Inbound Marketing fundamentally relies on the offer to convert leads and nurture them to sales.
With a system that offers advice and asks for a way to personally contact leads to assist them, there has to be some kind of bargaining chip; some kind of way to encourage website visitors that you can help them out further with their suspected problem. That’s what your ‘offer’ is - additional content that’s valuable enough to warrant your visitors handing their contact details over for.
Since marketing offers are how we acquire leads, it stands to reason that you need your offers to be as appealing as possible. How do we do that?
Understand The Audience
When you’re designing an appealing offer, you need to understand who you’re writing it for. Your offers could be ebooks, whitepapers, spreadsheets, podcasts - there’s a variety of content types on offer; you just want to pick the kind of content that matches your business best. But back to the Who: you need to understand the audience you’re writing the content for. What parts of your business first draw in customers? And which of these customers are the ones you really want to be attracting?
It sounds counter-intuitive to say that you’re understanding the intended audience when you determine the intended audience, but at the same time, it isn’t. You can choose who your ideal audience is, and market yourself to that audience. So, you want to make sure you understand the common content types consumed by that audience, and the kinds of questions they’ll have regarding your business. You can use your buyer personas - fictional representations of your ideal customers - to determine these factors, effectively tailoring content for customers before they ever arrive on the scene.
Understand The Need
Understanding what your ideal audience needs is a little different to understanding what your ideal audience is like, since this one is subject to change over time.
Your ideal customer is going to go through a decision-making process as they make their mind up on whether your business can best solve their problem. This process can be distilled into three distinct stages: Awareness, Comparison, and Decision, and you want to create different offers that appeal to each stage.
A potential customer in the awareness stage of the buying process is trying to diagnose their problem. They’ll be looking for education about the problem and information to learn more on it. At this stage, they’re not yet interested in a solution - just in understanding what that weird noise the fridge is making, and why it’s making that noise, for example. Offers that appeal to someone at this stage of the decision making process will answer those questions and help the potential customer figure out what the problem is. In addition, you being able to help diagnose the problem will give the potential customer much more reason to ask you for help finding a solution, too.
A potential customer in the comparison stage of the buying process now knows what the problem is - they’re going to be looking for a variety of solutions to help solve that problem. For example, there’s a lot of different ways you can remove pests from a house, but not all of them might suit a customer with allergies, so they’ll be looking for a solution that is in line with pre-existing criteria. Offers that are appealing to a customer in this stage compare and contrast different methods of solving the problem.
A potential customer who’s researched the problem and methods of solving said problem is then going to get to the decision making stage of the buying process. What they want from a helpful business will be things like a demo or sample of the product or service to assure them of quality and suitability. In this circumstance, trial products make for good offers, and if your lead is asking for a free trial, then chances are they’re pretty close to committing to a sale.
In all of these cases, you can see that the need of the potential customer is different. If you can provide a solution to that need, you draw one step closer to closing a sale with a lead who’s convinced you’re the right company for the job.
How Then Do We Create An Irresistible Offer?
Offers on your website need to be varied to appeal to a variety of customers as they work through the decision-making process. Let your buyer personas dictate the styles of offers your business produces, and build a variety of offers that will appeal at every stage of the buying process. Doing so will allow your ideal customers to be engaged with your website at every point during this decision making process, and raise the odds of them closing to a sale.
At every point an offer is made, gate it behind a form. Making use of marketing software like HubSpot will enable you to embed smart forms into your website. These will ask returning leads for more and different information, and will give you a clearer picture of the lead and a better idea of when they’ll be sales-qualified. Once you’ve got yourself qualified sales leads, your sales team will be able to contact them and talk through the kind of solution your soon-to-be-customer will be interested in.