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Want Website Leads? Offer Educational Content.

Posted byTue, Jul 23, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

There’s no doubt that blogs are great traffic bait. But in order to turn your visitors into customers, you need to give them incentive. Content offers are the most efficient way to do this online. Here’s why and how they work.

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There’s a thought process we all go through when deciding to make a purchase. It would bekind of magical if every person that visited your website said, “This it IT! There is no other option–I must buy this product now!”

It’s probably not going to happen like that.

People tend to research their options, gather information about features, compare and narrow the list, ask around for feedback, repeat a few steps, think think think, ask around some more, talk to a sales rep…and then they make a decision. Providing content offers is a great way to help them make that decision a little faster. Hopefully in your favor.

Content offers guide the buying process. But what is a content offer? 

It really can be anything: a guide, ebook, kit, checklist, whitepaper, template—it’s information that can be packaged in different ways to help solve a problem for your prospects. By offering this free information, you are implying, “Hey, I know a lot about this subject. I can help you.” Talk about loyalty. When your interaction starts this way, it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Your goal in offering free content is to put up a caveat: your website visitors can have free information—your knowledge—in exchange for their contact information. Namely, their email address. Now you can continue providing information on that subject, via email campaigns. This is lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is your way of staying in touch, while your prospect is comparing and asking around—all of the steps we talked about earlier. Content offers help you stay ahead of their search, feeding them answers.

Look the part: get the right design tools. It matters, and it will save you time.

Here’s a little tip: do it right. I agonized over this, and I really want to spare you that pain.

Have a graphic designer create branded templates for PowerPoint, which convert nicely into PDF files. PowerPoint ebooks are nice for image heavy content. They look like this:

Buyer Persona Strategy and Research_tofu

You’re going to have issues with blurriness converting branded Word docs into PDF files, so don’t bother. (And you want to offer PDF files. They look professional and they protect your work: others can’t alter the content easily).

You will need another option, one for text heavy content. I cannot recommend this enough:  Adobe Creative Cloud, the InDesign and Photoshop apps. For a $50/month subscription, you have the ability to use professional design software to create gorgeous ebooks. Images and design elements retain sharpness, and you have endless flexibility in how you put the book together and create interactive features. I’m a big fan of making everything linkable: images, social media buttons, icons. InDesign gives you that functionality.

The only problem: there’s a learning curve. This is what the pros use, so it’s not simple. But there are so many tutorials, videos, and articles online. I think every question I had was answered with a quick Google search.

I think look and feel is critical. This is your first impression with potential customers, and you want to give them confidence in your service. This is like dressing for the job you want.

What goes into the content offer?

Again, this is all about you, your knowledge and creativity. What questions do customers have? What information would prep them for working with you? The more you think about pain points and solving customer problems, the more fodder you’ll have. Check out your sent mail email box. I guarantee there is a treasure chest of information you’re giving out all day. It can be captured in a nice ebook for other potential customers to benefit from.

Content offers ultimately free you up. By the time you get on the phone with a prospect, they will ideally have a firm grasp of who you are, what you do, what you offer and how you can help them. Makes for a more efficient call and easier sale.

Need help writing? Backstory helps.

   Buyer_Persona_Strategy_and_Research_tofu_modulePersonas are stories you create about ideal customers that guide your sales and content creation process.

Get HI’s free Buyer Persona Strategy & Research Guideand find out how to get started.

See what I did there? I just introduced a content offer and a call to action!

Terra Hoskins is the principal of inbound marketing consultancy, Hoskins Interactive. She tweets at @terrahoskins

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