February 10, 2012

I write a lot on this blog about generating leads and increasing your visibility. These are essential business practices, and the true path to business success. However, generating leads is easier said than done.  One excellent way to turn site visitors into leads and potential clients is by making them an offer – giving them something of value in exchange for them taking one step towards a purchase. However, there is a right way to go about doing this, and several wrong ways.

What Is an Offer?

As mentioned above, an offer is something that you provide to your customers at no monetary cost to them. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t get anything of value. Typically, offers are provided in exchange for an email address, which allows you to open a direct line of communication with a site visitor.

When you’re designing an offer, you have a wide variety of options to choose from, and what your offers look like will ultimately depend on your industry niche and your personal tastes. Some types of offers that I’ve had the most success with in the past include podcasts and webinars, how-to guides, and ebooks. However, that for my particular industry. You may find that in your industry a free demo or a product trial is more appropriate.

This is a good time to offer a few words of warning about what you shouldn’t consider an offer. Product and company materials, contact information, and customer testimonials and case studies are not offers. They are materials that should be on your website, but they should be freely available for everyone to see. They do more to benefit you that way, and your customers will not be very likely to give you their valuable email address in exchange for something that they consider worthless.

How to Use Offers Effectively

There are two keys to the effective use of offers. First, you need to target the right people with differentiated offers, and you need to promote your offers adequately and effectively. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t.

To target the right people, you should begin by creating several offers – several pieces of material – and offering them to the people who you think can benefit most from each one. This means creating different offers for people at different points in the sales process, and with different buying patterns.

Promoting your offers effectively is mostly a matter of intelligent website design, and knowing where to position your offers in regards to the content that is already on your site. For instance, if you’re offering a free ebook on SEO, you would want to promote it to readers of the articles on your blog that deal with improving a site’s search engine ranking.

Remember, a customer’s email address is a valuable thing – treat it as such. Give them something of value in exchange for the ability to communicate directly with them when you want to. You’ll be happier, they’ll be much more satisfied, and your business will be much more profitable as a result.



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