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September 24, 2015   Posted by: Dale Underwood

6 Call-to-Action Criteria to Capture High-Quality Leads

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zerotime_actionWhat makes an offer attractive to a high-quality (qualified) prospect?

Capturing high-quality leads is getting tougher. The internet provides more self-service options for information than ever before and it is increasingly difficult to attract, and especially convert, high-quality leads. Content marketing certainly helps create awareness and drive traffic, but does little for converting that potential into real, actionable leads.

That’s where calls-to-action (CTAs) come in.

All marketers are familiar with calls-to-action, or offers, used to motivate a prospect to take action. According to the 2015 B2B Lead Generation Report, the top web based CTAs are for things like Whitepapers, Contact Us Forms (using tools like EchoQuote™) and Webinars, respectively.

So, what makes these offers attractive to high-quality (qualified) prospects?

To answer that, we came up with 6 criteria that an offer must meet to capture high-quality leads.

Specifically, for a call-to-action to work effectively:

1. the offer must have high value for the prospect

This seems obvious but is many times missed. The offer must be perceived as high-value for the prospect. They must want it enough to act on whatever it takes to get it.

2. the offer should appeal more to a qualified prospect than a casual prospect

A serious prospect may not really be interested in a $5 Starbucks gift card, especially for a large-ticket (expensive) product or service. They want serious information so they can determine if researching your company further (and placing you on their short list) is worth their time.

3. the offer must be scarce and should only be available from the vendor itself

Scarcity is hard to achieve in the world of Google and Bing but is necessary for an offer to work well. If a prospect can get the same information elsewhere, why should they give you their contact information?

4. the offer should appeal to early-stage prospects, not those “ready to buy”

In the world of sales, finding customers before the competition is critical. My opinion may differ a bit here from other Marketers because nurturing can help guide a prospect toward a decision. However, getting a high-quality prospect to engage earlier helps the sales team deliver your value proposition first, improving the chances of a high-margin sale.

5. the offer must be easy to act on for the prospect

Making a prospect jump through numerous hoops just to get preliminary information will only cause them to abandon the process. Marketers that embrace the buyer’s “self-service” journey have a much greater chance of converting them as a high-quality lead.

6. the offer must be safe for the vendor to offer

Don’t give away information that is valuable without getting something in return. Google certainly would not publish it’s Page rank algorithm(s) just to engage new customers and neither should you. Gate important information, like pricing, with a tool like EchoQuote™ to ensure only the right people get it.

Summary

If you take all 6 offer criteria and map it to the most common calls-to-action, you get a chart that probably looks like this:

6-offer-criteria-table

Your mileage may vary….

Of course, every company’s offers will vary across these criteria. Common calls-to-action may satisfy portions of this list, but usually not all.

Final thoughts. Remember…

1. the offer must have high value to the prospect
2. the offer should appeal more to a qualified prospect than a casual prospect
3. the offer must be scarce and should only be available from the vendor itself
4. the offer should appeal to early-stage prospects, not those “ready to buy”
5. the offer must be easy to act on for the prospect
6. the offer must be safe for the vendor to offer

Criteria #1 (high value) is hard to determine because most prospects realize that some offers are simply warmed‐over sales pitches. Keep whitepapers and webinars fresh with current issues and stick with solid whitepaper tactics.

Scarcity (#3) is an issue with the ubiquitous nature of the internet; make sure your content is not available via an easy Google search. Whitepapers suffer the most here.

Having run a business focused on capturing high-quality leads, we can safely say that items 2, 4, 5 and 6 represent the true sweet spot for B2B calls-to-action because the combination ensures high quality prospects that can be influenced early in the sales cycle.

Good luck!

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