4 Content Offers You Need to See

Content offers are essentially a transaction. You provide your audience with great content, and in return, your audience gives you some valuable information like their name, email and more. In theory, it’s a win-win. 

Of course, this is never as easy as it sounds, as creating great content frequently eludes many organizations. Your content offer has to be conceptually useful enough to encourage your audience to download it, but then it also has to deliver and be of actual use to them, otherwise you run the risk underwhelming them and potentially creating a bad impression. 

Today we’re going to take a look at four different kinds of content offers, breaking down why they stand out, what makes them work and what you can learn from them.

Email Campaign Template: HubSpot

This email template from HubSpot provides a valuable tool for users — a calendar that allows them to plan out and organize all their emails while also adhering to HubSpot’s preferred marketing methods. 

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What We Like: 

  • Bright, color coded charts allow users to easily navigate and fill out the Excel file
  • The “How to Use This Template” tab is a smart addition which serves as a resource users can refer back to again and again
  • The landing page to download this resource features a smart form (if you’ve previously downloaded from HubSpot, they’ll ask for less information like your email) that makes downloading simple, and it’s very clean overall

Why it Works:

As a business, HubSpot not only sells a marketing platform, but also a method called inbound marketing.

Since their system is so dependent on and built around the finer points of this strategy, they’ve realized that it takes a sizable amount of content to both educate their users on how to best apply the Inbound marketing methodology to their business, and this oftentimes requires free tools which allow users to roll up their sleeves and see the benefits of inbound firsthand. 

For both current HubSpot users and organizations who have yet to invest in the platform, this download provides great value while emphasizing the importance of A/B email testing and personalization — both key parts of the inbound marketing strategy.

In the buyer’s journey, this content would fall under the consideration stage because HubSpot’s target market knows they have a problem — running efficient and meaningful email campaigns — they’re just unsure how to solve this issue.

What You Can Learn: 

If you can build a tool that directly ties into your organization’s services, then you should.

This tool gives HubSpot’s audience something they can actually use. Furthermore, of all the examples included in this post, this also likely required the least amount of time to create yet still offers a clear, actionable benefit to their audience.

Small Business Cybersecurity Data: Switchfast Technologies

This report provides original, unique data relevant to one of Switchfast Technologies’

target markets — small businesses in need of IT help. (Note: Switchfast is our sister company.)

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What We Like:

  • The download landing page is clean and gives users a peak at some of the information inside — just enough to encourage viewers to download
  • Logos for the various publications cited in this study add authority and authenticity to the download
  • The download itself is well designed and presents qualified information in easy-to-read charts

Why it Works:

Few things make a content download stand out more than original research. As the landing page for this download notes, this information was cited in numerous publications that speak directly to Switchfast’s audience. Beyond this wide exposure, the research was crafted to speak directly to C-Suite decision makers at these small businesses. 

It’s not difficult to imagine these decision makers reading through this content offer, learning that their organization needs to take cybersecurity more seriously, then contacting Switchfast.

For this reason, this content would fall under the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, as the C-Suite individuals who read this likely weren’t even aware they had an issue in the first place.

What You Can Learn: 

Original data like this makes you an authority in the eyes of your audience. While you’ll have to devote significant resources or commission a study similar to the one cited in this content download, the increased awareness of your organization can justify the costs.

Digital Marketing Campaign Guide: Salesforce

This Salesforce guide provides examples of marketing campaigns that readers can learn from. 

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What we Like:

  • The design of the download is clean and easy to navigate
  • Links spread throughout the piece encourage users to learn more about each specific example
  • Each example highlights a different form of content, increasing the odds one potential example will connect with a reader

Why it Works:

A company likes Salesforce has a wide audience working within many different fields. Creating content that still provides value — without being too specific to any one industry — can be difficult.

This download works because rather than diving too deeply into specific industries, it analyzes the tactics used by each and gives simple advice for putting these lessons into practice without getting bogged down. 

The offer is crafted for someone who knows their organization needs to try out a new content marketing tactic but is unsure where to get started. If they want to dive deeper on any specific tactic or learn how one of Salesforce’s services might help them accomplish this, the download offers links to blog posts and other resources. 

In terms of the buyer’s journey, this content offer would appear as consideration stage content. This means that this content is positioned for those who are pretty sure they need to something new but are unsure exactly what that is. 

What You Can Learn: 

If your organization can create content focusing on multiple solution options that funnels down into more specific pieces of content (email marketing going directly to Salesforce’s solutions in this case), then you can provide an easy gateway for an audience to learn more about specific services.

How to Run a LinkedIn Ad Campaign Whitepaper: LinkedIn

This whitepaper provided by LinkedIn shows how they’ve used their own marketing tools to promote LinkedIn’s marketing solutions as a pseudo case study.

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What We Like:

  • This is incredibly thorough. With 65 pages of content including charts, data and more, it’s hard to not learn something new
  • Images on nearly every page break up long text blocks and increase readability
  • The case study-like approach helps you get the sense that you can see what is going on behind the scenes at LinkedIn, adding something extra to this download

Why it Works: 

From breaking down how every LinkedIn ad tool works to highlighting best practices and successes from the LinkedIn marketing team, this guide provides tons of essential information to help their audience launch and manage a LinkedIn ad campaign.

This piece of content would fall within the decision stage of the buyer’s journey as it is explicitly stating the benefits of the LinkedIn marketing platform by providing results and best practices for their audiences’ own campaigns. 

What You Can Learn:

Case studies are incredibly influential. While this download is essentially a case study of LinkedIn itself, you still get to see how a real campaign was built and managed.

Providing detailed case studies or guides to the finer points of your services can be a very powerful tactic with both existing and prospective clients. Also, because case studies are a recollection of past projects or experiences, putting together a content offer with one would not require the outside help that an original data piece may need.

Final Takeaways 

There’s a lot that goes into making a successful content offer. You must have an attractive landing page, the right supplemental marketing material (ads promoting the offer, blog posts, etc.) and workflow emails to follow up with those who do download your content.

In fact, for all of these content offers I received either an immediate follow up email thanking me for downloading and directing me to more relevant content, or a thank you message an hour or two after downloading. Salesforce even gave me a call to touch base.

While all of this is important and an essential part of your marketing framework for a content offer, you have to begin at square one — creating great content.

Whether you create a whitepaper, study, guide or provide a free tool, it’s essential that what you’re offering can benefit your audience. Put their needs first and let that be your guide as you’re planning your next content offer.