By Chris Baggott, Co-Founder, Compendium
With shrinking marketing budgets, increasing online clutter and fierce competition for buyer attention, companies are re-evaluating their lead generation techniques and looking for new ways to influence buyers and energize inbound marketing efforts.
More companies are embracing content marketing as an effective and efficient way to draw prospects to lead generation materials, fill their sales leads pipeline and nurture customers.
Content marketing can play an important role throughout the sales funnel and customer lifecycle. Content marketing spurs search results, fuels social engagement and drives leads into the funnel. It moves prospects along in the discovery and evaluation phase, and can be used to maintain ongoing relationships with current and prospective customers.
There are four main steps to driving revenue through content marketing:
- Develop useful and varied content. Make content educational but not promotional. The goal is to deliver useful information that will draw individuals to lead generating mechanisms on your website. Vary the format of your information to include written material like white papers and case studies, graphical information like photos and infographics, and interactive material such as videos, podcasts and webinars.
- Pay attention to titles. Titles play a big role in search engine optimization and social sharing, so make sure the titles include keywords. Monitor Twitter to identify the keywords your audience is using and include those in your titles.
- Have a clear call to action. Stack your blog page or content marketing hub with different calls to action. For example, you can offer a traditional contact form, along with call-to-action graphics for a live demo, white paper download and email sign up form.
- Aggressively share your content. Make a list of your various channels, including blogs, social media networks and email marketing efforts, then develop processes for sharing content. A content marketing platform will help you automate the distribution of content. Be sure to monitor your channels and respond as needed.
Widen, a Madison, Wis.-based digital asset management (DAM) software provider, decided to look beyond its traditional sales channel and focus on content marketing to drive demand. Today, more than a third of web referral leads come from their blog.
The company’s marketers understood that educating their audience about the existence of DAM software would play a critical role in growing sales, so they designed their content marketing strategy to be educational, drawing their audience toward lead-generating materials, such as webinars, white papers and requests for pricing and demos.
As a result, Widen’s blog is the top referrer of sales leads to Widen.com, and has helped make Widen.com and its landing pages some of the highest-ranked in the DAM industry for key search terms. In 2011, more companies chose Widen’s DAM software than in any other year.
Chris Baggott is co-founder of Compendium, a content marketing platform that helps organizations capture and create original content in a branded hub for distribution to any marketing channel. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @chrisbaggott.