All the steps in the Inbound methodology are important, but the convert step, in my eyes, is the sweet spot in the process. The conversion stage is where people choose to hand over their information in order to get something of value in return. That something of value is what we call an offer.
So, What Is An Offer?
Any time a person is asked for information online, they can expect to have someone contact them, whether through email or phone call. Knowing this, most people will only give their information if they perceive something to be of high value to them. This is where your offer comes in.
An offer is something you are giving your online visitor, and it is typically free. An offer can be just about anything you want, but the most common types are eBooks, white papers, and checklists. If your product is of higher value, you could also offer less tangible offers such as an SEO or website audit. Whatever form the offer takes, the most important thing is that it’s valuable and beneficial to your website visitors. Your offers should transform you into a go-to company your visitors will run to when they are in need.
How Do You Provide An Offer?
Calls to Action (CTAs)
There are many different pieces that work together to provide your website visitor your offer. The first and most important piece of the puzzle is the Call-to-Action (CTA). The CTA is the gateway to your offer. It is placed on your website or blogs and presents your offer to the visitor. It is a simple button-like image that puts your offer out there and invites the visitor to click on it to access and download the offer.
An important piece that needs consideration is where CTAs will be placed on your website. Strategically, it makes sense to put CTAs near or within similar content so they are available to those who would be interested in that specific offer. Here's a CTA to one of our offers:
After a prospect clicks on a CTA, they are directed to a landing page. The landing page is your last chance at converting a prospect into a lead. It is very important to highlight the value of your offer on the landing page. Along with highlighting the benefits of the offer, the landing page includes a form where the prospect can trade their information to download the offer.
The form is where the prospect enters their information, and once they hit ‘submit’ they can access the offer. Creating a form is both an art and a science. As a business, you want as much information about this person as is possible in order to provide a better marketing experience for them.
However, the person who wants your free offer needs to believe that the amount of information they are giving up is worth the offer they are receiving. If they believe the offer is right for them, they will be willing to provide their information.
Thank You Page
After submitting a form on a landing page, the prospect is then taken to the thank you page. This page should provide a simple “Thank You” message for downloading the offer, along with providing the actual offer itself. Along with the offer, you can also provide them with related blogs or other offers you think they may find of interest.
Thank You Email
The thank you email does basically the same thing as the thank you page. It is just another way to get your offer to your prospect and it makes it easier for them to access the offer again in the future.
Why Do You Need Offers?
If you don’t currently provide offers on your site, how do you collect your visitors’ information? My guess is the only way you collect their information is through enewsletter sign ups, online orders, or generic contact forms on the Contact Us page. If you don’t provide online ordering though, chances are that the only information you receive from your visitors is name and email address. From there the most you can do is send them emails about very basic information that's not tailored to their interests at all.
A large part of inbound marketing is tailoring your content to each specific visitor. By providing offers that are relevant to your visitors’ needs, they will be more willing to give up personal information such as job function and services they're most interested in. By learning these different things about your visitor, you can nurture and lead them along the path to becoming a customer. Once they become a customer, you can continue to tailor your offerings to lead them to different product or service offerings your business provides that they could benefit from.
So there you have it. An offer is basically a type of high-quality content (or assessment) that is provided to your prospects in return for their personal information. This information is then used to provide them with even better content and lead them through the buyer’s journey until they become a customer (or even a promoter!). I may be biased, but it seems every business can benefit from some form of offer. After all, they make your website into a 24/7 workhorse that will bring customers to you. What could be better than that?
With a passion for helping, both consumers and businesses, I enjoy using my knowledge and skills to create engaging social posts and interactions that start a prospect on their inbound journey. As the Inbound Social Lead, I utilize my social media and interpersonal skills to develop and nurture one-on-one relationships between a business and their customers. When I'm not at the office, I enjoy spending time outdoors (fishing and floating on a tube are my favorite) or crafting on my kitchen table.