The All Important “Offer” and Its Importance In Lead Generation

How important are offers to business?  Very!!! In fact, absolutely nothing happens without an offer.

An offer is quid pro quo.  It’s a “this for that” arrangement.  What does a banker do?  I’ll give you money if you pay me back with interest.  All direct marketing is based on an offer.  That is why direct marketing is often referred to as “response marketing”.  All direct marketing campaigns seek a response to an offer.  Simply put, offers provide a method of capturing leads and, of course, your business as a broker is all about lead generation.

Offers are your most potent marketing tool for lead generation and they are typically dispensed through your website, where visitors can complete a form and download your offer (case study, booklet, report, etc.).  You need to promote your offers, however (drive prospects to your website) and there are dozens of great ways to do so.  But the end result is always the same.  You generate a quality lead to prospect every time someone downloads your offer!

For factoring brokers, your actual offers are simple.  They are booklets, white papers, and reports.  They should all be available from your website but they should only be available after a form is completed with the visitors name, email address, phone, and business information made available to you.  One of your most important marketing goals is simply to create direct marketing campaigns which drive interested visitors to your website to download your FREE reports, papers, and booklets and you, in return, will have quality leads to follow up on and prospect.

Types of Offers

In direct marketing, there are four basic recognized types of offers that can be presented to suspects / prospects.  These include:

  1. the soft offer.
  2. the hard offer.
  3. the deferred offer.
  4. the negative offer.

The better you understand the makeup and composition of these types, the clearer and more effective your lead generating capabilities will become when creating your classified ad or direct mail marketing copy.

Soft Offers

Soft offers are by far the most common type of offer and the most “painless” from the receiver’s perspective.  They provide the suspect with an opportunity to say “I may have an interest….tell me more” without the stress of face-to-face contact.  The most typical soft offers used in direct mail marketing in the commercial finance industry may simply say something like:

“For additional FREE information on the benefits of factoring and how it can help you to grow your business, please complete the enclosed card and return”.

Soft offers appeal to those gathering information for the future as well as those in immediate need of your services.  Soft offers generate a higher level of response because there is no sales pressure from an actual salesperson.

Hard Offers

As opposed to soft offers, hard offers promote face-to-face or other personal contact between seller and receiver.  In lead generation, hard offers may say:

“For a complimentary review of how factoring can benefit your company, call Bill Broker today at (555-5555).”

Hard offers appeal to serious suspects with an immediate need and those ready to make a decision NOW!
The receiver is taking a definite step towards becoming a prospect / client.  As opposed to soft offers which allow the suspect to take a “let me look it over” stance, a reply to a hard offer suggests an “I’m ready to be sold” today” attitude.

Deferred Offers

Deferred offers provide an opportunity for response from suspects that do not have an immediate need but may require your services at sometime in the future.  A deferred offer, for example, may read:

“Not interested right now, but contact me in ________months.” 

 Deferred offers provide a method of response with which the suspect can say….

” I’m just getting my business started and I may need your services in the future.”

Negative Offers

Negative offers provide a method of “opt out” for uninterested parties that wish to be removed from your list.

From a direct marketing standpoint, negative offers are far from bad.  One of the most important concepts to understand is that qualifying prospects is really a “weeding out” process.  Why, for example, would you want to spend valuable time, postage, and marketing materials on someone that had absolutely no interest in your services.  Negative offers allow totally uninterested parties to let you know, saving you time and money.

How you provide offers, is to a great extent a matter of the type of direct marketing you utilize.  It is important to note, however, that under no circumstances should you ever create a direct marketing campaign without incorporating an offer.

Offers for Factoring Brokers

Factoring 202 is full of great offers to get you started such as case studies and, of course, the downloadable booklet “When Banks Say NO…the Small Business Guide to Factoring” ,a built in offer which comes with every Factoring 101 website.  Other great offers for targeted marketing campaigns offers are Case Studies, again available here in the Annex.  Case studies allow you to create marketing campaigns directed at a specific market segment, such as janitorial service companies.  Over time, you will create your own offers to be used in specific marketing campaigns you design.

Offers:  It’s All About Website Forms

One of the most commonly implemented methods of capturing leads and dispensing lead-generating offers is through the use of forms on your website.  A typical marketing campaign, using direct mail, provides an offer of a booklet, such as When Banks Say No…the Small Business Guide to Factoring.  To get their valuable copy of your booklet, the business owner, who received your mailer, must go to your website and complete a form to download the booklet.  After the form is submitted, the form’s confirmation page provides a button to download a PDF version of the booklet (offer).  Website forms are your primary method of gathering leads and dispensing offers.   The more visitors you drive to your website, the more forms will be completed, and the more leads you will generate for prospecting.  It’s that simple!.