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How to Avoid the Marketing Blues with Your Offers

By Charlie Cook Copyright © 2004

"Here's a little tip I would like to relate Big fish bites if ya got good bait."

To attract more prospects and clients, you need what Taj Mahal calls "good bait" in his song the Fishin Blues. One of the biggest mistakes you can make, as a small business owner, is forgetting to use good bait in the form of your offers. Whether you use direct mail, a web site or media advertising to market your business, the success of your marketing depends on whether you provide prospects with compelling offers.

Your offers motivate prospects and clients to visit your web site, read your marketing materials, contact you and buy your services and products. Without the right offer you won't attract big fish or as many fish as you'd like.

What bait are you using to motivate your target market to:

  • Visit your web site?

  • Sign up for your free newsletter?

  • Buy your products and services?

How many new prospects per week are your offers attracting?

Which Offers Work Best?

Your offer needs to be something that your target market wants. You wouldn't use a worm to catch a whale or a safety pin to catch a tuna. Offer your target market something they can't refuse. Everybody likes to get something for free, whether it's an article, guide, ebook, report, consultation, a demonstration, offer of membership or added services. If your offer helps your target market solve a common problem, it will attract more prospects and clients.

Whether or not it is free your offer needs to provide value. Prospects will judge the quality of your products and services based on your offer. If you give away a subscription to a newsletter, follow up with useful content and substantive ideas your prospects can use. Give them something that is so good they will want more.

Attracting Prospects

My target market is service professionals and business owners. I offer a 15 page free marketing guide to prompt people to give me their contact information so I can market to them in the future. My target market wants to attract more clients and wants ideas to help them. A 15 page marketing guide is something that tens of thousands of people have found to be irresistible. Each week this simple offer pulls in hundreds of new prospects.

You too can come up with an offer to prompt more prospects to contact you. If you're a lawyer, you could offer a report on the "The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Homeowners Make." If you're a massage therapist, you could offer a guide to "5 Ways to Avoid Damaging Back Pain." If you provide an online service, you could offer a free or almost free one-month trial.

Clarify Value

People buy your products and services based on their perception of value. Whether you are charging five dollars or five thousand, your prospects need to be convinced that the benefits you provide will outweigh the cost. Too often service professionals and business owners rush to quote a price trying to make the sale before clarifying the value to buyers.

To stimulate sales, place your offer in the context of your target market's needs. Once you've clarified how your product or service meets their needs the value of your offer will be apparent.

Use Problem Solving Offers

People don't buy your products or services because you've been in the business for decades, or because your ebooks are well written or designed to please the eye. People buy your products and services because they solve a problem.

Use Additional Incentives Carefully

In their rush to sell their products and services, some small business owners offer huge discounts or bundle free services. Discounting and bundling can work, but make sure you're not undermining prospects' perception of the value of your products and services or your profits.

Key Elements of Your Offer

Creating a compelling offer is an art and involves blending the following items together to create a sentence or two which will move people to take action, whether it is contacting you or making an immediate purchase.

Include the following items to create an offer that helps sell:

  • Name - What you are selling

  • Benefit - The problem it solves

  • Credibility - Why they should buy from you

  • Value - How useful it will be to them

  • Guarantee - Your promise to them

  • Motivation to act - A reason to take advantage of your offer today.

If you want to catch big fish, you need good bait. To increase your catch, improve your offers and you'll be reeling in many more new prospects and clients.

2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

The author, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Guide, '7 Steps to Grow Your Business' and the 'More Business' newsletter, full of practical tips you can use at

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