Missing the Mark: 4 Traits of Unsuccessful Online Content Offers

March 24, 2015

whole brain marketing blog author


Posted by Alex Sobal

drawing-board-advanced-content

What’s the #1 goal for your online marketing content?

To improve your website’s search ranking?

Increase your traffic?

Grow your company’s reputation?

While these are all valuable benefits of having a content marketing strategy, the best answer to the question is always this: to generate new business opportunities.  

Though the SEO benefits and improved reputation are a nice consolation, what really matters are the number of new leads your content brings in, and how much revenue it’s able to generate for your brand. Vanity metrics like visitors, page views, downloads, and social media shares are all nice to have, but when it comes to measuring the true success of your business, ROI is numero uno.

In order for companies to generate new leads and new sales opportunities via their online content, they must first create advanced content offers that prospects can download in exchange for their contact information. Once you have the basics (e.g. name, email address, phone number, etc.), you can begin the lead nurturing process, and eventually turn those random visitors into loyal customers and evangelists.

That being said, if your advanced content offers don’t wow your prospects and fail to win them over, it’ll be nearly impossible to generate any new business opportunities. These are the resources that help drive your prospects from the awareness stage to the decision stage, and you won’t win over B2B decision makers with irrelevant content, unhelpful information, and a lackluster presentation. 

To help you create advanced content offers that will help you generate the most new business opportunities, here are four things you should avoid that will ruin your advanced content offers:

1. Offer Doesn’t Fit Your Personas or Their Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

First of all, if you haven’t taken the time to create detailed target personas for your ideal customers, stop what you’re doing and get started with this helpful guide. As inbound marketers, every piece of content you create – whether it’s a blog, video, tip sheet, or free trial – should be developed with your target personas in mind, as your ideal customers will likely be interested in niche, industry-related topics. If you know what they’re interested in and what their pain points are beforehand, you can craft content that’s best suited to solve their specific problems, and position your company as the best solution. Before you start writing any tip sheets, eBooks, or guides, ask yourself these four questions:

  • What persona will this content target?
  • What do they need answers to/how can we help them?
  • What part of the sales process should we target: ToFu, MoFu, or BoFu?
  • What type of content offer will convey my message most effectively?

For example, let’s say you’re the marketing manager for a company that manufacturers construction equipment (e.g. bulldozers, forklifts, tampers, etc.). After new OSHA regulations are released for forklift operations, you want to inform prospects on how the new regulations will impact the way customers will use your products. Running through the questions above, you can easily build the framework for your content offer:

  • What persona will this content target?
    • Construction Manager Chris
  • What do they need answers to/how can we help them?
    • “How will the new OSHA forklift regulations affect the way my workers use a forklift on the job?”
  • What part of the sales process should we target?
    • OSHA regulations can often be complex and confusing. Ease them into the changes with a ToFu content offer, and provide more in-depth content offers throughout the nurturing process.
  • What type of content offer will convey my message most effectively?
    • Start with a tip sheet, “5 Important Changes You Need to Implement from OSHA’s 2015 Forklift Regulations”

2. Stale Call-to-Action

Regardless of the quality of information contained in your content offer, none of that even matters if visitors don’t click on the CTA. You have to make sure visitors notice your offer before they can convert on it, and that won’t happen if your CTAs are stale, bland, and don’t capture anyone’s attention. To help make sure visitors take notice of your advanced content offers, here are four easy tips for creating more compelling CTAs:

  • Use contrasting colors. Our eyes can’t help but be drawn to colors that have high contrast between one another. Make sure the colors you use fit your website’s theme, but make sure they stand out as well.
  • Make it look like a clickable button. After years and years of using the Internet, our minds have been conditioned to click on things that look like clickable buttons. If your CTA looks too much like a banner ad, your readers will probably avoid it.
  • Keep the CTA copy concise, actionable, and transparent. Readers react best to short, punchy messaging that shows them exactly what they’re getting, so no need to get all Shakespearean on them. “Download Now: 5 Important Changes to the 2015 OSHA Forklift Regulations [Tip Sheet]” should suffice.
  • Add an image. Adding an image of the product/offer to the CTA has shown to increase conversions by 28%.

3. Lackluster Landing Page

Just as a boring CTA can scare visitors away from clicking on your offers, a lackluster landing page can actually scare visitors away from converting. Low-res images, poor use of blank space, and overly invasive forms are just a few factors that contribute to a poor views-to-submission rate, so it’s important that you follow the landing page best practices whenever you look to create one. As a matter of fact, these four resources are the perfect place to start:

4. Your Content Lacks “The X Factor”

What exactly is “The X Factor,” you ask? With more than 90% of B2B companies using a content marketing strategy these days, today’s decision makers have access to more information than anyone could have ever dreamed of 30 years ago. As a result, your companies’ blog and website probably isn’t the only blog or website potential leads are visiting, and it certainly isn’t the only place to find industry-related information. In order to make your content offer really stand out and become a favorite resource in a sea of your competitors, it needs that extra special something that really sets it apart. Rehashing the same, repetitive information as everyone else is a surefire way to be forgotten, and won’t lead to the impressive results that you’re looking for. Though it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly “The X Factor” is, here are four tips that can help set your advanced content offers apart:

  • Be the first. Rather than rehashing the same information as your competitors, be a pioneer and discuss a topic/strategy that no one in your industry has really touched on yet.
  • Be timely. Try to create content offers that tie into current, trending events. For example, the OSHA tip sheet mentioned above would be very effective following the announcement of those changes.
  • Be a “one-stop-shop.” Want to make sure that your content offer is THE go-to resource amongst your competitors? Make it a one-stop-shop. If readers can get all the information they need from your content, they’ll have no reasons to look at your competitors.
  • Provide cold, hard facts. As I’ve written about before, B2B decision makers love it when you provide cold, hard evidence to back up your claims. You can’t argue with the truth, and that’s why the truth sells. 

Though your blog, website, and social media profiles might do the heavy lifting for attracting new prospects, your advanced content offers are what do the heavy lifting for turning those prospects into leads. Without them, you’d have a very hard time collecting your visitors contact information, and without that, it’s impossible to nurture your leads into sales. Need help creating a case study that’s sure to wow your audience? Download our free Case Study Templates below.

Create compelling stories with our easy-to-use case study template



Topics: Content Marketing, Marketing Automation



whole brain marketing blog author
Written by Alex Sobal

Alex has exceptional writing skills and the ability to learn new industries and their complex processes. While at Weidert Group, he was also an avid social media marketer and wrote frequently on online community engagement and content creation strategies for our blog.

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