The Secret to Creating the Best Offers

“There are 88 notes on that keyboard, of which only 11 mean something before they repeat in the octave. And you know everybody else has played those notes before. And somehow you have to figure out how to write something original with it.”

That’s one of my favorite quotes from Lion King composer Hams Zimmer.

And that’s how I view the challenge of creating a strong marketing offer. Because making something different in marketing is hard.

Everyone has the same tools as you. And they can all easily construct the same discounted offer.

But being different is essential.

The power of a strong differentiator can not be beat. And a differentiator is really simple: It’s what makes your marketing offer attractive to a specific group of people.

Why create a marketing offer now?

Because stimulus checks are going out, now is the time to run a strong offer. People have pent-up demand to treat themselves a little, and now they have the means to do it.

Instead of focusing on total sales, run a promotion that offers tiered discounting to incentivize higher spending.

For example, if your average order value is $50, offer a 15% discount for spending $65. But then increase it incrementally to capture shoppers who would have purchased more products.

And if you are selling something online, consider offering payment plans through services like Klarna or Affirm.

But the most important thing is to ensure your offer is different. And to articulate how it’s different.

Many existing Covid-19 offers are the same

Right now, many companies already have Covid-19 offers: a resource center, a blog post, or an ebook about navigating these ‘uncertain times.’

“Impacted by Covid-19? We’re in this with you. Find connection and resources for creators here.” – Patreon

“We know this is a difficult time for people everywhere, including small business owners. We want to help. We’ve gathered some useful resources to help your business navigate these challenging times.” – Google

But those? Those alone are not good differentiated offers. None of them stand out. None of them are different from the competition. There are thousands of companies saying the same thing.

That type of offer works fine when demand is high and business is booming. But when the economy gets hit, as it has been now, companies without marketing differentiation have a really difficult time attracting and retaining business.

So what’s a marketer to do?

Ensure your new offer stays true to your brand, and doesn’t seem sales hungry. Whatever your brand messaging was before the virus, stick with that. Your brand voice was a big contribution in the effort to drive sales before Covid-19, and there’s no reason to dramatically change that. Just articulate it more clearly.

1. Pick a niche.

“We made {ebook} for {specific audience} to help you grow from # leads to # with {x tactics} anytime – even during this time”

2. Create a specific offer for them.

“Exclusively for {specific audience} we’ve created {% off offer}, because we believe in {brand differentiator} – now and always.”

3. Lead with it.

Don’t burry your differentiator in your third paragraph. Start with it. It’s the headline!

Craft a unique marketing offer based on your mission statement:

The best way to create your differentiated offer is to think about it like your mission statement. Your mission statement defines the purpose of your work and the impact you intend to have on the world. It’s what you do for others and the approach you follow as you aim to achieve your business’ aspirations.

So look at your existing mission statement and use it to craft your offer, by following this simple template:

[who you serve > what’s the benefit for them/why they should care > what’s different > what you provide/the offer ]

Let’s explore a few examples:

“To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” – Tesla

So Tesla’s unique offer should be about sustainability, and should speak to the masses. “Shop sustainable cars for X% off for the next 3 days to create a better planet for your children. You’ve seen the stunning impact of carless roads during Covid-19. Switch to Tesla for the same results every day.”

“Over 23 years later, our devotion to seeking out the very best ingredients we can–raised with respect for animals, farmers, and the environment–remains at the core of our commitment to Food With Integrity. And as we’ve grown, our mission has expanded to ensuring that better food is accessible to everyone.” – Chipotle

So Chipotle’s offer should be about the best ingredients, and tailored to people in less accessible areas. “Stay healthy. Get X% off our burritos filled with local pork provided by Dutch Farms, a family farm for 20 years. For every burrito purchased we’ll donate one to feeding school children through the Special Program during Covid-19.”

Of course, those are missing brand voice. But you get the gist.

Let’s apply this technique to enhance a few existing Covid-19 offers:

AMA is an example of almost getting it right:

“The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated an abrupt shift in how marketers conduct business. We surveyed AMA chapter leaders to learn more about its effects on everyday work life.” – AMA

  1. They limited their audience “marketers” to a target persona (though I’d suggest they split that into different types of marketers to make the offer more appealing – acquisition marketers, lifecycle marketers, email marketers, etc)
  2. They provide useful data that only they could aggregate.
  3. Though, they don’t explain the benefit of how it will help you.

Hubspot is another example of almost getting it right:

“The economic impact of COVID-19 is undeniable. In the face of closures and shifting consumer behavior, businesses across the world have had to adapt to rapidly changing economic circumstances….Like you, we’re looking for some concrete benchmarks. We looked at aggregated data from our global customer base of 70,000+ companies to understand how business metrics are shifting as the world grapples with the global pandemic….You can sign up to be notified of new insights.” – Hubspot

  1. They don’t address a specific audience. But do mention that “Over time, we plan to add further breakdowns (such as by channel and company size).”
  2. They provide useful sales and marketing data only they could aggregate.
  3. They include great actionable tips at the end, but don’t tell you upfront what the data is going to do to help you.

The Next Web is another almost good one:

“An entrepreneur’s guide to long-term marketing strategies amid COVID-19” – TNW

  1. They specify “entrepreneur.”
  2. They explain a specific timely offer “long-term marketing strategies.”
  3. But unfortunately they miss the opportunity to bring it home by explaining what those strategies could deliver “that will boost your web traffic by 50% next year.”

See the difference?

A differentiator is choosing a group of people to serve and creating an offer that’s highly attractive to them, and as a result, true to your brand’s mission.

Will a differentiated offer make you invincible? Will it keep you from losing customers? Will it keep you from losing your job?

Honestly, probably not.

But it will give you the best chance to find the next lead.

So what’s your unique marketing offer? What makes it different?

Up next, explore the complete digital marketing toolkit for survival.

And if you enjoyed this article, would it be too much to ask you to please send a $5 tip to my Venmo tip jar? @megsterr.

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Thank you so much!

By Megan Mitzel

I'm the wearer of overalls behind the marketing advice website Marketing Overalls. I'm also a senior marketing director with more than ten years of experience leading acquisition and lifecycle marketing at successful startups. Before that, I got a business degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before that, I owned a seashell shop. And that's the tea on me.