Lead Generation Through Content Marketing
Every B2B marketer wants to produce more or better leads. Let’s face it, the sales team counts on marketing to deliver quality leads. Sales complaining about the quantity or quality of leads produced by marketing is a common conundrum. What’s a marketing executive to do? …. Turn to content marketing.
The marketing mix in every B2B company is unique. Surely marketing activities such as events, email and targeted advertising have a place. In this post, I’m focused on how to design a content marketing strategy that produces leads. Not just any leads, but bonafide leads from people who are either ready to buy or have potential to be buyers in the near future.Is there a secret sauce to lead generation through #contentmarketing? @bernieborges answersClick To Tweet
The Secret Sauce to Lead Generation through Content Marketing
It’s not really a secret. But, it is a process that works. It requires planning and commitment. Follow these steps and you’ll enjoy lead generation success through content marketing no matter your industry.
Write Down Your Content Marketing Mission Statement
You’ve heard it said, anything worth doing right is worth planning. If you’re going to plan something, you must write it down. In this context, I’m referring to the goals of your content marketing program. Goals should be customer-centric. For example, a distributor of hospital supplies might operate under this content marketing mission statement:
“To provide hospital administrators information, inspiration, and education about the use of hospital supplies across the spectrum of economics, society, and humanity.”
Let’s break down this content marketing mission statement:
– Who does their content serve? Hospital administrators.
– What does their content do? Inform, inspire and educate.
– What is the content about? The impact of hospital supplies on economics, society, and humanity.
Once this mission statement is in place, all content ideas must pass the sniff test – does it align with the mission statement? If it doesn’t, the content should not get produced.
“The most successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing mission statement.” – Content Marketing Institute 2017 Research
Define Your Personas
According to CEB, the average B2B buying committee has 6.8 people. Each one plays a unique role in the buyer’s journey. Just as clothing is not one size fits all, neither is content. Each persona has a unique set of interests and emotions – yes emotions. While we can’t define emotions in a broad way, we can summarize attributes. Here are some hypothetical personas to consider. Adjust the elements as needed based on the true understanding of each persona in your scenario.
'Just as clothing is not one size fits all, neither is content.' @bernieborges about #contentmarketingClick To Tweet
Harvey the engineer
• Harvey is probably between the age of 25 and 35
• He’s very focused on achieving positive outcomes on every project to climb the ladder as fast and as high as possible
• He can be fact focused and aloof in his demeanor
• Relationship building is difficult with Harvey
Allison the CFO
• Allison is probably between 35 and 50
• She’s worked very hard to earn a C-level role
• She’s very focused on making business decisions that either contribute to revenue growth or cost savings
• She’s very aligned with the CEO and always wants to please him or her
• Getting time with Allison is impossible without a direct introduction from a close confidant
Sunil the CTO
• Sunil is probably between 30 and 45
• He is wicked smart with at least one advanced degree, probably from a prestigious university
• He prides himself on being in-the-know on current technologies and what’s rad or fad
• He doesn’t want to be the first to try a new technology, but he also doesn’t want to be the laggard
• He is aligned with the CFO, but they don’t always see eye-to-eye because Sunil’s budget is the biggest in the company so Allison frequently asks him to make cost reductions, which frustrates Sunil
• Sunil serves other stakeholders besides the CFO. He must support all areas of the business.
Document the Buyer’s Journey
The goal of documenting the buyer's journey is two-fold @bernieborges explains #contentmarketingClick To Tweet
The B2B buyer’s journey is a relatively mature concept. The modern marketer documents the primary steps of the buyer’s journey, ideally in a flow diagram. It’s imperative to document the journey collaboratively with sales. The ultimate goal of this exercise is twofold.
- When sales experiences marketing’s understanding of the buyer’s journey, the trust between the two can rise, and that’s important because they need each other. Sales and marketing are on the same team after all!
- The purpose of a documented buyer’s journey is to publish content that serves each member of the buyer’s team across the entire journey, increasing the odds it will resonate well with each.
The hospital supply company whose mission statement is defined above needs to publish content that serves each persona from the awareness phase through the contract phase as well as post-purchase to reinforce repeat purchase potential.
Offer a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a piece of content that is so compelling that when it’s offered, there is a high probability of conversion. This is “marketing-speak” for offer your buyer something of value in exchange for their name, email and some other information.
Effective lead magnet content is characteristic of:
- Produce something
- Save money
- Increase worth or revenue
- Improve business operations
Examples of lead magnets include:
- Surveys and quizzes where you promise to share the results with the participant
- Training videos
- Tools and calculators, e.g., calculate how many connections you need on LinkedIn to achieve your sales quota (see our LinkedIn ROI calculator on the side bar)
- Cheat sheets
These are just a few examples. Get creative with your team to identify something of value to a specific persona and offer it up through a download form. Those who request it can be some of your best leads!
Another effective type of lead magnets is research findings.
Remember that your buyer wants to move along their journey with as little engagement with sellers as possible. A lead magnet serves to create a value exchange between the buyer and the seller. The value to the prospect is in the content. The value to the seller is creating an engagement touch-point with a prospective buyer to build upon.Whatever industry you're in, these steps by @bernieborges will help you #generateleads thru #contentmarketingClick To Tweet
Document the Content Map
By now you should see a common theme of documenting each element of a B2B content marketing strategy.
The content map is a newer concept you may not be as familiar with. This concept is a visual display of your content assets aligned to each buyer’s interest and each phase of the buyer’s journey.
All Your Content Should Convert
Every piece of content you publish should guide the buyer to another engagement point with your brand. A conversion in the awareness phase can be as simple as clicking through to receive another article or lead magnet to get more value from you. The better you create value for the buyer, the greater the chance they will convert into a qualified lead.
Download our white paper on this topic.