It turned the worst and last, little no-name hotel in Las Vegas into one of the largest and most successful hotels on the strip.
And it’s one of my favorite Dan Kennedy marketing stories (as related in Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing program.)
You see the owner didn’t have a tremendous amount of money to do advertising at the time so he couldn’t compete with the larger hotels that used billboards, television and full page ads in magazines.
Instead he created an offer that turned his hotel and casino into a very specific, stand-out destination that got people clamoring to go.
Here is what his offer said:
“Give me $396. I’ll give you two nights, three days in my hotel in one of the deluxe suites. There’ll be a bottle of champagne waiting for you when you arrive. You can have unlimited drinks the entire time you are here, whether you are gambling or not, even if you’re sitting in one of the lounges and enjoying the entertainment, you pay nothing more for your drinks. Most importantly, for your $396, I’m going to give you $600 of my dollars to gamble with in my casino.”
The (obvious) lesson to be learned?
Turn your ordinary offer into an extraordinary one and your product or service becomes completely new and different than your competition. This is especially important if your product or service is a commodity.
You can transform your standard ho-hum offer into a killer offer using some of the following elements:
Develop high perceived value. Create a perceived value for your product or service that is higher than the price you are charging and you make your offer irresistible. In the casino hotel offer, the $600 dollars for gambling alone makes the perceived value higher.
Reduce their risk. When you make risk-free offers, it demonstrates confidence in your product or service and makes people feel more comfortable about choosing you over a competitor who doesn’t make a no-risk offer.
- Money back guarantee. People often worry about the “what ifs” –what if I don’t use this, what if I don’t like it, what if it doesn’t do what it promises to do. Give people the confidence to buy your product or service by offering a “no questions asked” full refund.
- Generous trial periods. Offer a “try before you buy” period, such as “Try it free for 21 days.”
- Low-cost trial periods. Ease the fear of making a large investment by giving a trial for an expensive program or membership for a small fee. “Normally $275 per month, you can try it for 7 days for just $1.00.” (The added advantage for you is that you now have their credit card information which makes it easy to automatically charge their card full membership pricing at the end of the trial.)
Create urgency. Everyone needs an incentive to “hurry up” and order now rather than put it off until later. Five ways to nudge people in your offer are to present:
- A limited quantity. If you truly have a limited quantity, you can say, “Only for the first 250 orders.” If you don’t have a limited quantity you can say something like, “Your check will be returned if supplies run out.”
- A special combination. Create a combination offer that will expire such as, “Buy two get one free” or a special bundle or package at a discounted rate over buying them individually.
- A price increase. Say in order to lock in the lower price, the prospect must act now.
- An introductory rate or bargain. Offer a pre-publication rate or an introductory rate and explain that after so many are sold the price will increase.
- A limited time opportunity. Let prospects know that only a certain number of widgets are available per region. For instance, a company selling franchise opportunity might only offer one franchise location per every 100 mile radius.
Include a powerful image. The casino hotel offer outlined earlier paints a powerful picture through the story-like wording. Another way to create a powerful impact is by including a powerful picture to help tell the story. You’ll see effective examples of this in ads for restaurants, retailers, travel and charitable organizations where a picture can evoke strong emotion.
Never assume that you’ve made the sale or use a weak close that gently “urges” your prospect to act. You must tell your prospect in clear, simple language what you want him to do and give him a great reason to act immediately. When you add some or all of the elements listed, you’ll create an offer that not only does that, but that stands out and makes your product, service or company completely different from everything else out there.
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