Content marketing – also known as inbound marketing – allows companies to leverage their thought leadership as a lead generation tool. By attracting online audiences with a pre-existing interest in a topic or service to your website, companies can strengthen the alignment between sales and marketing while generating measurable ROI.
Whether your company is looking to establish a content marketing program or has a well-established content marketing program in place that is generating qualified leads, keep these content marketing practices top-of-mind:
Answer common questions
Part of building trust among prospective clients is demonstrating a keen understanding of their business, including their pain points. One way to achieve this objective is by using frequently asked questions as the fodder for blog posts. For example, if your company specializes in commercial property management, prospects may often wonder what services to look for in a commercial property management firm.
Scratch the surface AND dig deep
While a blog post may offer five tips for screening a listing agent, a whitepaper may offer an all-inclusive guide for preparing your commercial property for listing. The blog post gives prospects a sense of how you think and, in the best of circumstances, motivates them to learn more. Often, learning more means taking the time to complete a short data capture form in order to download a piece of premium content such as a whitepaper, toolkit or e-book.
Nurture your leads
Once your blog readers take the next step and download a piece of premium content, you want to stay on their radar. This can be accomplished by creating a series of lead nurturing emails that people receive after downloading an offer. Lead nurturing campaigns often start by offering recipients other helpful content and culminate with an offer that is more sales-driven. Think ‘schedule a free consultation’, ‘pick our brains for 15-minutes’, ‘schedule a meeting’, etc.
The key to effective lead nurturing emails? Add value, not clutter. From the subject line of your emails to the content inside, make sure the “what’s in it for them” is clearly conveyed.
Keep it fresh
Content marketing requires companies to generate a consistent stream of high-quality content that educates and engages leads. This includes blogging one-to-two times per week and generating at least one new piece of premium content (whitepaper, toolkit, e-book, guide) each month. Before embarking on a content marketing program ensure your company has a plan in place – be it internal or outsourced – to keep up with content generation.
Let data inform the strategy
While creating a content marketing strategy before launching your program is imperative, refining the strategy as you go is key to optimizing success. Fortunately, content marketing programs are highly measurable and there is a wealth of data available to help refine your approach. Among the content marketing metrics to monitor are blog reads, content shares, premium content downloads and lead nurturing email open rates. By identifying which content topics and formats are most popular – as well as which topics are most effective at moving leads through the sales funnel – companies can refine their content marketing program and reallocate resources to the channels and tactics that are generating the most ROI.
Foster collaboration between sales and marketing
Content marketing requires sales and marketing teams to collaborate in order to optimize ROI. As the people who are on the front lines with prospective clients, the sales team can provide a wealth of insights to help inform your content. Whether you establish regular meetings or establish a content submission form, find ways to bring the sales team’s insights into the fold.
Content marketing programs align companies’ sales and marketing programs to optimize ROI.