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Lately I've had several conversations with clients and other business coaches about what makes a good irresistible free offer. This “free taste” is what internet marketers use to build their list of prospects.
To give a little history about the “free taste” or “irresistible free offer” it used to be that offering a subscription to your periodic e-newsletter (e-zine) was enough. Now, however, that's not enough of an enticement for someone to leave their name and e-mail address. In fact, a subscription to your e-zine may actually disincentivize a prospect, because many of us receive way too many e-mails anyway.
Once small business owners who market using the Internet realized that a subscription was no longer appealing, they began to offer a free special report or short e-book on a particular topic, along with the e-zine subscription. There are three important parts to a great special report:
- Carefully written with useful content
- Talks about one of the problems your target audience commonly has
- Gives one or more solutions for that problem.
The special report can still sometimes work, but the title and the content has to be strong. I see two common mistakes when crafting a special report, and here they are:
- The small business owner writes about what they like to talk about, without regard as to whether their target market is interested or sees that as a problem they are having.
- Other than thanking the prospect for opting in and downloading their special report, the business owner does absolutely no follow up.
Within the past year or so, marketing on the Internet has changed again (roll with it – the change is ever-constant) so that other irresistible free offers are becoming more popular than a special report. These offers include short e-courses, a video series, or a free MP3 download.
Here's the deal – you have a choice as to topic and to format. Both are important mechanisms that will either convert your visitors to prospects or make them click away. Click away (bounces) means that someone found your website, didn't opt in, and you will never ever know who they are, what they were looking for, and whether you could have helped them or not. Sad, huh?
So here's my top five ways to go about creating a truly special irresistible free offer that will turn your website's visitors into prospects.
- Pick a topic that you know your ideal client or target market struggles with. As my friend James Roche asks, “what keeps them up at night.” What's the main worry in their business (or in their life if you have a business-to-consumer business)?
- Offer your useful, valuable content in as many ways as possible. Some people like to listen, some to read, some to watch. Produce your free taste offer in as many ways as possible – as a downloaded transcript, a downloaded MP3 audio, and as a video if you can. The more ways you have to attract people to stop and give you their attention, the better off you'll be.
- Provide social proof in your irresistible free offer. What is that? Social proof shows the reader (or listener or watcher) that you know what you are talking about and are an authority on this topic. Weave in your social proof at the beginning, and anchor it with a strong bio at the end if you're doing a report or case study. In other words, let people know why they should listen to you. Providing social proof helps you build a know/like/trust factor with your new prospects.
- Give step-by-step solutions in your offer. People like to have things simplified and quick. If you can provide a pictograph along with your content that's a great little reference. Some of your prospects will print that out. Make sure that you have your name, contact info, and website name somewhere on that pictograph, too!
- Make sure that your irresistible free offer has a natural lead-in to more complete solutions or to the problem that will come up next for your ideal client. Here's an example. Let's say I do a video about how to pull together a free offer. Someone who uses my free video to get their free offer done will now need to know how to deliver their offer, or perhaps how to do a follow-up campaign after someone has downloaded their offer. Lead in to what would naturally be next, that is also a product or service you offer.
There's lots more to say about creating winning irresistible free offers. Browse through other people's websites and see what they offer. Notice if it entices you to leave your name and email, or if you'd just as soon skip. That exercise will help you start to see what it takes to take a website visitor to prospect status. Need more? You can schedule a One and Done hour with me by clicking here.