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February 14, 2018 (Updated: March 2, 2020)
Leads are individuals who have qualified themselves in some way as more likely to buy from you than the average person, which is why they are more difficult to attain than raw traffic. Content marketing is one of the most consistently effective and reliable methods of lead generation for any business, while also opening up opportunities to go viral and skyrocket into a new stage. If your business needs more leads for less effort and spending, then take a look at our highly specialized tips and guidelines for getting leads through content.
Understanding Ideal Buyers
Image via Flickr by Romaner66
This is a step you absolutely cannot ignore. Before even considering what sort of content to make, you must have a detailed image of your ideal buyers, so you can draw their attention, gain their trust, and turn them into leads. You may wonder: how can you concisely describe them without getting it wrong?
First, consider what you know about your own audience. If you’re just starting, try to imagine who they are based on the products or services you offer. A hunting and fishing gear store, for example, might consider its audience older men, generally fathers and sociable types who like to hunt and fish as a group activity.
Even if it’s just a guess, split testing your copy and advertising can help you better pin down the real ideal customer. That same hunting and fishing store might find that it actually has a majority of high-engaging traffic that are younger men who prefer fishing, and on a competitive level. With this knowledge, far better targeted and content promotion ideas will come out of some simple brainstorming. If you’re having trouble, look up relevant hashtags and groups on social media, building a base of hubs where you think your audience hangs out, and then observe and participate among them.
White papers are created with members of other businesses in mind, making them ideal for B2B lead generation. They are academic, full of primary source research, and professional. A white paper is allowed to go into painstaking detail on the critical benefits behind choosing your business over others, whereas a blog post or e-book might only explain these ideas or link to the research supporting them. Businesses don’t operate on emotion like consumers do. They need to know the details if they are to decide whether you’re truly better than the competition.
Keep in mind that academic and researched does not mean boring. White papers should be professionally written to grip readers, and have plenty of relevant graphics, charts, or other visuals.
White papers are for people who are near the end of the buyer cycle, so don’t offer them to raw traffic through a landing page. Instead, draw them in with other content, such as a blog post. Then, perhaps get their email address on your mailing list in exchange for the white paper. Start a dialogue with them through an autoresponder or direct emails, generate discussions that show you really know the topic, and didn’t just hire someone to throw the white paper together. White papers, when used in this way, can generate life-long connections between your business and others.
By 2020, 82 percent of online consumer traffic is expected to be drawn by video content. Though it takes more effort, as the writing stage is only a part of the process, video can pay off by visualizing the benefits people stand to gain by doing business with you.
Video case studies, if they are legitimately interesting and not just a stylized commercial, will draw in similar people and show them exactly how well you can address their needs or solve their problems. Perhaps your business falls under entertainment, and you could release little sample videos of what you make. If you already sell video content such as independent movies, there is no excuse not to offer trailers and previews.
YouTube is now the second largest search engine, after Google, so your leads are out there, make no mistake. Coming up with ideas doesn’t have to be complicated, either. If you’re already making blog posts or other content, just make video versions of them. You’ve likely seen this on news sites, where if someone doesn’t feel like reading the story on the page, they can watch the video instead. Or, invite a mixed media approach by putting the in-depth portion of your content in the video, and using the text to peak interest and introduce what the video is about.
Amazing content that doesn’t show up when people type in relevant keywords is hardly going to pay off, so you need to make it clear what sort of inquiries or topics your content is meant to cover. This is where search engine optimization comes in.
SEO has changed quite a bit over the past decade, and has lost much of its slimy stereotype. No longer can businesses succeed through stuffing keywords, link farming, and other abusive, deceptive, and exploitative tactics. The real way to make sure your website and content ranks better in search engines is by researching the right keywords, not too esoteric but not too high-competition.
When you know the keywords that appeal to your potential leads, you can begin making content that fits these keywords naturally, while also adding them in to your general website copy. However, optimization isn’t just about SEO. Consider other ways that your website can better connect you to potential leads. For example, a live chat bot or click-to-call button will almost always be used by those who are interested in doing business with you. Consider user-friendly design, implementing category pages and keeping your site simpler and easier to load.
Leads are the plants which bear the fruit of sales and connections. These are the types of content that can help the most and the methods for maximizing your leads per piece. If you take your plans to get leads with content marketing seriously, you’ll start to understand what your potential leads like the best, in terms of content, medium, tone, and delivery methods. Experiment with multiple things early on in order to see what has the most promise. From there, you can dive into the intricacies of whatever you settle on knowing you’re poised to succeed.
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