Talk to any sales professional about their biggest obstacle to closing more customers and you’re sure to hear “getting enough leads” from more than a few.
For years, there’s been somewhat of a feud between the traditional marketing and sales functions of organizations—a disconnect that’s led marketing to believe that sales is lazy and for sales to believe that marketing is arrogant.
The success of any company depends on the exchange of leads from marketing to sales to convert those leads into paying customers. But without proper lead attraction strategies in place, marketing will have a hard time delivering enough of the right clientele to sales, resulting in fewer closes, fewer customers, and more tension between the two functions.
Sound familiar for your organization? To fix the problem, you need to take a new approach to lead attraction, where you find the right leads with the right level of knowledge to become sales-ready.
Lead Attraction is Driven by Helpful Content
In its simplest form, lead attraction hinges on one thing and one thing only: content. In fact, it’s really just an ongoing cycle of creating content, promoting that content, measuring how that content performed, and, of course, converting the people who downloaded that content into customers. The level of what goes into lead attraction will look different for each unique organization, but the overall cycle stays constant throughout all industry types.
Let’s examine the typical cycle of inbound marketing lead attraction:
Step 1: Creating Content
Stocking up your content library is one of the most important parts of the lead attraction process—without some quality content, you’ll have nothing compelling to entice your potential new customers. Start by creating a few “staple” content pieces for each level of the buyer’s journey, for example:
An introductory tip sheet explaining the nuances of unique distinctions of your industry or an FAQ document that answers common questions for people at the top of the funnel who are in the very beginning of their buyer's journey, looking for general information and to build more awareness of what a company like yours has to offer
An eBook, white paper, or case study that provides a more in depth look at one of the specific competitive advantages that your company can address for people in the middle of the funnel who are in the consideration stage of their buyer's journey. This will help them understand why your product or service is a better fit for them than your competition's
A piece for those at the bottom of the funnel who are in the final stage of their buyer's journey and ready to make a decision, such as a "cost savings calculator" or an offer for a free quote, assessment, or consultation.
These content pieces will drive your inbound lead attraction, so make sure you put some thought and time into creating them; nothing will turn a potential lead away more than some poorly planned, subpar content that doesn't adequately reflect the strengths and value that your company will bring to the table.
Step 2: Promoting Content
Once your first few content pieces have been created, reviewed, and are ready for the world to see, start promoting them. Don’t assume that just because they’ve been created and are live on your website that you can sit back and watch the leads roll in without any additional effort; if you want the eyes of your best prospects on your content pieces, you have to promote the heck out of them! Promote your content across your company's social media channels, your personal social media channels, in emails and follow-up nurturing email workflows, and make sure your content is easily accessible and prominent on your website. There's nothing worse than creating high-quality, helpful content and having it completely overlooked.
Step 3: Measuring Content
After you’ve begun promoting your first few pieces of content, take some time to dig into the analytics behind how that content performed. If you’re using marketing automation software such as HubSpot, dig into its landing pages tool to find out key analytics including:
How many people viewed your landing page
What channel drove them to your landing page – organic search, social media, email campaign, referral, direct traffic, etc.
How many people submitted their information to download your content piece
Keeping a close eye on the way that your content performs will provide incredibly valuable insight for how you should proceed with content promotion in the future. Maybe you found out that your content didn’t perform so well on Facebook, but saw some promising leads come from LinkedIn, or that an email sent mid-morning on a Tuesday greatly outperformed one that was sent on a Thursday late afternoon. Use this insight to your advantage and capitalize on the practices that continually perform well for you.
Step 4: Converting Leads into Customers
Ah, the final step in the marketing and sales cycle: converting your leads into customers. Once you’ve gone through the creation, promotion, and measurement of your content, you can relish in the fact that your inbound marketing method attracted high-quality, valuable leads for sales to nurture and eventually close into paying customers. Producing and deploying unique, high-quality content in your lead attraction strategy will help you identify the best marketing and sales-qualified leads who are ready to take the next step in their buyer’s journey—with you!
Of course, the work doesn’t stop there —no, you should be continuously repeating the steps of the lead attraction cycle to create more content that will appeal to more of your targets and produce (even) more leads to your sales team. Just think, you’ll never have to hear sales say they don’t have enough leads again!
Posted by Laura Sheptoski Laura is a detail-oriented consultant and project manager, with a background in public relations, social media engagement, and client content creation. Prior to her time at Weidert Group, Laura managed PR for an industrial services company, and maintains a strong focus on earned media within our inbound marketing programs.