Not long ago, generating leads meant cold calling and networking at events. Today, just the mention of cold calls will send a chill up the spines of marketers who remember their days on the phone. You were hung up on and called names by people who had zero interest in what you had to say. Even if you had a real solution to their problems. Eventually, people screened their calls to avoid telemarketers and cold-calls, leaving marketers wondering how they were going to generate leads.
Fortunately, cold calls are dead (kind of). And content marketing has taken its place.
For some industries, content seems to come easily. However, people in industries that have developed a boring reputation may struggle to create content.
There’s no such thing as a boring industry, there’s only boring content
The secret to creating compelling content for seemingly boring industries is to focus on the customer. When you know what your customers are worried about, and how you can solve their problems, you are half way there to creating dynamite content no matter your industry.
6 steps to improving lead generation through content marketing:
Step 1: Market Analysis
There’s no way you can create content without knowing your audience. When marketing experts say “high-quality” content, they mean that the quality of your content is in sync with your audience’s preferences. If you don’t create content for the people who buy or use your products or services, it will not be “high-quality” content.
Study your audience. What questions are they asking? What are they searching for on Google? What keywords are they using?
Keywords are integral to content marketing. You will use them to front-load your titles and headlines to optimize your content. They will also help you choose content topics, so you can offer solutions to your audience’s problems.
Step 2: Create Great Lead Bait
Social media marketing is powerful, but it doesn’t perform as well as email. According to a State of Email report, one in five marketing emails gets opened, giving email a click-through rate of 3.57%. Compare that to Facebook’s CTR of 0.07%. Email is the clear winner.
That’s why you need to build an email list. But to do that, you need enticing lead bait that will encourage your site visitors to provide their email address.
Lead bait can be something you give away such as an eBook, a free trial of your software, or anything of value to your audience. If you’ve done your market research, you know what your audience wants. There’s a reason why lead bait is also referred to as lead magnet; it needs to be eye-catching and have a powerful Call to Action (CTA) that will make people want to give up their email address.
Step 3: Create Personalized Content
According to a study by Accenture, approximately 40% of online consumers abandon retailer’s websites because they are overwhelmed by the number of choices. For this reason, consumers have a positive attitude towards personalized offerings and services. In fact, almost 75% of consumers are more motivated to buy from a brand they feel recognizes and remembers them, and knows them well enough to make recommendations.
Here are some tips to help you create compelling content for your audience:
- Understand their demographics (if you’re a B2B business, that relates more to your customer’s role than age or location)
- Use powerful headlines that have performed well with your prospects
- Create content that is data-driven and solves problems
Step 4: Promote Your Content
Marketing experts recommend that you spend as much time promoting your content as you do creating it. It’s also possible that you were using the wrong channel. Different content formats also mean different channels (Paid search, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook Ads, Promoted Tweets, Instagram, etc.). Here are some ways to promote your content and generate hot leads:
- Share multiple times on social media
- Submit your post to a content community
- Use paid ads and remarketing
- Use syndication to reach new audiences
- Send an outreach email
- Partner with an industry influencer
Step 5: Leverage Social Media
Just because email outperforms social media marketing, it doesn’t mean you should ignore social media. Many conversations within your industry happen on social media, making it a good way to connect with an engaged audience and industry influencers on a platform they already know.
By promoting your content on social media you can generate conversations and improve engagement. Engagement means likes, comments, and shares that have the power to improve brand awareness and extend your reach.
Step 6: Nurture Leads Through Email
According to Marketo, 96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy. This shows how important it is to nurture your leads. They’ve come to your site, which expresses interest. But they need a nudge to help them decide to buy.
This is where email marketing comes in. Many marketers view email as the heart of lead nurturing campaigns. According to Invesp, 78 % say that email is the most effective channel for lead nurturing, and that lead nurturing emails produce 4 to 10 times the response rate compared to standalone email.
To gain trust with lead nurturing through email, provide relevant, valuable content. A MarketingSherpa survey of email recipients shows that 58% (which was the greatest number of respondents) stopped reading, disengaged or unsubscribed because of “lack of relevance.”
Here are some tips to write successful lead nurturing emails:
- Humanize your approach
- Talk directly to the people you are emailing to
- Focus on what motivates them
- Empathize where they are in their buyer’s journey
- Change your message based on personas, and better—based on the specific individual
High-quality content is essential to generating leads. When you meet the needs of your prospects through content, you gain their trust. And when you’ve earned their trust, they are more likely to become a customer.
–James Rice, Digital Experience