January 9, 2020
Research: Should You Spend More in Q4 Leading Up to Cyber 5?
Deciding on what carrot to dangle in front of your audience is one of the most important decisions when running a lead generation campaign. Sure, you have the shiniest new product or service out there and it’s certain to disrupt the industry. You’ve set up your campaigns for success using all of the right best practices in the book. Now it’s just time to sit back, relax, and wait for the leads to come pouring in, right? Not necessarily.
When choosing your offer for your lead generation campaigns, it’s important to understand your visitor and what stage of the purchase funnel they are in:
Just as a pushy used car salesman can have you running for the doors if you’re only coming in for a test drive, a landing page offer that doesn’t match the intent of the visitor will have your bounce rates bouncing off the walls.
But have no fear, we’re here to help you figure out what offer to use and when to use it.
Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. Any honest marketer will tell you that it requires patience, especially if you need to build that ever-valuable brand awareness or are targeting a colder audience (an audience that isn’t in purchase mode just yet). That’s when prospecting offers are useful to test. These offers are higher up in the funnel and may not provide you with as much value right out the gates; however, if used properly, they can be very effective in starting engagement with your future potential customers.
Gated Content (e-book, case study, white paper, guide, etc.)
Gated content can be a great way to subtly introduce your visitors to your company. The idea behind gated content is to provide value to the user in the form of an e-book, case study, white paper, guide, or some other similar type of content without expecting much in return. Depending on the perceived value of the content that is provided, the visitor will then be left with a (hopefully) positive impression of your brand, even if it may be a subconscious one.
When considering whether to use gated content or not, it’s important to note that this is not supposed to be your opportunity to brag about yourself or be too “salesy.” Doing this could repel your prospects and may even do more harm than good. Remember, this is only meant to be a subtle introduction, and the main focus here is providing actual value.
If being Mr. Modest Nice Guy isn’t your thing, which is necessary with gated content, then running a giveaway offer may be more appropriate. If the giveaway is relevant for your specific product or service, then it can be a great way to generate some quick buzz — because who doesn’t love free things?
With giveaways, visitors should already expect to give away something themselves in order to redeem their prizes, so feel free to ask a few more questions using a quiz or survey format. Also, unlike the gated content offer, this is your chance to brag about your company and how amazing your product or service is! You want everyone to know exactly who you are and why you’re there. This type of offer is a brand awareness play, and for this reason, it’s even advised to have your giveaway item be branded.
I can think of at least one blog writer who has an entire closet of branded swag shirts. 🙋♂️
Somewhere in between gated content and giveaways lies the blog newsletter signup offer. Much like gated content, the purpose of this offer is to provide value and knowledge to the visitor. However, unlike gated content, the blog is more of an opportunity to closely align the visitor with your brand. A loyal blog reader base can be a huge benefit for the growth of a company, and using this as an offer for your lead generation efforts can go a long way.
With that said, the perceived value that the visitor receives from signing up for a blog or newsletter may not be as compelling as the prior two offers that we discussed. This is important to keep in mind when setting goals and expectations for your campaigns.
One step down the funnel from prospecting are your consideration campaigns. At this stage, it is assumed that the visitor either already is familiar with your brand and/or is actively researching a solution for what you have to offer.
This is a very critical stage in swaying the visitor in your direction. It’s highly likely that they may be exploring and comparing several possible options at this stage, so standing out, being educational, and providing incentives are key aspects to keep in mind here.
Webinar (pre-recorded or live)
Let’s start the consideration conversation off with the webinar. A webinar is a well-known offer that many potential customers are prepared to sign up for at the consideration phase. It doesn’t require too much commitment from their end, and it can also provide exactly the amount of knowledge they are looking for in order to make an educated decision.
One important distinction to note about webinars, however, is that they can fall into the prospecting category if the intention of the webinar is purely to give a broader education lesson to the registrant. A consideration phase webinar can — and even should — be more focused on your product.
One of the most common types of consideration offers is the demo. A demo is much like a webinar, as it familiarizes the visitor with your offer; however, it is intended to have more technical details and go through product features at a deeper level. Again, like a webinar, the demo can be either pre-recorded or live, but what is most critical is that it is targeting the appropriate audience and convincingly displaying your product’s benefits. If that is successfully achieved through the demo, your closers and SDRs will be your best friends.
For local campaigns, meet-ups are an awesome way to get in front of your customers’ faces (literally) and develop a much more intimate connection with them. There is probably no offer that provides a better opportunity to really get to know your audience than a meet-up, so if you can fill a room, more power to you.
Obviously, the major challenges in running a meet-up as your lead generation offer are scalability and attractiveness. National or international campaigns, for example, most likely wouldn’t be possible unless you’re running a major conference or want to focus on one specific area. Also, the meet-up offer does require very high commitment from the visitor. While pizza and beer may work to bring your buddies over, it may not always be enough to draw your customers away from their free time.
Of all the consideration offers, the coupon may be the most efficient in terms of front-end performance, but quality can be questionable. Since downloading a coupon or receiving a code requires almost no commitment from the visitor, there is little friction to conversion, whereas the other consideration offers we discussed above do require some type of commitment from the other side. However, what happens once a user downloads your coupon is uncertain. Many may download coupons that they’ll never use. Others may only make one purchase and then have a diminished perceived value on your product, which would make it very challenging to get them back to full price. Due to this, use caution when testing coupons, but don’t be afraid to test them.
You’ve made it.
Now it’s time for the final and, well, most critical part of the funnel: making moolah. But before you count your eggs, there is still one stage left to push your future customers over the edge into the cha-ching zone — the conversion offer.
Depending on what your product or service is, the free consultation or quote offer may sometimes be the simplest one to jump to in the conversion phase without having to go through the first two phases prior. If you are in the service industry, this may even be your prospecting offer.
For example, when it comes to a leaky pipe, most homeowners can self-diagnose what they need and are ready to jump straight to the consultation to find out how much this repair will set them back. But if you have a SaaS product, a quote would be far too aggressive of an offer, as the visitor would likely need to be educated more, especially if your product is rather complicated.
The free trial or service is the coupon of the conversion world. Like a coupon, this requires limited commitment from the visitor, and the success of it partially depends on how serious or properly they use their trial. Many will sign up, barely engage with the trial, and then exit the trial almost forgetting that they ever signed up.
Additionally, if your product is complicated, this can be a very dangerous offer if you don’t properly tend to it. Even if users do attempt to engage, if they are met with a less-than-desirable onboarding and user experience, then your product may just be deemed not effective, even though it may have just required a bit more user education. For those cases, you must ensure that you have a strategy in place to tend to those leads.
Get Started/Sign up
The signup: the holy grail of all offers. Your engagement with the visitor up until now has been on-point, and they’re ready to pull the trigger. They are now ready to get started. This most likely goes without saying, but this is a very high-threat offer, and if you choose to use it, please proceed with caution. Like the free trial offer, if you haven’t made sure the user understands how to use your product correctly, you can potentially leave a bad taste in their mouths — and soon you will be dealing with a whole new challenge: churn.
In order to soften the ask a bit, this offer can also be combined with the free trial, and you can provide your new customer with a glimpse of what they can expect to receive with their sign up. However, the difference here is that user should be required to provide a credit card or some form of payment information, which increases their commitment level.
Running a successful lead generation campaign isn’t an exact science. Like much of what us marketers do day-in and day-out, it requires testing. Because offer A worked well for someone else, it doesn’t mean that offer B won’t work better for you. Different times and trends will also change the impact of what you’re doing, so it’s important to never be complacent and always be ready to move on to the next test.
Additionally, it’s equally important to remember that all of the offers mentioned above are not isolated conversion actions; rather, if implemented for fullest impact, they will work together. Knowing where your audience is in the funnel and being side by side with your visitor all the way from prospecting to consideration to, ultimately, conversion, you’ll be able to build an intimate and hopefully prosperous relationship that will last for years to come.
Now, loaded with your new arsenal of potential offer tests to run, have at it! For further guidance on testing, contact our team.