Best Content Marketing Methods to Use for Lead Generation
All businesses—from large corporations to small businesses—would benefit from content marketing. This type of marketing doesn’t overtly promote a brand. Instead, it’s aimed to spark interest in a business’s products or services through the sharing of informational content such as social media posts, blog posts and videos.
Indeed, many prominent organizations in the world are using content marketing for promotion including Microsoft, Cisco Systems, P&G and John Deere, according to the Content Marketing Institute annual survey. Small businesses and one-person shops around the world also use this marketing method because it works.
In order to get a return on investment, your content marketing strategy must be linked to lead generation. Depending on the nature of your business, conversions may differ. For B2Cs, a conversion may capture an actual sale, as opposed to an email sign-up, case study download or appointment in a B2B setting, with higher price points.
Lead generation follows this path:
- Discovery – Visitor finds your business through your marketing efforts including an advertisement, article, blog, video, email, social media platform or website.
- Call to action (CTA) – Visitor clicks a link off your website, social media platform, email, etc.
- Lead information capture – CTA takes the visitor to a landing page, intended to obtain lead information to be swapped for some type of offer such as content, more information or discount.
Keep this path in mind, as you examine the following best content marketing methods to use for lead generation:
Know your target customer
First and foremost, conduct research to get to know your target customer. Once you know that, you can create a customer avatar. Smart content marketing strategies start with the customer.
You must understand who they are, as well as their psychographics, demographics, buying behaviors and pain points. Building a customer avatar, also known as a buyer persona, is crucial in determining:
- Key messages
- Target audience
- Types of content
- How the content is delivered
- How the lead is captured
- What happens after the visitor completes a form
Here’s one surprising benefit: Your content marketing efforts will push you to look at your business from a different perspective. Many businesses know their business and industry cold. Yet, many often don’t take the time to look at their content through the eyes of their customers. Your customers typically aren’t searching for branded solutions. Instead, they’re searching for their problems.
Unless your content speaks specifically to those problems and how your business can be the solution, they’ll never find you. In order to have content that gets quality leads, it must systematically walk visitors through their problems. This will enable them to relate to your business, then shift to how it uniquely can solve their problem.
Produce great content
There are no two ways about it. If you want to increase organic traffic and generate leads, you must deliver consistent, high quality content. This type of traffic is unpaid and generated by users who find your website after using search engines. You can drive traffic by peppering keywords, along with inbound and outbound links, throughout your content.
Attributes of great content include:
- Uses correct grammar (Absolutely no typos!)
- Contains your key messages
- Connects your value proposition to your target audience’s needs
- Based on the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration and decision)
(Research from the Aberdeen Group reveals that marketers who align content to specific stages of the buyer’s journey yield 73 percent higher conversion rates.)
- Optimized for SEO
- Provides value
- Grabs attention (fascinating headline and subject matter)
- Entertaining and shareable
- Includes pertinent visuals
Pieces of content include blog posts, infographics, video content, news, case studies, webinars, checklist and white papers—which are excellent lead magnets. Think about which ones will be most effective in speaking to your target audience, depending on where they are in the buying cycle and how they consume information.
Offer an alluring lead magnet
Entice people and capture email addresses, by providing good incentives to your current and potential customers.
Here are some incentives:
- Be the answer to their problem
- Provide a clear benefit and value
- Showcase your expertise and position as an industry thought leader
- Make content easy to digest
One of the top lead magnet ideas is to give a content upgrade, which is a piece of bonus content that matches the topic of a particular article in your blog. The bonus content should be very useful. For example, if the purpose of your blog post is to educate by offering ways to build a social media content calendar, the bonus content could be a free social media calendar template. Supply this expanded information for download, through a lead capture form.
Produce high converting landing pages
Landing pages are web pages that are intended to inspire the visitor to take an action. These pages can include anything from registering for an event, to signing up to receive an email newsletter or blog. This is an effective way to collect email addresses, which is critical to the success of a content marketing campaign.
High-converting landing pages tend to be:
- Visually attractive
- Coordinate with content marketing campaigns
- Establish a brand’s unique selling proposition
- Have social proof and include contact information
Most importantly, it needs to contain a strong and single CTA. Since the objective of your CTA button on the landing page is for the visitor to click it, the color needs to stand out and have contrast in order for it to get attention.
In addition to public relations, digital marketing and social media, one of the best ways to promote your content is through email marketing. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to communicate, get your message in front of your target audience and generate potential leads. Whether you’re building a relationship with a subscriber or they’ve been on your list for years, email marketing continues to be one of the largely preferred ways of getting information.
Email marketing campaigns enable you to get in touch and stay in touch with your customers by informing them of upcoming events, other services or new product offerings. Also, email newsletters should be part of your digital marketing, social media and content marketing strategy.
They can drive traffic to your website, in addition to increasing social engagement, by reminding subscribers about your brand. Eighty-three percent of B2B companies use e-newsletters as part of their content marketing program, according to Hubspot. Also, 40 percent of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most crucial to their content marketing success.
When a process is in place to promote content, it’s easier to convert them from a prospect to a customer, especially if there’s a clear CTA, to improve click through rates. The more clicks could equal more website traffic, and ultimately increase customers.
Content Marketing Lead Generation Case Study
Amerlux, an independent LED lighting manufacturer, retained CMA to build relationships with architects, lighting designers, design-build firms, facility managers, manufacturer’s reps, electrical contractors and city managers. The goal of the content marketing campaign was to generate marketing qualified sales leads, by deepening brand involvement through original content that builds commitment.
CMA developed a complex, 90-piece “owned” media campaign, through blog posts that spoke specifically to different audiences at different phases of the buying cycle. The blog-writing campaign positioned Amerlux as the solution to various problems directly or indirectly involving LED lighting. Blog angles ranged from smart cities and dark sky light pollution, to less street crime, safer college campuses and bigger bottom lines through energy conservation.
The content was presented in the different formats below, to create a richer experience to a wider audience:
- Buyer’s Journey—The majority of the yearlong campaign, which included more than 90 pieces of original content, included blog posts that appealed to specific audiences. CMA framed the content to match different stages of the buyer’s journey, which connects the marketing effort with sales: “Awareness”, “Consideration” and “Decision” stages.
- News—To add diverse content, CMA wrote breaking-news blogs to build Amerlux’s reputation.
- Social Proof—To support the “Decision” stage of the buyer’s journey, several case studies were published that clearly identified the situation, problem, action and outcome.
- Short-Form Guides—To support the “Awareness” stage, CMA created short-form guides to take a deeper dive on interesting topics and solutions.
- Drove 14,508 to Amerlux.com
- Drove 9,838 individuals to “Locate Your Sales Rep” page on Amerlux.com
- Motivated 348 individuals to provide their email addresses as part of Lead Gen campaign
- Compelled Amerlux visitors to invest 371 hours consuming Amerlux’s blog content
To close, content marketing is a new form of advertising. Unlike traditional advertising, however, content marketing provides “nurturing” that builds your brand’s relationship with customers and prospects.
With any business relationship, there are three important dates:
- The day a potential customer heard about your brand
- The day a potential customer bought something from your brand
- The day a customer bought something else from your brand (i.e. repeat business)
Everything that happens between those milestones is called “nurturing”, which is why content marketing is so important in a digital world. Adding a lead generation component steers prospects down the sales funnel faster.
Do you want to learn more about the best content marketing methods for your lead generation? Contact us today to get the conversation started.