This article has been contributed by Dhruv Maheshwari.
Businesses that are not able to generate leads can be classified as “struggling”.
But why does a business need tonnes of leads? Why can’t we make our product so appealing and awesome that each and every lead converts?
Well, imagine a scenario where you visit an apparel store to add a few garments to your wardrobe. At the store, you like five items of clothing.
What do you do? You filter them out and pick the best of the lot. Ultimately, you make one purchase and discard the other four even though you like them too.
In the same vein, your offerings and services are also discarded by visitors, and the reason behind this is not always a fault in the product.
The solution? Increase the number of visitors to the store. Regarding your business, increase the number of leads. More leads means that you will get more conversions.
How Do You Increase Your Leads?
There are many ways to get leads for your business. But here, I will share my two cents about lead generation via content marketing.
To increase leads through your content marketing strategy, there are a number of factors that you need to take care of. The following will help you in hitting the numbers that you are after.
1. Design and Curate A Content Calendar
First things first, ensure that you follow a documented approach. Why? It’ll help you to learn, execute and finally optimize.
The goods and the bads, the do’s and don’ts, you’ll learn them all via execution of your content marketing campaign. According to the Content Marketing Institute, around 53% of the best marketers had planned a content marketing strategy, and they gave credit to a well-documented blueprint of the plan.
You can start by deep-diving into your venture;
- What are you offering?
- Who’s your target audience?
- Where will you find them
- How will they come to know about your services?
Learn everything from scratch and be your own critic. Missing out on any segment of the target audience will narrow down leads and give your product an essence of bias. To avoid that, thorough research is mandatory.
After you’re done with extensive research, it’s time to formulate a rocking content calendar for your venture. Make it so precise that you know all the information related to the content type, content channel and the date the content will go live.
Don’t forget to make the approach quantifiable. Set goals and targets you want to see post the termination of your campaign.
2. Research for Content Creation and Development
Until now, you have understood your offerings and the people who might be interested in knowing more about them. It’s time for some commercial research.
Focus on getting the most searched keywords and trending topics about your product. Since more than 90% of online searches are done on Google, you can target a Google-only keyword strategy. Google provides the best-in-class keyword planner called the Google Keyword Planner, and there you’ll find all the related commercial, business, seed and long-tail keywords for your business.
Using Google Keyword Planner and other SEO tools to do keyword research will give you your content’s “magic words”. You will create quality content around focus keywords which will engage your website visitors long enough to reach your CTA (call-to-action). From there on, it’s the reader’s call to make a purchase, sign up for updates, etc, or in the worst case, give it a pass. But their visit in itself is a win for the content and its search engine ranking.
Your content should be well-structured and not deviate from the keyword topic. Content has a lasting impact when you deliver quality and to-the-point information. Create content successfully and you will gradually build a loyal reader base that trusts your content and the products that you offer.
Another thing to keep in mind while sharing content is utilizing a URL shortener tool. This will help you in decluttering your content presentation and make it more readable to your audience.
3. Teamwork Is King
Content marketing is not a solo approach.
Divide the work among your project members and schedule frequent meetings to keep a check on productivity. Don’t follow a bossy approach and rather focus on accomplishing the same goals by helping each other and sharing knowledge of the domains you have expertise in. Content marketing is fun, if you make it that way.
Dedicate a team of members to write the content and another to edit and proofread the material. If you try to do it all alone, you’ll leave holes that everyone can see, except for you. As strange as it may sound, that’s how it works — the human brain!
Work along with the team and set aggressive deadlines so that there’s no complacency among the members, and the content calendar’s “not published” section always remains empty.
While teamwork doesn’t have a direct connection to lead generation, it possibly has the greatest influence. More than 67% of organizations agree that without efficient teamwork, their content marketing campaign would have only been a distant dream, according to Statista.
Work together, get quality content published, and the leads will come to your website sooner than later.
4. Configure a Land Page That Actually Works
After the reader is done reading your content and has clicked through to your site, it all boils down to the landing page that you have created for him/her.
A good landing page with a well-designed CTA will get you a customer or contact detail and subscription at the very least. On the contrary, the bad ones will demolish all the hard work that you put into the content, and the visitor might never make another visit again.
To better understand the concept of a landing page, consider this example.
Anthony is a wedding planner, and for one such event, he has planned everything to perfection. The decorations, the seating arrangements, everything was on point, except for the food. The guests didn’t take the matter lightly. Not only was Anthony on the receiving end of not so pleasant words, but the hosts and the attendees axed him. A night to forget for poor Anthony.
It all came down to the food in the event of a wedding reception.
In the case of your lead-generating content, it’s the landing page that’s the test. It’s not easy to design a high-converting landing page. In fact, according to research done by Econsultancy, out of every five marketers, barely one admits to having a satisfactory landing page.
But it’s a challenge worth facing because if implemented with perfection, a flood of leads awaits your business.
What defines “the” landing page everyone’s after? Understand it this way:
- A CTA that’s not spread over the whole page
- An attractive and compelling headline
- A brief description comprising your product’s most potent features
- A few testimonials to entrust the reader
- No, and no means absolutely NO, pop-ups on the landing page
- The page has a fast loading time (target for under 2 seconds)
5. Understand Your Business’s Conversion Funnel
Congratulations on understanding your audience and publishing quality content on time.
Time for some evaluation now. Match the initial content goals with what you have accomplished in the meantime. Are they going as per the plan? Are you hitting the lead and conversion numbers that you were after? If not, what needs to change?
For example, if WhatsApp needs to check the same, this is how it’ll pan out;
- WhatsApp will first check its target audience – the number of people who have an internet connection.
- It will survey the number of downloads – from the app store, play store, web version, etc.
- The next step would be to gain user insights – the positive ones will notify them of what’s working, and the negative ones will lay the foundation for a new update.
Similarly, you also need an evaluation of your content and that too, in numbers;
- The extent to which the content was able to penetrate the target audience.
- The organic leads you were able to generate from it.
- The stuff that people loved.
- The stuff that you need to get rid of.
After each evaluation, you’ll get an optimized set of actions that will help you in optimising existing content and planning upcoming content.
When evaluating your funnel, don’t forget to check your Google Analytics tracking to be sure that your actions are based on accurate data.
Every business and every domain boasts a different conversion funnel, therefore, relying on existing data for evaluation isn’t a recommended approach. You should instead test your content and think from the user’s perspective to better understand the changes you’d like to see.
6. Don’t Stick to Written Content Only
You want to please the audience no matter what. One such way is to provide them with educational videos on the topic that you have written content on. Not to mention that videos will inadvertently cover more information than the write-ups that you publish.
Why? Using good video editing tools, you can use fragments of other videos, tonnes of images and written content on top of it – it’s all your choice.
The numbers from 2018 suggest that people prefer to consume content in video format than written. According to HubSpot, more than 54% of surveyed people were of the opinion that if given a choice, they’d rather watch a video than read a blog on the same topic. In fact, marketers have already started improvising with the visual form of content. A report by Social Media Examiner suggests that more than 35% of marketers generated leads through live videos on various platforms.
Apart from videos, you also have the option to use audiobooks to spread awareness and generate leads. Just to give you an idea, more than 110 million Americans have subscriptions to audiobooks of various categories. You can pitch your product and get bonus leads from a channel that not many have explored.
Or use another way to bring the author that resides within you to the fore. Publish eBooks for readers who love to explore subjects to their core. Through eBooks, you can satisfy your readers by providing them well-researched and in-depth information on topics that excite them. eBooks offer a platform for you to showcase your knowledge and voice your extensive research without keeping in mind the “number of words criteria.”
7. Email Marketing and Drip-Email Campaigns
Email marketing might give an impression of an old-fashioned lead generating approach. Some may even consider it as spamming. However, the numbers associated with email marketing are nothing short of staggering, even in 2020.
Consider yourself on the receiving end of an email that talks specifically about what you need. The chances of you opening the purchase link to get a glimpse of the offering are quite high, even though you never asked for it in the first place. If the services offered by the venture meet your requirements, and if you find it authentic enough, the company might secure a sale – from “just” an email.
According to HubSpot, marketers that can successfully nurture leads they secure from their email marketing campaign get more than 50% lead-to-customer oriented leads. It all depends on how you treat the email marketing campaign.
To add more in favor of email marketing, it is incredibly cost-effective, saving you more than 30% to get conversion-ready leads, another stat from HubSpot.
A drip email campaign, on the other hand, is a process that has several phases. It starts with an introductory email thanking the user for subscribing to your email updates. It then informs them about your new services and future plans. Finally, when a product matches their area of interest, you send the CTA-oriented email and aim to secure the conversion.
Kudos, if you achieve success in your first attempt. If not, you still have their email, right? The conversions will come as long as you are patient. Spamming several emails to an address is a disastrous approach, and the subscriber won’t think twice before unsubscribing.
8. Create and Publish Detailed Long-Form Content
Publish your blog as a guide for the reader and pretend that he/she doesn’t know anything about the topic. Then, start detailing the topic and quickly reach the main topic of discussion.
Don’t sound like your high school history teacher while informing the audience. Keep a conversational tone and ensure that the content you write is highly engaging. If the flow breaks and readers don’t read through the blog, you have no one to blame but yourself.
One reason for not maintaining engagement is rushing through topics. The visitor just needs one instance where the meaning of your words is unclear, and they “bounce”. The bounce rate is the engagement time between you and your reader (who is also a prospective lead) on a landing page. Therefore, it’s vital to write long-form content and not “blink and you’ll miss it” type content.
What’s the optimum word count you ask? Luckily, there is a quantifiable answer to this question. According to The Write Practice, a blog post above 2,450 words is best for generating enhanced traffic and scoring more leads. However, any post above 1,500 words does the trick for driving increased traffic.
Fluffing out content just for the sake of hitting the virtual target of 2,400+ words is not recommended. Fluffed content is easily identified by readers as low quality and can soon lead to a bounce.
Compare the following sentences to understand fluffed content:
- Below are the best approaches….
- In the information mentioned below, you’ll find some of the most potent and best approaches….
Meaning? Same. Word count? Not even close to comparison. Step into the reader’s shoes and ask yourself which one would you prefer? The first one has to be it. Clear and concise. So, never indulge in unnecessarily increasing the word count and wasting your energy.
9. Promote Your Content
It’s impossible to reach content distribution targets using a singular content platform. There are so many users who are active on numerous platforms, but at the same, there are those who refrain from using more than one. What’s your plan to reach such segments of the audience and make your product seen?
Diversify your content channels. Simple. Make your presence felt everywhere that your audience is. It’ll not only get you an increased number of leads, but it will also contribute to building your brand value.
Whether your audience uses social media platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) or professional media (such as LinkedIn and Quora), be present there and adapt your content accordingly. While Instagram and Facebook might require trendy and casual content to gather attention, LinkedIn and Quora work completely fine with formal content.
Investigate hashtag marketing as well, which drives people to your content when you have used the same or similar hashtags.
The great part about social media influence is that if your content is appealing and informative, it will get a massive number of shares. This way, it reaches diversified audiences, and you end up getting more than you asked for.
10. Improvise and Change the Ball Game
Following the content calendar is always the top priority. But the calendar doesn’t account for trends and developments that take place overnight. This is your opportunity to improvise and address new topics in innovative ways.
Publish content on trending topics and rank quickly with quality content. It’s another step for increasing brand value. For instance, COVID-19 opened up new opportunities for content development for the JUST Creative blog that was entirely unforeseen just a few weeks prior. New articles on starting a business whilst quarantined, increasing leads in a pandemic and building a brand in turbulent times were published and quickly became popular.
Then there’s the approach of repurposing existing content. Improve the content, keep it updated, and always provide readers with the latest information to gain and maintain their trust.
Once they trust you, they’ll trust your product and service too, and the only game left then would be the Game of… NO… not Thrones… the Game of Patience!
A successful marketing campaign is by no means an overnight fluke. It requires dedicated effort from the whole team towards one goal. Not all strategies will work, feedback can be harsh, and not all leads will convert.
Patience is the key to success for any content marketing campaign. According to a study by YouthMaster, persistent content marketing campaigns flourish aggressively after three years, depending on your industry. The lead count triples in the same number of years. This doesn’t mean that you won’t get any returns in your initial campaigns, but it does mean that the numbers you’ll generate after three years will make it entirely worth it.
For the same reason, Jon Buscall, content marketing specialist, says, “Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign”.
If you have the impression that content marketing requires a significant effort and utter punctuality, you could not be more correct. It’s all of that and more. Now it’s upon you to make a rock-solid decision, and if you are positive, you have the right approach.
About the author: Dhruv Maheshwari is a Digital Marketing Consultant. He likes reading up on the latest digital marketing and social media trends.