There are certain things a business can’t get enough of: loyal customers, recurring revenue, extensive funding, and glowing press reviews are just some examples.
While often ignored, another element behind any successful business is leads. Before a company can grow, they need leads because leads are the foundation on which they build their revenue.
Leads are essential, so a company needs to work hard to acquire them. From our experience as a digital marketing agency which has worked with hundreds of customers in a diverse range of industries (particularly SaaS and e-commerce), we’ve found that content marketing is one of the most effective ways to consistently attract leads.
Ready to dive in and learn how you can create a dialed-in content strategy to help you generate quality leads? Let’s begin with working on your SEO content…
Start by Defining Your Keywords
When you think about keywords, you probably think about keyword research, one of the steps that any SEO professional needs to take when starting an SEO campaign. But I want you to consider the keyword research process as part of something bigger . . .
The goal of keyword research is to find the queries that people use in search engines. Behind every query, there’s a specific intent that someone had when they searched for it.
When you research keywords, therefore, I want you to think of it not as an SEO step, but as a market research activity. If you want to acquire leads, you need to get inside their minds. You have to provide them with the content they want and need – and keyword research is the process that will help you figure out what they care about.
By implementing in-depth keyword research, you’ll discover that there are people who are interested in exactly what you’re creating and promoting. What’s more, you’ll see what other marketers in your industry have found.
You can separate keywords into three main groups, according to the step in which they belong in the marketing funnel:
- Top of the Funnel (TOFU): High to mid-traffic informational keywords
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): Long-tail informational keywords
- Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): Mid to low-traffic (i.e., long-tail)
Start with the TOFU keywords, which you will use to attract traffic to your company’s main pages, like the homepage and blog. Then continue with the MOFU keywords, which you’ll use in your blog posts. You can also use these keywords for your lead generation content, as they can help you discover what problems people have and the solutions they are looking for.
Finally, the BOFU keywords are the ones you can use for your landing pages and other promotional pages.
There are a large number of keyword research tools, like two of the most popular: Ahrefs and SEMrush. You can also a free tool like KeywordTool.io to find keyword suggestions and Moz to identify long-tail phrases as well as to complement the results of Ahrefs and SEMrush.
When you use these tools, you need to be aware there are no “right or wrong” keywords that you need to uncover. Rather, you need to find the keywords that best suit your company.
Create Gated Content
Once you find what people want, you need to create content that gives them precisely what they are looking for. Since you have keywords categorized by the steps of the funnel to which they belong, you can structure your content generation in the following way:
- Top of the funnel content: Articles, infographics, videos, and podcasts
- Middle of the funnel content: Ebooks, white papers, reports, checklists, cheat sheets, and free email guides
- Bottom of the funnel content: Webinars, product demos and trials, and sales materials
Given that our goal in this post is how to generate leads through your content strategy, we’ll focus on the middle of the funnel (which is the content you will use to generate leads).
Content which readers can’t access unless they exchange a piece of personal information (usually email, but you can also ask for phone number and more) in return for the content piece is referred to as “gated content.” Gated content is often utilized for prospects when they’re in the middle of the conversion funnel.
A company that does lead generation remarkably well is Marketo. They offer many types of gated content pieces, and all of them ask for quite a lot of information from their visitors, as you can see below:
2 Simple Tricks To Uncover Winning Content Ideas
The keywords you find will guide the content that you’ll create, and there are two tricks you can use to uncover the best ideas. In the first one, you will repurpose and improve the most popular content you’ve ever published on your site and offer it as a gated piece.
Go to your Google Analytics. In the left menu, click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
By default, Google will organize your pages according to the number of pageviews each received in the past 30 days. Segment this report based on your blog posts. If your site has a “/blog” folder, you can do it by showing URLs that belong to that same folder.
In the top part of the report, click on “Advanced”:
Then, add “blog” to the “Page” dimension, and apply the filter:
Now you can see the blog posts with the most pageviews. Think about this for a second: if people consume this content so much, it’s because it must be really helpful.
Make the most popular posts downloadable (and to make things better, expand on the value of the article at the same time) and ask for the visitor’s email to get it. You can also ask for more information like you saw Marketo doing above. Just remember though, the more information you ask, the more friction there is for the conversion and the lower it may be as a consequence.
At Single Grain, we like offering downloadable pieces in every article:
Once you click on that link, you’ll get a form where we ask for your name, email, and phone number (remember, since the new GDPR regulation as of May 25, 2018, data collection and storage has changed – hence the consent checkbox in the image below).
Using this lead magnet (or “content upgrade,” as some marketers call it) has allowed us to drive more leads, many of whom ended up becoming customers of ours.
Create Landing Pages
Once you know what content your visitors want and have developed it, you need to promote it. Although, as you just saw, you can offer this fantastic content in your articles, there’s a more scalable and effective way of doing so – by using landing pages.
What makes landing pages so effective is that you can use them to attract both organic and paid traffic. Instead of waiting for your visitors to find the offer at the end of your articles (if they even finish your articles), landing pages allow you to focus all your visitors’ attention on the one offer you have for them.
Developing landing pages is an artform on its own. If you want to have a landing page that converts, however, you only need to focus on getting three elements right:
- The headline
- The copy
- The offer
Every effective landing page begins with a compelling headline that showcases the benefit of downloading the gated content. The best way to write a landing page headline is to make it as concrete as you can. In most cases, companies choose to use the name of the content piece as the landing page title.
Unbounce does a terrific job with the headline of their e-book. What’s so special about it is that the name of the e-book itself is great. Then the subtitle below helps reinforce the idea of the e-book.
When writing the copy, focus on developing a strong hook. Think about it this way: when you write the copy for your landing page, ask yourself “why would the visitor care about this?” If you can’t answer that question clearly, your hook isn’t good enough.
Make the offer a no-brainer for the visitor. Talk about the problem in language that they use to talk about it. You can mention a juicy statistic that proves your point or tell a story of one of your customers and how your solution helped them. The same rule that you use for the headline still applies for the copy: make it as straightforward and compelling as possible.
RollWorks starts the copy with a stat that grabs your attention. The copy is short and to the point, and that’s what makes it effective.
Finally, you need to have a great offer, which by now should be tailored to the visitor. If you have followed the advice laid out here, you already know the best content to offer your visitors.
Generating leads for your business is paramount if you want to keep growing. In order to generate leads consistently, you need a content strategy that will act as the spearhead of your lead gen efforts.
Remember: start by researching your audience. Once you uncover the fundamental problems and solutions they’re looking for, create gated content that you can use to get their personal information. Finally, create landing pages.
With the three steps you’ve seen in this article, you’ll be able to get the leads your business needs for months and years to come.
Want to know more? Check out these related reads:
- How to Convert Website Visitors into Leads (8 Conversion Optimization Strategies)
- Content Audit: How a B2B Marketing Agency Identified Lead Generation Opportunities with Leadfeeder and Google Analytics
- Case Study: How to Double Organic Sales Leads with a Content Marketing Refresh
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