Use Opt-In Offers to Convert More Small Business Web Site Leads

A contact form is a good starting place for converting leads who visit your site, but you’ll get more conversion (leads to contacts) from an opt-in form coupled with a high value offering that doesn’t kill all your time to maintain. To create an offer, ask yourself 3 questions: What can I write? What can I teach? What can I give away?

QUESTIONS FOR PLANNING YOUR OFFER

  1. What can I teach? A business owner is a thought leader. Even a solo business (a business of 1) is involved in marketing, accounting, legal compliance, and a host of other things beyond providing the raw service. As a company grows and becomes a team, the owner becomes even less involved in the actual service and more dedicated to inspiration and operations. As you grow, your experience, insight, analysis, leadership, and perspective makes you a teacher of others, both internally (your team) and externally (your audience). We’re all versions of Steve Jobs, now.
  2. What can I write? We’re all content producers now. Content marketing means our business is busy producing blogs for our websites, video for Youtube, pins for Pinterest, slides for Slideshare, and snippets for Twitter. You can repurpose a lot of this content, or compile it, into valuable tools that target your prospective clients with *what* they need, just *when* they need it most.
  3. What can I give away? No one wants a brochure or a tote bag, unless it’s something they’ve never seen before. If we make a high value offer that costs a lot in time or money, it’s not sustainable. We need to find the balance between what it takes and what it’s worth. And it needs to be targeted to precisely the types of clients we want to have most. Aim for the highest value clients, and you can put more value into your offer.

OFFER EXAMPLES TO GET YOUR BRAIN WORKING

  1. E-book: An e-book is can be about 5 full pages (which is about 15 book pages). You can even sell it on amazon.com for Kindle for a nominal fee (don’t inflate it – aim for $9.89). You get a bigger commission for lower priced e-books, and you can now feature a box on your site with you as the author, which raises authority and credibility as an expert in your field. It also raises the value of the offer. Normally, it’s paid, but people who give you their information, get it free. You can create an e-book simply in Google Drive using a “presentation” or a “document”. Google can export it as a PDF, and you can paste in nice graphics (make sure you have the rights) and even add a video to your ‘free’ version (not for Kindle). Dress it up with some nice fonts, and lots of headlines. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare – if you can write an -e-mail or a memo, you can write an e-book. You can even compile it from your best blog posts, doing a simple cut and paste, and then edit to suit.
  2. White papers or How-to Guides: This is shorter than an e-book. Even 4 slides in a Google Drive Presentation make a nice guide. What are you waiting for? You can do this. You can make a series of guides or white papers, depending on the vibe of your web site. Each guide can be a landing page on your site, with an offer form, and you can share the direct links to those pages in all your social media circles, and add them to the Services sections of your LinkedIn Company Page. Be sure to *quote* your guides or ebooks in places like Google Plus, along with a link to the landing page. Yes, you can quote yourself, and it’s a really good idea. Besides drawing on your past posts, you can sprinkle in quotes from authoritative industry leaders and inspirational gurus. Target the problems your prospects are really trying to solve at the time they contact you.
  3. Checklists or Fact Sheets: Even shorter than a guide or white paper, a checklist or fact sheet is a single page. If you know things your potential clients *should* be doing, but probably aren’t thinking about, it’s a content opportunity. Use a grabby title like “10 Actions to Ensure a Smooth Real Estate Appraisal” or “20 Unbelievable Facts About FHA Home Loans”. You know a few things your clients don’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be coming to you. Your expertise is what’s really valuable, not just your hands-on work. It’s your brain they want! And they will give you their contact info right when they’re thinking about taking action, if you make it available 24/7 this way on your site.
  4. Free Service: Brainstorm something that doesn’t cost you much, but offers high value for new leads. Consultations are common, but an Evaluation of some kind might be worth more, and an Audit or Coaching Session is even higher value. If you want to get serious, the ultimate value is something you can Train – like a free 30-min ‘webinar’ via Google Hangouts (the free video conversation app that’s built-in to your Gmail. And don’t just offer this to them, but offer to do it with their family or team on an industry issue. Why target only one decision maker? Think about what they need most help *deciding* about or understanding, and tailor accordingly. Then, start the session off by clarifying what they want help with. Now you’re in a discussion with them. Don’t sell until the last 5-minutes of the session, and then do it gently.
  5. Kickass Kit of Material: A kit has value because, when people are searching the web for a better understanding of what they need, they often can’t get it all in one place. Don’t think of Google searchers as just using Google as a directory to find this or that service they’ve already decided upon. Up to 3/4 of your site visitors haven’t yet decided to act – they’re *thinking* about it, and you’re missing them if your only call to action is “call me now to buy my service”. Informational searches come *before* directory searches, which is another reason your blog is soooo important. Want more leads, offer information right on your home page. You can start with smaller offers and, when you have enough material, compile your e-books, guides or white papers, checklists and fact sheets, along with a voucher for a free service into one all-important “smart kit”, and you’re off to the races.

POSSIBLE ACTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR YOUR EXPERTISE

  1. FOR SEO: Ask for a +1 on your Home Page. You don’t have to couple the offer with a form at all. If you think people are hesitant to provide even their e-mail address, and enough +1’s on a page can really help it’s search value
  2. FOR SOCIAL CHANNEL GROWTH: Ask them to follow 3 of your social media channels (of their choice – or pick them yourself), depending on your digital strategy.
  3. FOR E-MAIL LIST BUILDING: Use the e-mail offer form. It can ask for as little as the e-mail address itself, or also get the name and how they found you.

Again, your digital strategy (whether it prioritizes building your e-mail marketing list, search optimization, or social channel growth) will inform what you select as the “pay wall” for getting your material or help. Consult MadPipe for help creating an efficient marketing department, if you’re not sure, or for brainstorming specific offers in your area of service and locale. One more tip: if the offer has some connection with your coverage area or target cities, you might do even better.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership in marketing, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.
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