The main goal of marketing activities, especially in B2B, should be acquiring new sales leads. It turns out that the process is not as simple as it would seem from the beginning. According to the State of Inbound 2016 study conducted by Hubspot, it has always been a challenging task for marketers to acquire qualified sales leads and generate traffic.
So, what is the role of content marketing and why it is important in the process of lead generation? What are the most trustful sources for the customers and what is the mechanism of lead generation based on content marketing? All these burning questions will be covered in this article.
Content marketing as a lead generation strategy.
The first step customers do before deciding on their buying path is searching for information. The internet revolution has switched relations between companies and customers in a way that the purchasing process is now controlled by consumers. Marketers need to find new ways to reach buyers and get heard through the noise. Instead of finding customers with mass advertising and email blasts, marketers must now focus on being found and learn to build continuous relationships with buyers.
Inbound marketing and effective content marketing strategies can satisfy the tremendous demand for information. They both primarily focus on: attracting customers, building brand awareness, creating valuable content and reaching specified target groups.
In Poland, 69% of marketers surveyed by the WhitePress use content marketing as their strategy for generating leads, contacts, and sales. In the United States, however, this is a goal of as many as 80% of B2B marketers.
What sources are most trusted by decision makers.
Nowadays, consumers have access to various sources of information. According to the 2016 report by HubSpot, the most reliable sources are:
- Recommendations (55%),
- Customer opinions (45%),
- Media articles (43%),
- Proprietary materials from providers (35%).
Certainly, recommendations and customer opinions have the strongest power over the decision-making process. It’s natural that when searching for a solution we ask our friends or colleagues for advice. But you, as a company can generate great profits from this fact. First of all, tools for internet and social media monitoring are quite useful.
They allow you to catch every mention about your company which appears on the internet, as well as updates related to your industry, products recommendations. The online communication with the public can lead to the acquisition of a contact, or even a paying customer.
The second method is actively building business relations, by the combination of tools available online (LinkedIn, group networking, etc.) and offline tools (participation in trade fairs, conferences, in-person networking).
It is possible to adapt forms of content for lead generation at every stage of the sales funnel. Some of them will be a part of your website (FAQ, customer reviews or blog). Others will be used in shorter campaigns (e-books or webinars). All forms will support your long-term lead generation strategy.
We prepared a list of tools and content forms that need to be primarily adapted to your business’s marketing path/strategy. Not all of them need to be used ꟷ treat this list as an inspiration.
Stage on the buying path: AWARENESS.
- Company blog
- Guide books
- Social Media
- SlideShare Presentations
- Free tools
Stage on the buying path: CONSIDERATION.
- Product webinars
- Case studies
- Customer reviews
- Product demos
Stage on the buying path: DECISION.
- Trial versions
- Training courses
- Product estimations
- ROI reports
The mechanism for lead generation.
Before going deeper into different types of content you can use to generate leads, you should be familiar with the mechanism for lead generation. There are 4 steps to generate leads on the internet:
Provide valuable content that you offer to the recipients in the form of e-books, webinars, e-mail courses or a free trial of our product/service.
CALL TO ACTION.
Present call to action in the form of a text prompt/button, which encourages the user to take up the offer. For instance, after clicking on the CTA advertisement (e.g., download free e-book), the user is redirected to the landing page, where the offer can be used.
Make available a type of website, which contains information regarding one specific offer, as well as obligatory data gathering form which should be filled in before using the offer.
Don’t forget to verify and interpret acquired data before it becomes really valuable. The information put in might appear to be incomplete or fictional, or your competitors may download your materials.
To sum up.
Behind every great brand is a wealth of valuable and relevant content that is targeted to the company’s audience. Use content marketing and create valuable content in order to satisfy customers’ strive for information. Building trustful relations with your leads and consumers can help your business to establish a positive brand reputation.
Take advantage of internet monitoring tools and be engaged in online discussions. Follow the market updates and always be aware of any notions about your company on the internet. They will help you to adapt your product to the customers’ needs and expectations, develop the further path of development, define strong and weak aspects of your business, etc.
Customers are more likely to work with you if they know you well. So, interact with the public and focus on relationship building with your customers both online and offline. Despite the digital revolution each way can become a great source of leads.