Do you sell costly products, services, or courses? Wondering how to sell more by lowering the barrier to entry?
In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook or Instagram ads to promote a small, self-liquidating offer that leads to an upsell.
What Is a Self-Liquidating Offer?
Essentially, a self-liquidating offer (SLO) funnel delivers an inexpensive entry-level purchase opportunity that leads your target audience toward investing in one or more substantial purchases. The best part about these offers is that the initial purchase typically pays your ad campaign costs.
While the initial investment is tiny, the value is big. The following are some examples of SLO offers.
Stock Image Bundle
A stock image bundle offer is currently very popular among photographers, content creators, and social media managers. These professionals have curated and shot hundreds of images for their clients and have a backlog of them just waiting to be bundled up and sold. When someone purchases a small offer for a stock image bundle, they get immediate access to those images.
Instagram Story Prompts
There’s been a shift from posting every day on Instagram to posting a few times a week and using Instagram Stories multiple times each day. However, it’s not always easy to create a meaningful story that will get people to swipe up, visit a blog post, leave a direct message, or make a purchase. Having story ideas mapped out across several days or months helps businesses show up consistently and with a content strategy.
For those of us who post “in the moment” on Instagram, having 800 story ideas at your fingertips inside a Trello board or Google sheet could be a real timesaver.
Visual Content Templates
Many design tools and apps make it easy to create eye-catching posts, ads, lead magnets, business cards, and a million other design ideas. For non-designers, though, it can be a challenge to come up with a series of designs to make their posts cohesive and on-brand. One idea for a small offer is to package templates for the masses that are beautiful, streamlined, and editable.
Every business owner needs many types of assets beyond just pretty images. A small offer of 100 graphic templates for all of those assets will help marketers create content that’s both professional and on-brand with little work. This type of bundle might include templates for social media, lead magnets, ad campaigns, postcards, business cards, workbooks, eBooks, and contracts.
Now that you’ve looked at some small offer examples, here’s how to set up your own SLO campaign.
#1: Understand the Elements of a Self-Liquidating Offer Promotion
First, let’s look at a breakdown of the supporting elements that make a small offer work to ensure your campaign is profitable and doesn’t just break even on your core offer.
Core Self-Liquidating Offer
This is the small offer you’ll be advertising. It leads people through a journey to more products and an opportunity for you to show how you can help. Once people click on your Facebook ad, they’ll be taken to a sales page with another offer.
For instance, this client’s core offer is 250 industry-focused stock images for $27. When someone purchases this bundle, they get immediate access to those images. What makes this offer so valuable isn’t just the number of stock images they get; it’s the fact they’re industry-specific and specially curated by an in-house photographer. Because these images can’t be found anywhere else on the planet, it’s an easy “yes” for customers to click and purchase.
You may have seen these types of order bumps when buying skincare products online. Often, people are offered a two-for-one deal for just $5 more.
For your SLO funnel, you offer another product that’s the natural next step to the small initial offer. This second offer is just as valuable as the core offer but priced a little higher.
To make the 250 images in the small offer above even more valuable, people will see a $37 offer for 28 designer Canva Instagram Stories templates, which customers can populate with their new stock images to create a unique and professional brand online.
At this point, your customer has said “yes” to your core offer, may have added the order bump to their cart, and now they come to another offer called the upsell. Think of the upsell as a sneak peek into your course, program, membership, or coaching package. You’ll include many elements in this offer to support the offers that came before it.
The upsell offer is the most expensive in the bundle and it gives your return on ad spend the lift it needs to make these small offers profitable.
Because this client has a monthly membership with valuable content deliverables each month, they’re offering an upsell of 1 month’s worth of the membership. This gives a glimpse of what the customer could potentially receive every month if they became a member. This upsell is priced at $67.
#2: Develop Your SLO
Now let’s talk about how you can ensure you’ve really got the offer dialed in. SLOs can be very lucrative but there are some points to keep in mind when running these popular campaigns.
Think about your ideal client and the main problem they’re struggling with. What products can you package that will deliver a big impact at a low price? How can you deliver a quick win? Providing a quick win for your customers will have them purchasing your small offer without hesitation.
Perhaps you can help them fast-track a skill. Package your small offer like a mini-course of your signature course or program. Here are some ideas:
- SEO skill for Google’s front page in 5 short videos
- How to set up, manage, and scale Facebook ads in 1 hour
- 30-day social media content creation in under 30 minutes
As you develop your offer, here are three points to keep in mind.
Provide Immediate Access
Think of something you can bundle that’s housed in one place to reduce any barriers to using the offer. Be sure to highlight this immediate access in your Facebook ad to make this offer an even easier yes.
With the example above, purchasing the small offer gets the buyer immediate access to the product—250 gorgeous images.
Ensure Future Use Value
One point that often gets overlooked with small offers is making sure the offer doesn’t expire or has a future use value that potential customers can see.
In the Instagram story prompt example, having 800 prompts means the customer can go back to the product over and over every day for more than 2 years. This will increase the know, like, and trust factor with the business, thereby making it easier for customers to buy the next higher-ticket item.
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Set a Low Price Point
Once you’ve determined what your small offer will be, the next important piece is setting the price. Although the offer is big, the pricing of it is very small in relation—$27, $37, or $47, for instance. I’ve even seen small offers as low as $6.95.
Pricing your small offer at $49 or less seems to be the sweet spot for running these campaigns in the Facebook news feed. Remember, your small offer has to make a big impact on the buyer’s business so the price will make it an easy purchase decision.
#3: Advertise Your SLO
Once you’ve got all of the pieces in place to make your small offer a success, it’s time to assemble your ad campaign in Facebook Ads Manager. You’ll create an ad that drives traffic to your on-site landing page funnel.
Determine the Ad Budget
There are many schools of thought around ad spend regarding small offers, and you have to do what feels comfortable for your business. One general guideline is to spend per day the price of your small offer. In the example campaign above, that’s $27 per day.
However, in the beginning, you want to give your campaign enough of a budget to help Facebook get your offer to the right people. A higher budget at first also allows you to test audiences to see which ones your small offer resonates with.
Identify Your Target Audiences
Defining your target audiences is one of the most important aspects of running SLO campaigns. Your audiences will be changing continually if you’re planning to run your campaign for a long period of time. Remember, because your offer price is low, you have to be nimble and manage these ads every day.
These are likely to be your best-performing audiences starting out. They include your email list, Instagram engagers, website visitors in the last 30 days, and my personal favorite—anyone who viewed a landing page from a previous campaign. Read this article to learn how to create custom audiences based on website traffic.
Lead generation campaigns allow you to really test the market for all of your offers. A free lead magnet campaign will help you find your perfect audience, build your email list, and eventually turn those leads into paying clients. The Facebook pixel will track anyone who lands on your lead magnet landing page, which will be great audiences for when you want to start a small offer campaign.
I generally like to see 500–1,000 people hitting a landing page to consider it a good audience. In the case of my client’s campaign, we run lead generation campaigns all year long and have a lot of warm audiences to retarget with her small offer campaign.
If you’re consistently running lead generation campaigns and you’ve reached 500+ landing page views, you can ask Facebook to create a lookalike audience of everyone who has visited your landing pages. This is gold in the Facebook ad world but it starts with running lead generation campaigns up front.
In the client example, we started running the $27 offer to a lookalike audience of 500 people who landed on a recent campaign. It worked beautifully from the start, generating $377 in revenue on day 1 (and many of those people went on to take the order bump and upsell).
If you don’t have warm or lookalike audiences yet, you can still try a small offer campaign by targeting interests. Make a list of 20–30 likely interests of your ideal customer. What hobbies, TV shows, influencers, books, and tools appeal to them?
For small offers, you can group similar interests in an ad set to give Facebook enough of an audience to target. I’ve noticed that the smaller the audience size, the more expensive it is to reach 1,000 people. An audience of around 1,500,000 is a good size to test.
Pro Tip: Because the ads in your SLO campaign are going out to mostly broad audiences with a lot of people in them, it’s helpful to swap out new images and copy each week to keep these offers looking fresh in the news feed. I recommend creating 10 ads so you can easily update your small offers when costs begin to creep up.
#4: Tips to Scale Your SLO Campaign
Running ads for a product is different from running lead generation campaigns so you have to pay more attention to all of the important metrics. Of course, if an ad is working and bringing in a profit, don’t touch a thing. But you may notice that a campaign just ends up fatiguing after a week. When that happens, here are two ways I like to scale.
The Budget Method
Our initial campaign was turning a profit each day, but after about 10 days, things started slowing down. We ended up duplicating the entire campaign, adding a higher budget, and publishing the new campaign with new creative as well. As soon as it published, we saw an uptick in sales. The combination of starting fresh in the news feed, introducing new creative, and increasing the budget gave new life to the campaign.
The Audience Method
Earlier, I talked about having a list of 20 target audience ideas to have on hand when your campaign begins to run. If one audience is performing well, try duplicating that audience and then doing one of the following:
- Layer in a behavior, such as “AND MUST ALSO MATCH” Facebook page admins.
- Tweak something within demographics, like widening the age range or narrowing to just one gender.
You can also adjust for placement, platform, or device once you have that data and see if those tweaks help boost your campaign.
SLOs can help you create passive and profitable income when done with a clear strategy and daily analysis of the data. The ability to be quick and nimble to make adjustments as needed will help you scale your small offer campaign for further profits.
What do you think? Is there a small offer you can create for your business that will help you generate the income and impact you’re looking for? Let us know in the comments.