No matter what kind of marketing campaign you are designing, there is one overarching goal: lead generation.
Marketers who have embraced inbound marketing recently told HubSpot that nearly half of their sales leads come from inbound sources. B2B companies track 44 percent of leads to inbound; B2C put the figure at 48 percent. (Click to tweet!)
An offer is a piece of content that is perceived as having a high value. What that specific content is will vary greatly depending on your industry, the customer persona you are targeting, and what stage of the buying cycle the customer has reached.
Offers can be ebooks, subscriptions, trials, coupons or free consultations. Lets look at a few.
CFO On Call, which provides financial management, analysis and control services for small to medium-sized businesses, offers a free ebook about driving profit and cashflow.
Retail consumer brands, such as Udi's Gluten-Free foods, often offer coupons for their products.
Blog writers should offer subscriptions, either through RSS or, better yet, email, which saves readers the work of finding the blog to check for updates.
Other high value offers suited to leads who are nearing the bottom of the sales funnel could include free consultations, product demonstrations or a free limited-time trial of service, such as this offer from QuickBooks.
Regardless of what the specific offer is, your prospective customers must both want it AND feel it is valuable enough to be willing to provide something in exchange. We'll get to that exchange a little later.
First, how do you let website visitors (or social media followers or email recipients) know about your great offer?
The second key element in a lead generation campaign is the call-to-action. This is how you ask your reader to access the offer. Calls-to-action (CTAs) can take many forms in all types of communication.
The most obvious is a button or banner ad, often in the header, footer or sidebar of a website or email, with a big bold offer to "DOWNLOAD A FREE EBOOK," "GET A 15% OFF COUPON" or "START YOUR FREE TRIAL."
The front page of AnswerDash's website is full of CTAs:
You may also want to incorporate a CTA into the text of your blog or email, specifically telling readers what you want them to do. GoFreebies uses its emails to tell readers to "Get a Free Sample today."
The most subtle type of CTA is one that offers highly-engaged readers the opportunity to go deeper into your content or down the sales funnel, but does not disrupt the reading of a more casual visitor. These are simple hyperlinks from a word or group of words in text to the landing page for a related offer. These kinds of CTAs can be incorporated into ebooks, emails, blogs, website copy, and more. Here, HubSpot highlights an ebook offer as part of a blog post without overtly telling the reader to download it. Click on the highlighted text, however, and you are taken to the next element in a lead generation campaign.
The CTA literally calls the reader to action - CLICK HERE!- and connects them to the next element in the campaign: a landing page.
All CTAs should link directly to a dedicated landing page for that offer. Unlike normal website pages, this element of a lead generation campaign is a specialized page with information about one particular offer. It should directly reflect what was offered in the CTA and target a particular audience. Therefore, it's important to build a unique landing page for each of the offers you create. You can build landing pages that allow visitors to download content offers such as ebooks or webinars or to sign up for offers like free trials or product demos.
A few tips for designing landing pages to maximize their lead generation potential:
Make sure the title and description of the landing page clearly convey the value of the offer.
Eliminate navigation from the top of the landing page. Once your reader is on the landing page, you want to keep them there and convert them into a lead, not direct them to some other place in your website.
Include social sharing links to encourage your visitors to share the word about your offer.
So how does a landing page actually convert a visitor into a lead? With the fourth element of a successful lead generation campaign: a form.
Remember how we said your offer needs to have enough value that the reader is willing to provide something in exchange
The landing page is where that exchange takes place. In order to access your valuable offer, the visitor provides information in exchange. That information may be a simple email address in order to subscribe to your blog or to access top-of-the funnel content such as an ebook.
Offers with a higher perceived value and those that indicate the prospect is closer to sales-readiness should have longer forms requesting more information, which aids marketing in qualifying a lead for sales. These forms would require information such as name, company, position or level of purchasing authority, company size, industry and more, all of which provide a more complete picture of the lead and help determine if the lead should be transitioned to the sales department.
Tips for forms that capture leads:
Ask for the least information necessary, especially for top-of-the-funnel offers.
Don't "Submit" - Use an action-oriented button such as "Download Your Ebook" or "Subscribe to Our Blog."
Include a privacy message indicating that the visitor's information will not be shared or sold.
Remember these 4 keys to creating successful inbound lead generation campaigns — offer, call-to-action, landing page and form — you will be on your way. There are even more helpful hints in 30 Great Lead Generation Tip, Ticks & Ideas. Download the free ebook today for new ways to jumpstart your lead generation.