Anyone in the field of B2B sales can tell you just how difficult it can be to generate qualified sales leads and then feed them through the sales pipeline. This is where content marketing comes in to save the day. If used correctly, content marketing can be the bread and butter of your new lead development process.
Here’s how you can use content marketing to your advantage and generate warm B2B sales leads.
Conduct in-depth market research
In order to start using content marketing to generate B2B leads, you need to carry out extensive market research. The purpose for this is to create the ideal customer or as marketers like to call it – a buyer persona.
Our friends over at Digital Media Stream in Manchester told us about a free buyer persona tool from Hubspot (access it here: https://offers.hubspot.com/persona-templates) to build your own buyer persona document.
Your buyer persona should include demographics, roles, goals, challenges and a user story. This is the person you should be marketing to and therefore your content marketing strategy should aim to help this persona overcome their main business challenges, achieve their goals and appeal to their position within their company; by focusing on their typical KPIs. Once you define your buyer persona, make sure to discuss them with your sales and marketing team to add further insight to the persona.
The more tailored your content is to your buyer personas, the more likely you are to generate better quality sales leads. Depending on your business, you can create as many buyer personas as necessary and tailor your content to meet the needs of these fictional, yet realistic, individuals.
Start an industry-specific blog
Statistics show that B2B companies that have blogs generate 67% more leads than those who don’t, while 83% of B2B marketers already incorporate content marketing to achieve lead generation goals. Therefore, establish yourself today as a thought leader in your industry to generate B2B more sales leads.
Use the data from your market research to brainstorm content ideas that will appeal to your target audience. Also, invest in content writers who have experience in keyword research and can help create content that’s in line with your business goals.
Once you have some structure and a basic outline of your blogging strategy, create an editorial calendar to maintain consistency. Use blog posts as material in email newsletters and social media posts. Make sure all your content across these platforms align with your market research results and match the needs of your ideal customer.
Get everyone involved in developing an effective B2B content marketing strategy. Encourage both the sales and marketing team to pitch ideas based on the interactions they are having with clients. The sales team can provide some great insight since they are in direct contact with existing and potential clients, so make sure you listen to what they have to say.
Master your call-to-actions
Content should also have a clear call to action – or next step, to help your customer take the next step in your sales cycle.
In order to come up with CTAs that convert you need to play with words to find what works best in terms of analytics, tracking and A/B testing.
When creating your CTAs, here what you should focus on and track the success of:
- Content – Are you using relevant keywords, actionable words and an active voice?
- Goal – Do you want visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter, request a quote, speak to a salesperson or share content on their social media profiles?
- Length – Is your content short and to the point? Does it fit inside a button?
- Format – Are you using text, image, video, a form, or all of the above?
- Placement – Is your CTA found at the beginning, middle or end of the page? Can visitors find it on your social media pages, blogs, newsletters and landing pages?
Based on the preferences of your target audience, you need to consider what makes them tick (or in this case – click). Namely, what drives them to respond to your CTA and become a B2B sales lead?
Create a landing page that converts
Landing pages are usually the first point of contact for many B2B prospects. This is where most people come to research more about a particularly company, service or product. In fact 77% of B2B buyers first conduct their own research before they decide whether or not to speak to a salesperson.
Lower your bounce rates and get visitors interested in your services by tweaking your landing page for the target buyer. Remember the market research and buyer persona we discussed a bit earlier? This is the part where you use the data you’ve collected via analytics. Find out what’s been working and what hasn’t and revise your current landing page.
Think of your landing page as the display window of your shop. If someone likes what’s on display they’ll come in and have a better look. If they don’t they’ll just leave and move on. This is the same with B2B lead generation.
Immerse your audience in value
Focus on quality, not quantity. This means distributing content that is valuable to your prospective customer. Give them something that actually helps them solve a problem (don’t forget to tell them exactly how this information will help them) and package it neatly as a free ebook or a succinct case study. However, like any good marketer will tell you – nothing is really free, which brings us to gated content.
Gated content is when visitors need to leave in their details to see or download the selected content. Although some may argue that gated content results in fewer leads, what they fail to see is that they are in fact qualifying their leads. Gated content helps separate the wheat from the chaff. Only those who are further down the sales funnel will enter their information and it’s these kinds of leads you want to generate.
This is why it’s important to distinguish between interest and intent. Those who are just interested in your ebook, white paper or case study won’t leave their details. However, those who have an intention of buying will.
Content marketing does play an important role in generating B2B sales leads. So it’s crucial that you devise an effective content marketing strategy that assists the sales process. Sit down with your sales and marketing team to produce an actionable plan.
Or if you’d rather leave your content marketing to the professionals, get in touch with our content marketing specialists at Contemsa to help you.