In marketing, we are always challenged with the question: how to generate more leads for the business.
When you ask marketing leaders about their biggest challenges, demand generation is almost always at the top of the list.
But did you know that more than 60% of the business decision making process is complete before buyers reach out to a vendor or visit a vendor website? And, did you also know that 90% of c-level decision makers are not answering cold-call email and phone calls?
So how do we generate leads with content marketing?
The answer is more simple than you think: stop selling and start helping.
It’s a basic human instinct. We want people to like us and so we talk about ourselves. We want customers to buy from us, so we talk about our companies. And our products. And how great they are. And how smart we are. (Yawn!)
In this hyper-connected, information-saturated world, our customers are tuning out the self-promotion and taking control of their information gathering. They are doing their research on their own and are coming to us only when they need a contract and a price.
The only answer to this problem is to start helping our customers when they are in the early stages of a buying process or even before.
There are 2 simple steps to get leads with content marketing:
- Create helpful content that attracts an audience
- Convert that traffic to leads
Yes. It’s that simple. But here’s where it gets tricky…
First, you have to make sure the content is actually helpful and answers customer questions. It’s too easy to publish content that attempts to back-door customers into buying from you. I call this “insidious attempts at self-promotion.” So hold your editorial process to strict standards of non-promotion.
Next, you have to convert that traffic with “appropriate” conversion opportunities. You cannot expect your customers to take the leap from the early-stages of the buying process to the later stages. So provide deep, registration-worthy offers as the potential next step. Offers such as webinars, white papers and ebooks that address additional early-stage content needs can all be tested.
Too simple? Too basic? Then why is it so hard? Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.