Sure. Your headline is important. So too is the supporting copy.
A clean, distraction-free design. And a compelling CTA.
But those are just table stakes. They get you to industry average conversions. Not beyond.
Your ad ROI is only as good as your offer.
Here’s why, and how to create a better one.
Why Your B2B Advertising Offer Sucks (And Why it Needs to Change)
Death, taxes, and free consultations. The three things every B2B marketer can count on in their lifetime.
Trouble is, each and every single competitor is also leading with a similar the exact same offer.
To unsuspecting, uneducated clients, ya’ll look the same. And when peeps look the same, sound the same, and use the same meaningless jargon, clients look for the ONE thing that easily separates you all: price.
Go ask the airlines. Or any other commoditized market. When it comes to ad campaigns, the same boring offer means the same average conversion rates. For you and all your competitors.
Don’t take my word for it.
When Wordstream analyzed over $3 billion in annual advertising spend, they discovered that some companies routinely saw 2-3X the conversion rate as everyone else. These were the ‘unicorns’ that were pulling in 10%+ rates, while everyone else sputtered around 1-2%.
Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t a few tiny A/B tests setting these peeps apart.
Instead, the #1 finding? Change your offer.
You know, the root cause that (should) provide your headlines with deadly ammunition to slaughter the competition. And we’re not just talking little spins on the same free consultation, either.
According to Larry Kim of Wordstream:
Across all of the high-performing landing pages, we saw massively creative and differentiated offers.
Ok. Challenge accepted.
What exactly does a good offer look like?
The 7 Key Components of a Massively Creative, Differentiated Offer
Bait is used to attract a fish to nibble around your hook until you can skewer that sucker. Hopefully, your client interactions are a little less violent. Either way, the points the same. A massively creative, differentiated offer works similarly. It chums the waters. It attracts semi-interested parties with an offer so unique, compelling and useful they CAN’T say no.
Here are a few of the qualities a good offer needs:
- Utility: The benefits need to outweigh the costs. Plain and simple. At the end of the day, if your offer isn’t actually useful for people, it ain’t gonna work.
- Alleviate Pain Points: These useful offers typically solve a deep customer problem. These typically come in two forms: (1) bringing in more revenue, or (2) lowering costs.
- Timeless: Riding a trending wave might work for awhile, but the best offers shouldn’t be disrupted by frequent changes (like Google’s algorithm).
- Branded: Putting your brand on it should only enhance the value, and make it all-the-more memorable for customers.
- Promotable: If the previous elements weren’t difficult enough, you need to be able to promote this offer too. That means besides solving a useful problem, it needs to entertain or delight as well.
- Frictionless: Well crafted offers should also do well socially, giving you an extra 2-for-1 bonus when people are compelled to spread the good news about what it did for them.
- Mass Appeal: Good offers need to be readily available and understandable (is that a word?) by your entire market. Something obscure or ‘clever’ will fall flat, failing to gain enough traction to move the needle.
Somehow hitting all of these qualities isn’t easy. Some are even antagonistic.
But that’s the lofty aim: to create something compelling enough that places you in a category of one.
According to over $3 billion in ad spend, that’s the only logical path to topping 2% conversion rates (with the added bonus of escaping price commoditization).
Let’s see some examples.
How to Spot a Massively Creative, Differentiated Offer
Let’s begin at the beginning.
Earlier we touched on Wordstream’s analysis. Their findings lead to the creation of their AdWords Grader, which Larry Kim exclaimed:”This was a HUGE turning point for us. Prospects loved it and conversions went through the roof.”
So much so, that it gets top billing, promoted front-and-center on their homepage.
It’s also used as the primary offer for their exit intent technology too.
HubSpot’s Website Grader is the latest iteration that they’ve been working on for years now, which provides an immediate grade in the areas of performance, mobile, SEO, and security.
AdEspresso has an entire Facebook Ads Academy designed around similar offers, including the standard eBooks, guides, and webinars.
Then there’s the Compass tool, which provides companies with a super fast Facebook campaign audit.
Ok, ok. We get it. Software companies LOVE calculators and graders. Why? They tick almost every box we looked at earlier, providing instant results to a difficult challenge in an easy-to-digest, easy-to-share format.
And the best news is that while these tools might be commonplace among the marketing industry, they’re definitely NOT in your own.
PayScale boasts one of the biggest databases of salary information. Boooooooorrrriiiiiiiinggggg.
What’s compelling, is how they use that salary data.
They pump out astonishingly good infographics, reports, case studies, and tools at an incredible rate. They’re part content. Part design. Part development and part strategy. They also have a compensation tool which will provide stressed out business owners and HR execs embarking on new hires with free compensation data at the right time.
Funny enough, marketing agencies aren’t always as forward-thinking as their software brethren. IMPACT bucks that trend with an ROI calculator, providing fast quantitative results.
Inbound marketing, while certainly a growing trend, is still widely misunderstood by the general public. And while it sounds nice in theory, it’s difficult to show clients how they benefit. A new web design compared with the current? Sure. Easy to SEE that one is a massive improvement on the other. But adding 4X blog posts and some other stuff? I don’t get it…
IMPACT’s calculator makes it easy, though, by inputting some basic data, to see exactly how a client might benefit from their services.
But let’s go outside to a ‘normal’, offline industry. How can this help them? Raising the stakes, let’s take an old school, ‘boring’ one, and apply the same approach.
An industrial real estate company recently came to my agency with this problem. Thankfully, they were WAY ahead of the curve in their industry with an internal inventory tracking system that scanned and barcoded all material brought in, and shipped out of their warehouses.
That’s the hook. The unique thing that sets them apart.
In their industry, there are two criteria clients care most about:
- Product Availability: Do you have exactly what I (the client) needs, on-hand, and can you get it here on short notice?
- Product Pricing: What are the cost ranges based on material quality (i.e. used vs. new) of said products?
Armed with that data, we created a real-time, inventory search feature that would allow potential customers from anywhere (including while standing on a job site on their mobile devices) to look up both quantity and pricing information.
They could even group these products together, similar to an eCommerce cart, and submit this information to get the sales process rolling in order to meet their tight timelines. With this tool, customers can select the size of each product, view or select the quantity available on hand, and get at least a rough idea of what pricing might look like.
The context here is extremely different than previous examples. But the objective and implementation are similar.
Combining resources to create something special. Using technology to scale this offer, faster and further than any human-powered offer might. And creating a competitive ‘moat’ around the business that makes it difficult for competitors to copy the exact same thing.
Figure out what customers are trying to accomplish, what’s holding them back, and how you can give them a teaser sample in a new, interactive way.
In B2B scenarios, you can’t overlook or undervalue the human component. The fastest way to sell, especially in large transactions, is one-on-one interactions.
But in almost every single industry, there’s a tremendous opportunity to use technology to scale your lead generation process.
Starting with, that crappy free consultation.
The companies with the most “massively creative, differentiated” offers were the ones that routinely topped 10% advertising conversion rates after looking at over $3 billion in ad spend.
Finding the unique, compelling hook that sets you apart, while at the same time giving you something that will undoubtedly attract more attention and interest.