How to Create High-Conversion Content for Lead Generation: 5 Key Questions Answered

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A MarketingSherpa Webinar on the topic of creating high-conversion content for lead generation drew almost 200 marketers, many questions, and plenty of practical tips and tools for immediate use. Time …

A MarketingSherpa Webinar on the topic of creating high-conversion content for lead generation drew almost 200 marketers, many questions, and plenty of practical tips and tools for immediate use. Time constraints prevented presenters from getting to every question asked, including five on creating specific types of content.

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  • 1. How to Create High-Conversion Content for Lead Generation:5 Key Questions AnsweredSUMMARY: A MarketingSherpa Webinar on the topic of creating high-conversion content forlead generation drew almost 200 marketers, many questions, and plenty of practical tips andtools for immediate use. Time constraints prevented presenters from getting to every questionasked, including five on creating specific types of content.Stefan Tornquist, Research Director, MarketingSherpa; Sean Donahue, Senior Reporter,MarketingSherpa; and Brian Carroll, CEO, InTouch, laid out strategies that included: Analyzing your existing content mix Targeting content to different members of the buying committee Combining traditional tactics, such as white papers, with emerging content channels, such as social media and WebinarsSince presenters couldn’t address every question raised during the 90-minute session, we haveanswered them below, and included advice and strategies for content creation and distribution,pertaining to: Targeting white papers to stages of the buying cycle Role of eBooks Using demos and Webinars to enhance lead generation Sharing links to news articles and other third-party contentQ&A on Focused ContentQuestion #1: Is it more important to focus on the type of content (e.g. research, Webinars,how-to, etc.) or on making sure you have content for each stage of the buying cycle?Answer: It’s more important to have content that focuses on each stage of the buying cycle.Less than 4 out of 10 (38%) B2B marketers say they tailor their content to specific stages of thebuying cycle, according to MarketingSherpa’s 2008-2009 Business Technology MarketingBenchmark Guide.That means that you can gain a big advantage over 62% of your competitors when you createhigh-value content that addresses the different needs and questions the buying committee asks atdifferent stages of the buying cycle.
  • 2. Question #2: Are white papers best for prospects at a specific part of the sales cycle?Answer: White papers are not intended only for a particular phase of the buying cycle. Whitepapers can work for any stage of the buying cycle.It’s important to have a range of white paper titles that address the specific subjects or concernsthat arise at different stages of the buying cycle. You also should target your white papers todifferent members of the buying committee, who tend to be engaged at different stages of thecycle.For example, your content library could include these three types of white papers:Type 1.White paper targeting the awareness stage that addresses major concerns of end users of yourproduct or service; they tend to be highly engaged in the beginning of the buying process.An effective title might provide research or insights into a broad industry trend or yourprospects’ operational challenge which your product or service helps manage.Type 2.White paper targeting the research and negotiation phases that answers questions for influencerson the buying committee, such as IT personnel who install or manage new software.An effective topic might be an overview of the implementation process of the specifictechnology with existing enterprise systems.Type 3.White paper targeting the purchase stage that speaks to the economic decision makers, such asCFOs who sign off on deals.An effective white paper for this stage might outline cost savings, efficiency improvements orincreased revenue customers have experienced.Question #3: Do eBooks have any real value, or are they viewed as a type of spam?(Example: eBooks for sale on eBay with graphics that make it look like its an actual book.)Answer: The term “eBook” is very broad, and includes digital print formats designed for specialelectronic readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle. But when we talk about eBooks for leadgeneration, we’re referring to longer documents in PDF format, typically offered for free orrequiring registration to download.Those kinds of eBooks are indeed a valuable component of a B2B content library.Typically, eBooks contain the following characteristics:- Longer than white papers
  • 3. The standard white paper length is 6-12 pages. For a more in-depth discussion of a topic, eBookscan run anywhere from 20 pages to more than 100 pages.- Broader in scopeWhite papers should be tightly focused on a single subject. eBbooks allow you to cover broadsubjects, and can be broken up into chapters that highlight specific topics or tactics within thatsubject.- More personalizedeBbook authors are usually identified, and the most effective eBooks come from a recognizedexpert on the topic. The author can be a widely respected executive from your company, or theeBook could be written on behalf of your company by a third-party expert.When presented in addition to white papers, Webinars, or other content, eBooks can stand out inthe crowded landscape. For example, network software provider Alterpoint created a 150-pageeBook titled “Tips & Tricks Guide to Network Configuration Management.”The team promoted the book in multiple channels, and achieved a 36% conversion rate on thelanding page registration form.Likewise, presenter Brian Carroll has seen great results from his own eBook, “Start with a Lead:Eight Critical Success Factors for Lead Generation Results.”The eBook took him 12 hours to write. He then promoted the free PDF download through:o Company Websiteo Personal blogo RSSo Email to house listo Partners and co-marketing dealsTo date, the book has been downloaded more than 30,000 times from his Website, and sentvirally through other blogs.Question #4: Could you please share an example of using demos and overviews for aservice industry instead of a company selling a product?Answer: We singled out product demos, overviews and Webinars as a potentially powerful butoften underused piece of marketing content. Pictures, video and interactive elements can explaincomplex products more effectively than text.The essential elements of a product demo or Webinar can be adapted to introduce prospects toyour service. Consider the following key elements:- FormatVideo, Flash animation, or slides with audio are ways to provide an overview of the customerexperience.
  • 4. - ContentUse voice-overs, images and text that walk prospects through the basics of your service model,concentrating on:o Approach or methodologyo Significant steps and stages of the customer/service provider experienceo Qualifications of company expertso Unique benefits or services offeredo Customer testimonialso Polls and chat functions to engage- Call to actionPrompt prospects to take the next step to learn more, such as:o Offering a white paper or other piece of marketing collateral to downloado Providing contact information to ask additional questionso Highlighting links to additional sections of your Website for more informationThis approach worked for Total Training, a software training company. The team there used avideo overview demo to introduce prospects to their online training program. The one-minutevideo was hosted by company founder Brian Moffat, a well-known figure in the online designindustry. It outlined key features of the online service, and gave prospects a peak at how thedigital training programs worked.The training video became one of the top five videos prospects viewed on the site, and the firstplace that the majority of visitors clicked after landing on the homepage.Question #5: Is it legal to send a link to an article or do you have to get reprint rights?Answer: This question followed a recommendation from presenter Brian Carroll when he said,marketers act as filters and libraries of relevant third-party content. By monitoring industry news,you can find interesting links to send to prospects who have opted-in to receive email messagesfrom you.This technique is legal and does not require you to obtain reprint rights. You are merely pointingyour prospects to publicly available articles by providing them the original link to the publisher’sarticle or Website.The key is sharing links to the original articles – not repurposing that content or reprinting it inany way. That would require you to seek permission from the publisher.ConclusionTo be successful, you have to produce content that your audience yearns to read, listen to orview. Content has to appeal to its audience’s needs and desires. However, most marketers ignoreor discount this critical fact. Most marketers’ content initiatives are driven by their own internalneeds, such as product updates and marketing cycles and not by what the prospects care about,
  • 5. such as their industry or their position in the buying cycle. Meet your prospects needs to you willfind success in your lead led campaigns.Copyright ©2010 by MarketingSherpa, LLC. All rights reserved.Contact Information:www.marketingsherpa.com(877) 895-1717 (US)(401) 247-7655 (outside US)