I argue that the most important component to your entire sales funnel, whether it’s an online store or digital product, is your offer. It doesn’t matter if you have the best conversion strategy in the world, or know exactly who your target audience is, or have top-notch copywriting and creative for your ads; the offer will make or break your campaign.
This might be a crude example but if I was selling the cure to cancer, do you think it would matter how effective my ad targeting was? Do you think it would matter if my copywriting or ad creative was any good? Of course not. The offer is so strong that it would carry itself.
So how do we create a very strong and irresistible product offer?
Well, first we need to consider that the product offer lives in two places:
The ad and the product page.
The ad might be an ad you buy on Facebook or even an email you send to your list.
The product page is your landing page or sales page. This is usually the “last chance” to make your offer and convince the buyer to make the purchase.
Within these two places where the offer lives, we can do many things to create an effective offer. More specifically, there are tactics we can use to position our offer as well as heighten the perception of our offer.
We can turn a boring old product or sale into a frenzy.
Using 4 different cornerstones of an irresistible product offer:
- Social Proof
Now, you might have heard of these words before, you might even be very familiar with them and their application. But I wanted to go deeper into each of them, why they work, and how to actually apply them.
The following is your checklist whenever you put together a new campaign or start selling a new product on your store. If you can create an offer that contains at least 80% of what I’m about to list, you’re going to have a superior offer to your competitors and marketing your product is going to be much easier.
Let’s start with value.
Price plays a big role in purchase decisions. In my opinion, price is probably the most underrated conversion factor and one of the most under-tested things among most storeowners.
Value is much more than the price of a product. Perceived value plays a big role. If the offer has a very high perceived value, that can often carry the offer to success alone.
So the goal then is to create an offer with a very high perceived value. The customer needs to feel like they’re getting a steal. You’ve felt that feeling before! You buy something at a deep discount, or you buy something and get an additional one for free. We can recreate that feeling on our stores:
The classic way to increase value is to show and create a discount. The first thing to consider is that you need to have a much higher anchor price for this to work. A $10 product that was originally $15 is not very strong. However, a $10 product that was originally $100 is much stronger. As a general rule of thumb, I like to have a crossed-out anchor price that’s at least 2x that sale price. Of course, this should be believable to work.
Next, there should be a reason that there’s a discount.
Telling a story or justifying the discount, makes it more believable but also justifies the customer’s purchase to themselves. “Oh, well, it’s Valentine’s Day, I should probably buy this”.
Even if it’s trivial, there’s almost some kind of “holiday” every day of the year. Don’t believe me? See for yourself what “day” is being celebrated. National Gummi Worm Day, I Love Horses Day, National Tape Measure Day, etc.
Use this to plan your deals ahead of time and don’t forget the more commonly known and celebrated holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas.
This is an easy one if your brand doesn’t discount or if you don’t have the margins to allow for a discount.
2 for the price of 1, buy 1 get 1, buy 2 get 1, and buy 2 get X, are all great and conventional ways to create a bundle.
If you sell a widget for $25 and make $15 from each sale, you might be better off pricing the widget at $40-$50, and creating an offer where the customer gets a free widget when they buy 1.
Or, taking your best-selling products, creating a bundle of them and selling them at 1 price.
I feel like at this point in the online shopping universe, offering free shipping should be standard. Make it work. Increase the price of your product and factor it into your margins if you have to. It’s much better to sell a $50 product with free shipping than a $40 product with a surprise $10 shipping charge at checkout. Trust me. It’s been tested to death.
Alternatively, instead of bundle or discounting, if you have a desirable product with a very low cost, you could throw it in for free when a customer buys X or 2 of X.
FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re missing out on something. Whether it’s because the offer is going away or it’s the newest trend, we can use this in our marketing messages to strengthen our offer. Sometimes customers who are in the middle of making a purchase decision just need that little push or justification. This is where FOMO comes in.
We see this all the time in advertising: “act now, limited time only, before time runs out, limited 1 per customer”.
Limited Quantity: The language we use in our copy can convey limited quantity: “limit 1 per customer, limited quantity available, will sell out soon, X left, X already sold, clearance”. Also, we can display this information visually with quantity countdowns, or showing customers how much is left or how much has sold.
Limited Time: Again, we can use our copy to show urgency in time: “limited time only, before time runs out, sale ends X”. And again, this can be displayed visually with things like countdown timers.
New: FOMO isn’t limited to just time and quantity. Missing out on a new trend or hot product can create these feelings in our customers as well. “New” is such simple copy to include but I almost never see storeowners test it.
Social proof is also known as social influence. It’s the human tendency to look at what other people are doing to validate our actions. People do this when they’re shopping as well. They want to see other people buying and using the same products as them, to validate that they made the right choice or will make the right choice by buying this product.
A strong offer has strong social proof signals. How do we create these?
This is the most common social proof signal among ecommerce businesses. Amazon uses it, Hollywood films use it, and you use it when you’re shopping. Customer reviews are a must.
Another strong social proof signal is photos of customers actually using the product. Bonus points if it’s the customer who posts it on their social media profiles and you embed them on product pages. I love using Instagram for this.
The number of likes, favorites, or thumbs up your product page or ad gets does actually matter besides it just being a vanity metric. Many customers look at an ad or product page with a lot of likes or social signals as an indication of social proof. Don’t neglect this. That’s why it’s good to buy engagement on a Facebook ad before launching the ad optimizing it for purchases.
I ignore ads all the time with little to no likes but if they ad has a million likes or more, I usually stop and see why.
Like social signals, comments and engagement with your product page and ads are important. Seeing other people talk about your business and product, especially when the sentiment is positive, is an amazing social proof signal.
Shares are great, but especially when it comes from a friend. So yes, it’s a good social signal but it also serves as a sort of “word of mouth” and referral from a friend. If a friend tags you on an ad, the offer is stronger, even if the friend that tagged you doesn’t own the product. The friend vouches for the product.
This is why I love encouraging customers to tag their friends on my ads or share the product they just bought on social media.
Finally, we have trust. This is the element that ties the entire together. If customers don’t trust your store or your brand or even you, value, FOMO and social proof won’t matter.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to build trust with the customer. This is the easiest of all the other elements to figure out.
Things like badges and copy that let customers know that their credit card and personal information is secure at checkout is important. You can’t assume everyone who comes to your store has made a purchase only before or even trusts online shopping in general.
This is an easy one and yet I don’t see it enough. Transfer the risk of the purchase away from your customer to yourself. This is something that can begin paying off immediately, despite adding more risk to your business.
Money back guarantee / happiness guarantee: Tell your customers that you will refund them if they’re not happy. This will squash a lot of the fear running through a customer’s mind before checking out.
Free returns: Your money back guarantee can be even stronger with a free return policy.
Follow-up support / free support: If your product or service requires a lot of education or instructions, it’s important to highlight your post-purchase support. This means, if a customer is worried that they won’t be able to figure out, use, assemble, or install a product, your business will be there to help them out.
Simply being legit (or at least appearing legit) creates a lot of trust with customers. Visibly displaying your phone number, address, or BBB number on your store and product page will do this.
The Fifth Element
The is one more thing. Having the above 4 elements (Value, FOMO, Social Proof, and Trust) will set up an irresistible offer. However, there kind of is a “fifth element” to all this.
And that is the product itself. The thing being offered. It needs to have great product images, amazing copy, and have some kind of “X-factor” to it. Whether it’s super high quality, a ton of features, novelty, or innovation, a great product beefed up with the 4 elements above is bulletproof.
That isn’t to say that you can’t give a product an x-factor with great copy writing and great product images. Because you can. It’s just important to remind you that positioning a product is just as important. A boring product can become very interesting simply by positioning it better or differently. Just look at how Dollar Shave Club turned razors into a frenzy.