “current affairs.” What’s everyone talking about right now that’s related to your industry? Create an offer around a breaking news item and fulfill people’s need and desire for more insightful info and how the news relates to them and their world. For example, perhaps you’re a certified personal trainer/nutritionist and a new report has been released about the five jobs where people are most likely to gain weight. Turn this into a compelling offer: “Don’t Gain Weight While You Work! 5 Easy Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk.”

At Amsterdam Printing, we followed our own advice in this offer we created: “Ultimate Buying Guide for USB Flash Drives: Plus 15 Ways to Use Them to Empower & Promote Your Business.” We’d been seeing increased interest in USB flash drives among our customers and prospects alike, especially people (like wedding photographers) looking for alternatives to CDs.

We thought, “Hey, why don’t we provide a helpful guide on everything people need to know in order to decide if USB drives are right for their business…and why don’t we provide free tips on all the ways people can use the drives.” This compelling offer uses the second strategy above: providing information and practical uses. (Click here if you’re interested in downloading our USB flash drive guide so you can see it for yourself.)

What compelling offers have you put together for your business? We want to hear them! Don’t be shy. Share in the comments.

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