Content marketing is nothing new. In fact, 91% of B2B marketers have used content to reach their customers, and 86% state that content marketing is a key strategy for growth. It’s obvious that the ROI is there. However, the ability to drive effective content that will sustain engagement, increase leads, and ultimately foster sales needs to be tightly aligned with the buyer journey.
Content has always played a big role in taking my marketing initiatives from nada to a 4x ROI, which is what my clients typically see. This isn’t about fluff numbers either or trying to oversell myself. You can check out my recent blog on how blogging helped me yield a 603% ROI just for my business alone.
More specifically, making content a major focus for my personal brand as well my business has aided with the following:
- Direct relationships built with executives who were in need of my services.
- Ranking well on the first page of Google for multiple long-tail keywords, like “get shit done.” 😉
- Build authority, credibility, and trust.
That said, in today’s blog I’ll discuss five specific ways to increase leads with your content assets:
1. Bring a Ridiculous Amount of Value
Sure, creating lead magnets like eBooks, guides, webinars, etc. can all help you generate leads, but where you’ll gain the most high-quality leads who are truly ready to buy is to make sure you focus on giving value. This means you put the needs of your target audience top of mind and you aren’t just looking to collect a name and/or email address.
So what exactly should you focus on when it comes to providing value? Here are some things to consider:
- Know the buyer journey and personalize it with content that will keep them venturing further down the funnel.
- Context is everything. Same as point number one. Stop trying to fit everyone into the same content buckets. Instead, create content based on behavior and engagements.
- Splice up macro content/long-form pieces into micro content that drives everything back to the macro. In other words, you’re taking the most important nuggets of your longer-form content and making it digestible.
While “going with your gut” might work in some cases with content development, the best results come when you use data and relevant tools to inspire what you create. SEMRush has a full-service content marketing toolkit that can aid you in conducting topic research, optimizing your content for search engines, and tracking success once the content has been posted. Check out how they guide you through the whole process here.
2. Host Small Virtual Events
With the current pandemic, having a way to really connect with your target audience is harder. Rather than just running webinars and talking at people, run a small virtual event. This will allow you to be authentically engaged and build relationships with those who join.
More specifically, here are some key steps I highly recommend you try:
- Figure out the topic of your event. Make sure it aligns with the problem you are trying to solve and know who would likely have those problems, i.e. your target personas.
- Record a video of you talking about this virtual event and what it entails. No fluff.
- Create a survey using Google Forms and ask open-ended questions to help evaluate the potential of converting the people who are joining your event into paying customers.
- Package it up and run social media ads, specifically with Facebook and LinkedIn to get your event in front of the right audience.
I’ve said this time and time again, but people buy from people, not companies. The way you bring on new customers and actually retain them is all based on how you continue to not only add value but actually work to build a rapport with them. On top of that, you’re then able to actually deliver what you promised and even exceed those results to the point where you’re driving with value over anything else.
3. Personalize Your Email Communication
In the B2C world, let’s say you have purchased several shirts from one company and have even expressed interest in just their shirts, but then you keep getting emails talking about their socks — this is definitely going to be a bit irritating, right?
In the B2B world, it’s no different. Personalization is important and is going to help you figure out the needs of your target audience and what’s going to make them buy from you. If all you do is send all leads the same message, then it’ll be hard to really turn a large percentage of them into opportunities.
Nothing is going to scream “wasted marketing dollars” more than sales reps following up with some generic message to every single qualified lead that comes in the door. Instead, look at how you can develop a more personalized approach. For example, if someone fills out a form coming in through a piece of content around SEO, you’ll want to follow up with something that is SEO-related as you nurture. After all, companies see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.
Email marketing personalization can be easily organized if you use the right tool. I like to recommend Ontraport because it has so many features and is reasonably priced. Featuring automatic email tracking, list segmentation, and split testing, their email marketing tools have every functionality. Not only that, but Ontraport helps make landing pages, conduct SMS marketing, and more. Check out their pricing and list of features here.
4. Take Your Content Distribution Strategy Seriously
Once you’ve created and published your content, making sure it is distributed in the right places is going to be instrumental in increasing quality leads, as well as sales.
Here are some key channels to consider distributing your content:
- LinkedIn Groups
- LinkedIn Articles
- FB + FB stories
- Insta + Insta stories
- Ask your audience to reshare because you can increase your social distribution by 40%
Of course, the list could go on and on, but what’s more important is that you are very intentional with being present where your target audience is. Participate in relevant conversations. Share your content, but do so with an authentic voice. Use the right hashtags and tag relevant accounts. These are all things you can do to ensure that you are pushing to create a dialogue rather than just get your content out there for leads.
5. Pay to Play
You probably won’t love hearing this, but the truth is that organic reach for many social platforms isn’t what it used to be. If you don’t have a big brand name, then it makes sense to promote your content assets.
What’s most important is that the numbers make sense and, in the simplest terms, understand what you’re willing to spend to get a quality lead that will turn into a sales opportunity then closed-won. If the amount that is returned is much higher than the amount that is spent, you know your ROI is positive. Therefore, it makes sense to pump more money into what’s actually moving the needle.
Some key things to keep top of mind when you pay to promote your content:
- Make sure the targeting is narrowed down to your personas.
- Avoid ad fatigue — create multiple variants
- A/B test where you can so you know what’s working
- Make sure there are targeted landing pages tied into each asset
- Push multivariate testing where it makes sense and develop a growth hacking strategy
Over to You
Like anything digital, it’s easy to test and get results in a short period of time. Make sure that you don’t ever become complacent and put in the time to optimize what’s working, as well as cutting off anything that isn’t.
Finally, always put the problem you are solving at the forefront and humanize your messaging. Being authentic is going to win over leads and customers more than just trying to marketize every piece of content.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. I only recommend products and services that I use and stand behind, and if you decide to try them, I will earn a commission at no cost to you. Doing so helps me run this blog and provide free content for you, my readers.