Standing out from your online competitors isn’t an easy feat. With so many other companies using their websites and social networks to attract leads, you need to offer your prospects something truly worthwhile if you want them to stick around. That’s where content giveaways come in.
According to a report from Business.com, white papers are the top lead-generating tactic for B2Bs, and there’s good reason for that. White papers, eBooks, and other informational guides give their readers a more in-depth look at the knowledge a certain company provides.
The company that gives away this content isn’t necessarily plugging their brand or a particular product (in fact, they generally shouldn’t do that), but they are establishing themselves as a trusted resource that their leads will want to return to. Content giveaways aren’t the best approach for generating quick sales, but they can significantly increase your conversion rate over time.
Here are a few ways they can help you increase your company’s conversions.
Grow Your Email List – Email lists can be a tough sell. The average email subscriber gets 416 commercial messages per month, and the average person spends 13 hours a week reading or answering emails. Seeing an invitation to subscribe to your company’s email list is more likely to make web users say “Not another email” than “This will be useful”—unless you have something of value to offer them. When your website visitors opt to download a free white paper or eBook as a PDF, you can require them to submit their email to proceed with the download. Most web users will think little of submitting their email address in exchange for free content that they consider valuable. As you expand your email list, be sure to send quality content in your emails; don’t just bombard subscribers with a slew of promotions. Handle your email list responsibly, and you’ll see some of those content downloaders turn into paying customers.
Get More Fans on Social Media – You can also use content giveaways as an opportunity to connect with leads on popular social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. For example, on the same page where web users can download your content, you can include a call-to-action that says something like, “To keep up with future giveaways, connect with us!” above your social media icons. This gives web users an incentive to follow you on social media and makes it easy for them to follow you on the spot.
Become the Go-To Expert in Your Field – Content giveaways provide you with the opportunity to show off your expertise in your field in a way that benefits your leads. If you give your readers actionable advice they can apply to their lives or their work, you’ll stand out to them as a great source of knowledge, and they’ll be more likely to return to your website and blog when they’re looking for solutions to other problems. By building up this trust, you’re priming the web user to be converted into a customer when they find themselves in need of a product or service you offer.
Increase your Search Engine Ranking – Those who have read my blog before know I’ve talked quite a bit about Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and what it means for search engine marketers. To recap, Hummingbird is an update aimed at prioritizing quality content over the quantity of keywords when ranking web pages.
If you’re producing quality content in the form of eBooks, white papers, guides, or even in-depth blog posts, your site should see a bump in its Google search engine rankings over time. Your ranking will benefit even more if you’re creating content that web users can share with their friends and colleagues or link to on their blog.
Ideas for Content Giveaways
The goal of your content should always be to provide your readers with valuable information and solutions to their problems. Here are just a few ideas for types of content you can give away.
How-to Guide. Offer a clear, step-by-step guide for your readers to complete a process related to your industry. For example, if you run a home and garden store, you might write a how-to guide for keeping birds and other garden pests away from the produce.
Industry 101. If your audience could benefit from some industry knowledge before they commit to making a purchase, give it to them in the form of an introductory guide. Selling online reputation management software? Write and share something like “A Small Business’s Introduction to Online Reputation”.
Glossary of Useful Terms. This might be something to include with your introductory guide or as a separate entity. If your business relies on a lot of jargon, provide a guide that spells everything out in layman’s terms in order to provide greater clarity to potential customers.
Featured Interview. If you want to showcase an industry leader’s expertise, conduct an interview and turn it into an eBook. This can also be accompanied by a video of the interview for those who prefer that format.
Answers to Common Questions. If you get asked the same questions a lot in your industry, give away an in-depth FAQ. Chances are plenty of potential customers have the same questions and will appreciate you compiling the answers in one place.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overshadow the valuable information in your free content with plugs for your business. If you take a pushy, “buy my product” approach, you’ll quickly alienate your readers and lose out on conversions. Focus on being a good resource and conversions will follow naturally.