How to Use Content Marketing as a Lead Generation Tool

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The 6 steps to follow to generate more qualified leads using content marketing and social media.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less, which would explain why 75% of businesses decided to increase their content marketing budgets over the last 2 years.   

Content marketing can be used to achieve a number of different goals. From positioning your brand as an industry expert to driving more traffic to a website, content is an incredibly powerful tool.

It is a known fact that businesses with blogs see up to 126% more lead growth than those without one, which means that all content marketing strategies should also be geared towards lead generation for maximum ROI.

Generating More Leads Using Content Marketing

Below are the 6 steps to follow if you want to enhance your lead generation strategy using content marketing and social media.

Step 1: Understand your audience

Creating content that converts all starts with understanding your target audience.

It’s not enough to simply guess what your audience wants either. If you truly want to start attracting more customers, you need to understand how they think, what their pain points and needs are, and what motivates them when making decisions.

Start by developing one or several customer personas that can be used to develop content that will resonate with your target audience. The following information will help you create detailed customer personas:

  • Demographics & Location: Look at the age, gender, and location of your ideal customers
  • Content Preferences: What type of content do your customers consume? Blog posts, ebooks, webinars, videos, and infographics are all good examples
  • Social Media Habits: Which social media platforms do your customers frequent, what brands and accounts do they follow, and do they belong to any particular groups? Looking at their social media habits will also give you a good idea of their interests on a professional and a personal level
  • Keywords: There are a number of great tools that can be used to discover what your customers are searching for and talking about
  • Pain Points: What are the particular pain points that your customers might be dealing with?
  • Motivations: Discover what motivates your customers by looking at how they search for solutions online. Do they read blogs, ask questions on websites like Quora, or do they turn to social media for recommendations from friends?

Step 2: Create Valuable Content

Creating content for lead generation is going to be slightly different to creating content for a blog, social media or newsletter.

Instead of using content to simply enhance brand awareness and notoriety in the hopes that a customer will contact your business, you will be offering valuable content in exchange for a customer’s contact details.

First, you will need to decide where you will be hosting your content. Will you be driving users to a landing page on your website, allowing them to download the content, or will you be sending them an email with an attachment or link once they’ve completed a contact form? Once you decide where your content will be hosted, you can delve into the content creation process.

Keep in mind that in order for customers to be willing to give you their contact details, your content needs to be valuable and help them answer a question or solve a problem. Ebooks, video tutorials, white papers, reports, webinars and infographics are all examples of engaging pieces of content that will meet this requirement.

Developing your sponsored posts

Now that you’ve developed the content that you will be using to generate leads, you will need to make your target audience aware of it.

Social media is the ideal platform to use to promote your content. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter’s Ad Manager will allow you to select specific targeting options, ensuring that you reach your ideal target audience.

You will not only need to develop the text and headlines for your sponsored posts but decide whether you want to pair it with an image or video to make it more eye-catching and appealing. Each of these platforms has different requirements in terms of character count, image size, and video length though so you will need to create separate posts for each platform. See Content Marketing Best Practices for B2Bs: An All-In-One Guide to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn for the specifics.

Step 3: Budget and Planning

As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” which is especially true when it comes to online marketing.

Having a strategy and budget in place before you begin promoting your content is essential. Not only will it help you keep track of your promotional efforts but your return on investment too.

Your strategy should include the following:

  • Campaign goals and key metrics
  • Promotional platforms and website
  • Promotional schedule
  • Campaign budget

Before you implement your strategy, keep the following in mind:

  • Testing and optimization will ensure that you achieve the best possible ROI. A/B test your promotional posts as well as several pieces of content to ascertain what works best for your target audience
  • Decide how you’re going to keep track of your campaigns. While social media platforms will be able to provide you with in-depth reports on your campaigns, it’s also a good idea to use additional tools such as Google Analytics to track the user journey on your website using a conversion funnel. This way you will also be able to optimize your landing pages and the overall user experience in order to increase conversions
  • In terms of how big your budget should be, it all depends on the size of the audience that you want to reach, what your campaign goals are as well as the duration of your campaign

Step 4: Promote Your Content

As a lead generation tactic, most brands will use 4 main platforms to promote their content, namely Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Quora. Each of these platforms has an easy-to-use ad management dashboard that allows brands to setup, track, and optimize their content marketing campaigns.

Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook Ads Manager is where you will create and setup your promotional campaigns. While it’s easiest to create your campaigns on a desktop, you can easily track and manage your campaigns on a mobile device. Using Ads Manager, you will be able to select campaign parameters, manage your creatives, write ad copy and test your posts on different devices before going live. Brands will also be able to manage, optimize, and pull campaign reports using this tool.

Twitter Ads Manager

The Twitter Ads Manager platform can be accessed by logging into your ads account. Brands will easily be able to setup ads, create ad groups, optimize campaigns, and track their results using this ad management tool. The dashboard makes it easy to filter and track specific campaigns, manage your daily budgets and pull real-time reports when needed.

LinkedIn Campaign Manager

If LinkedIn is an important social media platform for your business, you can use the Campaign Manager to easily create targeted campaigns, pull detailed reports, access information on LinkedIn users who engaged with your content and schedule campaigns for future dates.

Quora Ads Manager

This popular Q&A platform is another ideal way to promote valuable, engaging content. The Ads Manager will allow you to create targeted text ads that will appear next to content on the site. The dashboard will allow you to access stats on your ads as well as general information on the users who clicked on your ads.

Each of the above platforms can be used in conjunction with tracking pixels in order to track users once they land on your website. You can learn more about Quora in our detailed article.

Step 5: Lead Nurturing

Generating targeted leads is only half the battle, now you will need to nurture those leads in order to get them to convert.

Once a new lead has stepped into the conversion funnel, you will need to have an additional strategy in place that will allow your brand to engage with and nurture the lead until they’re ready to convert. Every piece of content is an opportunity to build trust with a potential customer.

After a lead has engaged with your first piece of content, have a follow-up strategy in place in order to move them to the next step in your conversion funnel. For example, if you’ve created a series of video tutorials, you could send them a link to the next video tutorial if they’ve watched the first one to completion.

What this does is offer them additional value and shows them how your brand is helping them solve a problem or address a particular pain point. Be sure to assign a goal and metrics to each piece of content so that you know when a lead is ready to move on to the next step in the funnel.

If you want to make this process easier and more efficient, using a marketing automation tool will help.

Step 6: Measure Your Results

Once your campaign has run its course, use your results and learnings to start developing a new strategy.

By taking a deep dive into your reports and stats, you will not only be able to create better content and stronger campaigns going forward but you will also be able to justify your new marketing budget to management.

When reviewing your reports, there are two aspects that will be most important for your future content marketing strategies:

  • Content. Knowing what content your target audience responded to will ensure that you can spend more time developing content that your customers resonate with, which will, in turn, increase your conversions in the future.
  • Targeting Criteria. The targeting parameters that you used for your campaigns will tell you a lot about whether your research and customer assumptions were correct and if you need to adjust and update your customer profiles and personas going forward.

Content marketing is an incredibly effective way to easily generate more targeted leads for your business while discovering more about your customers in the process.

Read also: Common vs. Early-Adopter Content Types: What Works Best in 2018?

 

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