20 replies
Hi Folks

Over in the copywriting section, someone asked how best to present an offer to your customers, and from the responses he got, I got the impression that people have slightly different ideas about what an offer is.

(Or maybe it's just me )

Now, from a customer point of view, they can "make an offer", which is an offer to buy.

So does that mean then, that from a seller's point of view, an offer is simply an offer to sell?

ie. if I sell a product at $x, would you say that's an offer?

To me, the price isn't really the offer. (I guess it can be, if you're going for straight up, "Here's the price, take it or leave it" kind of selling.)

However, I prefer to define an offer as "something that makes the customer feel they are getting even more value for money than usual."

Obviously the most common example of this would be a discount... such as 25% off.

Or "3 For The Price Of 2". Or "free shipping on orders over $25". Or "buy now, pay 9 months later".

I'm asking this question because I intend to do some pretty radical tests of some marketing ideas that I don't see many online marketers using at the moment...

... but before I do, I wanted to really clarify how other people see and define an offer, so...

What do YOU view as an offer, both in your own selling, and when you buy from others? How would YOU define an offer?

Yes... YOU!... you can't hide behind that screen, you know
#mark joyner #offer #quid pro quo
  • Profile picture of the author indexphp
    An offer is when somebody extends something to others... whether it be for free, or paid.
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  • Profile picture of the author TimGross
    Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

    I prefer to define an offer as "something that makes the customer feel they are getting even more value for money than usual."
    I use the term "value proposition" to define the above, whereas if I'm asking a copywriting client what their current "offer" is, I'm just expecting the basic facts, as in:
    "For $xxx, I'm giving them A,B, and C as a bonus, with a 30-day moneyback guarantee".

    So I define Offer as, "Just the facts, ma'am"... I then use the term Value Proposition when I consider how good the offer is, and how to improve the offer to increase their response.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Henshaw
    Paul,

    An offer is in English law, 'an invitation to treat' from my recollection of my studies of law, many decades ago. Which means that someone can accept your offer, decline it, or negotiate with you over it.

    A special offer on the other hand, is something that has benefits to the purchaser over and above whatever is included in the 'normal' offer. Think about the definition and terms of a WSO.

    Regards,
    Jeff.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomw
    An offer is that which constitutes value in return for an appropriate action.

    Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Williams
    An offer, in my book, is a request to trade value. That value trade could be money for a product, a service for a product, a product for a promotion, time for money, whatever.

    But it's always some sort of trade. Increase the likelihood of acceptance of an offer by making sure the person feels he's getting a fair trade or better yet completely making out like a bandit on this trade.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    OK, thanks for the comments so far, folks.

    So am I right in thinking you all view, "The price of X is $Y" as an offer? (As long as X was something that was worth $Y in the potential customer's mind).

    In other words, you make a distinction between an "offer", and a "special offer"?

    (I'm not testing you, by the way... I'm just curious.)
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    • Profile picture of the author tomw
      Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

      OK, thanks for the comments so far, folks.

      So am I right in thinking you all view, "The price of X is " as an offer? (As long as X was something that was worth in the potential customer's mind).

      In other words, you make a distinction between an "offer", and a "special offer"?

      (I'm not testing you, by the way... I'm just curious.)
      No. And this can not be assumed from what I wrote. There is no distinction. There is simply the offer. The perceptions of value are subjective.

      It would not be expressed in terms such as "the 'price' of X is Y."

      Simply "X for Y."

      The concept of a "special offer" is a misnomer.

      Thomas
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
        Hi Thomas

        Originally Posted by tomw View Post

        No. And this can not be assumed from what I wrote. There is no distinction. There is simply the offer. The perceptions of value are subjective.

        It would not be expressed in terms such as "the 'price' of X is Y."

        Simply "X for Y."

        The concept of a "special offer" is a misnomer.
        I absolutely agree that the perceptions of value are subjective, and I like the concept of "X for Y" defining an offer.

        If the concept of a "special offer" is a misnomer, then why do companies still use it? It must be special in relation to something else, which I suppose would be their "regular" X for Y offer.
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        • Profile picture of the author tomw
          Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

          Hi Thomas



          I absolutely agree that the perceptions of value are subjective, and I like the concept of "X for Y" defining an offer.

          If the concept of a "special offer" is a misnomer, then why do companies still use it? It must be special in relation to something else, which I suppose would be their "regular" X for Y offer.
          In strictest terms, an offer is simply an offer. It doesn't matter if I offer you one apple for your orange or four. There is nothing "special" about it.

          It is simply an offer.

          It is still "X for Y"

          Prefixes such as "regular," "special," "extra special," "bonus," "mega," "2 for 1" or countless others that we could dream up as marketers or anybody else are irrelevant to the concept of "offer."

          They are simply "constructs" (adjectives) to alter the subjective perception of value in the offer recipient's mind. They have no bearing on what constitutes an offer.

          Regardless of the weighting of the subjective perception of value, an offer is just an offer.

          If I offer you an apple for $10k it is just an offer, regardless of the weighting of subjective perception of value.

          If I offer you an apple at the extra special Christmas holiday bonus rock bottom firesale price of $5k plus my unbeatable 2 for 1 deal AND you get a free banana it's still just an offer.

          Its still simply "X for Y."

          The concept of "offer" is as simple and pure as can be. Yet so difficult for many to grasp.

          Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author TimGross
      Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

      So am I right in thinking you all view, "The price of X is " as an offer? In other words, you make a distinction between an "offer", and a "special offer"?
      If you consider "special offer" to be synonymous with my previously described "value proposition", it's really hard to talk about them without using the term "offer" in a very generic way of X is $Y.

      IE, "I want to help you come up with a special offer to increase your response, remind me what your offer is now so I can work on improving it..."

      If "offer" meant anything other than a generic "X costs $Y", I'd need another word to describe "generic offer", which would just make it all more confusing, I think. So yeah, for me, "offer" is a very generic description of $X costs $Y.

      Part of the problem of defining terms here is that a copywriter talking to a customer/business owner is going to use somewhat different terminology (ie, use easily understandable terms) than if a copywriter is talking to a fellow copywriter using lingo that only copywriters would be familiar with.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
        Tim, I think you hit a big nail on the head when you said...

        Originally Posted by TimGross View Post

        Part of the problem of defining terms here is that a copywriter talking to a customer/business owner is going to use somewhat different terminology (ie, use easily understandable terms) than if a copywriter is talking to a fellow copywriter using lingo that only copywriters would be familiar with.
        Yes, so maybe the concept of an "offer" means different things to different people.

        "This book is on offer at the moment..."
        "Make me an offer..."
        "I'll offer to write your sales letter and guarantee to double your conversions..."

        The word has a somewhat different meaning, in each context, neither of which are any more right or wrong within each specific context, than the others.
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  • Profile picture of the author hughbanks
    I like the definition of what the word "offer" represents.
    - To present for acceptance or rejection.

    So I would tend to believe as well that "An Offer" is the substance within an "offer".
    If the substance within an offer is established, anything that differs from that which was established could be considered as "A Special Offer". Regardless if "A Special Offer" be good or bad.

    Well, there goes my 2cents, no french fries today.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
    I'm not sure if I will make this clear or just muddy the waters but...

    I see an offer not as the price of something your selling but the sum of what you are selling combined with the price.

    If your selling an ebook for $5 then a $5 ebook is your offer, if your selling a php program for $50 then a $50 program is your offer.

    An offer is the item or service for sale plus any extras or bonuses combined with the selling price.
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    • Profile picture of the author tomw
      Originally Posted by Johnny Slater View Post

      I'm not sure if I will make this clear or just muddy the waters but...

      I see an offer not as the price of something your selling but the sum of what you are selling combined with the price.

      If your selling an ebook for $5 then a $5 ebook is your offer, if your selling a php program for $50 then a $50 program is your offer.

      An offer is the item or service for sale plus any extras or bonuses combined with the selling price.
      That's almost there...but an offer has nothing to do with price.

      For example...you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

      Or...you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours PLUS I'll make dinner.

      "X for Y."

      Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author Habitat
    An offer - I offer this service to you - you choose whether you want it or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    an offer is what people will get in return for their money,

    The offer is what delivers the end result of of what you are offering to your customers
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Well, I like Thomas' definition, "X for Y".

    And I like concept of "value proposition", thanks Tim.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
    An offer is what you put on the table for a prospect to consider.

    That's basically it. But I'll explain a little further for further clarity...

    1. An offer can be quid pro quo -- something for something

    E.g... I'll give you an e-book if you give me your name and email address or

    I'll give you the same e-book if you give me $50.

    In the former example, money does not change hands, but an offer is still on the table. In the latter example, money does have to change hands, and the value of the e-book really has little to do with it since that is usually if not always subjective in any case.

    In the latter example, money is not necessary but a commodity such as time, personal attention, personal information, a friend's contact details, a favor may be what is being asked for in return for the offer (i.e in this case an e-book)

    2. An offer can also be simply giving something away and asking for nothing in return... (that's usually a really tempting offer by the way;-)

    E.g. I'll let you download this piece of software, and not ask for your contact info or money or anything else... that's also an offer.

    Bottom line as I said earlier, an offer is what is put on the table for a prospect to consider. -- Nothing needs to be asked in return, but the prospect must be given a choice to either take it or leave it.

    Most offer makers pray for the former especially if the offer being made favors them as well as the prospect.

    Cheers,

    Kunle
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Offer: What you promise in return for what you ask.
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      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Taylor
    "You give me that, and I'll give you this."

    In sales letters, the offer is the package of goods and/or services you are trading for their money. It can include a guarantee and other terms, such as payment options and bonuses.

    An excellent book on this topic is Mark Joyner's The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less.

    "Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo."
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