End the never ending cycle of cold calling, email pitches, and networking events and create leads without trading your most important resource... TIME!
How can you find leads on auto pilot?
It is one of the only superpowers I know that really exist.
You can communicate with your customers on a regular basis. You don't have to pay a television network an absurd amount of money to run a commercial.
And it is proven to work…
B2B marketers who consistently blog attract 67% more leads than marketers who do not blog (WebDAM). If you need lead generation help, you have come to the right place. But I want to make this clear: you cannot create average blogs.
Instead, we are going to show you how to use great content so you can:
- Drive traffic to your website,
- Create content that resonates with your customers, and...
- Build your email list with a high-converting landing page.
How Does Content Strategy Help Lead Generation?
What is content marketing?
Zachary Chastain, Head of Community Engagement for Thought Lab, said it best:
Content marketing is an inbound methodology. Rather than interrupting prospects with sales pitches they don’t care about, you instead demonstrate value to qualified traffic with content tailored to solve their problems.
Head of Community Engagement
Let me give you an example:
Imagine that it is Summer time. Your yard is overgrown. You can’t handle it anymore.
In preparation to mow your lawn, you put on an old shirt and strap on some boots.
Then you hear a knock at the door...
It’s a salesman. You want to shut the door on his face, but he says the magic words, “hey, I see that your yard is growing out of control? Need help?”
The salesman sees you questioning his motives, so he interjects, “I’ll make you a deal. Let me mow your yard, and if you like the way your yard looks, maybe you can hear my 10-minute sales pitch about this awesome lawn mower I have here, alright?”
Would you say no?
Of course not! That salesman just saved you from doing a 2-hour job!
There’s one major difference between this example and successful content marketing: your content is your salesman. Instead of hiring individual sales people to start the process of making relationships, your content lives forever on the web acting as a likable, helpful sales person.
This means more reach, cheaper advertising, and more qualified leads without needing to hire more individual sales people. To illustrate this, look how sales funnel has changed:
In the 21st century, your leads should be ready to say “yes” before talking to a salesperson.
That’s the power of the content marketing funnel.
Simple Content Marketing Funnel For Generating Leads
Now let’s talk about the basics of creating a simple content marketing funnel.
This article is going to cover three parts of the funnel:
1. How to drive traffic to your blogs with social media and ads,
2. How to use blogging content to lead customers to a landing page,
3. How to use lead magnets and landing pages to gather emails.
Let's get started!
Top Line of the Content Marketing Funnel. You need people to find your content. The "build it and they will come" mantra just doesn't work. Instead, we have to promote it and get it in front of their faces.
I recommend four ways to drive traffic to your company's blog:
1. Generate Traffic by Targeting People With Google Advertising.
Depending on keyword choice and competition levels, Google allows companies to display ads in their search tool:
I recently helped a company rank #1 organically for the key term, “Tampa Bay Web Design”. But despite this effort, these websites will still be shown above my client's website.
Of course, paid search has its drawbacks. People trust ads less than organic rankings. Only 6% of click-throughs come from paid search results. But still, it is a good way to generate traffic towards your content.
2. Target people based on hobbies, age, gender, and more using Facebook ads.
Arguably, Facebook has the most powerful ad platform today. It has a global audience of approximately 1.5 billion people. That’s about 1 person for every 5 people on Earth.
So how does it work?
In short, Facebook does a great job of aligning your interests and sprinkling ads so they feel organic and natural. Unlike Google, the ads aren’t “in your face”.
If you know your audience, then Facebook will help you make a killing.
3. LinkedIn Ads for B2B
This is the best platform for B2B businesses. LinkedIn is focused on connecting professionals and has over 467 million users (128 million of them in the United States).
Lastly, B2B businesses are focusing on serving very specific needs within the business sphere. Because of this, it is quite easy to find who you want to target by understanding:
- What type of company needs my product (type of company, industry),
- Who makes the decisions (job role, position in the company),
- How can I show them that this is the best product, for a specific problem, and for the best convenience?
You can even target people personally. Hire a VA to track down specific people based on job description, company size, and industry. For 20 hours of work, you can have a VA tracking down a list of new prospects for prices ranging from $120-$300.
4. Share your content on Social Media
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat are all great places to get your content out into the world. Of course, you need to choose the right platform. For B2B businesses, I recommend Twitter and LinkedIn.
Now let’s move on:
Middle of the Content Marketing Funnel. This is the glue of your business. This is where you educate prospects about your business, your service, help them accomplish their goals, and develop your positioning to relate to your target customer. You can do this through blogs, videos, and infographics.
If you are wondering, “how can I create content people want to read and share”, I have written about that in a blog post here.
It’s simple. Create content to help your customers and drive traffic to those posts using ads and social media sharing. As well, if you follow the tips in the blog I linked up above, you can tap into the viral sharing power of social media.
Guest posting is also a popular way to drive qualified traffic to your blogs.
Within those blogs, you need to use call to actions to get people to your lead magnet. Here are a few examples of companies doing this:
WordStream offers an AdWords performance grader on the sidebar of their blogs. By creating blogs about marketing and SEO, they are likely to attract readers who are interested in improving their AdWords performance. This makes their free offer enticing to the people who read their blogs.
After readers click the “GET GRADED TODAY” button, it leads readers to a landing page asking for their email.
Kissmetrics includes a CTA at the end of each blog to lead people to their plethora of free offers. In this case it is a chance to learn about their new product. After clicking the “learn more” button, readers are led to a landing page which asks for a name and email.
Do you see the pattern now?
Get traffic to your blog --> Provide useful information and lead customers to your free offer.
Now let’s move on to the next step: the end of the Content Marketing Funnel.
For simplicity, we are not going to talk about creating sales. Today, we want to create leads. So when does a prospect become a lead? When they give you their email.
How do you do this? Lead magnets.
A lead magnet is a free offer you make in exchange for an email address (and possibly additional information).
Lead magnets are also called:
- Signup incentives
- Signup offers
- Content upgrades
- And many other terms
...The purpose of a lead magnet is to inspire the people who are consuming your content to get on your email list. You’ll aim to convert them to customers in the future with lead nurturing tactics, most notably, email.
I recommend using ebooks to gather emails. In an industry forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers, total ebook sales are expected to reach $8.7 billion by 2018. That’s more than 3,000% growth since 2008.
It is a popular medium to give away information and there are many convenient tools to create your own ebooks.
Here are 15 other lead magnet ideas:
But how do you get someone to trade an email for a lead magnet? It is time to talk about Landing Pages.
5 Tips to Create the Perfect Landing Page
Your landing page is where you convince someone to trade their email for your lead magnet.
When a reader hands over their email, they are giving you permission to contact them again in exchange for a free product. It's like walking into a car dealership.
Almost universally, no one likes car salesman. But the very act of walking into a dealership is like saying, “I am willing to hear what you have to say Mr. Salesman.” Luckily, we don't have to play hardball like a car salesman. Instead, we can use this tool to create great relationships with our customers.
Getting email signups is advantageous for several reasons:
- You open the door to create relationships with your email list and...
- Email marketing gives a return of 4400% (need I say more?).
So let’s help you open the door to one of the most profitable channels available!
1. Increase Your Threat Level Like KlientBoost
You don’t want to ask prospects for their zip code, date of birth, and job title right away.
Buy a girl a drink first! Swoon her a little bit. Don’t just go straight for the, “let’s get out of here” comment.
If you need a lot of information, look how KlientBoost gets it without being in your face:
By separating the process of entering in customer information, they increased conversions by 311%.
2. Focus on a Singular Action
You want the customer to do one thing on your landing page: give you their email.
Don’t include links to your most popular blogs, another offer, or an invite to lady’s night and some drinks!
You want them to trade their email for your lead magnet.
Keep it simple.
Let’s look at a sample by Shopify:
No share buttons. No extra links. You either give them your email... or you leave.
The page clearly shows the benefits of using Shopify and offers a 14-day trial to give the customer a chance to see it for themselves.
3. Target the Right Emotions
Cynthia Meyer, now the Marketing Director at WEGO Health, recommends evoking the right emotions:
Wherever you have wiggle room in choosing color, image or content, consider what vibe you want to give off and appeal to the emotions you’re going for.
Marketing Director at WEGO Health
Cynthia also recommends using the color emotion guide to visually appeal to a target emotion:
Many landing pages want to appeal ONLY to logic. While appealing to logic will help, you need to make sure your page targets the right emotion.
For example, why do you think a person buys a boat?
Maybe its the bargain value, its speed, and the amount of space it holds...
But before someone can care about the logical benefits, they first have to feel excited about purchasing the boat because it will unlock the possibility of adventure, relaxation, and deep sea fishing.
In some cases (and we are going to get terse here), maybe the boat makes a person feel like they are part of the elite and buying it would be a great way to show off their wealth. There are many different emotions to target. You have to figure out what emotions trigger your customers.
4. Lead Customers to Your Call to Action with Directional Cues
Simply, you want to use the graphical layout of your landing page to lead people to the sign up form.
Do you know what it is like when you see a fantastic photograph? The angles and lines lead you to points of interest. Like a photograph, a directional cue subconsciously leads our eyes towards a singular goal.
Again, that’s why having a singular goal is useful. Our brains have short attentions spans, so it is important that a person knows EXACTLY what you want them to do.
Here are some examples of directional cues:
Here’s an example of a landing page by BaseCamp using a directional cue:
See how the arm, finger, and face all lead your eye to the form? I recommended checking out BaseCamp's newest landing page, it's phenomenal.
5. Be Unique
How can you stand out in a sea of “me-to” companies?
Everyone wants to seem professional, trustworthy, and to position themselves as “the best”.
When every f’ing company in the world claims to be the best, you are not going to seem different in any way.
Pepsi is better then coke. Coke is better than pepsi. Pepsi and coke drinkers are lame, drink Sprite… it tastes better!
See where this leads? I don’t and your customers don’t either.
With everyone being so similar, it can be easy to differentiate yourself.
Does your company have a team of savvy employees who don’t take no for an answer? Then why not be a little stubborn in your copy?
Is the founder of your business a joke-telling machine behind closed doors? Keep your copy playful and exciting.
Don't be safe. Be Memorable.
Now you know how to generate traffic, how to use blogging content to lead customers to your lead magnet, and how to convert customers with landing pages.
Sure, it takes a bit of upfront work to put your content marketing funnel in place. It's like building a car. After the factory has put the electrical wiring, mechanical gears, and body together... most of the work is done. Now you just have to fill up your tank when you run out of gas. It can be as simple as hiring writers to update your blog with relevant content so you can lead traffic to your lead magnet.
Having trouble with your content marketing funnel? Need lead generation help? Leave a comment below and tell me what you find difficult about generating leads.
Brian is the owner of The Content Copywriter. He's obsessed with one thing: using words to get business results. In the last 4 years, this obsession has been used to help business owners attract traffic to their websites, build their email lists, and improve their online marketing funnels. Do you want to stop searching for leads and have them come to you? Contact Brian today.