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Sparking Demand: Seven Ways to Perk Up a Dull Offer

by Marcia Yudkin

So you launched your product with a lot of fanfare and hardly anyone bought? If you're convinced the product fulfills a marketplace need and your description of it was compelling and clear, the problem probably lay in your offer. Use these seven techniques to awaken potential customers from their indifference, overcome their reluctance to make a commitment and inspire them to buy.

1. Scarcity. As long as you can provide a credible reason for limiting the number of sales of your item, interested people respond now to scarcity because they don't want to be locked out. Of course it's easier to explain why supplies of tangible items are limited or why you have a limit for events, where only a certain number of people can be seated or served. Still, you can justify a cut-off point for sales of a digital item so that the information retains value for those who purchased or because of a promise to some third party.

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2. Payment plan. Often people want to buy but hold back because of cost. That's why dividing the cost of a comparatively expensive item into multiple installments encourages sales. Enrollment in my marketing seminars rose dramatically when I presented the fee as four installments of $299 or three installments of $333 instead of $995 all at once. One of my colleagues says that payment plans even for a program in the range of $95 - $150 work well for her in encouraging folks on the fence to sign up.

3. Discount for first customers. Here you cut the price for the first X buyers, which motivates people to step up to the plate and make a commitment. Note that this offer works best when customers trust you to carry on exactly as you've described, rather than end the discount early, lie about how many people have bought or keep the offer running indefinitely.

4. Emphasize the defects. Normally you want to describe your offerings in the best possible light. However, advertising experts can cite many instances where they took an item no one wanted, explained what was wrong with it and began racking up sales at the very same price as before. For instance, motorists didn't rush to buy little Volkswagen Beetles when they were first introduced. A series of ads making light of the car's tiny size turned that around - such as the ad with the headline, "And if you run out of gas, they're easy to push."

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5. Free preview. Perhaps customers weren't buying because they didn't get a clear enough sense of the value of what you're selling. Then think of a way to provide a no-cost preview of what they get when they buy. For software or a gym membership, that's usually a trial period. For a book or report, it's the ability to take a look at several chapters without charge. For something that gets mailed to customers, the preview might consist of being able to try out the item at home for 30 days before the credit card charge kicks in.

6. Choose a bonus. Internet marketers often get into the habit of piling on so many bonuses for each purchase that the bonuses overshadow the value of the main item being sold. Instead, try letting the customer choose one of two to four bonus options. Often this promotes involvement that sends a customer across the decision line.

7. Backout option. Are people leery of getting into something that's not for them? Does the fear of buyer's remorse keep customers from saying "yes"? Then encourage prospects to sign up and pay, but with the proviso that for a certain period of time they may change their minds. This is a type of guarantee, one that emphasizes the tastes and satisfaction of the purchaser rather than the possibility of there being something wrong with what was purchased.

Offers make a huge difference in purchase rates. Change the offer, and you may thereby enjoy a drastic improvement in cash flow.

Copyright 2012 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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