With all the marketing messages bombarding our senses these days, it’s interesting that the vast majority don’t contain an offer.
Offer-less ads may serve some purpose in a consumer packaged-goods world, where your branding is your only advertising strategy – but unless you’re positioning Pepsi against Coca-Cola, an offer is a critical component of your campaign.
An ‘offer’ means: “What we’re gonna give you.”
A one-step offer means a direct sale right now. “Order the device today, get $50 off your next order.”
A two-step offer means generating a lead now (to close the deal later) – such as a free 30-day trial.
Offers can be products or services. They can cover price, discounts, demos, upgrades, guarantees, shipping, and premiums – free items to lure prospects in. Smart B2B offers can leverage the value of information, such as free industry reports (salary or performance data), customized services (assessments, evaluations, or a needs analysis), SIC-specific case studies or white papers, and live webcasts.
An added bonus of info-based offers: they provide a branding benefit. It’s an opportunity to be seen as an expert in your field, since you are providing high-level business intelligence.
Incorporating offers into your strategy
An offer does not stand alone. It should not be an afterthought, or something to just plug into an already-completed copyblock, and it won’t be effective unless it’s considered a crucial element from the very beginning.
Before developing offers, consider the entire process of nurturing prospects and customers: understanding their industry, talking their language, feeling their pain, and providing solutions that benefit them. During this broad-brush process, planning offers makes sense since you’re asking, at each stage, “How does this offer support this strategic step, as it relates to that person’s wants?” In other words, think like your client.
Through this lens, for instance, you’ll offer engineers a custom app to ease their compliance headaches rather than an easy-to-plug-in discount (which may be a decent offer, yet not nearly as strong).
Next week, we'll move from looking at the big-picture strategy behind offers to discussing specific tactics you can use to develop offers for your prospects and customers.