Home – New Forums Marketing mastery How to sell something that seems too good to be true?!

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  • #983064
    SuperMinimal
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    Hi Guys

    My partner and I have started a web hosting business and we are giving away free websites to small businesses to get started! It’s going quite well so far except we are having a bit of a problem with people thinking there must be a catch or it’s too good to be true! But is is TRUE!! aagghh it’s frustrating really, I feel like if all the people who we have contacted knew it was true then we would be swamped with people! Any ideas on how to get the message across that this is a genuine offer?

    Thanks in advance!!

    Annabel

    #1140392
    Greg_M
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    SuperMinimal, post: 160293 wrote:
    Hi Guys

    My partner and I have started a web hosting business and we are giving away free websites to small businesses to get started! It’s going quite well so far except we are having a bit of a problem with people thinking there must be a catch or it’s too good to be true! But is is TRUE!! aagghh it’s frustrating really, I feel like if all the people who we have contacted knew it was true then we would be swamped with people! Any ideas on how to get the message across that this is a genuine offer?

    Thanks in advance!!

    Annabel

    I think I’d need to know how good the website is before I’d say there’s anything special about your deal … I’d also want to know about the quality of your hosting.

    I see in another thread your asking for $120 plus GST. I can currently get a site with full CMS capability, responsive templates, plenty of bandwidth – storage, analytics, free domain, social media integration, free development sandboxes, and no maintenance, full grid hosting for $108 (no GST applicable).

    The sites you’re handing out, are going to need to be pretty good to beat that.

    #1140393
    SuperMinimal
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    estim8, post: 160304 wrote:
    I think I’d need to know how good the website is before I’d say there’s anything special about your deal … I’d also want to know about the quality of your hosting.

    I see in another thread your asking for $120 plus GST. I can currently get a site with full CMS capability, responsive templates, plenty of bandwidth – storage, analytics, free domain, social media integration, free development sandboxes, and no maintenance, full grid hosting for $108 (no GST applicable).

    The sites you’re handing out, are going to need to be pretty good to beat that.

    Wow thanks for your positive feedback! It’s quite trollesque of you! We offer all of what you have listed above, but our sites are custom designed by a graphic designer and hosted on Australian servers (unlike the template sites you mentioned that are obviously using cheap US hosting).

    I actually wanted to know if anyone has any ideas to get around the fact that people think our offer sounds too good to be true, and don’t take it up because they think it is a scam..! Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated :)

    #1140394
    MatthewKeath
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    SuperMinimal, post: 160293 wrote:
    Hi Guys

    My partner and I have started a web hosting business and we are giving away free websites to small businesses to get started! It’s going quite well so far except we are having a bit of a problem with people thinking there must be a catch or it’s too good to be true! But is is TRUE!! aagghh it’s frustrating really, I feel like if all the people who we have contacted knew it was true then we would be swamped with people! Any ideas on how to get the message across that this is a genuine offer?

    Thanks in advance!!

    AnnabelYou need to give people a compelling reason to take you up on it. Free is not enough if they don’t think they will get what they need.

    Giving swamped by offering free websites sound nice in theory.

    estim8, post: 160304 wrote:
    I think I’d need to know how good the website is before I’d say there’s anything special about your deal … I’d also want to know about the quality of your hosting.

    I see in another thread your asking for $120 plus GST. I can currently get a site with full CMS capability, responsive templates, plenty of bandwidth – storage, analytics, free domain, social media integration, free development sandboxes, and no maintenance, full grid hosting for $108 (no GST applicable).

    The sites you’re handing out, are going to need to be pretty good to beat that.Yes, you can. But a lot of people can’t or don’t want to set it up themselves. By getting the right person to set it up right the first time, plus provide ongoing advice and support, is well a premium to them. Even if it is a template theme.

    SuperMinimal, post: 160305 wrote:
    Wow thanks for your positive feedback! It’s quite trollesque of you! We offer all of what you have listed above, but our sites are custom designed by a graphic designer and hosted on Australian servers (unlike the template sites you mentioned that are obviously using cheap US hosting).

    I actually wanted to know if anyone has any ideas to get around the fact that people think our offer sounds too good to be true, and don’t take it up because they think it is a scam..! Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated :)Custom graphic design? Now I am asking what the catch is :p

    Nothing wrong with a template. A good, well setup, well coded, and well designed template will beat a cheaper custom site is most situations.

    #1140395
    SuperMinimal
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    Hi Matt

    Thanks for your reply! I like the fact you would like to know more about our deal now.. hehe! There really is no catch we are just trying to build up the web hosting side of our business. Would you like a site? ;)

    We are not really having a problem with people not wanting it, it’s more that people are so tuned in to scams these days that as soon as they hear our deal they just think it must be one! It’s quite tricky trying to get around this problem..

    Cheers

    Annabel

    #1140396
    Greg_M
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    SuperMinimal, post: 160305 wrote:
    Wow thanks for your positive feedback! It’s quite trollesque of you! We offer all of what you have listed above, but our sites are custom designed by a graphic designer and hosted on Australian servers (unlike the template sites you mentioned that are obviously using cheap US hosting).

    I actually wanted to know if anyone has any ideas to get around the fact that people think our offer sounds too good to be true, and don’t take it up because they think it is a scam..! Any suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated :)

    I’ve been called lot’s of things but never a troll, thanks :).

    Just a couple of points and I’ll offer positive advice directly related to the question.

    When I logged on tonite, I saw several threads you’d posted, all of which were borderline under forum rules (already commented on in another thread).

    When you’ve made a few posts, you get a button “flag as spam” … I nearly hit it (and I usually make a reasonable call) … but I liked your obvious passion for what you are doing.

    My post was meant to point out you need a lot more information about what you do, to offer concrete advice. Your business model is one that I’ve tried myself so I have a fair idea of what you’re up against.

    Put a link to your project in your signature, and continue to participate and you’ll get plenty of visitors, especially if you establish some credibility (that would allay some fears about whether it’s a scam-your words).

    My only other point is that you really need a website to sell your stuff. It’s counter intuitive to me, to sell websites off a Facebook page … it might be part of the mix … but you need to be seen, to be “eating your own dogfood” imho.

    I won’t start an argument about hosting except to say the platform I use would probably kill 90% shared hosting packages, including in AUS, and unless you’re running at a major loss, you must be at the budget end of Aus shared hosting anyway.

    Unless you’re running your own VPS that is.

    Good luck with your project.

    #1140397
    James
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    Hi Annabel,

    If you want to get this offer going you need to build a story around why it is not a scam, and what you are going to gain from it.

    Even people donating to or working with charities gain something; a warm fuzzy feeling.

    Maybe you are doing it to build a referral network, maybe you are doing it in the hope they look to you for additional services. Whatever it is you need to give it some back story, and be completely honest.

    You are targetting business owners who are implicitly intelligent people. If they can’t see how you stand to gain, they can’t see how you will be around in 2 years maintaining their service.

    It is drummed into us from a young age that nothing comes for free (and frankly I still believe that). Why should we take candy from a stranger?

    #1140398
    The Copy Chick
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    estim8, post: 160315 wrote:
    My only other point is that you really need a website to sell your stuff. It’s counter intuitive to me, to sell websites off a Facebook page … it might be part of the mix … but you need to be seen, to be “eating your own dogfood” imho.

    This is what I was wondering… where’s the link to your website, but I think I found it here.

    Personally, I find the font difficult to read, and the menu navigation quite awkward, so that’s one of your first hurdles. Nor does the home page really convey the benefits very well… and the big green “start here” button is quite confusing. Am I supposed to click it? Nothing happens when I do. This should at least go to another page.

    Unfortunately, just these few things would have me questioning what the sites you put together might be like.

    I did find your portfolio, but the images look “squashed” and don’t link to the actual sites. I needed to Google them to see what they’re like.. and at a quick glance, they didn’t look too bad (although they all seemed to have very tiny text).

    IMHO, I think there are a few usability issues which need to be addressed on your own site to boost your credibility.

    Of course, I’ve been working closely with web designers for quite a few years, so I might be overly-picky… but hope that gives you some food for thought, nonetheless.

    #1140399
    JohnTranter
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    The Copy Chick, post: 160436 wrote:
    IMHO, I think there are a few usability issues which need to be addressed on your own site to boost your credibility.

    I had issues with the sub-menus too, I didn’t find them intuitive.

    To be honest I would be pushing the ‘green’ aspect of the business rather than the cost. Your website certainly makes it plain that you are green, but your comments on this site indicate that you’re pushing the low cost aspect.

    One other thing if you’re hosting people’s websites is security and trust. I may have missed it but do you do backups? Is the data secure? Do clients login to their sites using SSL? What level of support do I get, what’s the turn around time if I have issues?
    If you know these, then start putting some trust indicators around the site. Sorry if I missed them.

    #1140400
    Greg_M
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    There is a website … sorry, I missed the link somewhere. The website makes it a lot clearer what you are on about, bonus points for a “responsive” design (well the menu anyway).

    I tend to agree, that the “green” angle, possibly has better potential than “free” websites. Maybe free green websites?

    Your hosting package seems ok value, assuming all the support, and security stuff stacks up.

    #1140401
    SuperMinimal
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    Hi Guys

    Thanks so much for all your great input and for taking the time to check it all out. I think you are absolutely right about the website, actually the site is kinda old and not directly related to the free website project. We are planning on making a separate site, and I think we do really need to prioritise this!

    I also like the aspect of telling our story and making the whole thing more clear! I feel really inspired now!!!!

    Thanks again, I will report back soon when we have put all your feedback into action :)

    Annabel

    #1140402
    SuperMinimal
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    Hey Guys

    Yay!! We’ve made our site! It’s 95% finished. Please let me know what you think:

    http://superminimal.com.au/

    We’re trying to be really clear about what the deal is.. do you think it is easy to understand?

    Thanks heaps :)

    #1140403
    ScarlettR
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    The site is very good. Clean, easy to understand, easy to navigate.

    This is just my own opinion, so please take whatever feedback works for you and leave the rest:

    “Our story” isn’t really your story, or why you’re doing this though. “Our story” should be your purpose for this project. Perhaps rename it “The offer” or something like that?

    Under “What kind of website can I have?” Starting off with “you can pretty much have any website you want” and then going on to say that you can’t actually have any website you want… I’d delete that opening line. Just start with “our free sites…”

    I know this is really picky- but would it be better to title it ‘the free website *design* project’ as the website is not actually free? To state the website is free means that from top to bottom I won’t have to pay for anything.

    #1140404
    Steve – Adoria Photo
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    Good luck with your new venture SuperMinimal.
    I think what you are experiencing is a common thing. Your target audience, here on this forum (small/micro business owners) are aware much more than the average person that nothing that is successful in business will be free forever. There will either be a condition, catch or a consequence later on. e.g. Once the initial seed funding runs out and it is time to pay some bills.

    Generally I don’t click through to anything advertised as “free”, as they can attact risk of:
    1. Being locked in to something expensive once the honeymoon period is over
    2. Only getting “X” for free and “Y” costs a lot of dollars
    3. The business goes bust leaving clients without a functioning website

    In your case I can see that you do have an income stream in selling prepaid web hosting contract, so that does at least help avoid number 3.

    I understand you need to give away something good to build up a critical mass. Maybe you might have more success in putting a value on the website creation service and running several campaigns througout the year where new signups get the website design for free on a specific weekend only.

    In my wife’s business (adoria photography) we found a similar reluctance in response to ads for low cost packages. There are far too many sharks in the industry who advertise “free” or cheap photo shoots then sting the clients with initial cost x 100 when the proofs are ready to be viewed.
    What seems to work best for her is to define offering based on a reasonable package price that covers her time for the shoot and also provides some credit towards photo image purchase. Keeping it real seems to work better than offering it for free.

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