Content Marketing Drives Leads When Part Of An Inbound Marketing Program
Inbound marketing promises a systematic way to generate enough leads for your business to hit your revenue goals month in and month out.
But, the secret to inbound lead generation lies within the content you create to convert your website visitors into actual leads.
When you study today's prospect behavior, it becomes more obvious. People are spending a lot of time doing the research they require to become comfortable with their purchase decision. They might visit your website three or four times before they rule your company in or out as a viable option for their needs.
The Good News And The Not-So-Good News
You're going to get a couple of at-bats. That’s the good news. The bad news: You have no idea what a prospect’s buyer journey looks like, and you have no idea how acute their pain is, which means you have no idea when they’re going to be ready to buy.
Inbound teaches you to address this issue with a constant flow of compelling, creative, educational content in a variety of formats. So, each time a potential prospect visits your website, they get to see something new. If you miss with the first offer, you can connect with the second or third. If you only have one offer, though, and they keep coming back to find the same thing, your chances of turning them from an anonymous visitor into a lead are slim.
Answer Your Prospects’ Questions
One way to ensure that your content actually converts visitors into leads is to use a question-and-answer methodology when you create your content strategy and plan. Every company has a set of common questions that prospects ask during the sales process.
Typically, they ask different questions at the beginning of the process then they do at the end. Since your website is designed to work primarily at the top of the funnel, start there. Create an inventory of questions. Sales people and customer service people are the best resource for collecting them.
As you start to answer the questions, keep your keywords in mind because content also helps you get found on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Integrating questions and keywords is something your content team needs to be very comfortable with. The better you are at this integration exercise, the more effective your content is going to be at helping you get found and get leads.
Publish And Promote Your Content
Once you put your new SEO-optimized, question-answering content on your site, you might think you’re finished. Guess again. You have to fully leverage that content. Work harder to publish it and source it out to other places that are frequently visited by your target prospects.
What LinkedIn Groups do your prospects belong to? What websites do they visit? What bloggers do they read? What trade sites do they participate in? What magazines (with online properties) do they subscribe to? What conferences or webinars do they attend? This gives you the road map to places where your content might be highly valued and easy to publish. Most of the people running these sites are looking for educational content, and your offer to share your own is likely to be regarded warmly.
Measure The Performance Of All Content
If you’ve been following these articles, you’ve heard me say, “What gets measured gets improved.” This is critical when you talk about using content in an inbound marketing program to drive lead generation. Not every piece of content is going to work. At some point, you’re going to write a brilliant whitepaper that answers a burning question, and no one is going to download it. I don’t know why, but I do know that it’s going to happen.
If you’re not tracking the performance of your content, you’ll never know that you need to consider redoing the CTA button, redoing the title, redoing the landing page or potentially retiring the underperforming content in exchange for a new offer. Measurement is as important as creation.
How Much Is Too Much, And How Much Is Not Enough?
This is a great question, and it’s an important one. But, the answer lies in the section above. There are so many variables that go into knowing how much is enough to move the needle and how much is overkill.
Your competition is going to impact the answer. If they’re creating content, it’ll be more challenging for you to get noticed. If they’re working hard to optimize for the same keywords, it’ll be harder for you and you’re going to need to invest more in order to keep up. Remember, getting found on search engines is a moving target, so what worked today might not work tomorrow.
You’re a big variable, too. Yes, you. I know it’s hard to believe, but our clients are wild cards. If you don’t want to be controversial or publish content that takes a stand or makes waves, it’s going to be more difficult to get leads for you. If you slow down the process associated with creation, publication, sourcing and testing, you're going to delay the delivery of leads. If you’ve underfunded your investment in marketing, that's going to be a constraint as well. Remember, we’re the no-fluff agency, so we’re going to tell you the truth, even if it hurts.
To answer the question concerning too much content: Well, that’s a little trickier because we don’t have that problem often. Once leads start coming in, clients usually want to know how to make them flow faster, not tone it down. There are some, though, that want to better balance the investment and the return. You do that by testing the reductions in a number of areas.
Lowering your blogging pace does reduce the number of visitors to your site. So, if you have a high-converting site and can afford to accept a drop in visitors while still maintaining a high number of leads, reducing the number of blogs published per week might be an option.
Over time, inbound programs become very scientific. When you have 12 months of actual performance data, you're able to consider what might be reduced to save money without impacting the performance of the program.
Start Today Tip – Even with this secret, I know it’s going to be challenging for you (or anyone with limited inbound experience) to get a program like this up and running. Inbound is one of the most complex and creatively challenging business exercises you’ll ever take on. Our advice is to get help. Hire someone who has extensive experience with this, or bring in an inbound marketing agency with expertise in planning, building, implementing, managing and optimizing inbound programs. This is the best path to helping you create the Marketing Machine you’ve always wanted, and it’s the best option to help your business get found, get leads and generate revenue.
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Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.