In dating terms, I was good at flirting, attraction, and commitment. But when it came time for a proposal — an offer — I had no mojo.
The sales portions of my campaigns were watered down; my copy was mush-mouthed and unsure. I swear, I think my readers could see me flinching and sweating through their laptop screens as they read my pitch emails.
A year later, I shuttered that business
I was selling career courses for entertainment professionals. But when my first child was born, I left the TV industry and moved out of New York; it made sense to close the website and focus on a new career.
However, settling in to a new city was more expensive than I planned, so I revived my business for a week to run a panicked, last-minute, going-out-of-business sale.
To my shock, it was my most successful offer ever! Someone who didn’t buy even sent me a note apologizing for not being able to purchase my course.
The results rocked my worldview in two ways:
It turned out my audience wasn’t broke, or skeptical, or disengaged. Instead, they were just waiting for the right offer.
My non-buyer audience wasn’t annoyed by offers. Instead, it seemed that pitching a relevant, fair offer positioned my product as a great deal, even though they didn’t buy it.
But that episode didn’t cure my fear of making offers
My successful sale became a one-time win. I only changed my attitude because I was closing that business.
I was bold like a boy on the last day of class who finally confesses a crush to the most beautiful girl in school. The moment is exciting but not sustainable.
That’s the problem with most marketing advice about making offers. You’re advised to conjure the same feeling of desperation I had. You’re supposed to have a “gun to the head” attitude while writing sales copy or a “get the money” mentality during a pitch.
But that advice doesn’t resonate with me.
I learned how to build an audience through generosity, authenticity, and trust. How could I lead my buyers like Black Panther, then switch to Killmonger when it came time for the sale?
So I continued sharpening my lead-gen and lead-nurture skills, and started working for marketing agencies. Luckily, my only job was to deliver high-quality leads — it was up to our clients’ sales teams to close deals.
That all changed when I took on an in-house Marketing Director role at a vocational school
Suddenly I was in charge of enrollment, from first touch to final offer.
Some campaigns worked spectacularly well. And others failed.
In our post-mortem meetings our videographer, Kevin Doyle, would echo Sonia’s advice from years earlier:
“Hashim, the campaign didn’t work because we didn’t end with a great offer.”
I was so frustrated with myself that last year I studied offers again and deeply examined my fears.
I took everything I learned, synthesized and simplified the process for making a great offer, and discovered something that evaporated my anxiety once and for all …
The key is to embrace your fear
Irrational fear based on insecurity is bad. But my struggle didn’t come from that place.
If your hesitation for making offers is based on respect for your audience and protection of your reputation, then you’re concerned about the right things.
A low-quality or irrelevant offer, aggressively pitched, may accelerate short-terms sales, but it will turn off the 80 percent of people who don’t buy.
At the vocational school, our content audience included our partners, the friends and family members of our prospects, our competition, and even our local politicians. I discovered that if I followed the process for crafting great offers, and then made assertive pitches, it actually upgraded the school’s positioning in the minds of primary buyers and our second customers.
Has a friend ever sent you a limited-time offer on a great deal? If the product was relevant to you, you probably thanked her, as if she sent you a gift. That’s the fear-busting insight I was missing. Great offers are brand-builders, not risky annoyances.
So the obvious question is: How do you make an offer your whole audience will appreciate?
That’s where RUVU comes in.
When I went back and studied offers, I found four objection-eliminating elements that are common to all great offers.
If you want to make an offer you can be proud of, it must be …
Relax your buyer’s anxiety with social proof and a more-than-fair refund policy.
Social proof (aka “people like me buy this thing”) and refunds are at the opposite sides of a seesaw — the more you have of one, the less you need of the other.
For example, a new product with no track record should include an above-and-beyond guarantee as part of its product launch. A restaurant that can’t afford to give refunds should heavily highlight its customer reviews.
When you make your offer, there’s no stopping your buyers from looking for a better or similar deal. They should immediately discover that no one else has a deal like yours.
Overcome objections with benefits and bonuses that truly matter to your buyer.
Your primary offer should pull the levers of quality, convenience, or cost of your product. And any promotional offers should double down on one of those elements.
Compel your buyer to complete the purchase using external deadlines and genuine scarcity.
Don’t confuse distraction with disinterest. Even your most responsive audience members are juggling too many priorities that demand their attention, so they need a reason to “buy now.”
Risk-free, unique, valuable, and urgent. That’s a RUVU offer.
Grab your free RUVU poster
Click here or on the image above to download your free RUVU poster (91 KB) that you can keep handy next to your workspace.
A simple example of a RUVU offer
When I worked as the Content Marketing Manager for a website builder for photographers, we had a high-converting offer that was full of RUVU.
If you visited our booth at a conference and purchased a website during the event (urgent), we would handle setup for you (value).
We handled payment and setup on the spot, so our booth had people who just purchased next to people who were hearing the pitch (risk-free). Our direct competitors and most companies came armed with swag, while our people were focused on pitching free setup (unique).
And why were we so energized about pitching?
Because we had a true RUVU offer to give new customers.
Craft an offer worth talking about
Fear and doubt will sabotage an otherwise strong marketing strategy. I spent years presenting my offers with reluctance, rather than the energy my products deserved.
Pitching with confidence, whether in person or in print, requires knowing you’ve crafted the best offer possible — a can’t-miss deal for your customer.
Which elements of RUVU do you still need to add to your offers?