Pop quiz: what's missing from this email?
 
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It doesn’t offer anything. Your prospect has no reason to act.

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Your prospects won’t just automatically click or respond to your emails. They need to get something in return—they need a reason to act.

That’s where your offer comes in. It’s what your prospect gets in return for acting on your email, and it's the “secret sauce” of email marketing success.

Let's try that email again—this time, with a clear offer:

 
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That's a lot better, isn't it? To learn how you can create offers that deliver clicks, replies, and leads, follow these 5 key steps (click on a step below, or scroll down to read them all):

STEP 1: Who? (Your Audience)

STEP 2: What? (Your "Answer")

STEP 3: How? (Your Medium)

STEP 4: When? (Your Lead-Gen Timer)

STEP 5: What's Next? (Your Action Step)

 
 

Who ultimately determines whether or not your offer is compelling? Your audience. Start by identifying who you want to reach.

 
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As a first step, identify the basic demographics of your target audience:

 
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Ask yourself these key questions:

  • A successful offer starts with your prospects: who are they?

  • Is your audience large and diverse? Or small and focused?

  • Do your prospects already know about you? Or are they unfamiliar with your business and its products and services?

Different “fish” will respond to different “bait.” Even if you have a large target audience, different segments (e.g., medical, industrial, professional) will respond to different offers.

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Every successful offer answers a question, solves a problem, addresses a priority, or meets a need.

 
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Imagine a question, problem, or priority your prospects are facing. Then use the same words as a road map to your unique answer:

 
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Remember these key points:

  • Frame your offer in terms of your prospect’s problems and prioritiesnot your company or your product.

  • You may think your company or product is fascinating, but your prospect has a different perspective. Be clear and explicit about what your prospect will get in return for acting.

  • A good email offer makes use of the psychological principle of “Reciprocity”: when you give your prospects something of value, they’re more likely to give something back in return.

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How you deliver your “answer” matters, too. The right medium can reinforce your message, and engage the right prospects.

 
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Offers come in all shapes and sizes—they educate, entertain, engage, and reward:

 
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Remember these key points:

  • Some offers will deliver more leads, while others will deliver higher-quality leads.

  • Likewise, some offer formats have higher “barriers to entry”—more prospects may download a white paper than register for an event.

  • Often, you can use different formats to deliver the same information: white paper, ebook, slideshow, video, webinar, networking event, etc. Certain formats work better with some offers than others.

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The timing of your offer matters. Some offers will attract prospects early in the buying cycle, while others will appeal to ready-to-buy prospects.

 
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Use this chart to help identify the right offer for the right prospect:

 
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Remember these key points:

  • Prospects at different stages of the buying cycle will respond to different kinds of information.

  • To connect at prospects at all stages, it’s critical to diversify your offers.

  • The right offer at the right time (or the right sequence of offers over time) can help nurture a prospect along the path to a sale.

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Your offer is a step on the path toward a relationship with your prospect. Tell your prospect what to do and be ready to follow up.

 
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Many email campaigns direct readers to a landing page. A landing page is a stand-alone web page designed to reinforce your offer & gather additional information about your highest-value prospects:

 
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Remember these key points:

  • Your offer should include a “Call-to-Action” that tells your prospect what to do and prompts them to act (e.g., click, reply, call, register, subscribe, download, etc.).

  • Landing pages help reinforce your offer and identify the warmest leads.

  • Your action step helps you accurately measure the results of your campaign—what percentage of your prospects “acted” on your offer?

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 Now that you know the key elements of a successful offer, all you need is some prospects to connect with! Want to know the exact number of good, local prospects you could email using the BWise prospecting database?

Use our free Prospect Finder: