How to Create Marketing Offers That Don't Fall Flat

The gateways to lead generation are offered. Without them, site visitors can't get converted into leads. They are a critical tool for nurturing existing leads into a position that makes them more sales ready. Isn't the word 'offer' so vague and abstract? What is a marketing offer, and what are the qualities of a good one?

We see so many marketers get confused by this concept, so we're going to discuss what a marketing offer is, highlight the characteristics of an effective offer, and explain how you can start using them the right way.

What is an offer?

Sometimes the best way to explain something is to identify what it isn't. Many of the things marketers think of as marketing offers aren't actually offers at all. Let's clarify first. A website visitor needs to complete a form to get access to an offer. You can put anything behind a form. There are certain things that will not contribute much to your lead nurturing initiatives. We're not saying that you shouldn't read these types of content. They shouldn't be put behind forms or relied on to generate leads.

Some examples of things you should never consider to be a marketing offer.

If it's a form that allows site visitors to email you, you can put this behind it. This will not bring in leads as effectively as true offers will.
There's no reason product-centered content should be gated behind a form. You should make it easy for your site visitors to access this type of content. If site visitors are looking at this type of content, they're already in your sales funnel, which is where they'll make a purchasing decision.
Customer case studies are similar to product-centered content in that they are easy to access. It's pointless to make a visitor or lead fill out a form.
Fact sheets are not lead generation material.
Press releases behind a CTA or form will lower your chances of getting the word out.

What is the offer?

The good news is that you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to offering offers to your target audience. These are not limited to:

Providing visitors with guides that help them solve a problem or are tailored to their interests will help establish you as an authority on the topic.
Visitors to your website might be more willing to give you their information if you give them a discount or promotion code.
One way to establish yourself as an authority on a topic is to offer a course. Visitors will learn more about a topic if they register and you get their information.
Industry-specific reports and research can be a great incentive for prospects to give their contact information. You can offer value by doing research for them, making it readily available, and giving it away for free.
Membership or loyalty programs give potential customers a sense of exclusivity, with access to rewards and perks not offered to non-members.
A template is an easy way to create your own documents. You are probably familiar with some of the common template options.
Visitors to your website can test your products without having to make a purchase with free tools such as the Website Grader.
Free trials allow visitors to test your services out without being at risk.
If a potential client is on the fence about using your services, offering a consultation or demonstration might help. When they sign up, you will get their contact information, but they will learn more about how your product or service can help them.

What makes a good offer?

There are a number of qualities that an offer should possess in order for it to be effective for lead generation and nurturing, and the types of offers we mentioned are all great options. There should be offers.

1. Be high quality and valuable to your audience.

The value of the offer needs to be compelling enough to convince visitors to complete the form in order to get it. People don't like to give up their contact information, so your lead-capture form will create some tension. If you start putting mediocre, low-value offers behind your forms, your business will eventually be known for having a poor user experience and subpar offerings, which will hurt your lead generation and nurturing goals.

An offer is valuable if it addresses the problems, needs, and interests of your target audience. The value could mean different things for different offers. If you're promoting an offer to generate net new leads at the top of your funnel, it's likely worth it because it educates your prospects and fills a need. A free product trial is still a very valuable offer for existing leads you're trying to nurture and who are closer to making a purchasing decision.

2. You should align your business and products with them.

A great marketing offer can complement the products and services your business sells. The educational ebook should address concepts that align with your paid offerings, even if it is not very focused on how awesome your products and services are.

Our offers focus on helping prospects with their marketing challenges when we know that HubSpot sells inbound marketing software. The offers help set HubSpot apart and educate prospects about the problems our software helps to solve.

3. The right buyer persona should be tailored at the right time.

A truly great marketing offer takes into account a person's point in the sales process as well as that buyer persona's specific interests and needs. How this really comes into play is in lead nurturing campaigns and how you decide which calls-to-action to place on your website.

If you use lead management software, you can easily collect key pieces of information about your prospects that will help you segment your leads into nurturing campaigns based on their buyer persona, their point in the sales process, and what you can determine their interests are based on their activity Sending offers that appeal to those interests and how close they are to making a purchasing decision can help you better qualify a lead before they get handed off to sales.

If your business is in plumbing and a first-time visitor comes to your site and downloads an ebook on how to fix a minor plumbing backup, you might enter them into a lead nurturing campaign that will lead them to attend a plumbing seminar. If they move further through the sales cycle, you could give them a coupon that discounts your services for a minor drain problem.

The same concept applies to how you place calls-to-action on your website. If you conduct analysis that shows how new visitors find you through social media, search engines, or another referrer, you can infer that many of them are first-time visitors to your website. If you want to appeal to people who are just entering the top of your funnel and know little about your company, you should place CTAs for offers that appeal to them.

On the other hand, a visitor to a product page may be closer to a purchasing decision. If you're a software vendor, a demo or a free product trial is more valuable to those types of visitors.

How to use marketing offers.

Now that you know what makes a good marketing offer, let's look at some offer best practices. You can create a lot of great offers, but if you don't use them to their best advantage, they're not going to do much for you.

1. Multiple types of targeted offers can be created.

First things first. With all that talk about targeting and segmenting the right offers to the right buyer persona at the right time, you can probably guess that what all that means is a need for a variety of offers. Building up an arsenal of offers can be a big lift, but it can mean the difference between good results and awesome results.

You can create a spreadsheet that allows you to list the offers you currently have, highlight the holes in your group of offers, and map offers to the various points in your business' sales process. Slowly fill in the gaps on your offer to-do list.

2. Offer behind lead-capture forms.

Lead-capture forms are the gateways to your offers. Place your offers on the landing pages. This allows you to collect information that will help you qualify a new or reconverting lead and track what they've downloaded from you throughout the sales cycle.

3. Place calls-to-action appropriately.

It's an important one, but we mentioned it. You can align your offers with the pages on your website by creating CTAs. If you just wrote a post about the best and worst plumbing products, you might want to place a CTA for your free guide to the best plumbing products on the market. You can test different versions of your CTAs to determine which ones generate the best click-through rate once you have created awesome-looking CTA buttons for your site.

4. Content can be created around your offers.

Creating content specifically around your new offers will help launch and promote them. If you just created a guide called "Best Plumbing Products", you should write a post about the top 5 products and explain to readers that they can download the guide. You'll be killing two birds with one stone because of excerpts.

Video is a great marketing tool. You could make short videos explaining how to fix plumbing issues. If you use a CTA, you can prompt them to subscribe to your newsletter.

5. You can promote your offers on social media.

The promotion of your offers shouldn't be limited to your website. You can use social media to promote your offers by sharing links to the landing pages and explaining their value in your posts. It is important to build your social media reach so that you can expose your offers to a large audience.

6. Potential customers should be given contests.

Contests are a great way to get exposure on social media. Billabong ran a contest to win a trip to Baja, Mexico. The contestants must enter their contact info into the form. You could run a promotion for free services or products that would be of interest to your target audience in exchange for them completing a form.

Other contests may ask users to tag a friend under the contest post, which helps build brand awareness and acts as free promotion through word of mouth.

7. They can be used in email marketing.

General email marketing can be used to promote offers, but you can also use dedicated emails to promote them. Promote your new offer in a dedicated email send that highlights one offer and conveys its value. If it's a very general offer that every buyer persona in your audience would enjoy regardless of their point in the sales cycle, send it to your entire list. If it's a more targeted offer, segment your list and send it to the people you want to appeal to.

8. The offers should be aligned with the prospects' stage in the sales process.

It's worth emphasizing that this is another one we've already talked about. If you align the offers you use in your lead nurturing campaigns and in the CTAs on your website with a prospect's likely position in the sales cycle, you can better qualify a lead and shorten the sales cycle.

9. Track performance and strategy when necessary.

Measure the performance of your offers. This will help you identify which types of offers are successful in generating leads and customers so you can create more offers around those topics or formats, helping you become a much more effective marketer. Do your prospects like to watch webinars? Do they only care about the topics that are addressed in your offers? Use what you know to improve your lead generation efforts.

You can use offers in your marketing.

How many offers are in your pocket? How much do they affect your business' lead generation and nurturing efforts?

There are offers for generating leads. watch your business reap the benefits by using them wisely.

The post was originally published in February of 2012 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

The original story was published on Dec 7, 2021.