What is a one-time offer (OTO)?
If you’ve ever downloaded a free report, booklet, book, video series or signed up to some sort of newsletter of email-based free course, you probably have ended up on a confirmation page. This page thanks you for signing up and it can give you some information regarding when you will receive the freebie that you are interested in.
If you looked at the rest of the page, a lot the times you’re going to see an offer. This is called a one-time offer. This type of offer also appears when you bought an item, usually a low-priced product like an e-book, a report or software.
It’s important to note that regardless of how you get to this page, it only appears once. That’s the whole point of the one-time offer. It truly is a one-time offer. You get it when you are really “hot” or really interested in a particular topic or subject matter. Its scarcity is what makes it so powerful.
Why Offer an OTO?
Answer: psychology. When people sign up to your list or download a paid or free item, they’re obviously very interested in solving a set of problems the downloaded item or signed up newsletter addresses. They ended up on your squeeze page because they’re
interested in a particular set of needs that they have. This is not theoretical. They’re not
thinking about what their needs would be two months from now or a year from now.
They’re actually involved with the issue now. They need a solution now.
In other words, when people get to your OTO, they are near or at the height of their greatest need for a solution to a specific problem. The OTO sells them a product or service that directly addresses or is closely related to the problem they are most
interested in solving. How do you know they are “hot”? They trusted you enough to enter their name and email address to get on your list, buy your product, or download your software.
This is crucial. Somebody maybe interested in finding a solution to a problem but they may not be THAT interested, meaning, they are just kicking around the idea. They might even be leaning towards one particular solution instead of others but they can’t, for the life of themselves, commit. You’ve gone beyond that point because you had these people trust you enough to enter their email address and name. This shows you that they are serious about addressing the problem hey have.
When somebody is in this particular state of mind, they are less psychologically resisted to a sale. They feel that they are close to an answer or they have already arrived at the answer to their problems. The OTO simply seeks to capitalize on this extremely high interest level. You are in a stage of the sales cycle where you are in the “use it or lose it” stage of the sales cycle. It’s no surprise that a lot of OTOs either account for 40% of the sales of a funnel or leads to the vast majority of the sales made by an individual sales funnel.
How Does an OTO Work?
You have to get people to enter their email address and name. There are four common ways to do this. First, you can tell them that they would get certain information if they join your list. List members are promised a wide range of information involving a
particular subject matter. This usually takes the form of an email-based course or a regular newsletter.
Alternatively, you can offer a free e-book, a booklet, or some sort of “ethical digital bribe” to get their email address. For them to sign up to your list, you give them a booklet or something that they are truly interested in. This free downloadable digital product directly addresses certain problems that they are interested in solving.
The third approach involves collecting emails after people bought a product. Usually, this takes place near the end of the sales cycles. They buy a product, they pay for it, and then they get redirected to a download page that collects emails by promising them some sort of a digital freebie or newsletter involving something closely related to the solution that they just bought.
Finally, you can collect emails by putting the email collection at the front of the sales process. Somebody goes through your site, they like what they see, they click to buy, and the first thing that greets them is not a payment form. This is not the form that they entered their PayPal email address in or credit card information. Instead, they see a simple form asking them for their name and email address. Little do they know that even if they abandon the sales process, they end up on your mailing list. Once they opt in, they then get redirected to the OTO page.
All the processes I described above lead to an OTO page. That’s how an OTO works. It’s
still the same page and works the same way but getting there takes at least four
different ways. Really creative marketers, I’m sure, have innovated additional
approaches. However, the four common ways I described above should give you a place
to start. You can customize these. You can innovate on them. You can fit them to your particular set of circumstances.
Sounds good so far? Well, don’t get too excited. A lot of people build OTOs. In fact, it has become fairly routine and standard in the online marketing industry. As you can well imagine, when something becomes routine, people often drop the ball and they do.
Why Do Too Many OTOs Fail?
It really is quite tragic but the majority of OTOs simply fail to live up to their fullest potential. The OTO as a concept is a slam dunk if you know how to play it right. Imagine, you have all the pieces in place but you just dropped the ball at the last minute. All you needed to do was shoot the ball through the rim, but too many marketers fail to do that.
Think about it. Your prospects are hot. They’re definitely interested, either they bought something or they are interested in a booklet or that they’re interested in a particular piece of information or they just want to join your mailing list. Whatever the case may be, they already entered their email address and name. They already committed. You know that they are interested in a particular subject matter. You know that they have a certain range of problems that your OTO product addresses.
Regardless of all of these advantages, your OTO still failed. That’s right. It fell flat on its
face. How can this happen? If you commit the following mistakes, your OTO will fail.
That’s the bottom line. Thankfully, the list is short but I need you to use your
imagination to come up with variations of these. These come in many different forms but if you were to boil them all down, there are three main reasons why OTOs fail.
Failure Reason #1: Offer the Wrong OTO
The most basic mistake marketers make is they offer the wrong OTO. How do you know it’s the wrong OTO? First of all, it’s not selling. That’s a dead giveaway. However, digging deeper, the reason why the product is not moving is because it is not directly related to the set of problems of your audience. People who see your OTO have a certain set of problems. They are hot regarding a particular set of solutions but your OTO has nothing to do with what they’re interested in.
At this point, your OTO is dead in the water. It is obvious to the people seeing your offer that it has nothing to do with what they are interested in. At the back of their minds,
they’re asking “Why are you showing me this?”
Failure Reason #2: You Failed to Pump Up Enough Interest Before Showing Your OTO
As I mentioned above, getting people to the OTO page is pretty straightforward. There’s four general ways to get there. However, this is not automatic. This is not just a simple case of filling in the blanks, following the steps and you have yourself a collected email address. You have to manage expectations before people get to your OTO page. You have to make the right promises to the right people at the right time to produce the right results. Sounds simple enough?
Unfortunately, there are many things in life that are easier said than done and this is one of them. The essence of marketing involves amplifying interest. In other words, when people go through the email signup process, they must be pumped up. They must be in a really white-hot emotional state that they are brimming over with hope, anticipation and mental images of a bright future as far as a particular problem is concerned.
If your squeeze page or sales materials and even your content do not engender or wake up a sense of urgency in the eyes of your target audience members, your OTO is going to have a tough time.
People who end up on your OTO page feel that they’re just getting a freebie or that
they just bought a simple product and they’re ready to move on. They’re not motivated
enough to look for enhanced or value-added solutions to the problem that they think they’re already solving by signing up to your list. Do you see what’s wrong with this picture?
You have to work the emotional state of your buyer before you put up an OTO page in front of their face. Otherwise, they wouldn’t think that your OTO is that big of a deal. They have higher priorities and ultimately, your offer falls between the cracks. Your conversions suffer.
Failure Reason #3: Use the OTO with the Wrong Email Collection Process
If you collect your email in a very confusing way or you create the wrong expectations along the way, your OTO is not going to work like it should. This is the bottom line. You
have to make sure that the email collection process that you use must be geared towards people excited enough to want to buy something.
If, for example, your digital freebie like a book gets people excited about getting a complete solution and you make it clear that the book is a complete solution, I can almost guarantee you when they get to your OTO, they’re not going to lift a finger. They’re not going to do anything. Why? You already told them that the book they just downloaded addresses all their problems.
So, you have to make sure that your email collection process uses the right incentive. Maybe the better approach here would be to use a free email-based course. The OTO simply sums up everything or gives them a tool that speeds up everything. This way, the OTO is offering added value. If it turns out that your freebie or the item that they get in exchange for their email already solves the vast majority of their problems, they would see no value in spending hard-earned dollars on your OTO. Do you see how this works? Good.
What Kind of OTOs Can I Offer?
The kind of OTOs you can offer truly depend on your imagination and creativity as well as your particular set of circumstances. I don’t mean to be slippery but this is how you have to approach it because if you are going to offer an OTO on an automatic or
formulaic basis, you’re just going to fail. There, I said it. I don’t mean to depress you or discourage you but that’s the truth.
You have to pay attention to the actual behavior of your customers. You know your market better than anybody else. You should play around with the OTOs that you offer. Run different OTOs two weeks at a time. Pump traffic to your squeeze page to study OTO behavior. Patterns should arise. At the very least, you should consider the following three. Rotate among them and pick the one that gets the most conversions.
First, you can offer steep discounts on a product or service. For example, if I am offering an email-based autoresponder course on how to make money blogging, I can offer a steep discount on an automated blog system where people just select a topic and the software does everything else. Do you see the connection?
Blogging takes a lot of time. It definitely can take a lot of effort because you have to figure out what to write, collect information, write out the information, get pictures, make sure your content is SEO compliant, so on and so forth. It takes a tremendous amount of attention to detail. If you were to offer an OTO that automates all of that, people would sit up and pay attention.
In this particular context, your autoresponder email course opens their minds to how much money they can make blogging but it also makes them fully aware of how much of a hassle blogging could be. Once the OTO appears, they get a clear alternative. You can do the same with a free book or a “walled-off” part of your blog that really gives the viewer the inside scoop regarding a particular problem.
Another type of OTO you can offer is a bundle package. This usually takes the form of a product bundle. Somebody goes to your website and they can see that they can buy many different books separately and they are obviously interested enough in the topic to sign up to a mailing list, you can give them the news through your OTO that they can
buy a large number of these books at a steep discount. This approach actually moves a lot of products.
Finally, you can use an OTO selling a product made by somebody else. I am, of course, talking about affiliate products. The secret here is to make sure that the affiliate product is closely related to your niche. For example, if you are selling a book on how guys can pick up women, the OTO can involve a live dating coaching service or it can offer membership to a dating site that has a very good ratio of guys to women. This means that guys have a higher chance of meeting people because there’s less guys around.
I hope it’s clear to you that whatever affiliate product you choose to offer in your OTO, it has to be closely related to the niche of the freebie or autoresponder series or product that you just sold or people gave their email for.
Keys to OTO Success
Key #1: Thoroughly study how you collect your emails and use OTO to add value to the process
I want you to wrap your mind around this key principle. The OTO is supposed to add value. Keep repeating it like a mantra. Keep doing it until you understand it and memorize it. Why? A lot of marketers think that the OTO is a quick payday. This is true. People can and do make a lot of money with OTOs but it’s not about you. It’s about your customer.
If you understand this then you will make money. But if you think that the OTO is just a way to grab your viewers wallets, then you’re going to be sadly mistaken. The value that it adds must be obvious and the only way to do this is to go in with this mentality in
place. When you plan out your sales funnel, the OTO must add value. That is what it’s designed for. So, if this means that you’re going to have to offer something that is going to make you less money, do it. Why? You’ll probably make a lot more money down the road because it adds value. It fits the sales funnel and gives your customers the
solutions that they’re looking for.
Key #2: Enhance your email collection sequence with OTO
It’s very easy to look at a typical squeeze page sequence as some sort of formula. You probably have picked up all sorts of online courses and people make a big deal out of sales funnels. If you read through these materials, they sound alike. It’s as if they came from the same template. I’m telling you, if you’re going to build your business using some sort of formula that has been beaten to the ground since forever, you probably are not going to make much money.
What’s important to note is that your email collection sequence must add value to the experience of your user. That’s number one. That should be your highest priority. After you understand that, you would be ready to accept the possibility that maybe the OTO should be later in the sequence. In other words, it might be better for you to not offer an OTO right after people sign up for their freebie. Maybe the best time for an OTO is when you start sending them email updates.
In particular, you send them email updates and there’s an offer for a low-cost product. People then click it, they like what they see, they buy the product, and then they get
taken to a confirmation page after you collect their email. This is your OTO opportunity. Do you see what happened here? You earned their trust already because you sent them these updates that they actually open. They found enough value in those updates for
them to click the link to the stuff that you’re selling through your emails. They then
show their trust by buying that low-cost item.
I don’t care if it’s a dollar or fifty cents. The fact that they whipped out their wallets, took out their credit cards and filled out a form, shows that they are serious. This is where the OTO really does wonders because you have qualified these people, their interest is real, they are red hot, and then you drop the OTO on them. Their chances of conversion at this point is quite high. It’s not guaranteed but it’s definitely much better than if you drop the OTO right in front of their face right after they sign up for your email list.
Key #3: Focus on your niche
The OTO must address the same problem or a closely related problem. Here’s the iron rule of OTO success. The further you are from the set of problems your freebie addresses, the less likely you will make money with your OTO. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. No need to overthink it. No need to overcomplicate it.
Key #4: There has to be a heavy need
You have to make sure that when you drop your OTO, there has to be a heavy need for it. The good news here is you can pump up this sense of need. Seriously. A lot of marketers are blind to this. They think that the person who goes to their website either
has a burning hot desire for the product or they don’t. This black-and-white mindset works against them because they become passive. They feel that they are just people with the net and either the fish go in or the fish don’t go in, then they just leave it up to the luck of the draw. No. You have a lot of say in the matter, believe it or not.
Here’s how you do it. First of all, you make sure that your sales funnel pumps up their level of interest to a white-hot level. They are not thinking of maybe they should buy this. Instead they’re thinking along the lines of “I need to buy this. This is my highest priority right now.” You can do this. You can use the right pictures, the right text and create the right scenario to get them to develop this high sense of urgency.
Once they buy something, even if it’s a low-cost item, pump up their need for the OTO by point out the fact that the OTO enhances the product they bought. One common example of this involves software. For example, you bought a piece of marketing software that you need for better SEO. As you know, SEO requires key words to deliver solid results. You need to target the right key words.
If somebody bought an SEO software that enables them to prospect for links, a key piece is missing. They need a keyword research tool or they can do this manually. So, when your OTO offers that easy-to-use keyword research tool, the user sees the direct connection between the product they already bought and the OTO product.
The genius behind this is that the main product that you just sold can be five dollars, something cheap, but the OTO is the product that would actually make the paid-for product so much more powerful or so much easier to use. If this is obvious to them, then they wouldn’t mind paying a lot more money for the OTO. This is how a lot of software is actually positioned online.
Another way you can pump up a need is when you show in your OTO page that the product you’re selling actually implements the solution they got in the freebie. For example, if I tell you how to come up with a sales funnel manually, you probably would be thankful because when you sign up for my freebie, you obviously don’t know enough about setting up a funnel. Pretty straightforward. But after you read my freebie, you will see how complicated it is. You will see how many different parts are required by a sales funnel.
So, you might be feeling a little bit discouraged until you see a link saying, “Here’s an easy one-stop solution. You don’t have to do all these complicated items. You don’t to have hunt down all these different components. You get everything in this one solution for one low price.” By that point, you would sit up and pay attention because I set you up to have a problem.
You downloaded my freebie to solve a problem and when you read through it, you know that this is the solution. But it opens another can of problems, namely complexity, lack of time or lack of skills and expertise. The solution? You sign up for the email list, you get the OTO. There are many ways you can play this.
Another way you can pump up demand is when you offer steep discounts to the solution they read about in the freebie. Again, you can put the OTO behind another email list that they should sign up for. Otherwise, you just position this link as an upsell.
Finally, my favorite approach is to get people to sign up to an autoresponder course. This is a series of emails that teach people how to do something. As they receive each email, they feel really happy because they now know how to solve a problem. As they receive more and more email, they see how involved it is. They see that this is not as
simple as they think. This is not a straight shot. It may take many different steps. It may require many different parts.
Near the end of the autoresponder course, I tell them that there is a simpler solution which I will cover in another book. So, they click on that link, they sign up to download it by entering their name and email address, and they are redirected to my OTO page. On my OTO page, I tell them that the book that I just gave them is still manual. It’s much simpler and easier than the first book, but there’s still work involved.
Here’s the beauty of this OTO. They are given the opportunity this one time to use software that takes all most of the complexity of the process. You take all the techniques and all the books that they downloaded and they just reduce it into this easy software.
The software can be a SaaS or it could be an actual service. At this point, people should convert at a high rate because you’ve already earned their trust plus also they already feel that the contrast between how they could be doing things and the solution you offer is so big that your solution is worth a try.
Key #5: Do A/B testing
A/B testing is just a simple case of using different layouts and designs and alternating among them while pumping traffic to your squeeze page. The key here is to get a lot of email opt-ins and then swap out your OTO pages. Run each alternative OTO design maybe for a week and then run several designs and then see which design is the strongest. This is, of course, the design that gets the most conversions.
Come up with different versions of that design and run the original version as well. When you notice that one of the variations gets more conversions than the original, delete everything else and then come up with variations of the variation and check to see if you can get another variation that gets more conversions. At the end of this process, you should be able to get a design that converts at a predictably high rate. Of course, this all depends on your traffic. The moment you switch traffic sources, then all bets are off. Your conversions can go up or typically, they’d go down.
Key #6: Use scarcity
Imagine yourself walking in a small group in the grasslands of Africa 100 thousand years ago. You notice that that there is a freshly killed wildebeest a few yards from you. Your group is tempted. You can keep going your way or you can cut up the meat now
because there’s a high chance it won’t be there when you get back that way.
Chances are quite high that our ancestors who took advantage of scarce resources the first time they come across them had a high rate of survival. This enables them to reach reproduction age and they have more children. This means this mindset of giving in to scarcity signals is hardwired into their genes. Use this to your advantage because a lot of people are more likely to take action on an offer if they feel that it’s not going to be around for long.
There are many ways you can address consumers’ scarcity mindset. You can use a countdown timer for your special offer. You can set a specific date and then blank out the page. Whatever the case may be, appeal to people’s sense of scarcity.
Key #7: If you want to make the greatest profits, do this
If want to really take your OTO profitability to a whole other level, you only need to do one thing and one thing alone. What do you need to do? Create your own product.
That’s right. Write your own e-book, get your own software coded, get an app program. Whatever the case may be, create your own product. You get 100% of the sales price.
You have a direct role to play on ensuring the quality of the product. You also can control the sales page that converts traffic into cash. People who make real money online usually, at some point, create their own product.
Use the information above to get a firm footing on OTO marketing. It is a specific subcategory of marketing. You have to wrap your mind around the issues I described above if you want to succeed with OTOs. OTOs can account from anywhere between 40% to 90% of your profits if you do them correctly.
Sadly, the vast majority of online marketers fail to truly leverage this amazing sales opportunity because they don’t know what they’re doing. Now you know so you don’t have an excuse. Read everything that I shared above and most importantly, act on them. I wish you nothing but the greatest success.
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