You have this thing you’re really proud of — and you want to sell it online.
It might be:
- An ebook
- An online course
- A membership program
- A unique service offering
But there’s a tiny problem …
You can’t see your prospects. You can’t talk to your prospects.
You can only reach them through a screen.
Plus, it’s possible you’ve never offered anything for sale online before, so the whole exercise feels new and strange.
Or maybe you have made online offers, but the results were — shall we say anemic?
(Let’s stick with that so we can keep the language clean around here.)
The rules are different online
Irresistible online offers utilize the same set of elements. You’ve seen them. You may have taken action because of them!
And once you know what they are, you can use them to create your own offer that cannot be refused.
Think of these elements like a checklist of targets you need to hit as you structure your online offer.
I first learned about many of these elements when I read Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
But they’re also based on my 25+ years making offers with my business, which includes 7+ years making online offers.
Because you can’t see, shake hands with, or field objections from prospects online, it’s important to think carefully about what persuasive elements you’ll put together to convince people to give your offer a try.
This post will review the seven targets to aim for as you put together your online offer.
These seven elements create a repeatable formula that will help you:
- Sell more: your offers will be more convincing
- Answer fewer questions: your offers will be clearer
- Process fewer refund requests: you’ll attract the right people (and repel the wrong ones)
Here’s one important thing to understand before we start …
Your online offers happen in two phases — the Pre-offer and the Offer itself.
In the Pre-offer phase, you prepare the ground where you’ll plant your offer long before you make the offer.
In the Offer phase, you plant your offer in fertile ground with all the supporting elements that make it irresistible.
Your PRE-OFFER: Prepare the ground for planting
There are a few targets you should aim for which — in a perfect world — you hit before you ever make an offer.
Think of these like the ground you prepare when you’re going to plant vegetables you want to harvest later.
When you take the time to prepare the soil before you plant, your plants will grow stronger and bear more fruit.
The first target is about preparation and mindset …
Know that your offer is amazing and believe in it 100 percent
Here’s the thing — you must have a good offer for any of the advice that follows to work.
What’s a “good” offer? Here’s what it features:
- A solution to a problem your target customer want to solve (more on this below)
- A target customer with money to pay for a solution (important!)
- A unique way of delivering the solution
Having a great offer is half the battle. The other half comes from you, and what you believe about your offer.
The first person who must be convinced about the value of your offer is you.
Sounds super obvious, right? But I’m not talking about simply feeling upbeat about your offer.
I mean …
You need to have heartfelt enthusiasm that your solution is the best one out there for your target customer. If it’s not there yet, work on it until it is.
When you go into your marketing efforts with your enthusiasm level at 120%, you’ll be head cheerleader for your offer and bring all your creative energy to presenting it with passion.
Talk to the right people
Are you making the right offer to the right people?
For example, if you have an email list, are you making blanket offers to the entire list, or are you studying what people have signed up for — and possibly what they’ve purchased in the past — so that you can make offers to people who will welcome them?
As mentioned above, a crucial component that makes your target customer the “right” person is that they know they have a problem. Beyond that, your ideal customer is convinced they want to solve their problem, AND they have the money to pay for a solution.
Let’s repeat that point because it’s important:
Your ideal customer knows they have a problem, is convinced they want to solve it, AND has the money to pay for a solution.
If any one of these components is missing — they don’t know they have a problem; they’re not convinced they want to solve the problem, or they don’t have money to pay for a solution — you need to look for a different target customer!
Build trust and likeability long before you make an offer
The most fertile ground you can plant an offer in is one that has been prepared over time with built-up trust and likeability.
How do you build trust and likeability?
- By delivering useful content marketing like blog posts, podcasts, email newsletters
- By being responsive in your online comments section and on social media
- By warmly welcoming people to your online community when they sign up on your site or purchase a product
Expertise and genuine helpfulness — especially when you deliver them consistently over time — establish you as an authority in your field.
And guess who people want to buy products from?
Your OFFER: Targets to aim for in your online offer
You’ve prepared the ground you’re going to plant your offer in. Now you’re ready to structure your online offer with elements that make it irresistible.
The elements below should be used to present your offer, whether it’s in a sales email or on a sales page on your website.
Brag a little
Remember how we talked about establishing your authority by offering useful information over time?
This is your place to brag a little about how helpful you’ve been. But before you start randomly talking about how awesome you are, remember to limit your claims to statements that directly support your expertise around the offer you’re making.
A few ways to do this:
- Talk about your years providing this kind of solution — perhaps in a different setting
- Mention any awards or major accomplishments you’ve achieved
- Talk about books you’ve written, publications you’ve contributed to, people who’ve mentioned your work
You don’t need to go overboard to establish your expertise — but you also shouldn’t leave this crucial component out.
Don’t assume your target customer will remember why you’re an expert — remind them somewhere near the offer you’ll make.
Create a sense of urgency by limiting time
In order to help people make a decision, you must provide a deadline.
Look, I try to avoid saying “you MUST do this” around here.
But in this case, I can say unequivocally that irresistible online offers MUST have a sense of urgency so they motivate people to take action.
It’s one of the most important elements of an irresistible online offer!
Don’t give your prospects forever to decide or they’ll decide … never.
Because decisions are hard.
It’s tough to make a commitment. When you know your offer will help your ideal customer, you have to give them a deadline so they’ll take you up on it.
Make your product or service available for a limited time. Let prospects know when the offer is going away.
And don’t be afraid to remind them more than once — people are busy and may not see all your messages.
Create scarcity with limited availability
Another essential element to an irresistible online offer is scarcity.
This means limiting the number of offers available.
When you’re not selling physical objects, creating true scarcity can be challenging. One way to think about it is:
How can I add something personalized to how I deliver my solution so I can genuinely limit the number of people I help?
A few examples of added scarcity:
- You have a limited number of seats available in a class or membership site.
- You offer a limited number of invites to a private Q&A session in conjunction with your ebook.
- You have a limited number of spots available for your service offering.
Your personal bandwidth isn’t infinite!
Adding a personalized delivery element to a digital-only offer is an easy way to create true scarcity.
Use social proof — testimonials, logos, data
Creating an irresistible online offer means advocating for your product or service.
- You find the strongest features and benefits and highlight them.
- You mention your expertise. You add elements of scarcity and urgency.
- You write compelling copy that puts this all on the table.
But what if you could get others to do the talking for you?
When someone besides you is willing to state publicly that they’ve benefited from your offer, this can be the most compelling persuasive element of all.
To do this, bring in testimonials and use them in your sales copy. Let others advocate for your offer!
Wait a minute …
Are you feeling like you need to shower because you just got all slimy?
I know that using these persuasion elements can feel:
- Like you’re being pushy
- Like you’re being manipulative
- Like you’re becoming annoying
But let’s go back to the very first target element in this article, Your offer is amazing and you believe in it 100 percent.
You have an amazing offer, right? And you know it’s going to solve a real problem in a unique way.
If you truly believe that, then you owe it to your target customers to do everything you can to get your offer into their hands so it can transform their lives.
You’re not being manipulative. You’re helping people to make a decision about something they’ll benefit from.
That’s why creating a good offer — and then believing in it 100 percent — is job #1 in this process.
When you know your offer is solid, you will do everything you can to make it irresistible so it can transform lives — yours and your customers!