How To Effectively Use One Time Offers (OTO)

One Time Offers, in short OTO’s, are special offers, that you present to your customers and prospects while they are ready to spend money in a sales process.

What make OTO offers so special is their uniqueness and the time pressure. The latter is added to the offer in an effort to create the highest sense of urgency that should lead to an impulsive decision, where the choice is either to accept the one time offer immediately or to never see it again.

Now, you may argue about this One Time Offer definition, but this one will do for the point I want to make.

Because I see sooooooo many OTO’s these days.
My guess is that many marketers advocate them as a Deus Ex Machina for every free or low priced offer to at least make some money somewhere. Giveaways, $7 dollar scripts, squeeze pages, etc., OTO’s everywhere.

one time offers
Photo credit: babasteve

Only recently a well known marketer persuaded me to join a new giveaway event. During the sign up process I had to wade through 2 OTO’s and just as I was ready to download my first gift, another set of one time offers passed my screen.
Result? I immediately unsubscribed without downloading anything! Opportunity missed, game over!


Because it’s a GIVE AWAY. That means, giving away something, NOT offering one special offer after the other, hoping to make money somewhere along the road.
Many times the desperation to make some bucks is dripping from the OTO as it is often nothing else than a bag full of manure from the PLR Zoo. How do the organizers expect to sell that during such an event?
It’s just not the intention of a giveaway, where visitors expect to download a free gift.

These people do not realize what the real purpose of an OTO is. It simply is an up-sell of some sort.

“So Case, then let me ask you…

what IS the best moment to offer an OTO?”

Fair enough. And here’s my simple answer:

When your prospect’s ‘defense shields’ are down.

During a sales process, where they already have overcome the difficult and very painful decision to spend their money. In this situation, they’ve ALREADY stepped over the huge trust and ‘spend-money’ thresholds, which are just human nature defense systems.

Mind you, there’s still resistance to overcome, but in their mind that hurdle has been taken. They liked your initial offer and did exactly what you wanted them to do.

That means, that your One Time Offer should closely relate to that what made them decide to step over that threshold. It needs to have instant appeal, so the headline needs to get right to the heart of the reader’s emotions. You only have a short time to make that crucial impact.

The price of your OTO should not exceed the price of your original product -a bit less is better-, because that would take more effort and persuasion to sell. There’s a small line you can walk between adding an extra sale and getting the prospect’s defense shields up again. Your OTO should be a sort of impulsive buy as your prospect sees in one blink of an eye that it’s a valuable addition and below his buying thresholds.

Remember, we’re discussing an offer which will not come along again. If your OTO has something to make it unique or special in some way it will definitely strike a chord with the prospect. If, on the other hand, they have a feeling that it doesn’t matter to miss this one, because several others are selling this too, then your OTO is useless.
This implies, that general affiliate products or widely distributed PLR products won’t do as an OTO, since too many others are selling the exact same product.

So, what are good OTO offers?

Short reports with high value information closely related to the product sold are ideal for one time offers.
Or, if you’re selling a great information product, adding some sort of distribution rights, like resell or master resell rights.
The same applies to video and audio products that explain what the bought product can do and what the user can achieve using it. In such cases, it is always a good idea to include a PDF transcript with audios and videos as not everyone likes them that much. Providing the PDF as comfortable reference may entice them to buy if the information is crucial to them.

Cross One Time Offers are great too.
If you have two products complementing each other and priced exactly the same, it’s a great strategy to use each product as a one time offer after the purchase of the other one. Doing so, you probably make much more sales for both products together than you would have made had you just offered them sepearately in the usual way.

These are all great one time offers and there’s a good chance of selling them in these circumstances. To avoid buyers remorse afterwards don’t forget to emphasize that they’ve made the right decision in your ‘thank-you’ pages.

There you have it. Now, you could argue that an OTO could also be presented during a sign up process. Personally I doubt that very much, because the nature of a subscription process does not involve money, so the decision to hand over just an email address is easier to take. In this case it’s better to offer another subscription, reason why co-registrations work well during this process.

Finally, I realize that this is my opinion. That means the reality could be very different, so my sincere advice is: test, test and test again. Especially when you work outside the Internet Marketing niche, results can vary a lot. Again, test it.

But if you keep the rules above in mind, you can’t go wrong.
do you think differently? Do you have additions, remarks?
Post your response below.

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3 thoughts on “How To Effectively Use One Time Offers (OTO)

  1. Raymond Chua says:

    Thanks for sharing this brilliant information about OTO. I didn’t know that there are so much to learn about it.

  2. Case Stevens says:

    @rock60 It absolutely looks fabulous to me to see and watch such great examples unfold before your eyes! Steepens your learning curve.
    And funny, because for once you now can use off line methods online. 🙂

    @Jan, Raymond You’re welcome guys. If you use OTO’s, let me know how you’re doing, ok?

  3. big men clothes says:

    Everything you have said is good information but you should also be aware of when you actually need to make a OTO.

    I suppose it depends on the culture of the market but in the UK I find you need to do less to pull people in. Basically they know what they want and what they are willing to pay for it. If you take them to the point of sale they don’t need any more pushing, their minds are made up.

    Therefore use sparingly and only when you’re sure you’re not fleecing yourself for no good reason

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