Would you get up at 5:00 a.m. for free French toast?

SUMMARY: On Saturday morning I drove by a cafe and noticed that every seat was filled and people were lined up out the door. It was the day before Father’s Day and they were offering free French toast to all fathers. What do you offer to drive traffic to your business? The Saturday before Father’s Day I drove by a cafe at 7:30 in the morning. The place was packed and I wondered why every parking stall was filled and people were lined up out the door. I went through the drive-through and asked the employee what’s going on. He said that on the Saturday before Father’s day they give away free French toast to all fathers who come to the cafe. Every seat was full with fathers, mothers and kids. The retail value of their French toast was only $4.99. However, you know and I know that cafe’s out-of-pocket costs are minimal. I am a big believer in measuring what’s working and what’s not when it comes to marketing. And from all indications, this free French toast give-away worked. How can I tell? The restaurant was full all morning. That tells me it works. The owners of this cafe are bright. They realize that nobody is going to go to that cafe alone. Fathers who want their free French toast will most definitely bring their family. They also realize the power of the offer. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. If you want to improve results for your marketing efforts, your offer is probably the first thing that you should look at. The offer is the heart of your marketing.

It’s always about the offer 

When somebody is looking at your ads or listening to your radio spot or visiting your website, they’re asking my favorite question of all time: what’s in it for me? Everyone wants an offer. I recommend that in all of your adverting that you make an offer and make it easy for the person to act on the offer. Get rid of fine print. Get rid of the restrictions. Make it as easy as possible for people to enjoy the benefits your offer. When people ask me for advice on their advertising campaign one of the first things I always ask is, what’s your offer? An offer is much more than a discount. An offer is the combination of all the elements that make up such a deal you are presenting. When you make an offer, you’re saying, here’s what we are going to give you; here is what we are offering you.

Offer ideas 

The stronger your offer, the better your results. I hope you’re wondering, what kind of things can you offer. Well, if you can’t offer free French toast, you may want to consider the following:

  • Free Trial: My client, The Golden Spoon yogurt store chain, gives away free samples. That’s because they know their product sells itself.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: Another offer would be your guarantee. Unlike the free French toast at the cafe most people usually cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell your product before they buy. This creates a risk, which can lead to people not wanting to buy. So include a strong guarantee.
  • Other guarantees. The guaranteed buy-back where you will buy back the item if the client is not happy. The guaranteed acceptance where you promise the client will be accepted into your school or program. The double-your-money-back-guarantee. Long-term guarantee. I like when products are guaranteed for life. Stores such as L.L. Bean do these lifetime guarantees.
  • A special price: Is your price good? I recommend you test several prices and find out what price attracts the most business.
  • Add-ons. Can you add optional features such as free shipping or additional features? Restaurants do this all the time by offering combo meals.
  • Free Gift: Everyone loves gifts.
  • Sweepstakes: Encourage guests to enter a contest.
  • Discounts. Early-bird discount. Step-up discount. Quantity discount. Group discount. Past customer discount. New customer discount.
  • Sales. Have a sale. Who doesn’t love a sale?
  • Other offers: Trade in offer. Limited edition. Payment with order offer. Bill me later. Prepublication offer.

Of course, this is an endless list. The next time you create an ad, ask yourself: Do I have an offer and would I respond?

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