A typical customer today would not even give you 12 seconds of their attention. In this case, how do you get strangers to feel like they’re getting a face-to-face introduction with you and your business? You need to introduce your business through content. Imagine how you’ll say “hello” in real life. How do you craft content so strangers will like what they see on their screen and they’ll proceed to sign up? While supplemented with other awareness methods, content marketing is a killer. In fact, it’s not exactly an alternative to advertising, SEO, or social media marketing.
Content marketing is simply a way to organize your storytelling. For our purpose today, the goal is to gain awareness and generate a lead by publishing pieces of content.
What is content marketing?
Let’s quote Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
See, businesses are successful whenever they inspire a favourable market response. What are these favourable events, you ask? Clicks, Likes, Shares, Visits, Comments and Sign-ups. Those are some examples of marketing goals that your content should contribute to. The goal of Content Marketing Activities is to be consistent and creative. This can be a capability that becomes a stepping stone for growth if designed right. By having a content marketing budget and defining what projects fall under this category, you can organize work and understand ROI.
Now, where does content marketing start and end?
Earlier, we mentioned that there are many alternative ways to gain awareness. You can resort to digital methods like SEO, social media marketing, and online advertising. You can also be more traditional with billboards or TV commercials. Interestingly, content marketing isn’t a silo. It’s not a strict alternative to other methods. For example, having content marketing capabilities will allow you to produce better advertising materials. Content marketing is also the strongest force towards improving your SEO. In a sense, the two are largely interchangeable.
Why do we talk about content marketing as a separate thing, then? Well, DigitalMarketer hit the nail on the head:
A pricing page is content. The big misconception is that content marketing is blogging. It’s not blogging, SEO or social. Content marketing is about producing pieces of content that tell stories, enabling the audience to move forward. This shines a spotlight on a set of capabilities and practices. This perspective is different from understanding the technical details of ad platforms or social networks.
Content marketing is about your use of storytelling, so you can build and nurture an audience.
- Through stories, you gain their awareness. Did they just discover your brand for the first time? Say “hello” with the right introductory content!
- Through stories, you close the deal. Are they torn about the buying decision? Walk them through with your pricing, ROI, and comparisons vs. alternatives.
- Through stories, you grow the relationship. Help them with useful tips and tricks that helps them along the wait.
The focus here is your ability to tell the right stories at the right time.
(Suggested Reading: Things to Contemplate When Making Your Content Marketing Strategy)
Content Marketing Journey: From Stranger to Prospect
If you’re doing an outbound campaign, you can simply list ideas of potential buyers.
Content marketing is a different beast, though. It’s an inbound type of thing. You need to seduce, rather than interrupt.
Below are some points to consider:
1. Study the traffic from search, social media or paid advertising:
If you’re not 100% sure who your target market is, research your traffic. An in-depth analysis of organic, social media and advertising results will help you focus your content on your prospects. Why study your traffic? You would want to be sure if there are customers who are in need of what you are offering. It will be a waste if your marketing efforts are getting picked up by the wrong audience.
2. Build landing pages that convert:
You would want to create high-converting landing pages. A good landing page needs to have an effective headline and a captivating opening that will make your readers want to read more. It’s not about how colorful your page is or how many images you have. It’s how your page can get people to sign up for your offer.
The best practices for landing pages should point you in the right direction of how to create an effective landing page. More than your designs, make sure that you’re sharing the right content. Why? Imagine the sexiest landing page with all the advanced parallax scrolling web technologies, but the copywriting doesn’t make sense to the audience. What a waste! Whether it’s a blog post or a landing page, your focus should be the meaning of the content, not fancy visual styles or technical features.
3. Offer them an irresistible lead magnet:
You won’t catch any fish if you don’t have a nice bait. It’s the same way with leads. Your lead will not take the time to visit your site or get to know more about your business if you don’t provide a good incentive. A lead magnet is what will trigger your customers to get to know more. It should show how amazing your product is compared to other products. The lead magnet is your key to turning a stranger into someone who will be nurtured as a sales prospect.
Why use content marketing for lead generation:
4. You’ve exhausted your personal networks.
You have a large network of friends that know of your business already. They have also told their friends about you. You need to reach new people.
5. You want to reach a global audience.
There is a huge audience out there that you want your business to reach. Content marketing ensures that your pitch will be heard anywhere. Especially if you’re in the software or remote services business, you don’t want to limit your reach to your local neighbourhood.
6. You’re investing in the mid- to long-term.
You’re in this for the long run. Plans are set and budget is allotted. You know that your content marketing can make a big difference to your business.
Why scalable content marketing is NOT for your business?
There are cases when you have to think about content in a different way. You’re not supposed to chase a big amount of traffic. You’re not supposed to focus on email sign ups. When your business is new, you might need to produce content for a very small group of audience. While you should still use the same storytelling abilities, you’re better off sending 1:1 emails rather than the common path of publishing content for huge audiences.
Don’t obsess with high-traffic content if:
7. You don’t yet have product/market fit.
You still need time to study your market, find your target persona, and prove that the offer works. It will be pointless to create content that will not be read by the people you can convince.
8. You don’t have a small scale marketing & sales process yet.
Your leads get converted in the marketing and sales stages. They have to be set-up and existing so your leads will not go to waste.
9. You need to acquire just 1 customer immediately.
For such short term needs, you can focus on outbound sales. Your product or service is a one-time big deal. You want those customers right away because your offer has an expiration date.
Take away: Use content marketing for B2B lead generation:
Content is the first thing that your prospects will notice. It is your hook and prospect’s magnet. It comprises your online and offline marketing. Keep publishing content so you keep showing up until they shop!
To know more on how your content strategy that works for you, continue reading our article Does Your Content Marketing Strategy Work For You? Learn how to Find Out.