How to Generate Leads Through Content Marketing
You’re looking for new customers online. You send out content and see what sticks, but you haven’t had much success. So, the big question we always get is, “how can you generate leads through content marketing?”
It takes a lot of work to be effective, and enlisting experts can help, but you can also do it on your own by doing research, testing your content and measuring the results. To get you started, here’s everything you need to get new leads from conducting research and creating landing pages to creating lead magnets, promoting them and nurturing new leads via email and additional content campaigns.
Step One: Do Your Research
Before you create a piece of content to either nurture your leads, build brand awareness or generating a new lead magnet, you’ll need to know what kind of content your audience is most likely to connect with. This requires researching their pain points and their preferred kind of content, as well as any content gaps that your competitors aren’t delivering.
Social media is a great place to listen to your customers. Monitor your accounts and those of your competitors to see your audience’s needs and desires. Notice the kind of content they engage with (offers for exclusive videos, online classes, white papers, etc.), the questions they ask and the problems they’d like to have solved. They may even suggest content that they’re hoping for.
Beyond listening, you can also directly ask your audience what it is they are interested in. If you don’t get enough answers, you could even offer prizes for participation in a survey on Facebook as long as you follow its contest rules. You can also send out an email blast to your current clients offering them an incentive for filling out a survey.
Taking a close look at your potential customers on social media or your other owned channels will give you a general idea of what your content pieces should be about. But to find out if that need has already been met, check Google Adwords Keywords Planner.
Say you want to sell walking tours of colonial-era Boston, Massachusetts, you can find out exactly what your potential customers are searching for. Just plug in keyword ideas into the search box and click on “Get ideas.” The results will give you more search ideas around that topic and will likely inspire more refined topics.
Another strategy to explore is to take advantage of Google search’s autofill feature. Start typing in questions like “How can I…” and “How do I…” and Google will autofill your search with questions that people need answers to.
Step Two: Create a Landing Page
Your lead magnet will live on a landing page that is perhaps even more important than the lead magnet itself. After all, if your landing page isn’t engaging, why would anyone agree to give you their details in exchange for your lead magnet?
A good landing page uses all of the elements of a good webpage but focuses them all on one thing: getting people to give you their information in exchange for your content or lead magnet. In particular, you’ll want your landing page to include the following:
- An attention-grabbing headline
- A sub-headline that piques their interest and keeps readers engaged with your main message
- A targeted message
- An appealing image
- Testimonials for social proof
- A call to action asking people to sign up for your email newsletter in exchange for your lead magnet
Since headlines are so important, let’s take a closer look at how to find inspiration and craft engaging ones.
Successful headlines are all around you; you probably click on them every day. They’re on social media, on your favorite websites and on email subject lines. On social media, you can also see how various headlines have performed. Keep a list of effective ones from your competitors and leaders in various fields. You can almost always adapt them and make them fit your content.
Another place to look for headline inspiration is on Google. Simply type keywords that you’d like to use in potential headlines into its search engine. Many of the top results will be articles with headlines that you can borrow inspiration from and alter to your needs.
Step Three: Create Your Content or Lead Magnet
In step one, you learned how to listen to your audience and see what kinds of content they are most likely to engage with. You researched keywords and found a topic that addresses your potential customers’ pain points. And you also considered the format for your content campaign or lead magnet. Depending on your target audience, this could be a video, a white paper, an ebook, a case study or an online course. Whatever format you choose, your lead magnet should be informative, engaging, attractive and inspire people to come back for more in the future.
Step Four: Promote Your Content or Lead Magnet
As is said, marketing is all about reaching the right people with the right product at the right time. Promoting your content on social media is a powerful way to make this happen. You don’t need your stuff to go viral to succeed — especially since going viral can often mean sacrificing your messaging or branding, which doesn’t work in the long run. Instead, good promotion requires research and understanding at least the basics of, say, Facebook marketing.
First, decide which social channels are right for you. If you’re marketing an assisted living facility, then Snapchat might not be relevant, for example. Whatever platforms you use, research the qualities of engaging social content and decide on the timing of when you’ll post.
To extend your reach on social media, consider working with influencers. They can also give you natural social credit, new followers and new visitors to your website.
Deciding which influencers to work with is crucial. Search for experts in your field, look at how many followers they have, check their engagement numbers and see if their brand meshes with yours. Then follow them and visit their blog. But don’t just consider influencers based on the number of their followers. Just because someone like Kim Kardashian has millions of followers doesn’t mean her followers will be interested in your particular product or service.
Step Five: Nurture Your New Leads
Now that you’ve generated some leads, you’ll want to nurture them and get them moving down your sales funnel. After all, most of the time, leads don’t immediately lead to sales.
So how do you nurture leads? Email marketing is one extremely effective way of nurturing. Since your new leads have given you permission to interact with them, you can email them with links to useful content on a regular basis. Over time, you’ll gain their trust and they’ll be willing to shell out money for your product or service.
Start with a follow-up email, thanking them for signing up for your email list. From there, consider sending a brief email once or twice a week. More often is annoying and less often means your potential customers will forget you. Make your content as engaging, informative and entertaining as possible and take note of your open, click-through and unsubscribe rates so you can make changes accordingly.
As with social media posts, when you send your emails matters. Same day opens tend to be higher than opens of emails that have been sitting around for days. So if you’re a B2B company, you’ll want to send emails during work hours. But whatever time you choose, check the results and experiment for even better results.
Step Six: Engage Your Target Audience on Additional Platforms
We all know that it usually takes more than one touchpoint before a potential lead is convinced to try your product or service. The best strategy to implement when you are running content campaigns is to also engage your potential audience and leads on platforms outside of your own. At Mediaplanet, we offer our clients the opportunity to run custom content campaigns on our owned digital content hubs geared to a very targeted audience online in various industries – they are able to run display, panel spotlights. specially curated infographics, sponsored content articles and more. We also offer our clients the opportunity to be part of national print campaigns in targeted newspapers aimed at speaking to their audience and generating mass recognition – distributed at highly targeted conferences as well to keep engaging our clients’ target audience. We also offer our clients the opportunity to feature their curated content campaigns through video, social media activations and influencer alignments. You get the point. We work with your current internal lead generation strategies to continue your messaging, brand awareness and nurturing.
Brands should be continuously putting their content out on the relevant platforms their leads are on – online and offline.
Have additional strategies you use in your company not covered here? let us know about it in the comments below!