By John Eberhard

One of the vital aspects of a pay-per-click advertising campaign is the offer. This means – what are you offering? In other words, when the searcher clicks on your ad and comes to the page on your site, what is it that you are offering at the bottom of that page?

pay per click advertisingMany people, especially when they are less experienced in marketing, never think about this. They assume that at the end of the landing page they will tell people to call up or fill out the form and buy the product or service right now.

The problem with the idea of telling the person to buy right now is that, especially for high ticket items (let’s say items over $500), is that it takes 3-7 contacts with your company (experts vary on the number of times) before they will buy something from you.

Think about how you buy things, especially high ticket items, and you will see that this is true. How many times have you gone looking for an expensive item, searching on a search engine, landed on a site for a company you never heard of before, and dropped $1,000 on that first visit? If you honestly answer that question, the answer will probably be – not many.

So we see that it takes more contacts with a prospect, before he will be willing to spend a large amount of money with your company. He has to build trust with you. He has to know he can trust you and that he is spending that large amount of money wisely.

So if you sell a high ticket item, your marketing efforts will be geared towards “lead generation,” meaning you are getting people to respond to you in some way and give you their contact information, so you can contact them and try to sell them your product or service.

In lead generation, the time honored tradition was to offer “more information.” But creative marketing people have evolved other types of offers in order to entice people to give their contact information.

Hard to Soft Offers

There is actually a scale of offers, from what are called “hard” offers to “soft” offers. The hard offer is basically “Hey, buy our product right now.” The softest of soft offers is some kind of sweepstakes where they enter to win some prize.

But you can see the inherent problem with the sweepstakes or other free giveaway type of offer, which is that you will get a ton of entries wanting to win the prize, but very few of them will be interested in the product or service you are selling. So you get lots of responses, but few sales. In marketing you want sales, not just people signing up for your free cruise.

One successful type of offer that marketers have used in recent years is a “free report” or a “white paper” (a fancy name for a free report, and it’s rarely even really white). The beauty of this type of offer for a pay-per-click program is that you make the topic of your report about something directly related to your product or service. Then theoretically everyone who responds and asks for a copy of the free report will be a prospect, either now in the future.

You try to come up with a topic, a title, and even graphics for the cover that will appeal to your target audience. I have created many of these over the years for a wide variety of products and services, everything from software to insurance claims to real estate to copper pipes to tax consulting. I have found that the successful white paper or free report should be 800 to 3,000 words, should have a nice professional graphic cover, and should give some useful information.

Then at the end, have a “call to action” and give them a sales pitch to buy your product or service. By that time they have just received some helpful information from you and you have built up some trust with them. And make the report in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat) so you can email it to them and it costs you nothing in hard costs.

Follow Up – Ripening the Fruit

So once you have someone request your free report, you send it to them of course. But what do you do then? You call them and try to sell them your product or service of course. The sales you make right away are called the “low hanging fruit.”

So what do you do with the prospects who don’t buy right away? The foolish sales and marketer will throw them away. The wise marketer will develop a system to continue contacting those people. There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. Put them on a newsletter list and send them your newsletter, which contains useful information (usually 80%) and sales information about your products (usually 20%).
  2. Set up an email autoresponder that sends out a series of HTML emails to the prospect, giving more information and selling them. You can set these up on a schedule that begins as soon as he fills out your form, then continues every few days. The series can be anywhere from 1 email giving them the download URL for the free report, to a series of 10 or more emails that go out to them over several weeks or months.
  3. Send them individual sales pieces on your products or services.
  4. Send them announcements on new product releases.

You’ll notice that the various ways of contacting the prospect above, will add up to more than 3 to 7 contacts. That doesn’t guarantee the sale of course. But it will allow you to build up trust with the prospect, give him more info on your company, and even if he doesn’t need the product right now, when he is in the market, he will think of you.