If you are marketing digital information on the web, one of the best ways to get folks to buy your ‘product’ is to offer an incentive.
First of all don’t start by discounting your price. Everyone out there can cut prices. The only ones, who can do this constantly, are those with very deep pockets who can afford to lose while you go bankrupt. Stay away from discounting. Moreover, it tends to “discount” your value to the customer/reader too. If you have worked hard to build an image or brand that stands for quality, you don’t want to discount (read: alienate, reduce, sully or besmirch) that hard-won reputation.
Start with incentives that not only add value to your readers, but demonstrate once again how well you can research, write, organize information and communicate with your target group. There are a variety of items you might want to consider when offering an incentive to the site visitor, reader, and prospective buyer to take you up on your offer. You can produce ‘special reports,’ ‘white papers,’ ‘buyers’ guides,’ ‘short “how to” manuals;’ and e-books.
My favorite is the e-book. You can produce a short e-book of less than 50 pages, on any topic that is related or supportive of the main topic of what you are trying to sell the reader. Take the time to arrange a list of the very most important hints, help, tips or secrets that they might want and need to further their own efforts. List these hints, and then write a bit about each one. Don’t forget to include live links to other sources of information. If any of these other resources are also affiliate links of yours, don’t put too many in the e-book. It will look like a blatant promotion and reduce the value of the e-book in the eyes of the prospect.
You can also produce special reports or call them ‘white papers.’ Take a specific topic that the readers will be very interested in, conduct your own online and offline research (offline is still often called the library) then write a concise white paper of 50 pages or less that is now “proprietary” only to you…if they want this special report, they can get it free when they purchase (or do what ever you want from them) or do what you are asking.
Let’s say you wanted to market a “how to guide” on digital cameras. Take the time to do the research and put together a buyer’s guide for digital cameras. If you spend the time online and visit a few bricks and mortar camera shops on your own, you will have more than enough to provide your prospects with good information they can use. What better than a buyers guide to go with a book on how to use digital cameras?
Realize too that when you are communicating digitally with these new people, you should get them to agree (opt-in) to receive your newsletter or periodic emails with information they may need. One of the best ways to do this is to make what they are buying from you the “continual e-book”, a book that is constantly updated with new information by the author. You can’t send them the very latest if you don’t have their permission and their email address, right? Now you are building your list. In the future, you can make offers to them that might involve some equipment to go with their camera or other ‘how to’ guides they may find useful, especially after buying and using your first e-book.
Your ever-expanding emailing list is gold!
Make sure you always ‘brand’ your e-book or other digital item by ensuring that your name and contact information is on the cover and the back page with a live link to your web page, along with your business email address. There is no need to put your logo or brand name on each page. That is visually just a bit too much; it might smack of over promotion and put some readers off. But do make sure your e-book, manual, guide or white paper has an attractive cover. Make it look like a real, physical book, using readily open source-available software packages that use templates to make covers for all your digital information products.
People enjoy incentives that are immediately useful in their endeavors. If you can offer one that is closely linked or supportive of the main purchase — and you can give it to them for free as a thank you for buying your digital product — you’re a winner.
Make sure your incentive is really valuable to the recipient. The secret is to under promise and over deliver.