I got sucked in…
The sales page was SO GOOD and it promised the result I wanted desperately. The copy was expertly-crafted and supremely persuasive — hitting on every pain point, telling me how my life could be different, then offering me the solution.
But wait, there’s more!
Bonuses? We’ve got bonuses…. over $1000 worth of bonuses!
But that’s not all! You can get it today only for the low-low price of $49 but you have to act fast because this offer is going away in 24 hours…
*HECK YES! ADD THIS TO MY CART AND GET IT IN MY LIFE!”
This happened to me earlier this week. I know a lot about marketing but I have gaps — and one of those gaps for me is knowing how to set up high-converting email sequences.
A colleague of mine reached out to me with a link to a special offer for what appeared to be just the thing I’d been looking for.
Mind you, I knew going into it, it was mostly bullshit. Because I’m in marketing, I always know when I’m the target of a questionable “tactic.”
I said to my colleague, “This ain’t no $1,000 value, it’s $49 value if that.”
She said, “I KNEW you were going to say that LOL.”
Nevertheless, the offer still seemed perfect for me. It was a system, a formula, swipe files, templates… a remedy for what ails me.
I’m a big fan of formulas, especially copywriting formulas — I teach them to my students and I use them in my 1-1 work with clients. They’re a great way to make sure you’re writing your “money words” in the right order and you’re not forgetting something your customer needs to hear from you to make a purchasing decision.
Branding and sales page copywriting formulas I’ve got down pat, but I’m clueless about the pace of email sequences and what information people need and when, when it’s cool to ask for the sale and when you should hold your horses. Like that.
The promise of the sales page was that I was never going to have another question about email — I’d know exactly what to say and when and what to do — just use this system and get ready to turn on the money faucet!
But when I opened up my shiny new “$1000-value” for $49 product… it was not it.
The bonuses that claimed to be worth hundreds of dollars? Some were things “borrowed” from free content I’ve seen dozens of times before.
Maybe someone who doesn’t live in the marketing trenches would never have noticed, and it really WOULD have been that valuable to them, but me? I felt…
Suckered. Bamboozed. Disappointed.
To make matters worse, the meat of the product didn’t deliver on the promise of the sales page.
Instead of a system I could plug into my business and turn on the money faucet, it was mostly a bunch of pre-written emails that offered little explanation for how to make them fit my own circumstances, my own business model, and my own brand voice.
Basically, it was no different than signing up for someone’s funnel and “hacking” what they did by reading their sequences.
But I shelled out the bucks so I decided to give it a whirl anyway — I wanted to give it a fair chance.
I spent a few hours writing up an email sequence following the examples.
For the next couple of days, I felt icky about it.
It wasn’t custom to me, it wasn’t my voice, it was too cutesy, too pushy, and too fluffy.
So, I pulled it down. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be the person who provides so much value — whether people purchase something or not — that my subscribers feel excited to see my name in their inbox.
So to me, it wasn’t even a $49 value, unless you count the fact that I walked away feeling confident that “I got this” on my own. Imma just do me.
But here’s the thing…
Had the offer been more HONEST and there wasn’t so much hype around the “valued at $XXX” bonuses… I might not have felt so crappy about it.
Being disappointed in a purchase is one thing, it happens. Feeling duped? That’s a whole other level.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t offer bonuses or assign them “valued at” pricing — of course you should, it’s a tactic that WORKS.
But, just keep in mind that your audience isn’t STUPID.
To them, the VALUE is in the outcome they get — so it had better deliver.
Would you be able to ACTUALLY sell this bonus offer for $197, $297, $497 or whatever? Or are you just arbitrarily assigning value to it?
Because here’s what happens when you bamboozle people and it doesn’t matter how low-priced your offer…
They’ll never trust you again. They’ll never make another purchase. And they’ll tell other people not to buy it too.
A low-priced offer ($49 or less) in particular (otherwise known as a tripwire) isn’t meant to be a cash grab… it should be priced low to EARN YOUR CUSTOMERS’ TRUST.
In other words, your tripwire should OVER deliver on the promise of value.
It’s a marketing function — the part of your value ladder that turns strangers into customers (and existing customers are exponentially more likely to buy your premium offers).
By putting bullshit “valued at” pricing on your bonuses, you’re defeating the whole purpose.
Low-cost offers are an introduction to your brand. They’re an exchange of value (I give you money, you give me a result) and when that happens, that changes the relationship.
The question is…
Do you want to create a lifetime customer who’ll gobble up everything you have to offer?
(It reminds me of that saying that the best way to make $100,000 per year is to find your tribe of 1000 customers who’ll spend $100/year with you.)
Or, do you want to grab $49 and call it a day?
The risk you take when making outlandish claims and not delivering is that you sacrifice your brand for a surge in sales.
And, you’ll make your customers feel icky in the process.
Verdict? Not worth the risk.
Let’s talk about it…
Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel about it? I know we all LOVE bonuses, but does it ever seem like the “valued at” pricing is too good to be true? Ever felt bamboozled?
Hit me up in comments, I’d really love to know your opinion.
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.