By Trent Dyrsmid, Published November 14, 2014
Out of all of the B2B lead generation strategies floating around, one strategy continues to rise to the surface – content marketing.
An overwhelming number of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads (93%, according to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute). And that number continues to grow year over year.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the content marketing advice out there? Still not sure how to use it to generate sales?
Your feelings are completely normal.
Out of the 93% of B2B marketers using this hot tactic, only 44% had a documented strategy.
Even though marketers are using content to boost business, confusion still remains over how to implement an effective approach. If you’re one of the many confused marketers out there looking for specific B2B lead generation strategies for your business, we have a few tips to help.
Create a consistent plan.
One of the top reasons marketing strategies fail is because there is no consistent plan. Marketers do not know when to post, what to post, what to write about, or who to target.
Not enough emphasis is placed on generating consistent content.
With an editorial plan and a strategic approach, your content can attract the right audience. It can bring in quality leads that will turn your marketing dollars into sales.
If you want to generate leads, here’s what you should include in your plan:
What to post.
Sporadic postings about something that floated through your mind one day don’t work. To be effective online, you must know what your leads are looking for.
- What problems do they have?
- What needs can you solve for them?
With that information in mind, start coming up with a few topic ideas.
How to post.
Now that you have the topics, come up with a medium for delivery.
- Will you write a blog post citing recent research studies?
- Discuss with an industry expert on a podcast?
- Or create a video of you discussing the subject?
There’s no right or wrong answer. In fact, the best answer is to vary the way you deliver your content. This way, you can reach the largest segment of your target audience.
When to post.
Now it’s time to start scheduling.
- What will your editorial calendar look like?
- How often will you post?
- Will you create monthly themes for your content?
- Will you create individual content campaigns with various posts surrounding one specific topic?
The choice is yours. What is important is that you keep your content plan consistent. Without having a strategy in place for how you will write and disperse your content, you will simply churn out blog post after blog post without results.
Create your plan and then decide how you will promote what you put out there.
Offer something for free.
People love the word “free.” There’s a magical ring to that word that gets people excited and eager to see how they can snag what’s up for grabs.
Traditionally, marketers were afraid to give away too much for free. As the saying goes, “why buy the cow when the milk is free?” The same thought was true of marketing.
Over time, people found out that didn’t work. If you want proof, read Michael Stelzner’s book, Launch. In it, he discusses how he used free giveaways to grow his empire. You can use that same thought pattern to generate leads and grow your business too.
Free information is the biggest attractor. Everyone wants more information and more help solving a specific problem they’re experiencing. Give it to them.
Hubspot, a company that has experienced tremendous success online, uses a variety of types of content to giveaway for free. Here are a few ideas that you can use:
- Offer a free eBook or guide about a specific topic.
- Giveaway a free checklist that will make your target audience’s life a little easier.
- Make a free printable sheet that can be used to help overcome a specific problem.
- Start a free podcast that people can listen to while driving or walking.
A free offer does not have to be expensive for you. It just has to be valuable for the person receiving it.
What do you get out of offering something for free? A lead!
By giving away your secrets you’re showing the world that you’re an expert. – Michael Stelzner
Always, always, always ask for an email address or phone number in exchange for the freebie. That’s how you’ll weed out the lookie-loos wanting something for free but having no interest in buying from you.
By getting contact information in exchange for something for free, you’ll have your foot in the door. Then, your sales team can follow up with someone who is truly interested in what you have to sell and who needs your product or services.
Social media works – when used strategically.
You have all this great content. Now what?
Now, you promote it! In today’s digital age, social media is the best channel to do this. In fact, 87% of the B2B marketers surveyed by Content Marketing Institute said that they use social media to distribute their content.
It works because it’s so easy to target your message to your audience – but to do it right you need a smart approach.
LinkedIn is by far the most popular channel for B2B lead generation. With over 300 million members around the world, and 100 million here in the United States, you can reach a lot of professionals who need you.
Not sure how to reach these people? We can help. We’ve put together a free report called The Complete Guide to Leveraging LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation. In it, we describe how you can set yourself apart from the competition and establish your company as experts in your field.
Download your copy of the report for details about how to set up your LinkedIn presence to support your content and generate high-quality leads for your business.
Content marketing is here to stay. With the overwhelming amount of content being produced, it’s critical that you have a strong strategy. Without a strategic approach to your content marketing, you’re wasting your time and burning your money.
Get real results from your content by outlining the basics of when, how, and what you want to put out there. Then, use strategic social media marketing to bring in the high-quality leads your sales team demands.