Inbound Best Practices: Offers

3 min read
Aug 13, 2014 12:13:00 PM

Creating enticing offers is crucial to converting website visitors into leads. If you’ve done your job and published click-worthy CTAs and a clear landing page, the next step is to provide visitors with an offer that is of enough interest to convince them to fill out the form and become a lead. If the offer is useful enough, they will happily provide their contact information in exchange for it.

In addition to providing offers directed toward new visitors, you should also include offers that appeal to existing leads, as lead nurturing is just as important as lead conversion! Here are some ideas on how to create attractive offers for new and returning visitors alike. Offers should include some piece of content that is of higher value than that readily available on your website or blog. They should relate to your business and the product or service that you sell, but they should be free, as you are not selling your product or service yet but rather trying to convert or nurture leads with useful and relevant information. These can include guides, consultations, analyses, whitepapers, videos, samples, and contents, all of which should be offered in exchange for filling out the form on a landing page

In order to provide website visitors with an offer that they will be interested in, you should make sure that the nature of the offer is communicated clearly — visitors should know exactly what they will receive if they fill out your landing page form. To ensure that your offer is easily intelligible, ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What exactly is being offered? ("What's in it for me if I give you my information"?)
2. What are the benefits of this offer? (Tell visitors how your offer will improve their lives.)
3. Why does the viewer need the offer now? (Create a sense of urgency to convince people to seize the opportunity while it lasts.)
4. How does the user get the offer? (Visitors will be more likely to convert if the process is quick and easy.)

Once you have established a clear understanding of what you are offering to your visitors, you'll want to maximize the reach and relevance of each offer to increase prospect engagement. Here are some offer best practices that will help you to use your content offers to the greatest advantage.

1. Create a variety of offers
In order to appeal to a range of buyer personas who may be at different stages of the sales cycle, you need to build up a cache of different offers that will be relevant for various prospects and leads. Create a list or spreadsheet outlining your current offers and use it to identify any holes in your arsenal. In what areas can you add offers that your audience will find valuable? Are your offers only targeted toward a single persona or lifecycle point? Identify these gaps and start an offer to-do list to fill them in!

2. Don't just give it away! 
The entire rationale behind free offers is based on lead generation, so make sure to capture your prospects' contact info before allowing them to access your offer! Collect qualifying information and track what each lead has downloaded in the past with landing page forms that come before content access.

3. Talk about it
Promote your new offers by writing content that relates to them. If you just created a guide on the best 6-pack ab exercises, write a blog about the importance of core strength and include a CTA that links to a landing page for your guide. Include little snippets of information from the guide to catch your audience's interest, but don't reveal too much information, or they won't have incentive to convert in exchange for the offer itself.

4. Increase social sharing
Don't limit offer promotion to your website! In addition to posting links to your related blog or landing page on your social media, ask leads if they will share your offer with their friends. If someone has decided to download your offer, they may be willing to suggest it to others, which can drive more prospects to your site in search of the same great offer. Include social sharing links on offers so that new leads can easily share the news. You can either create your own links to each of your social media pages or use official icons, which provide "social proof" in showing the number of likes, shares, tweets, etc. that a given piece of content has gotten. This has a psychological influence on those who may be considering the same offer, as confidence in its quality is bolstered by the fact that friends or peers have already chosen to download it. 
5. Track offer performance
Make sure to keep track of the performance of each of your offers with analytics software, as this will help you to identify what your visitors and leads are most interested in. If you have an understanding of what your audience wants, you can create more offers that relate to popular topics or offer formats (i.e. eBooks or webinars), which will allow you to improve your lead generation and nurturing methods going forward.

Want to learn more about increasing your lead generation? 

Inbound Marketing 101

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