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What's your Hook?

Written By: Meredith Liepelt
Some people call it an "attraction tool," a "free taste," a "pink spoon" (referring to Baskin Robin's famous free scoop to check out a flavor), a "hook" or some other catchy name, but no matter what you call it, having a free offer is a great way to build your business quickly. Simply put, your hook is what makes prospects start to view you as the expert and eventually hire you for advice, coaching and consulting. It's a way for your prospects to enter your marketing funnel and experience your business, your brand and your philosophy with little effort, risk or commitment on their part.

I love this tactic so much because it's simple for the entrepreneur to do and it provides high value to your market. Win/win situations simply feel good.

Creating a compelling hook is the first part of the business model that I use and teach because it actually helps you attract clients, instead of frantically chasing down new clients down month after month. Not sure what I'm talking about? Here is an example of how it works from the standpoint of your prospects:

Here's the scenario:

Say you are a career coach. Jane is a woman who you have never met, and she is considering a major career change and is searching online for information to help her through this process, as she hasn't interviewed for a job in a long time and feels like a fish out of water.

Here's what happens:

Jane lands on your web site and sees that you are a career coach and you offer coaching on how to make a change in career, write a resume, interview, locate unadvertised positions and negotiate compensation. Sounds good, but she doesn't know you and doesn't know if she can trust you or the information you provide. Then, Jane notices something interesting located in the top right corner of the web site. It says, "Click here for my free report called Five Massive Interview Mistakes That will Cost You the Job Offer and How to Avoid Them." Wow - Jane doesn't want to make any of those massive mistakes and risk not landing the job she desires! So she clicks on the link and provides her email address so the complimentary report can be emailed to her right away. She also is told that she will receive your complimentary ezine subscription that includes tips, tricks and tools to ensure that she lands the job of her dreams. Cool! Jane can hardly wait for her first ezine issue and the special report so she is armed with all the right information she needs to land a great job. Best of all, it didn't cost her a thing! Within minutes, Jane receives an email with her free report, devours it and is impressed with the information provided. It's much more information than she was expecting and it really provided her with lots of great information. She feels much more confident in her ability to reach her goal.

In a few days, Jane receives her first issue of the ezine she was promised and is once again impressed with the content provided. She feels as if it was written just for her. After receiving the ezine for a month or so, Jane notices that you are offering a teleseminar called, "Negotiating your compensation with integrity and authenticity." Jane happily pays $59 to register for the class, as she is confident that it will be packed with the information she needs right away.

Congratulations! You have just turned a prospect whom you have never met - or even spoken with - into a new happy client and referral source in just a couple of months! If you had not had your free offer on your web site, the odds are not good that Jane would have ever registered for your ezine, let alone come back to your web site for a second visit or register for your teleclass or found the confidence to make a positive change in her life!

Your goal in marketing is to locate people in your target market and find opportunities to put yourself in front of them in as many ways as possible. By offering a "free taste" of your services, you are putting yourself in front of your target market with little effort on your part! In turn, you are providing them with highly valuable information they need for their lives or businesses. It's a win-win proposition. You are building their trust as they gain from your free offer.

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