Inbound marketing is focused around a few seemingly simple steps to generate online leads:
Further promote those posts through social media.
Use posts to link to downloadable content and other offers gated behind landing pages, capturing lead information from the landing page forms.
Sounds simple, but there are plenty of potential stumbling blocks along the way.
If you’ve conquered the blog writing and social media aspects, but haven’t created the right offers, it is all for naught.
So, what makes online offers and downloadable content irresistible?
1. Irresistible offers solve a problem.
For B2B brands, one of the key ways of attracting website visitors is through blog posts that speak to customers’ pain points. More than 4 in 5 B2B buyers take to the internet to research a problem (and a specific vendor solutions) before ever contacting a vendor, according to the Content Marketing Institute and Smart Brief. In a survey by DemandGen, 97 percent of B2B buyers say they prefer content that is “prescriptive” — it offers tips and steps to follow to solve problems. (See more insights from both report infographics here and here.)
That means that bringing them to your website requires blog posts that fit those preferences. Converting them into leads means taking the next step from telling readers how to solve a problem to providing the tools they need. Blog posts such as “5 Tips For Reducing Delinquent Accounts” should include calls-to-action for downloadable offers such as a script template for calls to past-due customers. In our case, a blog post titled “Shorten The Sales Cycle With Lead Nurturing Workflows” includes a CTA for a Lead Nurturing Workflow Template. The problem readers are hoping to solve is that of long sales cycles, the blog posts offers the solution: lead nurturing. And the template is the tool that helps our readers implement the solution — after they complete a landing page that converts them into a lead.
What tools can you offer that will irresistible? Think about templates, checklists, calculators, calendars and worksheets.
2. Irresistible content tells a story.
With so much content available — from industry media, independent bloggers, vendors, and basically anyone with an internet connection and an opinion — what makes your marketing content and downloads stand above the rest is when it tells a story. Even B2B product-based content can tell a story, have a hero, feature conflict and be personal.
That is where case studies, customer success stories and Q&A videos with your customers or company leaders come into play. No, a B2B case study won’t read like a Shakespeare play, but it can set up a character with a problem, barriers to overcome, and a successful ending.
Tell your readers success stories about people and companies that are familiar; let them envision themselves in those situations, overcoming the odds with your help.
3. Irresistible content informs more than it sells.
Some of your downloadable offers will include the same types of content you create for your business blog: educational, informative and impartial. Not all marketing material should be overtly focused on the sale (but all marketing material should support your sales message).
Downloadable offers intended to inform are popular with readers, especially if you can offer original research and statistics (such as the annual State of Inbound Report), helpful “how to” instructions, and easy to use references and short ebooks.
Which type(s) of downloadable offer or asset you create for each inbound marketing campaign will vary, depending on whether you are targeting a specific industry, a specific customer persona and job title, or leads at a certain point in the buyers’ journey. For most campaigns, you’ll want something with a broad appeal for the top of the sales funnel — an introductory ebook or a research report with industry benchmarks — plus an asset focused more on the specific solutions you offer, such as a case study featuring a successful customer. Those assets should then be combined with the rest of the puzzle pieces that make up a complete inbound marketing campaign. See how they all fit together in Creating A Winning Inbound Program, a downloadable sample of a complete campaign from one of our successful clients.