Peak Potential Profits members won’t find this post special because they’ve already been exposed to the strategies and tools to make this happen. But if you’re not an insider, I’d like to share one of the most effective ways to increase sales in a follow-up sequence — the Automated Expiring Offer.
In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” one of the weapons of influence Robert Cialdini shares is “scarcity.” Tony Robbins also shares the concept of pain vs pleasure and how we’re more wired to avoid pain than gain pleasure. So when we risk “losing” out on something, we act.
Putting an offer out there for your prospect to accept at their own leisure will always lead to lackluster results. And you probably already understand this if you’ve studied any form of direct response marketing. Slap an expiration date in your sales page, video sales letter, or webinar and you’re almost guaranteed to see an increase — simple as that.
When it comes to automating expirations, that’s where things get a little complicated. One-off mailings, live events, and broadcasts make this easy because they are executed at a single point in time. If you’re drafting up the letter to mail on June 1, you can throw a deadline of June 14th or 21st in there and you’re done.
But what if you’ve got a [contentblock id=17] with multiple steps and you want to make an expiring offer, say, 2 weeks after they join your list? I suppose you can throw vague language like “this offer expires soon” or “this offer expires tomorrow” but as Joe Sugarman talks about in his book, “Triggers,” specificity trumps generalities.
That’s where my Date Calculations plugin comes in (just one of 25+ plugins Peak Potential Profits members get). Using [contentblock id=6], it lets you determine any future date you want by adding number of days, weeks, months, years to the current date or an already stored date in a contact record. You can even calculate the time between various events like when they joined and made first purchase or when two separate tags were applied and use the result to determine next expiration date (uber advanced strategy). Can you say “personalized expirations based on previous behavior?”
But for this example, say I wanted step 5 of my follow-up sequence to launch a promotion that should expire in 7 days. All I’d do is go to the plugin, enter “7 days,” tell it which custom field to store this date in, and in what format (2013-5-15 vs May 5, 2013), and voila, I’m done!
In the example above, I’m storing the date as YYYY-MM-DD because that’s how [contentblock id=6] date-formatted fields accept dates. Why do you want to use a custom date field to store the date as opposed to a regular text field? Because using Campaign Builder, we can actually countdown to that date. In other words, instead of having regular timers in our campaign that wait  days or  days like a typical autoresponder, we can actually store a date (that we determine via the plugin) and then have [contentblock id=6] intelligently count down to THAT date.
Do you see how powerful that is?
We could run a step 7 days before the date we’ve stored to introduce the offer. Then we could run another step 4 days before the stored date to follow-up and let them know the expiration date is drawing near. Then, at maybe 1 day before, we can send another reminder. On the same day, we can tell them the offer expires at midnight. Heck, we can even run steps days after the stored date to downsell or let them know they’ve missed this offer but there’s one other proposition available.
The possibilities are endless.
So far, we’ve covered how to get the steps to run in an automated fashion. But what about merging the actual date into an e-mail? Won’t “2013-5-15” look kinda weird?
That’s why we use the plugin to run a second version of the same date, but in a different format. Instead of having it send the [contentblock id=6] accepted version of the date, we have it send a user-friendly “text” version to a different custom field:
And the great part is these happen at the same time. One ping to my script and these two dates get placed in the appropriate fields, ready to deploy sequence steps and be merged in e-mails accordingly!
As it relates to automatically expiring the landing page: The same date used to determine when they receive the various reminder e-mails will be used by another plugin of mine to redirect them either to a “success” or “expired” landing page.
Here’s how it works:
As you can see, the plugin gives us a link at the very top of the screen. This is the link we put in our e-mail. The only little change we make is adding &Id=~Contact.Id~ to the end of it. In campaign builder, this will pass the user’s contact id to the landing page. This tells us who they are. (If using legacy e-mail builder, just make this an automation link and check the option to pass data – “Id,” in this case – to the landing page. Either way, as long as you get their Id to the landing page, this will work).
Once we know who they are, the plugin magically taps into their account, determines what date exists in the selected custom field, and if it’s in the past, it sends them to our expiration url (which in this example is facebook.com). If it hasn’t passed or is on the same day (prior to 11:59 pm), it will send them to the landing url (which is google.com above).
There is another advanced step where you can actually put code on the page itself, which will allow you to display a count down timer. Here’s how that looks along with an example submitted by a PPP member:
Disclaimer: The built-in clock does not look as pretty as his, but he simply took the [clock] code and implemented it in his own counter graphics:
So there you have it: Personalized dates that not only drive when your prospects get various follow-up steps but can be merged into the steps in a user-friendly way. Then a way to check to see if that date has passed PRIOR to sending them to your landing page. And finally, a way to activate scarcity by showing a countdown timer… SPECIFIC to the date in their contact record.
That’s what I call “Automated Expiring Offers” (AEO).
Obviously, I can’t give you the plugins here as it would be unfair to my PPP members. But knowing what is possible and either finding alternative solutions, having a programmer build you a quick version, or simply joining my program 🙂 will solve that problem!
Until next time –
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