In my last blog post, I talked about the criteria of effective B2B offers and also shared the concept of a soft vs. hard B2B offer. Keeping this information in mind, let’s talk about the differences between good and poor marketing offers? Let’s start with the poor offers:
- Straight sale with no special inducement.
- Contact me – great for those deep in the buying cycle but otherwise not effective.
- Product-centric – better to have something focused on the solution or pain points.
- Brochures and fact sheets.
Replace these B2B offers with something stronger, like:
Special Pricing – This offer works well with later-stage prospects who already know about your product or service. The special pricing offer could be a discount for prompt action or an urge to “buy now before the price goes up.”
Introductory Offer – An introductory offer is used to introduce new prospects to your company. It will have the greatest effect when the discount is significant. You have to be careful, however, not to offend existing customers who just purchased the same product for more money than you charge new buyers.
Multiple Product – With this offer, buyers get the second or subsequent products at no charge, or at a large discount.
Premium – Something extra is given away to spur the prospect to purchase now. Premiums range from advertising specialties such as desk calendars and pens, to expensive items such as trips and electronic equipment.
Free Information – Similar to the premium offer, but you give away information instead of a product. This is especially effective with a business audience, since people are always interested in ways to save money and perform their jobs better. Plus, this type of offer can often be fulfilled immediately via a computer download.
Trade-in or Trade-up Offer – The prospect trades in an old item and gets a discount on the new item. For example, a computer manufacturer can give businesses that trade in a competitor’s equipment a $500 credit toward the purchase of a new computer. This way you meet two objectives: sell a product and displace the competitor.
Free Trial – If you have confidence in your product, let potential customers try it out in their office for thirty days. This has been a strong offer for software companies, equipment manufacturers, and publishers.
Satisfaction Guarantee – While a guarantee should be part of every offer, an extra-strong guarantee can serve as its own offer. An example would be “double your money back if not completely satisfied.”
Cash Discount – A special price can be given to help force the purchase decision. This offer works well in combination with free trial offers. The prospect has the option to try the product and pay full price if he decides to keep it, or pay for the product now and receive a substantial discount.
Special Terms – This can work as well as a cash discount. For instance, “receive the item now and take up to six months to pay with no interest.” In some cases, purchasers will be more interested in the monthly payment terms than the total cash amount.
Demo/Trial Offer – A smaller, trial version of the product is sent (sometimes for a fee, sometimes for free). If the prospect likes the demo, he orders the full product. This offer works well for computer software products and publications.
Free Samples – Free samples are an effective way to highlight your product. For instance, an office product manufacturer can offer day planners or desk lamps as a bonus for purchasing a desk set.
Performance Guarantee – The customer gets to use the product for a period of time. If it does not live up to the specified criteria, she can return it for a full refund. This offer works well if your product is clearly superior to its competition.
Special Inducement – Something extra is given to the prospect if he acts immediately. The inducement could be extra product, better terms, free training, or extended maintenance.
The type of B2B offer you use should be based on the objectives of your program. If you are selling a high-ticket or complex product, or if you need to make a personal sales call to finalize a transaction, you should choose a marketing offer geared to generating leads. Conversely, if you are promoting a low-ticket, non-complex item via online, phone, or mail, you will use a different type of offer.
I hope you find that one or more of these B2B offer ideas helpful in achieving your marketing objectives.