Writing Seductive Offers: Everything You Need to Know in 7 Steps


Ever wonder what it is about those offers that you simply can’t refuse?

Whether it’s a Groupon email offering a weekend of horse backing for mere change or the restaurant promoting Tuesday as the night children eat free … these offers have a lot in common.

In fact, seven things in common. And if you’re a writer who’s responsible for selling a product, then knowing these seven steps is crucial.

Step 1: Find a Thirsty Crowd

It’s pointless to try and sell something to a group of people who do not want what you have to offer. Men with a full head of hair will never want a hair-growth product. Women typically do not care for power tools. And children could care less about how to pick stocks.

On the other hand…

  • Teach single men how to pick up women regardless of how much hair they have on their head … and you have a killer offer.
  • Offer women a method to washing clothes that slashes the time in half and you will be a rich copywriter.
  • Offer a child the latest technology in toys and you’re likely to live in a mansion for the rest of your life.

What this means is you need to keep your eyes and ears open to problems people have and things they want. You need to observe and ask questions. And if you really want to make a killer offer, unearth an unmet desire … and then build a product to satisfy that desire.

Step 2: Make the Value Greater Than the Cost

Let me come clean with you: I want an Apple iPad. However, I’m not willing to pay the $400 plus it costs to get one.

The cost is simply too high.

Heck, even the $79 Kindle is too rich for my blood. Because I am unapologetically cheap, I’ll live with borrowing library books even though I could buy a Kindle AND iPad this afternoon.

What you have to do as a writer is write an offer with so much value that the price point is irrelevant. This is one of the reasons the Groupon model works. Who in their right mind would pass up a $46 gourmet pizza meal for $20 … or save 70% off a dental exam?

The discount is so steep the value immediately goes up.

The trick to creating value is satisfying as many desires as you possibly can in an offer. Always think about the emotional, physical, mental, financial and spiritual aspects of your customer … and then weave those values into all of those elements.

Step 3: Use Social Proof

Here’s the deal with the Apple iPad. Whether you can really justify needing one or not (there are credible arguments that if you have an iPhone and laptop, you do not need one), you are more likely to buy one if you see someone else with one … regardless of price.

But as the price lowers and more people get one, you’ll eventually be the odd duck out and will buy one just so people will leave you alone about getting one.

This is called social proof.

We want to belong. And we want to feel safe in a decision. So when we see lots of people using a particular product or eating at a particular restaurant, we decide that those are good choices, whether they really are or not.

A classic way to communicate social proof is to say, “Could one million people be wrong?” In other words, one million people use this product. It’s got to be a good product … I should probably use it.

You see social proof on blogs that advertise their subscriber count. Social proof is McDonald’s “Now Serving 7 Billion.” And social proof is being a NY Times bestselling author.

Step 4: Get Rid of Pain and Multiply Pleasure

I’ve alluded to this already, but the number one way to create an irresistible offer is to solve a problem.

It could be a lack of confidence. It could be a lack of productivity. A bad marriage. A gas-guzzling car. It could be a frustration with being a bad cook. Or using lame blenders.

Find out the problems people are having and then write an offer that communicates to them your product can solve that problem.

Some offers will do nothing but increase a person’s pleasure. Maybe it’s a week-long stay in Cancun. Or an hour-long massage. It could be that car that makes you look like a stud and your neighbors like duds.

You’ve got a great offer when you figure out ways to give people endless pleasure.

Step 5: Make the Offer Simple

It’s essential that your offer make sense to your customers immediately. For example:

  • “One Free Night for the Price of Two.”
  • “Learn French by This Friday.”
  • “How Slackers Can Climb the Corporate Ladder”

Do you have a tough time figuring out what each offer promises? I doubt it. That’s what you need to do when creating an offer. Make it simple.

To make it simple you have to first understand all of the benefits the product provides. When you do that, you then need to identify the most important one. And that is usually the basis of your offer.

Step 6: Include an Irresistible Guarantee

Your offer is never complete until you’ve given a guarantee.

Think about it: if you can’t guarantee your product, why should people trust you that it will do what you say it will? Why think it won’t collapse into pieces the moment you turn it on?

An offer could be a 14-day free trial or three-year warranty. It’s simply a way of saying, “Listen, give this product a shot. You’re in love with it because it will make you’re life happier. Why not take it home, play with it, and then see how you feel? Money back if you don’t like it.”

In this economy people are more price sensitive than ever before, so you need to think creatively on how to make price concern go away. A good guarantee will help you do that.

Step 7: “Take It Away” and “There’s Not Enough”

Two of the strongest motivators for getting people to buy your product are exclusivity and scarcity. Let’s deal with exclusivity first.

Exclusivity is like telling someone who they may not have what it takes to join your club or use your product. For example:

  • Manly-man trucks want you to think that only a certain type of man drives them – burly, jackhammer-wielding, whiskey-swallowing types.
  • High-priced restaurants are exclusive joints: if you can’t afford a $1,000 plate, you don’t belong.

Scarcity is the other side of the coin. For instance:

  • Only one thousand of these cars produced.
  • Fourteen seats left at this conference.
  • One week before cost of registration doubles.

Exclusivity and scarcity work on two core emotions: pride and fear. Pride that we don’t measure up. And fear that we may miss out. Weave these two emotions into your offer and you’ll have to beat customers off with a stick.

I love thinking and writing about offers because it’s the part of the copy that you crystallize into a singular and simple message. And I love to see the results that it produces.

But hitting the right offer isn’t easy. Test, measure, change, test. Repeat until that offer is irresistible.

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Image source: Christian Patterson

Article originally published on Crazy Egg.


  1. says

    Yep.. Pretty much lays it out for ya.. Thanks, man!

    P.S. I’m thinking you should put together a book with the images you’ve used on your blog. I’m not sure what kind of voodoo you do with them to make them look so darn beautific, but it’s good stuff.

  2. says

    Well said, Demian. You covered 7 effective steps here in your typically compelling style.

    One of my favorites is the exclusivity and scarcity approach. Sometimes there are multiple layers of exclusivity inside a deal and people have to be sold on each level.

    For example, once a pro football team sells a guy upper level tickets, the marketing team is then going to send the guy marketing messages that make him feel left out of the “lower level” club, which has the “even better” seats.

    The guy was happy at first just to get into the season ticket club…but that wears off and suddenly his upper level seats are not good enough.

    Once he pays more and moves down to the lower level, the football marketing team begins sending him messages about being a member of the “Club level”, which as a bunch of additional perks that are off limits to lower level and upper level ticket holders…

    On the other hand, when I think about the “scarcity” approach, the first thing that pops into my head is the gasoline “shortages” we’ve been sold before. That one works easily.

      • says

        I saw your post on the game…On the bright side, you and your son saw a good performance by the Rams. You know, even with the QB out, if they were in a different division they could be playoff bound. Such a tough division right now to be in.
        Oops, I’m digressing here. :)

        • says

          True, but those other teams I’m afraid will get exposed in the first round … any one who gets to the playoffs in our division deserves it. I’m not sure if it’s Seattle’s year, but I think their the best team in NFC … to a degree.

  3. says

    Awesome post here Demian, cheers! It’s funny to think how powerful these sales techniques really are: even if you’re completely aware of them, it can still be almost impossible to resist a juicy offer.

    Groupon is a great example… You might find products or services on there that you’d never even consider forking out your hard-earned money for, but just because you see a massive price reduction (which may well not be a real reduction at all) you simply have to have it!

    I’m a face-to-face-salesman turned copywriter, and despite knowing all the tricks of the trade, if a savvy (and determined) salesman comes knocking on my door, it can still be very difficult to refuse! Same goes for first class copywriting. Because as humans we’re wired up to have certain automatic reactions to things…

    If a meal at some new fancy-looking restaurant costs 200quid (or dollars) you automatically assume that it’s of exceptional quality. But it might be a load of old crap. The chef might be a spotty teenage boy who’s never cooked before in his life. But yet from your experience, 95% of the time, things that cost more are better quality. And that natural assumption usually serves you well in life. So when Groupon tells you you can have that fancy shmancy meal for only 40quid (or dollars), and the offer’s running out FAST, you have a natural urge to snap it up… even if, usually, you’d never think twice about spending 40pounds on a meal.

    It’s all about manipulating the human mind (sounds kinda evil when I put it that way, right?)

    Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent. If anyone wants to delve deep into the psychology of sales – and you haven’t read this yet – then definitely get your hands on a copy of ‘Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert Cialdini.

    Thanks again for the enjoyable read Demian. This is getting a big fat ‘tweet’!

  4. says

    This article reminds me of a quote ” Make them an offer they can’t refuse”, great article it has all the elements to make a seductive offer which your consumers can’t refuse.

  5. Dee says

    Offer women a method to washing clothes that slashes the time in half and you will be a rich copywriter.

    Like getting a dude to do his own damn laundry? Instant 50% time saving top tip!

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