At Kayak, our core philosophy around websites, is that they exist primarily to generate leads. Where great content on your site attracts readers, prospects, and influencers, your offers convince them to take the next step. Plus, they can build trust and enhance your credibility all at the same time.
When you think about it, there's a lot riding on your offers. If people aren't interested in them, or at least interested enough to trade their email address and possibly some other pertinent information, you aren't going to generate any traction from your marketing no matter how much content you produce.
From time to time, however, you might develop an offer that doesn't turn out to be as popular as you expect. So what happens when an offer flops?
The answer isn't necessarily as simple as you might think, because what we're really asking is two different questions. First, why didn't the offer work? And second, what can we do about it?
Why Offers Fail to Generate Interest
In our experience, there are generally three simple reasons an offer doesn't have any real marketing impact:
1. You don't know, or didn't consider, the audience for it.
This is one of the most basic points, and also one of the most common (and an area that a lot of marketers tend to have trouble with). Just because you want to offer something doesn't necessarily mean your audience wants it in return. There has to be an almost perfect match between what you're giving and who you're giving it to if you want people to trade their information for it.
2. You asked for too much and gave too little in return.
Having an overly complex form in return for a two-page PDF - unless it's laced with gold - is a recipe for failure. Know what's reasonable to ask in return for what you're offering. You can always get more through future offers, so why not start small and build on that?
3. You aren't promoting the offer strongly enough.
Simply sticking a call-to-action (CTA) for one of your offers at the bottom of a blog blog post probably isn't going to be enough. You'll want to promote your offers through many venues, including your social updates, guest posts and other offers. Viewers aren't likely lurking around the corner, waiting for your content, and some will need to see your offer several times before they respond.
What Can You Do to Fix a Failing Offer?
With those common challenges out of the way, let's look at a few solutions:
First, you can change the offer. If you find that the thinking behind the offer was off-base from the start, you can always go back to the drawing board and create a new one.
Next, you can place or position it differently. Possibly the problem isn't with the offer itself, but your execution. Consider putting it in a new place on your website or redesign it.
And finally, you can fiddle with the details. SO maybe it really isn;t that bad. Take another look at the titles, landing page copy, and even the choice of colour scheme - have you considered an A/B-test to see which one works better? Occasionally, making a very small change in the way it is presented can lead to a huge increase in results, so don't be afraid to test the variables and see what happens.
Not every offer is going to be a winner that draws endless people into your sales and marketing funnel. With some forethought, though, and a willingness to tweak when necessary, you can use offers to strengthen your sales funnel and helping you to attract new leads from your website day after day for years to come.
On a side note, I'm deep in #socialshakeup with MJ, Caitlin, Robin, Natscha and all the other SMT peeps. While I'm in Atlanta with them, I'll be learning and tweeting more than typing blogs, so please check my Twitter feed out - selfies galore!