There are so many marketing strategies to use in 2023 to grow your coaching business that it can quickly become overwhelming.
Self liquidating offer funnels are one of those strategies that everyone has been talking about for a year or two now so I thought I would take the time to go through what they are, how to use them in your business, and whether they’re the right choice for you as a coach.
What is a self liquidating offer?
Here is the definition that comes up in Google when you search the term “self liquidating”:
An asset that earns back its original cost out of income over a fixed period.
So when we talk about self liquidating offers we’re referring to products and offers that earn you money and “liquidate the ad spend”.
Which is a fancy way of saying if I spend money on ads to promote the product I will make that money back with the sales from that product.
These have become increasingly popular throughout 2022 as the cost of Facebook ads increased due to the huge changes Apple made that impacted the way Facebook could track people using its products.
The Main Components of a Self Liquidating Offer Funnel
The front-end offer (See the Core Offer Sales Page on the funnel map below)
This is the first offer the potential buyer would see after they click on your post, email, or Facebook ad you use to promote your SLO.
The most popular front-end offers I’ve seen are bundles of templates, 5-day challenge kits, or anything that shortcuts the creation process for your audience.
Things that don’t work well as front-end offers are courses, masterclasses, ebooks – basically anything that is going to take more of your audience’s time.
This is just a checkbox that the person can tick to add something to their order when they get to the checkout.
Upsell (also known as a One Time Offer/OTO)
After the person purchases the front-end offer they would get sent to a second page where you would offer them the next piece in the puzzle. Something that just makes sense for them to buy after they’ve bought the front-end offer.
This is an example of what a self liquidating offer funnel would look like:
Lessons I learned when I created my first Self Liquidating Offer
Lesson 1: Nail the Foundations of your Business Before you Create a Self Liquidating Offer
Everyone is jumping on the SLO bandwagon at the moment.
When I was first starting out in my business I also thought creating a tiny offer was the way to go.
And because I am a complete nut for funnels, I thought it would be really easy.
I remember my coach at the time warned me that it was something I should look at once I was a little more established, but being the stubborn person I am, I forged ahead regardless.
It started out well, I mapped it all out, and I had a lot of great ideas. I tested my idea and I got fantastic feedback.
Then it came to the part where I needed to create everything that went into the offer….
And that’s where I got stuck.
Because when you’re starting out, you’re starting from scratch. You have nothing to repurpose, nothing to work from, and not a lot of income coming in either.
You don’t have the luxury to spend a few weeks or even months working on an offer to the detriment of everything else.
After a few weeks, and help from my coach, I realized I was just avoiding the thing that I was scared of, getting stuck into selling my main offers.
Our minds will create all sorts of barriers to entry when we’re afraid.
As you become more experienced you will learn to spot these detours for what they are: fear brain.
After I let go of the mini offer, I went back to getting really clear on my ideal client, creating an awesome lead magnet, and making sure I had the basics right first.
I eventually did go back and create my mini offer, but only after I had my main funnel working really well. That meant I had the income coming in even if I took my foot off the pedal for a few weeks.
I learned from this experience that you have to nail the foundations of your business before you can add more offers and use more advanced marketing strategies.
Lesson 2: Get Your Main Offer Funnel Working First
I recently worked with a lovely client who wanted help creating a self liquidating offer for her business.
After the third time she changed her mind about what the upsell should be I gave her a call to see if we could get to the bottom of her indecision.
After a few minutes on the call, I picked up some concerns over the pricing of her main offering (an amazing group coaching program).
She was running Facebook ads to an evergreen webinar and then offering the people who watched the webinar a chance to book a call with her. She would then offer them a chance to be part of the group coaching program on the phone.
But most of the people that she was speaking to kept saying they couldn’t afford her program. Along with a lot of no-shows for calls….
As you can imagine she was despondent. This led her to believe that her course was too expensive and the people she wanted to help were flakey and difficult to reach.
I knew that this was just not the case and the people that she wanted to help were out there, willing to pay for her help and ready to make a change in their life.
We went back to her ideal client avatar and realized it needed some tweaking because she was getting the wrong people on the phone with her FB Ads. We also decided to test out a completely different audience to see if we could improve the show-up rate for her calls.
In the end, we decided to concentrate on getting her main offering to sell really consistently before we headed down the route of creating an entirely different offering.
Now, she’s clearer than ever on who she wants to serve and we’re in the process of making sure she’s reaching those people with her ads.
Creating a tiny offer can be really overwhelming if you’re not ready to create one. Make sure you’re not using the act of creation as a way to avoid asking hard questions about your business.
Low ticket offers are great but they are not a silver bullet if you haven’t got solid foundations.
The biggest mistakes I see coaches making when they create their own self liquidating offers
These are some of the mistakes I see people making when they create their SLOs:
1. Not making the front-end offer a no-brainer
Because you’re running ads for these straight to a cold audience (people who don’t know you), the front-end offer needs to be a no-brainer. What I mean by that is it needs to fix a problem that is top of mind for your ideal client.
For example, if you’re a weight loss coach and you want to create a tiny offer to help people lose weight, you’re not going to start with a mindset course as your front-end offer because most people don’t realize that mindset is the missing piece to them losing weight.
You’re going to offer them the things THEY think they need. A shopping plan, a meal plan, your secret formula to losing 5 kilos in 10 days!
2. Trying to create one of these before they’re ready
This is THE biggest mistake I see. People are selling SLOs as some magical formula to getting clients who throw their money at you so, of course, everyone wants a piece of that. But not everyone is ready to create a tiny offer and if it’s going to waylay you for 6 months when you’re just getting started then I would skip it and concentrate on selling your main offering first.
If you think you’re ready to create a tiny offer for your business I urge you to run through this mental checklist first.
1. Is your main offering selling consistently without you having to spend loads of time on it?
An SLO is not a breeze to throw together, they require some work which means your focus would have to shift away from your main offering for a while.
This can take 6-8 weeks in some cases, can you shift the focus off of your main offering for that amount of time?
2. Do you know your ideal client really well?
The success of a self liquidating offer relies on you knowing your ideal client really really well. You have to know exactly what they’re struggling with because when you put that offer in front of them it needs to be a no-brainer.
Because you normally run FB ads to a cold audience to sell your low ticket offer you can’t rely on the know, like, and trust factor. The offer has to speak for itself so if it’s not a no-brainer it just won’t sell!
3. Do you have some money set aside for this?
Tiny offers require paid software to create. At the very least you need a paid email marketing platform and a $97 plugin for your website. But more likely you need something like Clickfunnels or Kartra which costs $97 per month.
You’ll also need a budget to test your FB Ads before you get them right. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get your ads spot on on the first try. You’ll need to test different copy, images, and audiences.
I have helped a lot of my clients map out their tiny offers, but I have also helped some of them realise they’re not ready for one yet.
What do you think?
Are you ready?