I’m sure many of you are familiar with the original ice cream shop that offers you a taste of any flavor ice cream you want before you make your decision on which scoop you are going to enjoy.
Giving you a taste (or as many tastes of different flavors as you’d like) is a brilliant way to ensure that you not only order a cone at that moment, but it’s also a way to bring you back to try more flavors on another day.
You can use this brilliant marketing strategy in building your business, too. Offering your prospects a taste of what it is that you provide is a proven and easy way to get people to become part of your community, and part of your marketing/product funnel (the funnel is the "journey" (that builds a relationship over time) that your clients follow from the first visit to your website, where they enter by giving you their contact information, down through each level as they make their way through each purchasing step in the funnel). By offering them a sample, you’re giving them an opportunity to get to know you without risking anything more than perhaps a bit of time.
In your marketing/product funnel, the taste you are giving your potential clients is at the top of the funnel, the widest part. The taste is your freebie/complimentary/gift offering and is your first (and usually only!) opportunity to engage your prospect. Your taste needs to be something of value that you offer for free to people who visit your website in exchange for their contact information, usually their name and email address.
This is often one of the most overlooked steps in building an online business. A prospect needs to see your message many times (it ranges anywhere from 5-10) before they will feel confident enough to risk handing over their money to you. In order to build a relationship with people you need to be able to contact them again, which means your goal is to capture their email address before they click away from your website.
If they leave, it’s unlikely that they will come back, so don’t lose the opportunity to welcome them into your community, your funnel. They landed at your website because they were looking for something (usually a solution to a problem they are having, right? :)). Give them a taste of the solution you offer. And remember to make it easy for them: make your sign-up form or email so obvious that they’d have to trip over it not to notice it (yes, that includes pop-ups and the like, because even if they annoy you as much as they do me, they work!).
So, what can you offer of value in exchange for their email address? A newsletter, an ecourse, an audio clip, or a special report, are all good options. Personally, I like the offer of an ecourse AND an ezine. You give them a taste of what your services are like with the ecourse, and then you keep in touch with them on a regular basis with the ezine. The ezine allows you to build a bond with your readers in a uniquely personal way, letting them get to know, like and trust you over time, with you having to build that bond one-on-one.
So, one caution is to not offer any one-on-one interaction with you at this level. You want to leverage your time, and offering free consultations or one-time meetings with you is not a good use of your time. Let them get to know you over the course of your freebie offering. When and if they become serious about you and your products or services, they will move further down the funnel (from free to fee) without you having to "sell" them on what you provide during a complimentary session (how nice is that?).
So what is your taste going to be? Here are some other ideas:
> write a Top Ten article about the benefits of your products and services, convert it to a PDF file, and offer it as a special report.
> record a short audio about the three key things your niche needs to know about X.
> create a mini ecourse that encompasses the five steps to getting started for your market.
> or create a quick-start guide that helps your market focus on how to get started.
Once you’ve given them a taste, they will likely come back for more, eventually turning from a prospect to a client. Creating a taste of what you provide is easy and it’s fun. Try it and watch what happens!
© 2005 Alicia M Forest and ClientAbundance.com
WANT TO REPRINT THIS ARTICLE? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it: Alicia M Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Queen & Coach, founder of http://www.ClientAbundance.com, and creator of "21 Easy & Essential Steps to Online Success System, teaches coaches, consultants, online entrepreneurs and solo professionals how to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately live the life they desire and deserve. For FREE tips on how to create abundance in your business, visit http://www.ClientAbundance.com