As a content marketer, one of your main focuses when creating content needs to be on lead generation. When deciding what the goals of your content marketing strategy are, lead generation should be toward the top of your list. Your blog content should be generating quality leads into your marketing funnel, as well as building trust with your customers, increasing brand awareness and driving engagement to your site.
Content should be the foundation of your lead generation efforts. Content is what fuels all your marketing campaigns, from email to social and everything in between. But according to a recent IDG study, 61% of marketers claimed generating leads was a problem for their company. A big reason behind this is that companies generate leads, but they’re generating leads that aren’t ready to purchase and they end up losing those leads. To prevent your leads from being lost, you must invest in lead nurturing and other middle of the funnel methods to help build strong relationships and trust.
But first, you must grab and keep the attention of potential leads at the top of the marketing funnel with your blog content. Companies that blog produce about 67% more leads per month than companies that don’t. Capturing a reader’s attention during the awareness stage provides you with a great opportunity to turn this reader into a quality lead who you can better engage with later on.
Below are ways you can effectively drive quality leads from your blog content.
Select Your Content Topics
Confused about what blog topics you should write about? Don’t make it so hard. Write about topics your customers are interested in! It’s as simple as that. To better know what topics to cover:
- Ask you customers what they want to know.
- Check your web analytics to see what past topics have been successful.
- Keep up to date with your industry’s news so you know what and when things are happening.
- Follow other industry experts on social media to learn what they’re writing about.
When it boils down to it, write useful, informative and unique content. This type of content allows you to build credibility and trust with your customers over time.
To stay organized and on track with your blog’s mission, have a handful of categories you write about so your blog content stays structured within your blog and so your reads know what topics you typically cover. When your readers know what content they can expect from you, it helps you get more interaction between them and your content, which also means they learn more about your business.
Connect Your Prime Content With Your Blog Content
Your blog posts are uploaded as a method of engagement for those at the top of the marketing funnel, as well as a way to reengage your current audience. For the most part, these readers are in the awareness stage, which means your content needs to secure them as a business lead so you then can start building a richer, more meaningful relationship with them through your other various channels.
The way to do that is adding a call-to-action (CTA) somewhere in your post that encourages readers to view a more prime piece of content you’ve created, i.e. whitepaper, infographic, video, etc. But before a reader can view this content, have them provide their name and email address — which you collect and save — so you are able to reach out to them in the near future.
Construct An Email List Using Forms And Pop-Ups
Prime content is a great way to produce email subscribers, as well as one of the lead generation forms of your business. To continue to grow and get more people on your email subscriber list, include an email form on your site that’s easy for visitors to find and quick and easy for them to fill out. There are two simple things this form can ask visitors to do:
- Fill out their basic information, i.e. name and email address.
- Ask them to subscribe by RSS.
When determining where to place this form on your site, you not only want to make it easy to find, but you also want to make sure it doesn’t seem out of place or disrupt the flow of content on your site.
You may think we’re crazy for saying to use pop-ups since most readers, probably including yourself, find pop-ups quite annoying. But when pop-ups are used correctly, they can work very much in your favor and lead to sign ups.
The first thing to remember is not being aggressive with your pop-ups. Program them so they appear in a noninvasive way when a visitor is about to leave your site or a certain page on your site, depending on how long they’ve been active. You must also remember that the point of a pop-up isn’t to disrupt what a site visitor is doing just to attain their attention. Think about it. When you’re browsing a site or reading a blog post and out of nowhere a giant, flashing pop-up appears, basically yelling in your face, you have zero desire to read it. You immediately close the pop-up and/or leave the site.
So when you use pop-ups on your site, provide a compelling offer to obtain a visitor’s email address, encourage them to view or download another helpful resource of yours or simply remind them just how valuable and informative your blog always is. And don’t be annoying about it.
Nurture Your Leads Through Strategic Email Drip Campaigns
Email is a quick and direct way to reach customers. There were 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide in 2013, a number expected to rise to 4.9 billion by 2017, and approximately 182.9 billion emails were sent and receive each day throughout the world during that same year. But emails aren’t just a way for you to talk to leads. They’re your way to nurture them and give them a reason and opportunity to respond. And nurtured leads are the kind of leads you want. When compared to non-nurtured leads, nurtured leads make roughly 47% larger purchases and produce about a 20% increase in sales opportunities.
Ever heard of the “batch and blast” campaigns? Well, don’t use those if you have! No one wants to be blasted. Today’s consumers want to receive personalized and relevant communications from businesses.
In order for you to provide that kind of communication through your email drip campaigns, you need to know:
- How to talk to your customers as individuals, not as a group.
- How to tailor each email to the customers you’re sending them to.
- How to make your emails conversational, not sales pitchy.
- How to make each email engaging, relevant and informational.
- What’s going to make readers trust you through these emails.
- How to coordinate them with your other channels.
Emails in this campaign should be geared toward answering your leads’ questions and fulfilling their needs through informative content that educates and entices them and moves them closer to spending their money with your business. Don’t forget to include CTAs and links in your emails that send your leads to your blog, pages on your site, etc., to get them interacting more with your brand.
Drive Quality Leads From Previous Posts
As you’re writing a blog post, include links to other relevant posts that have been published on your company’s blog. Readers know to click on links within a post they’re reading to receive more information about a certain topic, additional resources, industry news relating to the topic, etc. Adding additional links also makes readers see you as more of an expert who’s really done his or her research with this topic.
Relevant links to other posts on your site get visitors reading and interacting more with your blog and other site pages, which means they spend more time on your site. When you encourage more interaction within your site, your amount of leads from your blog increases, or at least it will if you have amazing, useful content.
Include A Free Sample Or Trial Of Your Product
If you can, incorporate a CTA that offers your readers a sample of your product or even a free trial of it. One, people love free stuff, and two, being able to review your product for free instead of having to review more and more content gets a reader moving more swiftly through the sales funnel.
Be sure to choose whichever option works bests with your business and what you’re selling or offering. These options can sometimes get a tad expensive for businesses, but if you can afford it, do it. It’s a good way to drive leads straight from your blog content.
Implement Social Media
Last but certainly not least, use social media. Several, if not all, consumers research various channels online, including most often social media, to find educational resources that help them make purchasing decisions.
What does this mean for you? It means you need to share your blog content on social media platforms to generate more leads. You want and need to be where you customers and prospects are, creating trust, informing them and providing useful content, all of which can be done when you’re on and continuously involved with social media.
A great social media site for B2B companies is LinkedIn. LinkedIn generates more leads for companies than Facebook and Twitter, but only about 47% of B2B marketers actively use this platform. So to stay on top of the game and drive the amount of leads you want, get and stay actively involved with the major social media sites.
In closing, follow these do’s of effective lead generation to drive the quality leads you desire:
- DO develop content for the different stages of the buying process.
- DO use a blog and create great, unique content that provides the information your leads are looking for.
- DO take advantage of direct marketing, i.e. email drip campaigns.