How to Use Content to Generate Leads
In the digital age, content encompasses a lot more. It can be anything from website copy to case studies to virtual events. The content created by your marketing team or agency has the ability to generate leads for your sales team — if you do it right. That means cutting through the noise of the crowded web, reaching prospects and providing them with something of value.
According to research published by the Content Marketing Institute in 2018, the most successful B2B marketers spend 40 percent of their marketing budget on content marketing. Content marketing is about the long game — developing a relationship with customers and becoming a trusted source of information.
To capture the attention of a busy B2B buyer, you’ll need to provide them with the right content. Buyers are much more likely to do their own research, rather than accepting claims made in an advertisement. Forbes reports that 45 percent of B2B buyers are spending more time doing their own research before making a purchase than they did previously.
Brands that produce or connect buyers to content that tells a story, solves a problem, or creates an experience are more likely to generate a lead.
Create Content Designed to Help Prospective Buyers
Audiences, both B2B and B2C, are increasingly looking for authenticity and transparency. Whether a brand is large or small, people expect content to incorporate careful research from credible sources. They want to be educated rather than sold to.
In order to create content that helps prospects, you’ll need to first determine what your customers deem as helpful. One way to do this is through keyword research, which focuses on finding out what questions your customer base is asking on Google. Once you know what users are searching for, you can answer their questions, serving user intent. This is typically used to move blog posts and articles higher in Google’s search results. Content that appears higher in search results is viewed as more credible.
Surveys are another way to find out what problems your customers are looking to solve. In addition to learning more about your customers, collecting survey data also gives you valuable information to report about current industry trends.
Several types of content can help your brand be seen as an industry authority. These may include events (both in-person and virtual), well-researched articles, eBooks, case studies, and video guides and tutorials.
Distribute it Across Multiple Platforms
Creating great content doesn’t matter if it doesn’t reach the intended audience. People get information in a variety of ways now, and business owners are no different. Having multiple touchpoints can increase the likelihood of getting a user to engage with your content.
Part of your marketing strategy should be to identify how your prospects prefer to receive information. Deliver the content to the places they’re most likely to look for it. For example, if most of your customers are on LinkedIn, make sure you’re sharing webinars, blog posts, educational videos, etc. on the social media platform.
Newsletters work very well for building a relationship with a prospect. A brand can deliver exclusive content directly to a user’s inbox. Over time, data can be gathered on the type of content that prompts subscribers to engage the most. If a newsletter creates a perceived value for a subscriber, they’re likely to open it.
Gated content, such as a downloadable eBook, is a good way to grow your email list. It allows a brand to offer something of value to its customers in exchange for their information. Prospects that take the time to provide their information to get what’s behind the gate are more likely to be warm leads.
Trade publications, especially in niche industries, are still a good way to generate leads. Your customers are still likely to see a trade pub as a reliable source to stay up-to-date with industry trends and learn about new products. Sponsoring educational content, or becoming a contributor, can expand your reach to a place where your customers are already going to get trusted information.
Continue Providing Valuable Information
In order to build and nurture a relationship with prospects, you need to keep engaging with them through content. Continue to demonstrate why you’re an industry leader by being there with the information they need. This could mean showing up regularly in their inbox with a carefully curated or crafted newsletter, hosting an educational virtual event or live product demo, or sponsoring an article in a trade publication they trust.
Content marketing saves money and, according to Search Engine Journal, it generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing and advertising. That’s because it focuses on developing high-quality leads. Serving potential customers with content they value helps brands create a network of interested future buyers. If buyers are already coming to you for information, they’re more likely to think of your brand when it’s time to make a purchase.
When you’re able to reach the right audience with the content they seek, they will reward you with their business.