Chances are, the saying “content is king” has been drilled into your head by everyone from top inbound content marketing organizations such as Hubspot, to lead generation experts such as Marketo’s VP of Demand Generation Heidi Bullock, to your fresh-faced MBA intern with killer ideas to supercharge your company blog. It’s safe to say we all agree that good content results in better leads and more engaged users. The question is: how does content actually generate leads?
Once you have a storehouse of shareable, interesting, and educational material, what do you do to harness it’s qualified lead generation potential? Here are four tips to help you build a strong content marketing strategy tailored to your business needs.
1. Content marketing secures leads:
One of the most effective ways to secure qualified leads is through gated content. If you know your target audience will really want to read your blog post or latest tutorial, put it behind a digital gate. Before downloading or accessing the content, prospective customers will need to provide their email address or other contact information. The catch is making sure customers receive enough value from this content to outweigh their hesitation of being spammed after they provide their contact information. Ask yourself if you would give your email address away for the content before gating anything. If you have even a moment’s hesitation, it’s time to promote a new content king. Also, make sure your content marketing targets top of funnel prospects. While gating a product “how-to” PDF may get you lots of leads, chances are these leads have already signed up for a free trial and are ready to use your product. Stick with information that is tangentially related to your product, or of interest to your target audience but that doesn’t directly apply to current users.
2. Plan ahead, create a content calendar:
Sharing the right content at the right time is a key ingredient when generating leads for your content marketing strategy. Freakonomics author, Steven Levitt, shares a story about a hardware company that tried to measure the ROI of their newspaper ads against their digital spend. Because the digital advertisements only ran the day before major consumer holidays (think: Black Friday and Father’s Day), whereas the newspaper ads ran every Sunday, the ROI of the digital ads looked substantially higher than the newspaper placements. It’s not that the content in the digital ads was more effective than the newspaper ads, but rather, that the content was being served at the right time for the customer. Understand your target audience’s sales cycle, when they shop, where they shop, and when promotions will most likely appeal to them. Craft content that hooks them in around these key sales triggers so you always have a few pieces of highly effective lead generation material locked and loaded throughout the year.
3. Search landing pages:
Congratulations! If you – like almost every other company out there – spend any money on paid search advertisements, you are probably wasting plenty of that money when your current customers click your search ads to log into your site or access their account information. The good news is, we have a solution. We recommend a two-pronged approach to solve this problem and ensure your customers and prospects are finding the right information in the right places. First, tailor your search ads toward non-branded terms that are related to your product and spend less on your brand name itself. This way, customers who are searching for products like yours will find your landing page, but current customers who already know you, will be more likely to click an organic search page rather than a paid ad. Next, splurge on an amazing copywriter or agency to tackle your landing page. Your landing page should introduce your product, give customers enough information to tease them into wanting to learn more, and then direct them to a trial sign up, gated content, or sales funnel.
4. Blog posts and viral leads:
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget about the power of your blog posts. If you are consistently writing relevant, interesting content, people will want to keep visiting your blog. As they sign up for your newsletter or opt in to your email list, you’ll receive an influx of exceptional leads. Nurture them with email offers and right-for-me content that keeps them coming back again and again. As an added bonus, each time these followers share your content, you have the chance to gain new leads through their viral exposure. Even if you can only dedicate an hour a week to your blog, or partner with an agency to craft content on your behalf, you’ll be priming your business for a self-renewing pipeline of business leads.
These four tips are simple, straightforward, and highly effective in transforming content into customers. And chances are, if you already have a content marketing strategy, these lead generation tips will easily fit into your existing plan.
Here’s how the team at BIGEYE builds a solid Content Marketing Strategy.