Imagine that your website is your house where guests (visitors) are already knocking on the door. You are very pleased about their visit and you want them to stay as long as possible. Also, you want them to come back often.
The marketing bait — also known as marketing incentive — is the essential tool that opens doors to visitors and invites them in. If you have a marketing offer, the visitor will enter through the door without hesitation.
From there, the bait can turn visitors into leads; the lead is important because it already embodies the possibility that you can later sell them your product or service.
But let’s back to the bait — the visitor has come to your website and there it is in front of him…
What is a marketing bait?
Typically, the marketing bait is content that has importance and/or usefulness for the visitor, which he/she will be happy to have access to. It can have many forms: ebooks, webinars, templates, demo products, consulting, coupons, and so on. You need to have a solid understanding of your site visitors and construct the bait according to their needs. So offer the sweet-toothed guest a cake, but do not try to serve vegetarians a steak.
In contrast, the marketing bait is NOT something your visitors DO NOT care about, so make sure to deliver the goods if you want them to fill out the form on your site, subscribe to your newsletter or take any other action you want them to take.
The goal of the marketing bait is to get your potential customer’s data such as his/her email, name, address, the company he/she works for, and so on.
Three great marketing bait examples
There are quite a few great marketing baits out there, and some are better than others. Here are three examples that excel in their respective categories:
1. Hubspot Marketing Library
This is a classic example coming from a company that is a pioneer in digital marketing. Their main product is marketing automation software, but they are also the ones who created the concept of inbound marketing. HubSpot regularly publishes e-books, guides, case studies and more for marketers, with their digital library counting hundreds of downloads to choose from.
2. Photoshop 30-day trial
Adobe is offering a 30-day free trial of its popular photo-editing software. By doing this, it aims to show potential clients why Photoshop is worth the money. There are more affordable solutions out there, but Photoshop is the king, and if someone needs convincing — it is best that he/she tries the software for free and see for himself/herself why it is considered the “default” option. On that note, we should add that the “free trial” marketing bait is successfully used by many software makers.
3. Caterpillar forums
Caterpillar has created a popular online community for its customers where they can ask each other, as well as Cat employees, about how a specific machine works. On its end, Caterpillar is not only making life easier for its customers (marketing bait), but also gets to know them better — as part of the registration they get customer details — and eventually sell them additional equipment in the future. It’s a win-win.
How to create a marketing bait?
Whether you want to build an email list, generate new leads, serve existing customers or launch a loyalty program — you will want to use a marketing bait. Here are the five basic rules to create one:
1. Marketing bait has to express value
This is a common sense, but for one reason or the other it is not a common practice. If you ask for the user’s data, you must provide him/her with information they cannot (easily) access on other places around the web. It’s that simple — the user wants value, and it is up to you to deliver.
2. Marketing bait should address the target group
The theme of the bait has to be defined around the target group and their preferences. If you can create several different target groups, you may want to create several different baits. Therefore, prior to preparing marketing incentives, you must know the group your bait is targeting. Again, don’t serve meat to the vegetarian.
3. Choose a device and platform based on the preferences of the target group
After you have defined the target group, research what kind of devices and platforms they are using so you could serve them the content in a way that is most convenient for them to “consume.” For instance, your target group may be using Apple products exclusively — can you make your content optimized for the iPhone and iPad (if it’s going to be read/watched while on the go)?
4. Align the bait with the purchase journey
It is important that your marketing bait is aligned with the entire purchase journey you want your customers to take. So if you’re selling software, you’ll want him/her to download the free trial to test it out. Or, if you’re selling something more tangible, you may want to offer a free sample or demonstration to get him/her into the product.
5. Marketing bait is all about the value!
We can’t emphasize this enough. You’ll want to put in extra time to create the bait your customer will appreciate. Better yet, try creating something he/she will absolutely love. Again, if it doesn’t provide any value — it is not a marketing bait and chances are — it won’t work.
On to the landing page…
You have a marketing bait ready for action, now what? It is time to make it live; to place it on a landing page optimized to drive conversions. Here’s how to do that:
- Write an attention-grabbing headline — it should intrigue users and “sell” the benefits.
- Use a subtitle to explain a bit more
- Who is your bait for? — make sure your target group recognize themselves in the headline and subtitle. You can even mentioned them.
- Raise interest — show the problem of the target group in more detail and point out results they can expect from signing-up (i.e. reading your ebook).
- Prove this sequence — show your trustworthiness with testimonials, research data, awards, stats and more.
- Detail the problem — related to the previous point, your customers must realize you have an in-depth knowledge of the specific situation.
- Make an offer — once everything is clear, present the offer. You can also repeat the title and subtitle before the big button.
- Describe how they can get your bait — as in “you will be able to instantly download the ebook after registration.”
- Call them to action — instead of just showing the button, put some text above that says “click the button for free download.”
The idea is to be clear about the benefits and what will happen at which stage — this way the customer will know what to expect and when.
The entire journey…
Beyond collecting subscribers, marketing bait can also be used for other purposes. In fact, it is best used to guide a potential customer throughout the journey, from signing-up to your newsletter to actually buying a product or service from you.
Let’s suppose we are selling time management software; here’s a short, three-step purchase journey:
1. Turning a stranger into a lead
The first step is to get the user to sign up for our free ebook in which we provide time management tips. Now that we have his/her email, we can proceed to the next step, to provide him/her with more content options and opportunities.
2. Preparing the leads for the sales process
In the second stage, we want our lead to try our software for free. We’ll send him an email about it, and then another one if he/she doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity, listing a few reasons how our software could help his business.
3. Closing the sale
Before the trial period ends, we may decide to offer a free consultation to push him/her to make a purchase. If we are talking about a web-based software, we even know the usage of the software and based on that information — we could act by, for instance, offering a coupon.
This three-step process could be applied to just about any industry. Instead of offering a free trial, you could include a free consultation in your first or second step, and then follow-up with something extra in the next email or a phone call. The point is the same — to nurture a lead — and, if needed, educate him/her about your company’s offering before he commits to pay for your product/service.
Get on the drawing board and imagine all the different marketing baits you could offer to your customers. Make sure there is a bait for every step of the journey, from the moment they register with your company to the moment before they make a purchase.
It is helpful to break down the process to smaller sections to make it easier to manage. Before you know it, you’ll have a killer marketing funnel. Good luck! 😉