A landscaping company complained to a reporter that instead of carefully defining their needs, interested prospects say, "Send us a proposal."
"That's like saying, 'Go buy a car,'" objected the owner. "We need to get people to think about what they want."
Not necessarily. They can set up new customers well in less time by offering a line-up of package deals. Packages of services or products provide a combination of options at a set price, instead of forcing people to identify the ideal mixture for their needs.
Barbara Leff, founder of Legal Web Works, created special packages for her target market, law firms with up to five attorneys. "Some are behind the technology curve," she says, "and they prefer to spend their time practicing law and adding billable hours."
Leff's all-inclusive Web site package deals greatly simplify lawyers' design decisions and ensure that they're not sucked into a black hole of unlimited charges. They can mix and match design elements freely, and add extras to the package for an extra fee.
"For lawyers who are tempted to say, 'I need a Web site,' I demystify the process," Leff says. "The package deals make getting small law firms onto the Web as painless and as cost-effective as can be."
Package deals involve additional dynamics that marketers can take advantage of. While package deals often involve discounted prices, the opposite can work too. When the combination of items is exciting enough and includes at least one product or service that's not usually available, people may become willing to pay much more than they ordinarily would.
For instance, suppose you own a vacation lodge and you recently hosted best-selling mystery writer John Grisham, who signed ten books while there on a fishing trip. Autographed books can't easily be bought on the open market, and for fans, they have a powerful appeal. You could thus create a "Grisham weekend" and give away a book to each of ten guests signing up for a three-day package including lodging, food, boat and equipment rental and a couple more luxuries or gifts the ordinary patron wouldn't spring for a la carte.
Even without a scarce or package-deal-only item, you can increase the appeal of your special deal by giving it a tantalizing name. The name might indicate a special purpose that plants ideas in the minds of people who don't ordinarily buy from you, as in the "Treat Your Spouse" weekend at a city hotel, aimed at local residents.
For an auto repair shop, you might call your package
"The Midwinter Tuneup," including a rationale for maintenance services that most car owners don't usually think of bringing their car in for that time of year. A publisher might likewise create a Valentine's Special -- four romantic books that a woman might love to receive from her man, who might otherwise buy just one, or none at all, in favor of that old standby, roses.
The above is adapted from "Secrets of Mouthwatering Marketing Copy" by Marcia Yudkin, available from http://www.yudkin.com/mouthwatering.htm . Marcia Yudkin <[email protected]> is the author of 11 books, including Persuading on Paper and Internet Marketing for Less than $500/Year.