I’m often asked what the best type of lead generation through content marketing. My response is always the same. The one that works.
According to recent surveys by the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B and 69% of B2C businesses direct their content marketing for lead generation. With so much effort directed to finding and creating leads, one might think the results of all this practice would yield an “if this, then this” type of equation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Successful lead generation content marketing – the one that works – wins when it accomplishes three goals.
- You demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to your customer.
- You educate your customer to the value, quality and uniqueness of your offering.
- You build a relationship with your prospective customers.
While there is no one formula to earn this win, there is a simple step-by-step process followed by the most successful content marketers. It gives them the laser focus needed to get noticed in an arena where 88% of B2B companies and 76% of B2C companies use content marketing regularly to increase brand awareness, sales, and yes, even leads.
There are three steps when it comes to successful lead generation through content marketing.
Step #1 for Lead Generation Through Content Marketing: Know the Audience.
You can know the ins and outs of your customer’s business, their market and their industry. That’s a good place to start, but that’s only the start. The next and most important part of this step requires you know the person you want to reach.
For all the demographic information you may have, ultimately your content needs to connect with another human being. To make this connection, you need to understand what they need and what they want. Find them where they are.
For example, technical content may catch the attention of an end-user, but not the C-level executive that’s your real target.
So start here with this first step. Identify your audience. Once you do, you’ll be all set for the next one.
Step #2 for Lead Generation Through Content Marketing: Plan it out.
You know who you want to reach. Now, let’s start with the end in mind. What action do you want them to take?
Should they call for an appointment? Schedule a demo? Reply to setup a meeting?
These actions make sense for prospects who are further along your sales funnel. Maybe if it’s earlier in the sales process, you want them to download a free whitepaper.
You define what makes a lead. For some companies, it’s a prospect who’s ready to buy. For others, it’s just getting an email address. In this step, you need to know what result you want to achieve.
Then you can plan it out. Blogs are a great way to demonstrate expertise and provide useful information. Of course, free content like blogs do come with one challenge.
Metrics like click-through and email registrations give you a clear measurement of the success your content. While you might measure the popularity of the free content of a blog, in most cases you don’t come away with actionable data. On the other hand, gated content, the content someone needs to give you an email address to get, for example, makes measurement easier.
It may be fun to write for your audience, but it’s more fun when your words lead to clients who spend money with you.
Step # 3 for Lead Generation Through Content Marketing: Choose your content.
So you’ve identified your target audience. You’ve outlined, starting at the end, the plan for the content you want to share. That brings us back to our original question: what’s the best type of content to generate leads?
By now, the answer comes a little easier. If your target doesn’t have a lot of time, then an infographic might be ideal. If your target needs detail, try a whitepaper.
CMI and Marketing Profs report social media, blogs and e-newsletters remain some of the most popular methods of content marketing. In recent years, video has become easier to produce and very popular as well. Other popular content marketing tools include eBooks, webinars, and case studies.
Ultimately, what will work best for you is the one that works best for your target prospect.
Oh, and here’s one final secret when it comes to lead generation through content marketing… success comes from consistency. If you’re not sure where to get started or resources and time make content marketing a challenge for you and your organization, give us at BFO a call. Our skilled content experts help many companies create and execute content marketing plans.
Also published on Medium.