Content marketing is an effective way to generate leads—provided you are willing to put in the work. In general, the idea is to provide high-value content that your target audience will be interested in for free. By gaining their trust and setting yourself up as a point of authority in that area, they are more likely to then contract your services.
It’s simple in theory but executing an effective content marketing strategy involves much more than just producing high-quality content.
They need to find you
It goes without saying that if you want to generate organic leads with content marketing, you have to first find a way for them to find you. There are a number of ways to do this.
Ranking on search engines
Search engine optimization or SEO is how high you appear (without paying) on the search results for Google, Bing, or other search engines. Simply put, it is probably the most important success factor when it comes to organic content marketing as it drives 1000% more traffic than organic social media.
Building a good SEO ranking takes time, patience, and careful following of processes and best practices. Ideally, you don’t want to just attract traffic—you want to attract the right traffic that converts. To achieve this, you need to rank for the right keywords for your specific product or service and in your local area if applicable.
There’s much to be said about SEO strategy and, if you are unfamiliar with it, we would recommend working with a professional to take care of the technical aspects and set you up for success.
- Ensure your website follows all SEO best practices (consult a professional if necessary).
- Identify keywords that are both relevant and achievable.
- Be prepared to play the long game.
Boosting awareness on social media
Your SEO strategy targets incoming leads that are actively looking for your services on a search engine. But they aren’t the only potential customers out there.
If you understand your target audience well, you will know which social media platforms they’re active on, whether LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other. By maintaining an active presence on social media and engaging with individuals, you can build strong relationships. It’s a great way to not just get customers but to get repeat customers, an essential part of any business’s success. What’s more, a good social media strategy may also improve your SEO.
- Know where your target audience is active.
- Plan your content a month in advance and use a social media scheduling platform.
- Check your posts on a daily basis and respond to any comments, etc.
- Remember to link to your blog/website when relevant (without overdoing it!)
Providing value with blog content
Did you know that 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI from their inbound marketing?
It’s no wonder then that blogs are what most people think of when they hear “content marketing strategy.” They represent a huge resource for your business, provided the content is useful, relevant, and regular.
This is also where the line can begin to blur between top-funnel and mid-funnel content. Say for example you own a shop selling smart alarm clocks. The problem is simple—people want a device that helps them wake up in the morning. But compare these two blog articles:
- How smart alarm clocks can improve the quality of your sleep
- Google Nest Hub vs Echo Show 5—which is the best?
Both are perfectly good articles, but the first is aimed at potential customers who have no idea what a smart alarm clock even does. Before they are ready to buy, they need to first understand the overall benefit of a smart alarm clock. The second is aimed at customers who already have quite a lot of knowledge about the subject and are in the final stages of making a decision.
- Create a range of content for each pain point identified.
- Understand your resources so you can produce regular content.
- Apply SEO best practices to all your content.
- Use call to actions (CTAs) to direct people to your services/other relevant content.
Unlock the power of video
Video is an incredible way to gain inbound marketing leads. It can work across all stages of the funnel—from creating awareness to providing after-sales support and everything in between.
What’s more, video allows you to create really effective brand stories and add that human connection that’s missing from written content.
While it might require added expertise—which may mean outsourcing—creating video content can be a long-lasting way to attract leads. And remember, as with any content marketing initiative, everything you do needs to come from your understanding of the target audience.
- Understand your goal for any particular video campaign.
- Think about the story you want to tell.
- Know how long your video should be.
- Analyze, analyze, analyze.
Lead magnets: The secret weapon
One of the most common mistakes people make in their content marketing initiatives is not creating lead magnets. Your blog is a powerful tool but nobody clicks “purchase now” directly from a blog post. It’s important to keep them moving down the funnel, and a lead magnet is one of the best ways to do that.
So, what is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is something you give away for free in exchange for someone’s contact details. Now, this could literally be anything, from ebooks and checklists to trial subscriptions, newsletters and consultations.
The important aspect is to get their contact details so you can follow up with email campaigns or a call from sales, etc. to turn that lead into a paying customer. We can’t stress this enough. People may love your content but if you don’t give them the opportunity to convert, only those who have actively decided they want your service will make the effort to buy from you.
- Create lead magnets that are evergreen and/or easy to update, since they are a lot of work to create.
- Offer as much value as possible. Ideally you want them to use it again and again as a point of reference—like checklists, reports, or guides.
- Make lead magnets for different stages of the funnel for each pain point. If you don’t have the resources, at least make one for marketing qualified leads (early stage) and one for sales qualified leads (close to converting).
- Create a welcome email series for each lead magnet to keep the momentum going.
Embrace pop-ups and landing pages
For your lead magnet to be of any use, you need to prompt your blog or website visitors to download it. This is where pop-ups and landing pages come into their own. Every landing page or pop-up will have a call to action (CTA), where you invite the visitor to input their details.
Landing pages are generally accessed through SEO-optimized results, emails, ads, or other similar marketing materials, and provide an easy way for people to input their information. They also have the highest conversion rate at 24%. Pop-ups are, as the name suggests, pages that pop up onto your screen.
Pop-ups especially often get a bad reputation for being annoying and intrusive. But that’s only really true when you’re not interested in what’s being offered. The trick to creating a good pop-up is to understand what lead magnet would appeal to someone on that particular page, blog post, etc. and to provide maximum value.
- Measure how effective your pop-ups and landing pages are with A/B testing.
Shout about your success!
The power of reviews and case studies cannot be understated in any good content marketing strategy. A well-placed quote or positive review on your website can be the very thing you need to tip someone into making the final decision to buy.
Case studies have a similar effect. People are not going to be interested in them until they’re quite close to conversion. Showing how you have helped solve people’s issues in the past, while highlighting what makes you unique, is perhaps the best bottom-of-the-funnel content there is.
Boost effectiveness with paid ads
While this isn’t classified as “organic content marketing,” using paid ads is a great way to speed up results or target specific keywords to get more customers. But since you are actively paying for your position, it’s never been more important to know exactly what you want to achieve before you launch a campaign.
- Use your best-performing organic keywords as a basis.
- Consider PPC (pay per click) options.
- Leverage the analytics from your campaign for your organic efforts.
- Focus on remarketing campaigns for better results.
Creating a good content marketing strategy is, in many ways, a never-ending process of testing, assessing, and producing new content. The sky’s the limit with what you can achieve, but the steps above are a great foundation to address every stage of the funnel and win more customers.
Ready to embrace your sales superpowers? Get in contact with us today at Pipeline.so!