Marketing Best Practices

All About Those Leads: Crafting Content for Conversion

By Ashley Taylor Anderson July 27, 2016

As a marketer, the insightful lyrics of Meghan Trainor really resonate with me:

“Because you know I’m all about those leads, ‘bout those leads (no bounces)

I’m all about those leads, ‘bout those leads (no bounces)

I’m all about those leads, ‘bout those leads (no bounces)

I’m all about those leads, ‘bout those leads leads leads, yeah.”

Okay, I may have taken a slight liberty with those lyrics, but the fact remains: Lead generation is a huge part of every marketer’s job, whether you’re a demand gen guru or a content marketer.

Some recent survey data confirms this point. eMarketer found that 60% of B2B marketers identify lead generation as their top online marketing challenge. Another report from eMedia and LinkedIn found that increasing lead quality is the top priority for 68% of B2B marketers, followed by increasing lead volume (55%).

Given that the modern inbound lead generation machine runs largely on content, lead gen and content creation have to operate hand in hand to achieve success. In this article, I’d like to walk you through 5 techniques you can use to improve your content conversion.

1. Create Content That Stands Out

We all know that content marketing works for lead gen. Kapost recently found that website conversion rates are nearly 6 times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%).

However, we’ve also seen that our prospects are starting to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of digital content available from brands, businesses, and publications. In this era of content fatigue, it’s no longer enough to simply create content on a regular basis. Your content has to deliver tangible value to your audience.

A few ways you can add value to your content marketing include:

  • Unique Topics: Write about topics that no one else is covering, or approach common topics with a unique angle.
  • Engaging Formats: Break out of the static content mold by experimenting with interactive eBooks and infographics, branching videos, and multimedia narratives.
  • Authentic Storytelling: Share meaningful stories from employees, leaders, or clients in a way that evokes a genuine emotional response from your viewers.
  • Original Material: Whether you use stats from a study you fielded, photos that your creative director took, or music written by a staff member, bringing something new to your content can provide extra value to your content consumers.

2. Use Personalization to Your Advantage

Marketers agree that using personalization produces better results for their business. In fact, 85% of brands report having at least basic personalization in place, and marketers who invest in sophisticated personalization and tracking see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales.

However, while we often personalize our website and email copy, content marketing often goes overlooked in the personalization equation. A few ways you can personalize your content at every stage of the buyer’s journey include:

  • Serving different content based on persona or audience segment.
  • Using demographic or firmographic data to customize landing pages, website pages, and lead nurture flows.
  • Using lifecycle stage to deliver content to the prospect’s buy cycle stage.
  • Leveraging interactions with your website or content to recommend additional content.
  • Relying on previous purchase history to tailor remarketing and upsell efforts via email and your website.

3. Experiment with Lead Capture Tactics

68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner a new sales lead for future conversion. However, there are a variety of lead capture tactics you can experiment with in your content marketing program to see what yields the best results. At Ceros, for example, we’ve tested out the following lead capture tactics:

  • Short landing pages.
  • Long-form landing pages.
  • Integrated newsletter subscriber form.
  • CTAs at the end of blog posts.
  • CTAs in the middle of blog posts.
  • Personalized pop-up forms.
  • Exit intent pop-up forms.

I’ve personally seen the best conversions on short-form landing pages and exit intent pop-ups, but these are both pretty aggressive lead capture options. If you’re leery of scaring prospects away, CTAs within a broader content piece or a traditional subscriber form may be a better place to start.

Keep in mind that the tactics you use on desktop may not translate to mobile. Pop-ups work great on a big screen, but not so great on a mobile device. You may want to use different creative for mobile lead gen tactics, or use different tactics altogether depending on how your audience’s device usage habits.

4. Test Different Lead Gen Pathways

When it comes to making your content marketing convert, the temptation is to guide people only to gated content in order to fill the top of your funnel with leads. While there’s a time and a place for promoting gated content pieces, there are a number of other lead gen pathways you can test out, including:

  • Ungated content with CTA to view another gated content piece.
  • An ungated “teaser” of a content piece with the rest behind a form fill.
  • A content hub with multiple conversion opportunities to subscribe, download content, or request a demo.
  • Open-access content that links out to gated content on a similar topic.

You can also test progressive profiling options on gated pieces to lower the barrier to entry on awareness pieces and ask for more information as someone consumes content on a topic further down the funnel.

5. Capture and Analyze Content Performance Metrics

Sad but true fact: Only 27% of B2B marketers feel like they’re effectively tracking content utilization metrics. Part of the problem is that we don’t have enough tracking in place to understand how our content is being consumed; the other part is that we don’t take enough time to analyze the metrics do we have at our disposal.

Here are a few tips for digging deeper into your performance data:

  • Stop relying on static content formats. PDFs and JPEG infographics may be relatively easy to produce, but they’re a complete black box when it comes to analytics. Opt for web formats like standard web pages and rich HTML interactive content that provide rich data.
  • Invest in better on-page tracking software. With services like CrazyEgg, SumoMe, OptinMonster, and Optimizely, you can gain more insight into how specific portions of your web pages are being engaged with.
  • Implement tracking codes consistently. If you don’t already have a clear system for creating tracking codes in your link shortener and marketing automation platform, make it your top priority in the new year. Otherwise, your reporting will be confusing, inconsistent, and not very useful.
  • Learn how to analyze your data. If you’re not experienced with analytics, take a class. If you just don’t like data, stop being a hater. The information you glean from a weekly and monthly dive into your content performance will help you create much more effective content. It won’t derail your creative process—it’ll empower you to be even more creative. I promise!

The Bottom Line

Great content will convert prospects, but you can help the process along with personalization. Testing your lead gen tactics and pathways can help you entice viewers in the right way with your content. And reviewing your content performance over time will help you create a positive feedback loop in your content marketing program, ensuring that you know what works and do more of the same.

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