Little girl offers flowerSometimes when someone visits your website they’re just doing basic research: Just looking, thanks. But sometimes they’re ready to get to know you better…and sometime they’re even ready to buy. With a well-planned landing page – and an irresistible offer – you can give that person a way to take the action they want. Lots of elements come into play: branding, calls to action, page design. The single most important element is the offer. Here’s how to make the offer work for both you and your prospect.

1. Conduct a brainstorming session on the offer
An offer is an exchange. You get money, or information, or something else you value, in exchange for something you give. What will you offer visitors to your landing page? Brainstorm with your team to review what you’ve done in the past, and take a look at what your competitors are doing. Remember that your offer isn’t necessarily your product. Common offers include newsletters, white papers, online events, pricing discounts, and free trials of your product. Make sure each offer gets its own landing page, and that it doesn’t have to compete with other page elements for attention.

2. Determine how valuable the offer is to the prospect
If your goal (your one and only goal!) is lead generation, you want to offer something so valuable that people will provide you with their information via a form on your page. (The fewer fields in your form, the better.) The offer is usually the key determinant of whether the page will have a good conversion rate.

3. Map the offer to where the prospect is in the purchasing process
Some offers target prospects when they’re just starting their buying journey. (An early-funnel offer might be something high-level such as Download this market overview.) Other offers sit deeper in the funnel and are designed to push the buyer to a final purchasing decision. (A later-funnel offer might be something that helps make a buying decision, such as Download this price comparison sheet.) Know which place this offer should target, and how you want the offer to further your relationship with this customer.

4. Make sure the offer moves prospects closer to the point of purchase
Offers that move prospects further down the funnel and closer to purchasing your product or service and convert at a high rate are the best kind, as the right offer at the right time can help shorten the sales cycle.

5. Make sure that prospects will understand the offer
The offer should be understandable in three seconds or less. Spend time drafting copy that describes exactly what the prospect will receive in exchange for completing the form on your page, and list the specific benefits the buyer will receive. Once you’ve thought that through, write your copy as sparely as possible. People don’t have time to read a lot of text; get to the point, and let the white space help showcase the offer. Make the call to action loud and clear.

6. If the offer doesn’t already exist, you’ll need to create it.

Offers in the form of content such as a newsletter, white paper, or online event are usually the easiest to create. Other offers like trial versions of the product often require product development work and may take longer to create.

7. Make sure that you can deliver the offer to the prospect
For example, if the offer is a newsletter, you’ll need a mechanism to add the prospect’s email address to your newsletter database so you can email the newsletter to the prospect. If you’re offering a T-shirt, be sure you have stock and a plan for sending. Have a back-up plan for extreme success or abject failure. What will you do if you run out of stock?

The fine print: It almost goes without saying: Make sure your offer is legal wherever you make it. Oh, and be responsive to the people who take you up on your offer. If you’re late in fulfilling an offer, you not only lose a friend but risk creating an enemy.

Shameless plug: These days, you don’t need a designer or coder to create a sophisticated landing page; your marketing automation system makes it easy. You can build templates to use and reuse, saving time; with Act-On, you can even turn an email message into a landing page with a single click. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn how easy landing pages can be.

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