Want to know one of the most common content marketing mistakes? Often, people get so hung up on brand awareness and traffic that they ignore lead generation and sales. Brand awareness is important, but there are other reasons for creating content that are arguably just as important, if not more important!
Blogging is one thing. It’s easy enough to sit down and write 1000 words on a topic you already know well. You’ll probably even see some results – more site visits, a few more people contacting you. But that’s not a content strategy. A strategy is just that – a multipoint plan with set steps and measurable goals. And most content strategies should include lead generation among their goals.
If you don’t have a content strategy yet, the next step is to create one. If you do have one but aren’t seeing the leads you want, you’ll need to make some adjustments. There are a few different things you can tweak. You can add different types of content. You can repackage previous content. Or you can modify your existing content.
Modify Existing Content
When it comes to lead generation, one of the most common failure points is the call to action. Many people have a weak CTA, or neglect to include one at all.
If you don’t want your content to come across as too salesy, that’s totally understandable. If your writing reads like an ad, no one is going to take it seriously. However, including a well-crafted CTA somewhere within each content piece (normally at the end) is perfectly acceptable, even desirable.
A good CTA tells your audience exactly what they should do, when they should do it, why the action will be advantageous, and why there is little risk involved. Some variation of: “We can help you achieve your goals. Sign up today for your free, no-obligation trial. You can get creative with this, but don’t let your creativity get in the way of the message.
So if you’re having a hard time generating leads with your current content, double-check to make sure that each piece of content includes a strong CTA. If you do make changes to your existing content, don’t forget to measure your results.
Repackage Old Content
Once you ensure that you’ve got a good CTA attached to each piece of content, you may want to start looking for other ways to generate leads. One way to do that is to reconfigure previously used content into something new and freshly desirable. After all, why let your old stuff sit around gathering dust when it could be gathering leads instead?
Here are a couple of different examples:
- A year ago, you had an email newsletter series that was very well received. You also published an eBook on a related topic. Maybe you assemble these together and market them as a “kit.” Offer them for free – all a person has to do to get the kit is to enter his or her email address and perhaps a bit of other contact and demographic information.
- You have some old blog posts that are still relevant but aren’t generating too much traffic anymore. Turn them into something new. You could use these posts as the basis for a webinar. Or you could turn them into podcasts, or maybe a series of short informative videos.
It might seem strange to rehash what you’ve done before, but your audience won’t see it that way. In particular, by translating your old content into a new format, you’ll have a chance to reach an entirely new subset of the population.
Adding Something New to Your Repertoire
If you feel like you’re in the groove, it can be hard to branch out and try new things. You might not know where to start. But doing the same thing over and over again can only take you so far. If you really want to increase your potential for lead generation with content, you need to expand your repertoire to include different types of content.
Here are a few things to try:
There are tons of free tools out there, and many of them are highly useful. There are tools for creating infographics, tools for evaluating the strength of your SEO, tools for link building, and much, much more.
As you might guess, many of these require a big time (and possibly financial) investment to develop. It can seem like a daunting task to sink hours and dollars into a project that you plan to offer for free. But there are big payoffs.
A useful tool will increase site traffic and it may raise your search engine ranking. It can also be a means to demonstrate your expertise and reliability. But the benefits don’t end there. Free tools can be an awesome way to generate leads. A quick information-gathering form should be a prerequisite for using the tool. Depending on the tool’s value to the consumer, you should be able to ask for details ranging from email address to age, industry, income, and more.
Templates serve a function similar to that of tools. However, templates tend to be easier to create. With lower time and money inputs required, you can normally create more templates and make them to serve the diverse needs of your audience.
Just like a free tool, you should ask for users to input contact information prior to downloading or using one of your templates. You can offer them individually or as a package. If you offer a package – for instance a download of a set of ten – they’ll have greater value and you’ll be able to ask for more information. However, there’s a tradeoff – more people are likely to use a single template than to download a whole set, especially if the multi-item download requires filling out a long form.
So make an effort to balance the information you require with the value of what you’re offering. Also, you’ll have to consider your industry and what sort of leads you’re trying to attract.
With the prevalence of mobile device usage, it’s become nearly impossible to reach your widest possible audience without optimizing for mobile. Getting your website mobile-ready is the first step. You can take things a step further by creating an app, and this has the added bonus of being great for lead generation.
To make sure your app works for lead generation, you need to do two things. First, ensure that your app provides some value to customers beyond what they get from your website. And second, ask users to provide contact information when they sign up to use the app.
If you have the knowledge and the expertise, you could put together an online course. You can record video lectures, put together quizzes, worksheets, checklists, takeaway notes – anything you think subscribers would find useful. A course can potentially be very valuable, so this is a good way to get a lot of information from participants.
Sweepstakes and Contests
These are often not included under the label of “content” (same goes for courses), but they definitely fall into that category. The actual text you have to write could be very short, or quite long depending on the specifics. However you set it up, the central focus should be offering something of value in exchange for specific contact information and information about your consumer base as a whole.
Additionally, you want to consider who you are trying to attract with your contest. Ideally, you want to attract people who are actually interested in your product or service. The best way to make sure you’re bringing in the right crowd is to provide a prize from your own company. The second-best thing is to offer prizes directly related to your industry.
And, as with other forms of lead generating content, you must make sure that the amount of information you request matches up with the value of the content (and in this case, the prize) you provide.