In 2012, Xerox created a campaign and named it “Get Optimistic”. In the campaign, the company connected with 30 top accounts. It also collaborated with “Forbes” and created a magazine to offer relevant business tips to its corporate clients. Let us have a look at the result:
- Compared to the previous email-campaigns, the readership improved 300-400 %.
- Out of all the targeted companies, 70% interacted with the microsite (The magazine by Xerox).
- Xerox got 20,000 new contacts.
- The campaign rewarded the company more than 1000 appointments.
- The pipeline revenue after the content was $1.3 billion.
Above was just one example of the importance of content marketing for lead generation. If you want to check the effectiveness of your content, you can head over to a blog about free analytic tools to measure your content effectiveness.
As per the content marketing institute’s 2018 statistic, almost 92% of B2B marketers are involved in content marketing.
Now that you are aware of the power of content marketing to generate B2B leads, let’s start with the basic ideas of lead generation and content marketing and then discuss how to generate free B2B leads for your business with content marketing.
What is Lead Generation?
With digital advancement, content marketing has evolved a significant pier for the lead generation. Whether it is B2B or B2C, it is impossible now to generate leads with the old business gimmick. Let us dive deeper into the topic.
If we go by the simple definition, “Lead generation is the process that supports the cultivation of prospect customers for any business or brand.” We all know the importance of customers in any business.
The ultimate goal of any business is to maximize the return on investment (ROI). Without profit maximization for a business and an increasing number of followers for an influencer, the investment has no use. Customers are the end target of any venture for getting a high ROI. So, from where does a venture get customers?
Here comes the use of lead generation. Generating lead means getting potential customers for a business. These leads further converts into potential customers who participate in profit maximization.
How to Generate Leads?
A statistic on organizational goals for content marketing suggests that 66% of organizational goals depend on lead generation. From educational webinars and seminars to providing engaging and informative contents, the effectiveness of lead generation marketing is always versatile.
Here is a list of the ways through which lead generation is possible:
- Content writing
- Search engine optimization
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Offline trades and business seminars
- Webinars or online seminars
- Paid search or online ads
- Direct mail or print ads
Which is the Most Effective Lead Generation Method?
Now the question is, which is the most effective approach to generate a lead for B2B business? In 2013, MarketingProfs had done research based on customer testimonials and case studies for the most effective B2B lead generations trends. The results were obvious. 71% of B2B marketers were using content marketing to generate leads. The percentage is getting higher and higher. Now in 2019, the percentage is as high as 91%.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing, defined by Content Marketing Institute, is
“a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In other words, content marketing is to providing valid, relevant and informative knowledge to the customers. It is similar to empowering customers with knowledge and let them choose the product.
Why is Content Marketing Good for B2B Business?
Any business aims to generate sales, minimize the cost of its services or products, and earn customers loyalty. Content marketing is a blessing to achieve all three key objects easily. Earlier, the businesses used to find their customers. The trend has changed drastically in the last 5-6 years. Now all the enterprises focus on “being found” by the customers.
Gone are the days when global customers used to complain about knowledge scarcity about the products. With the advent of the internet now, customers are smart, knowledgeable, and have access to an abundance of facts about all products.
Eric Schmidt, the ex-executive chairperson of Google, has once said, “There were 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawns of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing.”
The statement is enough to justify the number of facts available on the internet for customers. Today, even to buy a simple air conditioner for an office, the responsible HR manager generally searches the internet first. After checking reviews and price comparison of all the ACs available in the market, the person decides.
Some even go to more abysses. They read multiple contents about the various types of AC, compare all those with the official requirements, and then order the optimal one. Can you imagine all these facilities 15-20 years before when the internet was not very popular?
How is Lead Generation Related to Content Marketing?
Whatever is the business, you cannot survive in the market without good content. You accept it or not but good content is the king of today’s marketing tactics.
Forrester claimed that more than half B2B buyers check a minimum of eight contents before finalizing a product for the purchase. While 49% of B2B marketers accept that contents are very helpful to move prospects through the sales funnel. (Source: Statista, 2017).
It is now clear that contents lure customers. A good and infographic content help customers to understand your product. Especially, if you are into B2b marketing, you know that you are dealing with a tech-savvy, well-researched client. You just can’t pitch them through an appointment and a mere presentation. Even after the appointment, the client visits many social media sites and surfs the internet and read in detail about your website, services, and/or products.
How Can You Generate Free B2B Leads with Content Marketing?
Lead generation and content marketing go hands in hands. To lure clients to read your content, it must be good. According to a B2B Blogging and Content Marketing Statistics, 32% of buyers say confusing content makes buying decisions more difficult.
To generate free B2B leads with content marketing, you must follow some golden rules of content marketing.
1. Engage Your Clients Through the Content:
Visibility is the second name of success. Yes, if you are visible in content marketing, you can generate leads. Now the questions arise that is it easy to become visible? Can any content on social media enhance your visibility? The answer is “No”.
If you think that you have put many data and used flashy words, and so you have written the best content, then it’s is the right time to get out of your illusion. No matter your data is relevant if it cannot engage customers, you do not have a chance in the industry.
Engaging clients through your content is an art. Today’s customer wants to read a story, perhaps a case study that is easy to visualize. Not every buyer is a nerd. A simple client wants interesting contents instead of technical manuals. It is better to try storytelling to attract customers.
Storytelling is effective if you are looking for emotional contact between your business and other business clients. Even though, your business clients are highly educated they still love contents that touch their heart.
2. Incorporate Stories into Your Content:
To incorporate stories into the contents, we have compiled some very effective and famous tricks here.
- Start your content with an eye-opening case study. Give them a story that they can relate through the case study.
- You can also include some relevant and surprising statistic or data as the opening statement.
- Visuals are a great way to grab the attention of your clients. You can include images, graphs or even videos to engage the readers.
- Do not forget that your opinion matters. Your personal touch or your opinion works as an anecdote for the clients.
3. Create a Webinar:
A webinar is the second most famous way to get organic leads. If the clients are intrigued by whatever you are offering, you can get the real leads in no time. So, how can you decide that the webinar you conducted is successful?
Remember, your motive was lead generation. Therefore, if the listeners give you their contact information after the webinar, you just scored hit. Now it is up to you to convert the leads into real customers through proper hands-on training.
If you want to host a successful webinar, ask qualifying questions on the sign-up page of the webinar. This helps you to understand the client’s interest and mindset. Now that you know what exactly your clients want, you can talk about their interest in the webinar to convert them into potential clients.
You must include these few elements in your webinar:
- You need a relevant topic so that the clients can connect with it. You are inviting the business clients and they all are a busy person. Let them know what they can expect in the webinar. What is there for them in the webinar and how are you going to use it for them. Choose a title that is pertinent, streamlined, and attractive.
- Choose a speaker that has full knowledge of the subject matter. A person who has a good personality and an engaging style of speaking are perfect. The speaker must have the ability to get the people attention online.
- Do not forget to ask the feedback after the webinar. The feedback helps you to generate more contents for the future.
4. Every Level of Customers is Equally Important:
Your content must be for all. This means your content must target the upper level as well as a lower level of the management. It is true that buying a product or service depends upon the upper-level management. However, often higher-level management depends on the lower level for the decisions for a large purchasing.
In addition, those who are now at a lower level, sometimes in the future will reach the upper level. So, your content must be futuristic to attract future business leaders.
5. Deal with Marketing and Sales Differences:
Marketing and sales are epic enemies. They usually play the blame game for any sales fiasco. Marketing people usually go harsh on sales when the lead does not turn into customers. The sales reply by complaining about fake or unworthy leads.
Content bury all the hatches between the marketing and sales department. Earlier, companies used to do sales via posters, pamphlets, brochures or personal contact. These all were after the phase of getting leads. Now, the time has changed.
Content marketing enables companies to provide better and detailed content over a long period. It handles both marketing and sales work. A good content nurtures organic leads and enhances brand confidence among the customers.
Precisely, the prospects that show interest in the content are the future leads. These leads also know the brand and product through your contents. They trust your company and are a strong lead. Now the sales can turn these highly valuable leads to real customers by a small sales pitch easily. Good content can make both marketing and sales work easy and lessen their efforts on each lead.
6. Analyze the Behavior of People with the Content:
Content marketing is all about generating leads. Although it empowers the people with brand knowledge, the end goal is getting customers. If your content is valuable, you can appeal the mass.
Now, people always behave unpredictably. You never know what clicks and what is thrash in the customer’s eyes. Every person behaves differently with the same content. So, what can you do when everything is so tricky?
You can analyze people’s behavior with your content. Check the page visits, the number of likes and comments, bounce rate, the number and frequency of downloading of the contents, etc. Based on your findings, adopt the approach that seems to be working well.
Analytics has always been the most constant feature of B2B content marketing. You know as the time changes, customer behavior, and preferences also change. A proper analysis enables you to change your content as per the demand of the time and keep your audiences engaged.
Content marketing is the most valuable tool to generate leads. Use the contents well and create contemporary articles, blogs or other means of content. These contents are the bridges between the company and the clients in the B2B business. A futuristic approach in content marketing is the key to generating valuable leads in a B2B business for sure.
Feature Image Source: https://www.noobpreneur.com/2018/03/14/the-role-and-importance-of-lead-generation-for-your-online-business/
Disclaimer: All images provided by the author – Daniel Kuntkes from PrymaDigitalMarketing.com.