Get more awesome clients, faster, with low-barrier offers

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FREE personal training session!

FREE phone when you upgrade your plan!

FREE 14-day trial of {X} software!

30 days of unlimited yoga for just $30!

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

Even AOL used to mail out CDs with a FREE month of service.

Every other (intelligent) industry is using low barrier offers to attract scores of new clients.

Why aren’t we?

In this post, I’m going to share what exactly a “low barrier offer” is, squash the objections I know you have to them…

And give you some killer suggestions to get started.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

Cool?

Then let’s dive in.

First: What is it, and why does it work so darn well?

A low-barrier offer lets prospects test out a product or service without risking nearly anything.

This is important, because people are terrified of risk.

It’s in our DNA.

Everything in us screams, “RUN!” when risk approaches.

… Even if that risk is something as simple as trying out a personal trainer or gym.

By hardly giving up anything at all (or in the case of free offers, just a bit of time), prospects get to test the waters out and make sure there are no sharks swimming around before they commit.

They get to scope you out, make sure you’re the real deal, make sure they like you and trust you, and make sure they like your quality, service, etc.

That’s why it works so darn well.

It’s the only way to counter the innate fear of risk we all carry.

Try before you buy. It’s simple.

Are you going to just buy a new flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins – or are you first going to ask for a sample?

That’s the psychology at play here.

Now let’s drive the lesson home with a bunch of examples, and their purposes:

McDonald’s Dollar Menu

McDonald’s offers you a burger for a buck knowing dang well you’re not just going to buy a burger.

You’ll walk away with a large drink and fries, too.

Maybe even an ice cream.

But the $1 burger gets you in the door.

You plan on just getting the $1 burger, in fact.

But once you’re there – it all changes. You smell those fries. You see other people slurping down a massive soda bigger than their head.

It’s all over – you’re dishing out way more than a buck.

Dentist: Free Teeth Cleaning & Exam

Ever seen this offer? It’s pretty simple:

You come in for a free cleaning – killer deal, right? Good enough to try out a brand new dentist you’ve never heard of before.

But the x-rays show a cavity.

The hygienist finds staining from all that coffee.

So they upsell you on a filling and whitening treatment and before you know it you’re selling your limbs one by one to foot the bil.

Gym: 30 days for $1

If you’re looking for a new gym to join – trying one out for a full month for a dollar is pretty dang hard to resist.

But once you’re in, they have the opportunity to sell you on personal training…

Nutrition counseling…

And of course – if nothing else – a regular membership.

Question: Can’t all these guys just sell the full-priced product from the start?

Sure.

If they want to sell a whole lot less.

Because low barrier offers are so appealing – and remove that risk – they just get so many more people in the door.

Otherwise, it’s like selling a car without a test drive.

It can be done – but if you don’t offer test drives – way less people are showing up to your dealership in the first place.

See, low-barrier offers give you the opportunity to deliver value to people before they buy.

They give you the chance to win people over. They get to know you and love you before they’ve spent a decent penny on you.

And when someone knows you and trusts you and loves you…

How much more likely do you think they are to purchase one of your more expensive packages?

(Hint: “Way, way, more likely” is the correct answer. We’d also accept “Way, way, way, waaaayyyyyy more likely” too 😉 )

Question: Won’t “cheap” offers just bring in “cheap”, low-quality leads?

A valid concern. And the truth is, some of the leads turn out to be tire kickers. It’s inevitable.

In fact, statistically, if a business really has its stuff together, closing rates will look like this:

  • Referral traffic and other leads that don’t come from a low-barrier offer: 80–90% become clients.
  • Low-barrier offer: 40–60% become clients.

“Whoa, David! Only 40–60% of offers convert to customers? Why would I want to do that?”

So glad you asked! (And please, don’t at all feel like you just walked into a trap…)

Let’s say you get 10 leads or referrals per month, and close 9 of them.

Awesome, 9 new clients.

Now, let’s say you run a killer offer and get 50 new leads in the door, and close 40–60% of them.

That’s about 25 new clients.

So yes, statistically you’ll close fewer people who came from offers…

But because you get way more people in the door through offers…

The numbers still work out in your favor.

So! Now that we get how these offers work, and the numbers behind them… How do we apply this to a design & marketing biz?

Well, accidentally, a lot of web designers / agencies offer a low-barrier offer:

“Free Consultation! Click now!”

The only problem is a “free consultation” is so vague and non-specific that it works about as well as not having an offer at all.

Let’s look at our other offers again:

  • Free Teeth Cleaning + Exam
  • 30 days of yoga for $30
  • 1 month of unlimited training for $1

You get something real, tangible, concrete…

… and valuable.

That’s the key right there.

So, with that said, we can still offer a free consult…

But let’s try to make it more clear and specific.

For example:

Bianca Board, agency rockstar and Millo contributor, loves “free website audits.”

That’s where her team pours over your site, tells you a bunch of things to fix ASAP for higher conversions, and they even share some of their trade secrets with you too.

The result?

People get insane value in advance, fall in love with her team, and end up asking her to just build them a brand new site from scratch

That’s super clear, concrete, and specific. But maybe you do branding for small businesses? What then?

Well, what’s something every small business needs that you could offer super cheap but still deliver a ton of value?

How about a business card?

A post card?

A take-one?

Imagine if you give someone a business card that blows away any branding they currently have.

Then, selling them on a package is as easy as asking, “Hey, do you want everything else in your business to look this awesome?”

I’m not saying you have to design a post card or business card for free –

You can charge a small fee for it –

But remember: It has to feel LOW risk, concrete, and loaded with value.

Let’s play around with some more examples designers & agencies can use:

  • Free competitor PPC analysis where you run scans on their top 3 competitors and tell them how much money they’re spending, what their top keywords are, and more
  • Free week trial of Facebook ads where you generate leads before you accept a dime
  • Free welcome email that prospects get when they subscribe to your client’s email list
  • Business card design + {X} printed cards for just $19

Something important to remember:

Even super rich people who own private jets and skyscrapers can’t pass up a killer offer.

It’s just in our DNA.

And in fact, the more successful people get, the more often they look for low-barrier offers.

Think about it like this:

When your business is looking to make a huge investment in something…

Would you rather work with someone you’ve never met… or someone who’s willing to let you “try before you buy” and earn your trust and show you how capable they are?

That right there is some pretty advanced thinking. And it’s how successful CEOs and business owners think.

So go craft yourself a killer offer, and get rocking.

Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Tell me!

I want to hear what’s in that brain of yours.

Leave me a comment and let’s talk.

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.

 

More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

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