ReviMedia Video Series, Part 2: Use Content To Bolster Your Lead Gen
The 2012 benchmark report on lead generation by Marketing Sherpa, raises an interesting issue: “Quality is about finding the right people at the right time.” And indeed, the main challenge that most marketers face is to find high-quality leads that represent highly convertible sales prospects.
There seems to be general agreement that the best strategy to obtain high-quality leads is to diversify marketing channels and to reach consumers on cross-channel levels. According to the benchmark report, the top four lead gen strategies are email marketing (81%), SEO (75%), social media (72%) and website optimization (68%). Content marketing, which is used by 54% of marketers, is also starting to get significant attention as a tool to bolster lead generation. And if you think about it, it makes sense: People are always attracted to good content and usually reward sites and brands with loyalty if they feel engaged.
So, it's not rocket science. Investing in good content is always a good idea. However, there seems to be a general tendency to single out content marketing as a separate strategy apart from other lead gen practices. Is this useful or even realistic? Hardly. The truth is that content is very much intertwined with most other marketing strategies, and most marketers can significantly increase their lead gen efforts by integrating content strategies into their other lead gen activities.
There are two types of content creation strategies that are typically differentiated. The first type is outbound content marketing, which is proactive outreach to potential customers; while the second, inbound content marketing, describes marketing efforts that are aimed at increasing the chances of being found by potential customers. Considering this it becomes obvious that the lines between content marketing and other marketing efforts are quite blurry and that there is also quite a bit of overlap. Outbound content marketing generally includes email marketing or calling potential buyers, while inbound content marketing practices include things like white papers, webinars, or website content.
If we look at email marketing, content can hardly be taken out of the equation. There is widespread agreement that consumers do not respond well to generic marketing messages or general product information. The same goes for social media. Social media has been identified as a useful channel for lead gen because it allows for direct interaction with potential buyers. But the best way to interact with a community of interested users is not to overload them with information, but to listen, engage, and offer solutions based on consumer demands and issues. This all comes down to content.
Lastly, let's look at SEO and website optimization. What is a good, clean website or search engine optimization really about? The answer is solid, unique content offerings that provide consumers with content based on their search criteria.
It is therefore useful for marketers to include content marketing in all lead generation strategies. Content should play a big role across the board. Therefore, the best way to obtain high-quality leads is to offer solutions or information based on things consumers really care about. In fact, one could argue that content should come first and that other activities should be planned around content.
Think of insurance lead gen. What do consumers care about? Pet owners may not only care about how to insure their pet, but may also care about the best pet toys, grooming services, or pet foods. People looking for health insurance may also care about diets or exercise. Homeowner's may be interested not only in how to insure their houses, but perhaps also in landscaping. It's up to marketers to come up with good content strategies and plan marketing activities around information that their customers are actually looking for.
In fact, targeted content opens up many opportunities to not only engage consumers that are already interested in your products, but also to engage with users who are perhaps interested, but not ready to buy yet. In this sense, content plays a huge role not only in obtaining highly convertible leads, but also in lead nurturing. Determining content and topics that are interesting for target groups enables marketers to pick targeted lead generation channels to engage with consumers.
In this sense, content marketing can bolster lead generation in several ways: It can help companies to position themselves as experts on certain topics and it can increase their credibility. But most importantly, content enables marketers to move to indirect marketing strategies that are vital to generate leads that are high in volume and high in quality.
This is part two in a three-part series:
- ReviMedia Video Series, Part 1: Get Your Lead Gen Strategy In Gear
- ReviMedia Video Series, Part 3: Timeless Lead Gen Tips
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