Have you ever heard of a “perpetual motion machine”?
It’s the holy grail for engineers.
Basically, this machine is able to keep on working without any additional input of energy.
Like a Playstation that never needs to be plugged in…
Or a bike that keeps rolling (even uphill) without ever having to be pedalled…
Or a self-liquidating offer (SLO for short)—a marketing funnel tactic designed to pay for itself while still feeding fresh leads into your pipeline and growing your email list….
Pretty cool, right?
Simply put, an SLO works to immediately monetize traffic coming into your funnel, completely off-setting the cost invested to acquire that traffic.
Put another way, SLO’s are like a bike that pedals itself.
And they can revolutionize your business.
Today, I’m going to show you:
- What a self-liquidating offer (SLO) is and how you can incorporate it into your marketing to bring in zero-cost leads to your funnel that are ready to buy.
- How these offers tap into multiple principles of marketing that are proven to help businesses scale and thrive.
- And a few examples of SLOs I’ve come across that do a great job of paying for themselves (while giving the creators the massive marketing power they need to grow).
What Is a Self-Liquidating Offer (SLO)?
So, what exactly is a self-liquidating (SLO) offer anyways?
Essentially, an SLO is an offer that ends up paying for its own advertising expenses.
It’s a way of offsetting or completely negating the costs you have to pay to get that offer out to your customers.
Sounds simple, right?
An SLO can be practically anything too.
An eBook, a guide, a checklist, a collection of recipes, a resource list—whatever you want!
As long as it’s attractive to your target audience, you can make an SLO out of it.
What Are the Goals of a Self-Liquidating Offer?
You have to make money to keep yourself in business.
That’s why it’s important to remember that an SLO is only the first step in your sales process.
See, the purpose of an SLO is not to bring in loads of dough.
Instead, it’s to:
- Establish yourself as an authority in the industry that your customers can trust.
- Connect you with leads that become qualified for your product or service after consuming the content in your SLO.
- Build your email list so you can continue to nurture leads until they buy.
…All without ever having to lose money on attracting leads.
Now, there are 2 main types of SLOs: the Standalone and the Sneak Attack.
Type #1: The Standalone
The Sandalone type of SLO is basically a tripwire.
We all know what a tripwire is, right?
It’s a low-priced offer that’s meant to build trust with your target audience so you can convert them later on your core offer.
What makes a tripwire qualify as a self-liquidating offer, though, is that the revenue generated from it pays for its own advertising costs.
One of our most successful SLOs of this type is our Ultimate Swipe File.
At just $7 a pop, it isn’t especially profitable on its own (we’ve generated $12,418 total since its launch).
However, it has more than covered its own ad costs. And most importantly, it’s helped generate high-quality leads for another core offer: our 6-Figure Sales Funnel training.
Now, there are tons of different types of tripwires you can create.
Just make sure that yours is aligned with your core offer (like how our swipe file was aligned with our funnel training). Otherwise the audience you attract may not have any interest in purchasing your core offer—and that’s where the real money is.
Type #2: The Sneak Attack
For many, this type of self-liquidating offer is simply a lead magnet: a free offer that lets you capture leads in exchange for their contact information.
Lead magnets are a fantastic way to capture contact information for leads without them having to actually buy a product (thus reducing the risk involved on their end).
In fact, we used lead magnets as the first step when building out most of our clients’ sales funnels. See?
And as with tripwires, there are plenty of different lead magnets you can use to attract your ideal audience.
Now, the thing that makes the Sneak Attack type different is that it cannot pay for its own advertising costs by its very definition… because it’s free!
But where the self-liquidating part comes in is that later purchases on your core offer are used to offset the advertising costs.
For example, let’s say I wrote an ebook and decided to set up a dedicated landing page for it. Like the one for the ebook I wrote, Productize & RELAX.
Then to drive traffic to the landing page, I offered a free lead magnet like a set of video tutorials and advertised them on Google or Facebook.
Say I then find that 5% of the people who opt in to the video tutorials end up purchasing the ebook—costing me $30 in ad spend for every purchase.
Well, if the cost of the book is $30 or more then this is an efficient self-liquidating offer because the cost of a future purchase is equal to the ad expenditures—even though the lead magnet is free.
But just as with the Standalone SLO, you have to be sure your two offers align. In fact alignment is so important for conversions that it’s even one of the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics.
Examples of Self-Liquidating Offers Success
Now the question is, “Do self-liquidating offers actually work?”
Would I be writing about them today if they didn’t?
But just to put your mind at ease, let’s take a look at just one of the best examples of an SLO success story.
That’s where Mike Dillard comes in.
Mike Dillard’s an entrepreneur, podcaster, consultant, business coach… the list goes on.
And his $50 million+ empire all started with one tiny yet incredibly powerful self-liquidating offer.
It was called Magnetic Sponsoring—a $29 ebook that sold more than 100,000 copies.
In fact, the self-liquidating offer is so popular that other businesses have even started using it as their own SLO.
Here it is being offered by Elite Digital Marketing Pro on their website.
Now, that eBook alone brought in more than $2.9 million. BUT it also took quite a lot of ad spend to achieve those kinds of numbers.
The real win was that Mike Dillard built his reputation as an internet marketing expert.
Because of that reputation, he was able to build a financial education company called The Elevation Group with a client base of over 50,000 in 60 different countries.
And with a flagship product with a price tag of almost $2,000 (50,000 clients X $2,000 = $100,000,000), it’s no wonder why Mike Dillards SLO story is such a massive success.
Why Do I Need a Self-Liquidating Offer?
Simply put, you need a self-liquidating offer because they come with a lot of benefits. And, of course, they really do work (as long as you know what you’re doing).
But let’s dive a little deeper into the weeds.
Why exactly do you need a self-liquidating offer?
Marketing Costs Are High
First off, marketing costs are on the rise.
According to Statista, global advertising spending has grown by nearly 12% from 2016 to 2019—from $503 billion to $563 billion.
On top of that, Hubspot reports that “adblocking costs advertisers billions of dollars and the losses are growing year on year.”
Whether we like it or not, marketing is getting more expensive.
And that means that business owners and entrepreneurs need to be more strategic about where they’re spending money and more clever with their marketing.
They Help Build Your Email List
Self-liquidating offers are a fantastic way to help you build your email list—a vital part of any successful modern marketing strategy.
Incorporating email marketing into your marketing strategy is a must these days.
In fact, it’s the most important channel according to marketers surveyed by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
Why is email marketing so important?
First, of course, there’s the ROI involved.
The DMA found in the same report cited above that email marketing has an ROI of around 4,200%—or a $42 return on every $1 invested.
Other marketing experts like Hubspot report that it’s closer to 3,800%.
Even still, building up your list and launching an email sales funnel can be both exceptionally lucrative and pretty easy once you know what you’re doing.
And with a self-liquidating offer, you’re essentially building up that email list for $0 per contact. What’s not to love?
Tripwires & Lead Magnets Really Do Work As SLOs
And last but certainly not least, tripwires and lead magnets really do work as your self-liquidating offer.
While they differ a bit in terms of the financials (tripwires come at a cost but lead magnets are free), they both accomplish a similar goal—building trust.
See, not everyone is going to be ready to buy your core offer right off the bat. In fact, Marketo reports that about 96% of leads aren’t ready to buy when they first see your offer.
That’s why you have to build trust first.
You have to convince people that you actually do offer value. Then and only then will they listen to what you have to say.
Research from global communications firm Edelman found that trust for a brand is largely built on the quality of products and the value it offers.
Both lead magnets and tripwires help to establish that ever-important trust.
And as a result, building an SLO for your business is one of the most cost-effective ways to build trust in your audience.
Core Principles Your Self-Liquidating Offer Needs to Follow
A self-liquidating offer can be a fantastic way for you to mitigate your advertising costs.
But if you want to get the most benefit out of your SLO (e.g., direct high-quality leads to your higher price offer or build your email list), you’ve got to follow a few core principles.
Let’s take a look at these principles and how taking them into account will help make your SLO even more successful.
Your Self-Liquidating Offer Has to Be Aligned with Your Core Offer
First and foremost, your SLO has to be aligned with your core offer.
Now, what does that mean?
As I mentioned earlier, alignment is one of the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics.
Alignment is all about making sure you’re meeting your prospects’ expectations.
In the case of SLOs, it’s all about making sure the offer that first attracts prospects (your lead magnet or tripwire) is in the same general niche as your more expensive core offer.
Let me give you an example.
Say you’re browsing through Facebook and all of the sudden you spot an ad for a free cajun-inspired recipe book!
You’ve always loved cajun food ever since you were a kid so you think “Why not?” and you download it.
There are only a few dishes inside but you love making every single one of them.
Now, a few days after downloading the cookbook, you get an email saying “We hope you enjoyed your cookbook!”
So you give it a click and BAM—you’re hit with an offer for 25% a consultation with… an accounting firm? You quickly hit “Unsubscribe”.
What the heck just happened?
Well, the creator of the lead magnet (the cookbook) didn’t align it with their core offer.
Now, if the creator was, for example, selling a larger, more complete cajun recipe book, it’d be much more tightly aligned.
So when you’re creating your SLO, be sure to build something that actually relates to your core product or service.
Because otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
It’s Meant to Be the Start of an Upsell
Upselling is an incredibly useful way to boost your revenue.
In fact, research from Price Intelligently found that increasing the monetization of your customers (i.e., boosting how much they spend with you) affects your bottom long more than focusing on customer retention or acquisition.
So, in order to get the most out of your SLOs by using them as a gateway towards the upsell to your core offer, do not overprice your SLOs!
If you do, you risk driving off new leads that may have otherwise converted on your other high-ticket offer.
Of course, with the Sneak Attack type you won’t have to worry about that since it’s going to be free.
But with the Standalone SLOs, you want to keep your prices low, yet not so low that your core offer loses its merit or seems cheap.
Aim for somewhere between $7 and $97.
In fact, we stuck to this principle when creating our own $7 for 7 Days Trial for our monthly service.
With this offer, leads get to try out delegating their digital marketing projects to us for a full 7 days, all for less than the price of a couple cups of coffee.
And if they like what we’ve done (like 700+ of our clients), then they sign up for a monthly plan at a higher ticket price.
In the end, a tiny expenditure (just $7) often leads to $1,000s in recurring revenue.
So again: don’t sweat the low cost of your SLO.
The end goal is to build trust, establish authority, and prove to your leads that you have something valuable to offer.
So there you have it!
You have just learned the magic of the self-liquidating offer.
And along the way, you’ve also learned:
- The 2 different kinds of self-liquidating offers you can start using today.
- The 3 main benefits of using SLOs: marketing costs are high, they can build your email list, and tripwires and lead magnets are great ways of building authority and future customers.
- A few principles of SLOs that you should keep in mind when building your own.
Now, I’ve got to ask you: are you going to go build your own self-liquidating offer for your business? If so, do you plan on following the steps lined out in this article? And if you have already created your own SLO, do you have any other tips to share with our readers?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused,