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The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Lead Gen Content

Companies expect significant results from their marketing teams. Expanding brand awareness, increasing qualified leads to help sales succeed, and nurturing prospects so they turn into customers are a few of the big items landing on marketing’s plate every day.

Creating a powerful lead generation content strategy is another pivotal initiative marketing handles.

You may already have a content strategy in place, but does it perform like you want? Have you even set goals around it? If you need some guidance on how to forge a lead generation content strategy that overflows with positive results…read on!

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What Does Lead Gen Mean?

A lead is a person with some level of interest in purchasing your product or service. This person may have heard of you from a friend (or referral), seen your advertising, social media posts, attended a webinar, met you at a tradeshow, or read some of your content.

Lead gen is when marketing generates their company’s leads by attracting and then nurturing them with the end goal of having them become a customer. Think of the Girl Scout that stands in front of your area grocery store and gives away a free cookie, hoping you’ll buy several boxes. She’s essentially generating leads.

What does content mean?

Since we don’t all sell delicious cookies, marketers must get creative in finding ways to attract leads. Sure, there are sales-focused ways, but those won’t reach the audience that may not be ready to buy. For that, you need to help them understand what they need, and how to solve a pain point. The answer is content.

Content is communication that you create and distribute in hopes of reaching promising leads to make them aware of your company.

What Is the Definition of Lead Gen Content?

Yes, you can generate leads without using content, and you can create content and not use it to generate leads. However, they are an impactful team. Lead gen content is the marketing initiative that leverages well-written, engaging content to attract people who have the need and ability to purchase your product or service. 

Types Of Lead Gen Content

There are several powerful forms of lead gen content. Using more than one typically helps you reach more people, generate more leads, and drive more sales.

Blogs and articles.

If your buyer needs to address a need or solve a pain point, they may use a search engine to find content that speaks to what they need. This person probably hasn’t decided when or if they’re purchasing anything, they are just gathering information. In the buyer’s journey, this is called the “awareness stage”.

Blogs and articles are key parts of your lead gen strategy because they typically focus on broad topics that are not sales-driven. Your buyer benefits from gaining the information they need, while your company benefits from them gaining awareness of your company and brand. You’re building a positive experience and setting your brand up as a thought leader. You’re warming them up.

Infographics and quizzes.

Like blogs and articles, infographics and quizzes are ways your buyer can continue gaining information they need to solve their problem. Both of these pieces of content are graphic-heavy and should build on what they may have learned by reading your blog. Remember, the information you’re sharing is still broad and sales-neutral, but is powerful in that it keeps their attention and expands their interest. Every piece of your content creates trust and recognition with your brand.

eBooks and white papers.

In the beginning, when your potential lead is reading your blog, you don’t know who they are. eBooks and white papers can help you gather their information. After that, you can market to them directly, which is a big advantage.

Blogs are un-gated, which means a person can go to the website and read them right then. eBooks and white papers, however, are usually gated. If a person wants to access these pieces of content, they need to share their information on a landing page.

Gaining access to a lead’s information is essential for your lead gen content strategy to work. High-value content like an informative eBook is valuable enough to them to complete a form on a landing page with their name, email, and other pieces of information. From there, your company can begin directly marketing to them to nurture the relationship and turn them into a qualified lead, then a customer.

Videos and webinars.

Since we don’t all sell delicious cookies, marketers must get creative in finding ways to attract leads. Sure, there are sales-focused ways, but those won’t reach the audience that may not be ready to buy. For that, you need to help them understand what they need, and how to solve a pain point. The answer is content.

Content is communication that you create and distribute in hopes of reaching promising leads to make them aware of your company.

Cost calculators.

Everyone likes to save money, and cost calculators are wonderful tools in identifying how much your company could save your lead.

Free trials, coupons, demos.

Once your leads know your brand and seriously begin deciding on their purchase, content that spurs them to a decision helps decrease the sales cycle. By lowering the barrier to becoming a customer, the decision seems less scary.

How Can Marketing Make Their Lead Gen Content Strategy Successful?

Embarking on a lead gen content strategy doesn’t mean you’ll be swimming in great leads immediately. To be successful, it must be built intuitively and managed effectively. Sometimes marketers will try it for a while and determine it didn’t work for them. The reality is there were probably holes somewhere in their strategy that hindered their success.

Identify snags in the sales funnel.

Long, complex sales cycles benefit from a lead gen content strategy most. Even so, there are plenty of opportunities to “lose leads” between the time they enter your sales funnel until they become a customer. Where are the areas the most leads fail to proceed to the next step? The location of the snag determines what you’ll need to do to improve it.

If it’s at the top of the funnel, or the “awareness stage” of the journey, you may not be blogging often enough, your topics may not be hitting the mark, or you might not be distributing the content to the channels where your potential leads see it.

Further down in the funnel, or the “consideration stage” of the buyer’s journey, you may not be doing a good enough job building trust, or your calls-to action (CTAs) may not be clear.

At the bottom of the funnel, or the “decision stage” of the journey, there can be issues, too. Your efforts may not be differentiating you enough from the competition, or there may be no urgency in making the decision.

It’s vital to review your funnel, pinpoint sluggish points in the journey, and address them concisely to maximize the success of your lead gen content strategy.

Identify who those leads are.

Understanding your buyer and what they need in every stage is necessary to keep them engaged and moving through the funnel. What are they looking for? Where is your content strategy falling short with them? Focusing on the leads and their experiences can help you figure out why they aren’t moving forward. If you examine the contacts that are falling out of your funnel, you may start seeing patterns.

A good way to handle the “mid-funnel blues” is by conducting some A/B testing. Try different pieces of content, two different subject lines, or alternating CTAs. By examining how each of these work, you can tell which ones speak to your leads and spur them to action. Pinpointing the solution allows you to employ it across the funnel to mitigate future problems.

Implement a “wedge,” which lowers the barrier to entry.

If a lead is “stuck” you may need to take action to get them moving toward a buying decision. Customer testimonials, case studies, and vendor comparisons are valuable pieces of content to share during this stage. They create confidence that choosing your company is a good decision. Free trials, demos, and complimentary consultations are other smart ideas. They decrease the “pain” of taking the next step while allowing the lead to experience your product or service before committing to complete buy-in.

Create a drip campaign.

Once you’ve acquired the lead’s email address, you can “drip” on them with valuable information. By sharing snack-able, informative points that continue addressing their needs (and showing your company’s expertise), they can get to know your brand and continue building trust and interest.

Drip campaigns are integral to your lead gen content strategy if you have a long sales cycle and/or a complex product or service. For example, a high-tech product may have many moving parts, benefits, and requirements that can’t be covered in a single blog. While you want to maintain a cohesive product story throughout your strategy (time-savings, cost-savings, amplify the customer experience, etc), you can get more granular in a drip campaign. As they digest this content, it allows the lead to feel confident that your offering fits with their needs.

Measure results and revise as needed.

Your lead gen content strategy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it concept. Nor is it an exact science. For it to work well, marketing needs to examine the results they’re achieving against the goals they set at the beginning. How many leads did you add to the pipeline? How many of those converted? If it’s underperforming, find out why and figure out how to fix it. Is there one topic you thought would work well that doesn’t hit the mark? Focus less on that one in the future. Is there a topic that out-performed all the others? Use it to write similar content to strengthen your strategy.

Get Help From an Expert

Implementing and managing a lead gen content strategy takes time and effort throughout the process. But it’s worth it. Bringing in well-qualified, warm leads who possess a legitimate pain point your product or service solves puts you miles ahead of the competition. A cohesive content strategy can result in a strong return on investment (ROI) and help your business grow and thrive with new, happy customers and greater revenue.