At the beginning of the buying process, most visitors to your website – between 75% and 98% – aren't ready to make a purchase; they're researching solutions to a problem. Providing targeted content is the key to turning cursory interest into concrete leads. But to accomplish this, you have to make an offer.
Pull, Don't Push
Inbound marketing isn't about pushing out a sales message; it's about pulling prospects in by offering them something. The most effective way to do this is by developing powerful content that aligns with your buyer personas' needs and offers to resolve a common challenge.
Initially, your offer could be a blog post which prompts the reader to download an eBook that more thoroughly covers a subject. Or it could be a page on your site that encourages the visitor to download a how-to-guide. The point is to develop remarkable content to move the prospect along in the buying process through calls-to-action (more on this in our next post, Create a Conversion Path).
Your first priority with your content should be education, not sales. You want to provide insight and advice on a specific issue or challenge that they are facing, but without pushing them to buy something. Not until later in the process do you offer content that also begins to position your organization as the solution to their problem.
The Benefits Of Free Offers
When you make an offer of value to a prospect, it's an informational transaction. While no money changes hands, you're giving them your expertise in exchange for valuable information; an email address, a name, a phone number. This allows you to collect data and develop an idea of the types of content particular prospects, leads and customers find useful.
And this isn't the only benefit gained. Your offers can also assist in:
- Building brand credibility
- Increasing visitor to lead conversion rates
- Establishing consumer trust
- Positioning you as an authority in your industry
Think of it like compound interest. Offering valuable content in a consistent and timely manner compounds the interest that prospective buyers have in your company. If interest is piqued at the beginning stage of the buying process and continues throughout the buying cycle, the better chance there is to convert prospects into leads and then clients.
Are you making offers to attract leads? What kind of offers do you think work best? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!
This is Part 3 of 9 in The Key Elements of an Inbound Marketing Campaign:
Daniel is a Content Writer at Search Engine People. He is always experimenting with new formats and looking for creative ways to produce, optimize and promote content. He previously wrote for CanadaOne Magazine and helped create and implement online marketing strategies at Mongrel Media.