How to Generate Quality Leads with Content Marketing
Do you feel out of your element when it comes to generating leads for your business? Do you think that, no matter what you do and how much effort you put into creating quality and engaging content, it just doesn’t pay off when it comes to lead generation. In this post, I will show you how to generate quality leads using content marketing.
Before we start, however, a little disclaimer. You need high quality content in order to generate quality leads. That means content that your target audience finds informative, interesting, relevant and useful. Content that makes them engage with your business and brand. If you can’t produce such content, neither I nor anyone else can help you generate leads.
Look, there’s no way around it. Content IS king and it is the best way to generate leads. In fact, having a blog can be a huge advantage for a company as on average, companies that keep a blog generate more than 67% leads per month, according to Demand Metric.
Poor or average content might be easier to make, but you won’t be able to see much return (if any from it). Only high quality content can help you and this is how.
Lead Generation Starts with Big Data
How do you know which prospects to go after and which to let go? A hunch perhaps? Of course not. What you need to do is dig deep into Big Data and start analyzing the data you already have on existing customers to tell you where you have the best chance with prospects.
In fact, many B2B businesses have already taken this lesson to heart. When asked in a survey by Manufacturing Marketing Group how likely they would use Big Data analytics to score leads, 23.8% of surveyed answered “very likely”, while almost half (45.5%) said “somewhat likely”
Without good data, you won’t be able to truly know your audience and customers. This is why you need to base your decision on accurate and specific data taken on every step of the buyer’s journey.
There are three things that can help you here:
- Data Analytics Tools. If you run a blog, you should already be familiar with Google Analytics. But there are other products like Salesforce that can help you analyse your customers and why they’re doing what their doing.
- AI and Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence is making huge leaps and you can expect machine learning to be one of the keys to led gen in the years to come.
- Professionals. For many, statistics and data are just numbers at the end of the day. There are certainly more interesting things you can devote your time to (although reading those data is important as well). But what if you can’t make heads from tails and get lost in all that data analytics? That’s fine, because you can always hire professionals to analyze data on your customers and leads and tell you what’s what.
Research Your Market to Know What’s Up
But I mean REALLY research it. Before you can create content about it, you need to understand the market. Of course, you may already be an expert in your industry and all you really need to do is put your knowledge to good use when creating new content for your site. But, for others, those that are making their first steps in a new market, you need to warm up your seat and roll up your sleeves, because you are in for some work.
Are you making a new product? Don’t make that decision without first conducting an in-depth marketing analysis. With that analysis, you’ll be able to answer some crucial questions before you can launch your new product or service, including:
- Who will want to use it?
- Why will your customers be interested in it? Why would they want to use it?
- How much are they willing to pay for it?
- What your competition is already doing? What do you need or can do differently from them in order to get consumers on your side?
Whether you realize this or not, we do research every day. Let’s say you want to travel somewhere. What do you do? You research the best way to get there first. Is it by plane, bus, train, car or some other way? Next, you want to make accomodations there. So you research hotels, their prices, location, etc. Or you can go with Airbnb and rent a room or an apartment. This also requires some research. Is it clean? Will you have all you need (bathroom, kitchen, WiFi…)? What’s the price. That’s only the start, once you get there actually, the research never stops. What’s the best restaurant? Where are the best shops? How to move around the city?
Don’t be afraid or avoid doing research. Without it, it will be hard for you to generate leads for your business.
Know What the Users Want to See and Read
How can you identify what your users will want to read about? One way to go about it is to visit a fortune teller and her magical crystal ball. I prefer more accurate and scientific methods than this though. This requires that you understand the user’s search intent.
Analyze what the users are already reading. What content, yours or from someone else, has hit the right spot with them? Go to your Google Analytics and identify the posts you published that had the most views, shares, likes or comments. If the user has taken time and effort to engage with your content in any way, it means that they found it useful or relevant. You can bet that they want to read or hear more about it.
Or you can go and see what your competitors are doing and why users are coming to them and not to you. A tool like Buzzsumo can tell you a lot about what type of content do users want to check out.
You should also pay attention to the user’s feedback. What do they say in the comments? What about when they share or retweet your posts? Is there a particular topic or question that keeps coming up? If there is, than that’s what you need to go after.
Finally, you can just ask your audience what they want to read about next. You’ll be surprised how many ideas you can get this way for your new content.
You can only generate leads when there’s genuine interest from your audience. Learn what they want to read about before you start creating content and offering it to them.
Choose the Right Content Type
Some types of content are just better at generating leads than others. This is where your customer’s buyer’s journey comes in again. What stage they are in? Is it the awareness stage, the interest stage, consideration stage or decision stage? You’ll need different content for the audience in different stages.
So what kind of content can generate leads for your site? This has to be something that is valuable and relevant for your readers, but what? Here are a few types of content you can use to generate leads for your business:
- Case Studies – For many content creators, case studies are the least favourite type of content to write and the same goes for the readers. But when done right, they can be a truly valuable asset in lead gen. With case studies you can show your knowledge and authority in the industry with cold, hard facts and numbers and show your results. You can even make your case studies less dull by using visual content like infographics and charts to convey your message better.
- Webinars – Hosting a webinar can bring you a lot of good leads. However, you need to ensure that it will provide value to your audience from start to finish. The most important step to make a successful webinars people will want to take is to chose the right topic. This needs to be something that interests your customers. Another important factor is the presenter or speaker. Whoever is going to do this, whether it’s you or someone else, needs to be an expert in the topic and someone who will command the audience’s undivided attention throughout the webinar.
- Ebooks – Another type of content that can help you capture leads are ebooks. This isn’t just about showing what you know (although it has something to do with that), but more about educating your audience. After reading your ebook, you want the reader to be richer for the experience and to have left with something of value to them.
- White Papers – A white paper is something that has origins in politics (the term “white paper” probably comes from the Churchill White Paper of 1922) and is a less extensive and in-depth version of the “blue book”. The term, was picked up by business-to-business marketers in the 1990s to describe long-form content which is meant to promote a product or service of a company. The problem is that, because they are not easy to write and white papers are often neglected. But the truth is, they can be a great way to build genuine interest in your product or service and, of course, generate leads.
How to Generate Quality Leads With In-Depth Content
Okay, you have your data, you’ve researched the market and the audience, you know what they’re interested in and have identified a few content types they enjoy the most. Now comes the time to actually create your content.
This should be the easy part, right? Well, not for everyone. Anyone can write a short blog post but an in-depth, valuable article that offers value to your audience is a completely different thing. In fact, as this Search Engine Watch report says, producing content that engages their audience is one of the biggest (52%) challenges B2B marketers have.
There’s no going around it. If you want to generate quality leads, you need to be able to provide in-depth content to your audience and you need to do it consistently.
Choosing the Right Content Distribution Channel
Basically, there are two content distribution channels you can go with:
- Paid Distribution Channels
- Organic Distribution Channels
The advantage of paid distribution channels is that they can generate you leads faster than organic ones. On the other hand, they cost some money (don’t worry, it’s not too much).
They include, among other things:
- Native ads
- Google AdWords
- Social media ads (such as Facebook ads for instance)
- Banner ads
On the other hand, organic ads don’t work as quick and you need a bit more patience and work (not saying that you don’t need to put some work into paid distribution channels). However, if you are on a shoestring budget (or if you don’t, they work as well), organic distribution channels will still work.
These channels include:
- Google and other search engines
- Facebook and other social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram…)
The great thing about distribution channels is that, they’re really all at your disposal. You don’t have to go with just one. In fact, you will probably want to mix it up a little and give audiences in different channels a little taste of what your content has to offer and hopefully with this generate more leads.
Create a Lead Magnet They Can’t Say No
A lead magnet should be to your visitors what boxes are to cats. Irresistible. What does an “irestibile” lead magnet look like?
- It’s specific – A lead magnet needs to hit the target. The more specific it is, the more it can help the reader and thus help you generate leads.
- It solves a problem for your customers – A customer that came to you came to solve a specific problem. Your lead magnet needs to help them solve that problem, otherwise the customer will say “no” to it.
- It showcases your experience and know-how – Why should people pay attention to your content and your lead magnets? Because they can see through quality content that you’re an expert in that field and someone they should pay attention to.
- It provides value – And it provides “lots of it” for the customer. That includes both “perceived” (the worth that your product, service or brand itself might have in the minds of the customers) and “actual” value.
A good content strategy can help you a lot when it comes to generating leads. Hopefully, this post answered most if not all questions you had when it comes to how to generate quality leads and has made you better prepared and equipped for that task now. Of course, if you still have any questions or want to add your two cents, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Or, if you found this post to be interesting and/or valuable, give it a good old share.