The word “offer” has a number of meanings that are important in lead generation. The product or service you offer is one aspect of the “offer.” The integrity and reputation of both the product/service and the company behind it play an important role in determining whether a prospect will be aware of you and show an interest in your product or service. That’s why your product and your company are, legitimately, the fundamental or underlying offer.
In lead generation, however, the “offer” generally has an additional meaning: what you are willing to give to the prospect in order to get him/her to respond. Typically, the offer in lead generation is something of high-perceived value that elicits a response from a prospect and encourages the prospect to provide qualifying information to get that offer.
Whatever you decide to offer, it should be “audience-appropriate.” If you have researched and analyzed your audience, you should have some idea of the kinds of offers that would be appealing to them.
Whether you are targeting consumers or business users, one of the most common universally applicable offers is, simply, information. The secret behind a successful informational offer is to make it less about you and your product and more about the prospect and his or her needs. Basically, if the information you provide can answer the prospect’s question, “What’s in it for me?” then it has the makings of a successful offer. While it is acceptable to convey sales points about a product or service, it is usually best in lead generation to offer something objective that could be useful whether or not the prospect decides to purchase your product or service.
These are some typical offers proven to generate more sales leads from consumer audiences:
- Free, valuable information about (subject area) provided via blog, website, e-newsletter, podcast, video, eBook, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This may include an offer to deliver this information instantly or periodically by signing up/joining/subscribing.
- Free, valuable information about (subject area) delivered via an event of some kind: in-person demonstration, consumer show, concert, special event, meeting, seminar; online meeting, webinar.
- Premiums -- items that are given away free, such as gifts and trinkets to encourage a response; could also include items of significant value and free trials in the case of order generation.
- Involvement techniques -- surveys, sweepstakes, contests, games, and other involvement techniques designed to encourage a response; these techniques are also common for order generation.