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The Content: Marketers Guide to Lead Generation

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The Content: Marketers Guide to Lead Generation

  1. 1. Copyright © 2017 Contently. All rights reserved. contently.comby Jordan Teicher The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation
  2. 2. 2 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation Table of Contents Introduction 4 I. Like a rock 5 II. Watch and learn 9 III. Return to form 12 IV. The need to nurture 16 V. Trends 19 Conclusion 23 Cover photography by Getty Images
  3. 3. 3 The Global Marketer’s Guide to Localisation and Translation “The blog is certainly not the sexiest piece of social media, but I think it’s certainly the most important. It lays the foundation for your content strategy. None of this really works if you don’t have some sort of story.” —JASON MILLER, GLOBAL CONTENT MARKETING LEADER AT LINKEDIN
  4. 4. 4 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation Five years ago, if you asked Jason Miller to pick lead generation or brand awareness as the most important part of B2B marketing, he would’ve chosen lead generation without hesitating. But since then, things have changed. Miller, who worked as the senior manager of social media strategy for Marketo until 2013, now serves as global content marketing leader at LinkedIn, where he’s responsible for developing content that helps turn the network’s 450 million users into leads who may be interested in paying for LinkedIn’s business solutions and premium subscriptions. As his team has published more on the company’s Marketing Solutions blog, they’ve learned firsthand that you can’t just push lead generation without putting time into brand awareness. “It used to be gate everything and don’t give away any content for free,” he said. “Now I see you have to find a balance, to have an engine and a blog that creates content to drive awareness to that bigger piece of high-value [lead gen] content.” This balance tells us a lot about the ways businesses have to communicate with today’s consumers. If all you’re doing is hitting people up for information, you risk undermining trust and pushing potential readers elsewhere. But if you publish a blog without the right system in place to capture and score leads, then your efforts won’t lead to ROI. So how can you pursue leads without compromising your relationship with your audience? In this e-book, we’ll examine how forward-thinking companies have taken innovative approaches with their content, detail ways to improve lead-form conversions, and explore what the future of lead gen content may look like. Introduction
  5. 5. 5 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation I. Like a rock Miller is probably best known for introducing “big rock” into the marketing lexicon. The term describes “a substantial piece of content based on the idea of becoming the definitive guide to a conversation that you want to own.” The most traditional type of big rock is the e-book—like the one you’re reading right now. Big rocks are essential for a number of reasons. They tend to offer significant value to the audience compared to the average blog post. They help companies and individuals establish a clear point of view on key issues in their industry. And most importantly, they are efficient investments that can drive both leads and awareness for a long period of time.
  6. 6. 6 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation Take “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn,” originally published by LinkedIn in 2014. The 56-page e-book outlines both instructional tips and conceptual strategies for professionals interested in using the platform to recruit new employees and promote their services. According to Miller, it’s been his best source of qualified leads for two straight years. 6 Why does my business need Linkedin? From brand building, to lead generation, to content marketing and advertising, linkedin can help you build your business. Marketing and Advertising Information Technology and Services Financial Services 8:00a.m.Most LinkedIn members look for inspiration early in the day with peak consumption at 8:00 a.m. awareness consideration action 1PART 1: Why does my business need LinkedIn? PART 1: LinkedIn is so much more than a place to find a job or an online resume. It’s quickly becoming the go-to content publishing platform for the professional mindset. As more professionals are spending more and more time looking for new content and keeping in touch with their networks, it brings with it an opportunity for marketers. The idea of being a sophisticated marketer comes from the current state of the golden age of social media marketing and how it is transforming into the enlightening era. No longer can marketers just do social, they need results and actionable insights in order to prove the value of their efforts. And no longer are we forced to take a spray and pray method to get our message heard in the noisy world of social. The technology is in place that allows us to take a much more refined approach, a sophisticated approach if you will, to social media marketing on the world’s largest professional network. The Sophisticated Marketer’sGuide to 3 2012 was the year of social. 2013 was the year of content. And 2014 is the year where they come together. Social media no longer lives in a silo but instead is a vital component for the success of many marketing campaigns. With content fueling your social marketing, we have arrived at the age of truly integrated marketing strategy, and it’s being led by a new breed of sophisticated marketers. The sophisticated marketer is someone who takes marketing techniques, both old and new, and executes them in an overall integrated marketing strategy. This type of marketer is grounded in timeless, Mad Men-era tactics and combines them with new, modern technology. What worked during the golden age of marketing still works today, but marketers need to adapt. Social media is their playground, content is their fuel, and platforms like LinkedIn are the new black. This guide was written with you in mind, the sophisticated marketer. Everything you need to know about marketing on LinkedIn, written both strategically, and instructionally. It’s your one-stop shop to the vast opportunities that await—increase awareness, influence perception, generate leads, and ultimately drive revenue with LinkedIn. Let’s get started, shall we? Jason Miller Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions A Note to the SophiSticated Marketer 2 LinkedIn is so much more than a place to find a job or an online resume. It’s quickly becoming the go-to content publishing platform for the professional mindset. As more professionals are spending more and more time looking for new content and keeping in touch with their networks, it brings with it an opportunity for marketers. The idea of being a sophisticated marketer comes from the current state of the golden age of social media marketing and how it is transforming into the enlightening era. No longer can marketers just do social, they need results and actionable insights in order to prove the value of their efforts. And no longer are we forced to take a spray and pray method to get our message heard in the noisy world of social. The technology is in place that allows us to take a much more refined approach, a sophisticated approach if you will, to social media marketing on the world’s largest professional network. A NOTE TO THE SOPHISTICATED MARKETER 3 WHY SHOULD I BE READING THIS GUIDE? 4 PART 1: WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED LINKEDIN? 5–6 PART 2: LAYING THE FOUNDATION: TAP INTO POWERFUL MARKETING SOLUTIONS 7–11 PART 3: OPTIMIZING YOUR PROFILE 12–14 PART 4: EXPAND YOUR NETWORK OF INFLUENCERS 15–18 PART 5: EASILY KEEP YOUR FINGER ON THE PULSE 19–21 PART 6: PUBLISH WITH A PURPOSE: CONTENT MARKETING ON LINKEDIN 22–42 PART 7: EXPAND YOUR TARGETED REACH: ADVERTISING ON LINKEDIN 43–49 PART 8: UNLOCK THE POWER OF LINKEDIN’S PARTNER PROGRAMS 50–53 25 SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTS YOU NEED TO KNOW 54-55 Table of Contents 42 President, Global Digital, Data and Analytics at Starcom MediaVest Group LI: What factors are most important to you when considering advertising channels for your clients? LW: One of the things we say is that it’s about behavior, not channels. From our perspective, when you start with consumer behavior you usually start with data. We really believe that data helps to create experiences and we use the phrase ‘created by data’ and ‘creating its own data.’ You can use data to understand consumer behaviors on a platform like LinkedIn and then, as the consumer is engaged, he or she creates new data to help you optimize that experience. It starts with behavior which is informed by data, which we use to inform content. LI: How are your clients’ marketing objectives different on LinkedIn compared to other social networks? How does that impact your clients’ content strategy? LW: I would argue that the objectives of a platform like LinkedIn should not be different from other social networks and that all networks should adder up to the overall marketing objectives of clients. As you drill down into the use case for LinkedIn, there are absolutely some more tactical and specific initiatives it could be leveraged for. But if you’re talking about marketing objectives broadly, I’d like to think that everything we do and all these things we create ladders up to bigger objectives like sales, top of funnel, etc. Too often in social media, marketers get hung up on chasing the social networks’ specific metrics and at the end of the day, what has to matter is that a marketer’s investments are moving the needle against the core macro objective. LinkedIn has proven effective for clients leveraging it across the spectrum of objectives ranging from brand lift and consideration, to ROI and direct response. LinkedIn works against key measures whether they are top or bottom of the funnel. LI: How would you advise a marketer looking to create more “shareable” content? Are there specific strategies or tools you recommend? LW: We believe sharing is an indicator of valuable consumer behavior. We’ve spent a lot of time on tools provided by a company like ShareThis, which provide powerful indicators of the types of content that are most sharable. We’ve built a planning tool that allows our planners to buy ads against content that is more likely to be shared. We’ve actually spent a lot of time in the space looking at trends of topics and keywords which are another indicator of things being shared. We partner with companies like Visible Measures on the video side. It can be different with video, and they have years worth of data on the types of video content that will most likely drive certain earned responses. We also share that part to plan how our video content can drive greater shares because we think it’s a strategic question. It’s vital to our strategy to think about the intersection of paid, owned, and earned. Ask the Expert: LiSa weinStein PART 6: Publish with a Purpose: Content Marketing on LinkedIn LinkedIn Corporation © 2014 RELATIONSHIPS MATTER With LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, brands build relationships with the world’s professionals by using accurate targeting to deliver relevant content and communications. As today’s connected professionals seek out ideas and insights from the people and brands they trust, marketers use LinkedIn to target advertising and publish relevant content in a professional context. Brands extend reach through the social sharing that occurs naturally on LinkedIn, as well as by extending LinkedIn data to their sites and brand experiences through APIs. For more information, please visit our Marketing Solutions site. ABOUT US LinkedIn members number more than 259 million professionals. That’s over one-third of the 600 million professionals on the planet. This represents the largest group anywhere of influential, affluent and educated people. Professional Publishing Platform Our evolution into a professional publishing platform drives increased engagement on LinkedIn. Compared with other professional publishers, content on LinkedIn works differently. The rich data on our platform means we can deliver the most relevant content to our members. 7 PART 2: LinkedIn offers a tremendous opportunity for marketers like you, whether you are focused on building your brand or generating leads. Our solutions allow you to target your messages and interactions to the right audience, publish content that connects with that audience, and extend engagement both on and off the network. Laying the Foundation: tap into powerfuL Marketing SoLutionS TARGET Target with accuracy to reach a high quality audience PUBLISH Publish relevant content in a professional context EXTEND Extend through social sharing and drive quality traffic and data to your sites In fact... Accurate targeting, based on authentic data, is the foundation of the LinkedIn platform. LinkedIn’s targeting is highly accurate because it draws from actual profile data provided by and continually updated by our members. You can also target the 1st degree connections of specific members. And you can use their behavior on LinkedIn—like what Groups they join, and how much they share and comment— to inform targeting. Marketers can use our targeting data to tailor their messages and content. PART 2: Laying the Foundation: Tap into Powerful Marketing Solutions 6 PART 1: As a growing number of professionals spend more time reading news and keeping in touch with their network through LinkedIn, you have an unprecedented opportunity to build and cultivate relationships with professionals the world over. And these relationships can translate into revenues. Since 2010, the number of B2B and B2C marketers generating sales via LinkedIn has grown consistently. U.S.-based agencies rate LinkedIn as the most important social media platform for new business. In fact, 50% of our members report they are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn. And a whopping 80 percent of LinkedIn members want to connect with companies—because those connections provide them opportunities to enhance their professional decision-making. All it takes is a sophisticated marketer who seizes the opportunity to engage them. What do we mean by a sophisticated marketer? The idea of being a sophisticated marketer comes from the transition of social media marketing from pure theory to effective use. But marketers can’t just “do” social. Now they need to produce results and actionable insights in order to prove the value of their efforts. Fortunately we no longer are forced to take a spray-and-pray approach to getting our message heard in the noisy world of social. The technology is in place that allows us to adopt a much more refined— sophisticated—approach, if you will, to social media marketing, using the world’s largest professional network. LINKEDIN IS THE #1 CHANNEL TO DISTRIBUTE CONTENT % of B2B marketers who use various social media sites to distribute content LINKEDIN CONSIDERED MOST EFFECTIVE FOR B2B LEAD GEN Among top performing organizations, % of B2B Marketers who rated the Social Media Site on effectiveness in generating leads LINKEDIN CONTINUES TO CONSISTENTLY GENERATE SALES FOR B2B MARKETERS Percentage of companies who acquired a B2B customer through that channel B2C MARKETERS ARE RAPIDLY DISCOVERING LINKEDIN Percentage of companies who acquired a B2C customer through that channel LINKEDIN DRIVES MORE TRAFFIC TO B2B BLOGS SITES 90% of the social traffic was driven by the big three networks, with half of it coming from LinkedIn linkedin By The numBers:LinkedIn is a platform enabling sophisticated marketers to forge relationships with these professionals. It’s no wonder LinkedIn has quickly become the go-to content publishing platform for marketers. In fact, a survey of LinkedIn members found that LinkedIn is considered the most effective social network for delivering B2B content1 . And research conducted by Investis IQ2 found that LinkedIn is the number-one social network for driving traffic to corporate websites. 1 Source: B2B Content Marketing report, Holger Schulze, 2013 2 Source: Dazeinfo Sources: 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends/ North America, Content Marketing Institute/ Marketing Profs. Webbiquity, Aug 27,2013. “Content Marketing gets Social”, Unisphere research, 2013. HubSpot, State of inbound Marketing 2010,2011,2012. 91% 93% 45% 26% 2010 1.5x 2.0x 20102011 20112013 2013 61% 39% 65% 51% 85% 84% 81% 71% 73% 56% 55% others 23 Like many companies, yours likely considers many parts of its business to be important. And to give each its due attention, you likely have more than one “voice.” With Showcase Pages, you can build a presence and present a unique voice for every important part of your business. By creating dedicated pages for your more prominent brands, businesses, and initiatives using Showcase Pages, you can extend your LinkedIn presence. In other words, you can create a distinct platform for each aspect of your business that has its own message to share with its own target audience. It’s a unique way to directly engage the right people in the right context. And just as with Company Pages, your administrators will be able to monitor performance through dedicated analytic tools within the Showcase Page experience. PART 6: Showcase Pages: Reach and Build a Relationship with Specific Audiences 5 steps to engaging followers on LinkedIn 1. Establish your presence 2. Attract followers 4. Amplify through the network 3. Engage followers 5. Analyze and refine “When I ran marketing at a mobile startup, we routinely compared the impact of each channel at each funnel stage. We plotted channels along two dimensions: volume of names and cost per lead. LinkedIn topped all other lead sources—across both dimensions and at every stage of the funnel. When it came to content distribution and lead generation, LinkedIn quickly became the first dollar budgeted each quarter.” Joe Chernov – Former VP of Marketing at Kinvey, now VP of Content at Hubspot PART 6: Publish with a Purpose: Content Marketing on LinkedIn I. Like a rock LinkedIn’s own big rock, “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn,” continues to be Miller’s best source of qualified leads.
  7. 7. 7 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation “The beautiful thing is that we just revive it every year,” he explained. “Maybe change the cover, change the creative. We change the creative quite a bit because we do so much testing on everything to see what really resonates.” Since 2014, LinkedIn has sliced and diced the 56 pages into shorter stories that have no problem standing on their own. And at the bottom of each repackaged blog post, readers will find a call-to-action with a link to a lead form for the original asset. “The blog is certainly not the sexiest piece of social media, but I think it’s certainly the most important,” Miller said. “It lays the foundation for your content strategy. None of this really works if you don’t have some sort of story.” At Contently, we use a similar approach to maximize our investment in our biggest stories. We’ve found that longer e-book excerpts—which may end up weighing in at 1,500 words— consistently result in more downloads. For example, in July, Contently associate editor Dillon Baker wrote “Media 2020: The Marketer’s Guide to the Present and Future of the Internet,” a 30-page e-book about how the evolution of media and technology will impact digital marketing. To extend its shelf-life after the initial rush of downloads, we chopped the asset up into three additional articles that were published separately over the following month. While the main e-book generated over 2,100 downloads, the excerpts brought in more than 400 subsequent leads. I. Like a rock
  8. 8. 8 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation I. Like a rock Even though readers could gather a good chunk of the e-book piece by piece on our website without filling out a lead form, we were confident that the excerpts provided enough value in exchange for their contact information. Additionally, our social media editor promoted those three standalone articles with paid spend on social distribution networks (like Facebook) to get our content in front of a larger audience. Producing a big rock can cost thousands of dollars if you add together the creation, design, and promotion. Only promoting that major asset one time is just a wasted opportunity. Webinars, podcasts, infographics, and slideshows are all effective ways to divide your big rock into valuable pieces. “It starts with one remarkable piece of content that you researched the hell out of, that tackles the topic better than anyone else.” Miller said. “More with less, that’s where the big rock comes in.” “[Big rocks] start with one remarkable piece of content that you researched the hell out of, that tackles the topic better than anyone else.”
  9. 9. The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation 9 E-books aren’t the only big rocks capable of driving leads to your business. Recently, video has emerged as one way for content marketers to separate themselves from the pack. In fact, Unbounce, a landing page software company, discovered that adding video to a landing page can lift conversions by 80 percent. And a 2014 Google study found that 70 percent of B2B buyers are watching video throughout their purchase process—a 52 percent bump compared to 2012. “We believe that interactive video is the best technique to not only drive leads to purchase, but to accelerate the lead cycle to purchase,” said Jennifer Burak, VP of marketing at Rapt Media, a video platform based out of Colorado. II. Watch and learn
  10. 10. 10 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation II. Watch and learn Rapt specializes in interactive multimedia content that lets the viewer select different narrative paths. (The concept is referred to as “branching.” If you ever read Goosebumps books growing up, you’ll know it as choose-your-own-adventure stories.) Branching video isn’t just a cool visual element; it also gives Rapt a unique way to understand how its viewers think and prioritize information. “We use choice points within our interactive videos to learn more about the buyer’s preferences, and then we can personalize future communications to them based on their choices.” Burak added. “When you let your customers interact with your content, they make choices that are relevant to them, and you learn more about them each time they click a button within the video. This helps you create better content and continue to optimize your existing content.” In January 2015, Rapt produced its most ambitious piece of content, a three-part series titled “The Future of Content,” which incorporated both interactive animated videos and PDFs with data analysis and playful illustrations. The report was built off of a series of surveys the company sent out to 500 marketers and 1,000 consumers. “The Future of Content” generated more press coverage than any of Rapt’s other campaigns, and brought major brands including Disney and Caterpillar into the sales cycle.
  11. 11. The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation 11 Rapt pursued all possible distribution channels to spread the word, including email, social media accounts, paid social distribution, and external PR placements. In the end, the company was able to accomplish two critical goals: One, it gave the internet a reliable report that covered how marketers and consumers feel about topics like content personalization, ad blockers, and branding. And two, it was able to make a case for the importance of personalized video content without just shilling its own product. According to Rapt, “The Future of Content” generated more press coverage than any of its other campaigns. The project also had 40 percent conversions to “sales-ready leads,” which brought major brands including Disney and Caterpillar into the sales cycle. “Video creates an emotional connection with your audience by putting them in the driver’s seat, which is so critical because we are all visual communicators,” Burak said. “If viewers feel that your content is high quality and that they’re actually benefiting from it, a sense of positivity and trust is formed that then comes back to you, making your relationship with the viewer stronger. You can leverage that gratitude in exchange for getting your audience to complete whatever action you want them to do.” II. Watch and learn When you let your customers interact with your content, they make choices that are relevant to them, and you learn more about them each time they click a button within the video.” — JENNIFER BURAK, VP OF MARKETING AT RAPT MEDIA “
  12. 12. 12 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation Say you’re walking on the sidewalk, minding your own business on the way back from lunch, when you lock eyes with a street canvasser. The canvasser, dressed in some ill-fitting mesh vest and a visor, gets ready to sell you on a good cause. You want to support the cause, but you also hate the intrusion of the hard sell and don’t want to give away your personal information. She opens her mouth to initiate small talk, but you walk right by, avoiding eye contact and trying to stifle the guilt. Lead forms are the canvassers of the marketing world. In any exchange of value, both sides need to evaluate whether they’re getting something useful in return. On the street, it’s not worth it for most people to take out a credit card and hand over sensitive information to donate to a charity when they can just do so on the computer in their homes. Perhaps if the canvassers only wanted a name or an email address, they’d have more access. Likewise, when brands and publishers gate their content, the success of an e-book or a video will likely come down to how much they ask for in return. How many fields should you include in the lead form? What do you prioritize? Should you ask for a phone number? Do you need to care about age? Location? What about placement—do you want the form to be the first thing someone sees on a web page? III. Return to form
  13. 13. The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation 13III. Return to form Here’s an example of a lead form we use on The Content Strategist: Despite looking fairly basic, lead forms come with their own special sort of marketing calculus. Even if you have a brilliant piece of content hiding behind the gate, nobody is going to see it if you turn people away by asking for too much information on a form. Research from Docalytics, an analytics and tracking company acquired by Contently in 2016, found that forms with only three fields have an average conversion rate of 25 percent, but that rate drops to 15 percent for forms with six or more fields. “I think the perfect ideal scenario is to start with an email address,” Miller said. “Then keep that person engaged with content and you progress your profiling, taking a little bit of information each time.”
  14. 14. 14 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation In 2011, Marketo conducted a study on different lead forms and found that shorter forms of five fields outperform longer forms of seven or nine fields. A five-field form had a cost-per-lead of $31.24, while the cost-per-lead was $34.94 for seven fields and $41.90 for nine fields. The shorter form also boasted a 13.4 percent conversion rate while the other two options were both under 12 percent. If marketers want to maximize how many leads they bring in, then they have to be economical with their forms. Certain third-party tools, like Clearbit, can look up a person’s information off of an email. Others, including Marketo, can pinpoint a user’s approximate location from an IP address, which means you won’t need to ask for an address. Another way to get more people to fill out a form and download your content is to optimize the call-to-action (CTA). Marketers would be wise to do a little research rather than going off of intuition, because one word can have a big impact on your conversion rate. I think the perfect ideal scenario is to start with an email address [...] then keep that person engaged with content and you progress your profiling, taking a little bit of information each time..” — JASON MILLER, GLOBAL CONTENT MARKETING LEADER AT LINKEDIN “ III. Return to form
  15. 15. 15 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation III. Return to form Two years ago, Formstack, a form builder software company, surveyed 400,000 people and found that the most common CTA button copy—words like “Submit,” “Subscribe,” and “Send”—weren’t the most effective ways to drive leads. Simply changing a button that reads “Register” to “Register Now!” improved conversions by five percentage points. Lastly, it’s in your best interest to make the process as simple as possible for anyone who comes across your lead form. Add an auto-fill functionality so potential leads don’t have to waste time typing in their names and contact information. Perhaps you can offer an external log-in option, which lets your audience fill forms with social profiles on networks like Facebook and Twitter. These may seem like minor tweaks, but when you’re making that hard sell, each second matters. 12 T H E 2 0 1 4 F O R M C O N V E R S I O N R E P O R T Submit Button Conversion Metrics Think about the moment when your user is hovering over the submit button. It’s the last opportunity to convince them to click, and it’s important. Don’t believe us? Check out these two lists below: the most popular Formstack submit buttons and the highest converting. As you can see, changing just one word on your website can result in 2.5 times the conversions. Register Submit Order Subscribe Send Submit Submit Form Register Submit Request Envoyer* Register Now! Submit Application Submit Registration5.33% 1.34% 7.78% 3.01% 7.75% 10.66% 18.72% 16.66% 15.67% 15.47% 10.66% 12.4% Most Popular Highest Conversions *”Envoyer” is French for “Send” Image via Formstack
  16. 16. 16 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation Any e-book about lead generation wouldn’t be complete without discussing lead nurturing, which is the process of communicating with prospects once they give you their information. Encouraging leads to become clients takes time. Marketo discovered that 50 percent of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy. So there should always be a healthy balance between content at the top of the marketing funnel (articles, infographics) and big rocks in the middle of the funnel that can help your prospects address key issues. “You want valuable content that will rank over a long period of time, to continuously drive more and more demand,” said HubSpot demand generation manager Amanda Sibley. “Offer the readers enough value in the blog post that they trust you as a person or company that can help them solve a problem, and you then offer something even more robust to dive deeper into their problem.” IV. The need to nurture You want valuable content that will rank over a long period of time, to continuously drive more and more demand” — AMANDA SIBLEY, DEMAND GENERATION MANAGER AT HUBSPOT “
  17. 17. 17 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation HubSpot, which sells inbound marketing software, has stocked its respected blog over the last few years with helpful content meant to educate leads. For instance, HubSpot consistently covers infographics—both work from other publishers as well as its own creations. Every week, you can find a new post about a high-quality infographic that’s designed to educate the reader on a marketing topic. Once HubSpot built up enough credibility on the topic, it decided to capitalize with a more ambitious piece of content that could drive leads. Sibley pointed to “15 Free Infographic Templates in Powerpoint” as a major asset that makes life easier for HubSpot’s audience. “It’s great utility content that appeals to a large market,” she said. “ If possible, create utility-type content [like a] template or tool that can help them. We have found that the templates we create for our audience are some of our highest performing offers, especially when paired with a relevant blog post.” Eventually, though, you want to pursue relationships with a more focused target audience. Segmenting based on different factors like industry, title, and behavior is key because it allows you to deliver content that can both identify and solve your audience’s problems, which could convince people to become clients down the line. IV. The need to nurture Every week, HubSpot covers an infographic that’s designed to educate readers on a marketing topic.
  18. 18. 18 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation One of the surest ways to nurture an audience through the marketing funnel is email. Many marketers like to use a drip campaign, which is a schedule of automated emails that go out based on certain user behaviors. While drip campaigns can be effective if structured sparingly, they also run the risk of spamming prospects. That’s why email newsletters are so important if you publish content. Organic traffic is great, but when you’re starting out, newsletters give marketers a steady connection to subscribers. As the subscriber list grows, you will eventually be able to segment it based on your needs. As Neil Patel, an entrepreneur who’s built audiences of over 100,000 monthly visitors for three blogs, told Contently editor-in-chief Joe Lazauskas: “In terms of distribution, it’s the biggest thing you can do.” At Contently, we publish two newsletters: a daily email that goes to 60,000 readers and a weekly email that goes to 90,000. With our email service provider (ESP), we can now send different pieces of content to certain segments. If we run a story about content approval inside a finance company, we can deliver the article just to finance marketers on our daily list. Ideally, that granular targeting makes it easier to give audience segments the most relevant content we have. IV. The need to nurture
  19. 19. 19 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation The stories you choose to tell will always be a crucial part of a lead gen strategy, but how you tell those stories is also extremely important. Here are three lead generation trends on the rise that could boost your content efforts. PERSONALIZATION Personalized content isn’t exactly new. Every time you log in to Amazon, Spotify, or Netflix, you see recommendations based on your behavior. But marketers are starting to use personalization more for other kinds of content, particularly in a space like B2B, to improve lead nurturing. According to a March 2016 study Demand Metric conducted in partnership with Seismic, 61 percent of businesses have incorporated personalization into their content marketing strategies. And for those that do, 80 percent claimed that personalized content was more effective than unpersonalized content. V. Trends
  20. 20. The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation 20V. Trends With the proper setup, you can serve the right content to the right audience at the right time. Best of all, a lot of personalization functions anonymously. You can optimize your blog to serve a particular e-book or article on a homepage based on a user’s previous behavior. Image via Demand Metric
  21. 21. The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation 21 ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING Account-based marketing (ABM) flips the usual process marketers use to bring in clients. Instead of casting a wide net as you build an audience, this model relies on immediate specificity: Marketers focus only on their ideal customers and narrow the funnel as much as possible. Last year, more than 60 percent of marketers said they expected to invest in ABM technology to “better align sales and marketing,” per a SiriusDecisions survey. While this approach can be risky if you’re unable to win over your targeted customers, ABM does give content creators clear direction. This level of refinement makes it harder for marketers to waste money producing top-of-funnel content that doesn’t drive leads. In a 2015 SlideShare, Engagio CEO Jon Miller described ABM like “fishing with a spear,” as opposed to traditional marketing, which is more akin to fishing with a net. V. Trends
  22. 22. The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation 22 PARTNERSHIPS After a while, even if you’re consistently publishing great content on your blog, you can exhaust your ability to drive leads. That’s why partnerships are such an important trend for sustained growth. Content partnerships give marketers a chance to get in front of a new set of leads who aren’t in your system already. The goal is to find a company who operates in your industry but isn’t a direct competitor. Contently, for example, partners with companies like HubSpot, AMA, and CMI on projects like webinars, co-sponsored studies, and email newsletter sponsorships. After the content portion of the partnership ends, both sides put together a joint list of contacts and try to get new leads to convert. V. Trends
  23. 23. 23 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation According to Forbes, 93 percent of B2B marketers claim content marketing drives more leads than traditional marketing. Why? Because content gives marketers the opportunity to have a voice and help their potential customers solve their most pressing issues. If you’re going to master the art of lead generation, you need to start with high-quality content. Whether you’re producing an e-book, shooting a video, or just starting to build an audience, remember that. There are tips and tricks that can make you more efficient, but driving leads ultimately comes back to a fair exchange of value between company and audience. “I think a lot of people over-complicate the process of lead generation,” Jason Miller said. “If you start at the core, which is answering questions with content and gating it based on value, that’s really what it’s all about.” Conclusion If you start at the core, which is answering questions with content and gating it based on value, that’s really what it’s all about.” — JASON MILLER, GLOBAL CONTENT MARKETING LEADER AT LINKEDIN “
  24. 24. Introduction 24 The Content Marketer’s Guide to Lead Generation Want more insights into the state of content marketing? For more tips, trends, and timely analysis, subscribe to The Content Strategist. And if you’d like to talk to someone about Contently’s services, please reach out to us at sales@contently.com or visit contently.com. Thank you.

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