“Remember that every lead generation campaign is powered by email marketing.”
He’s right. A lead isn’t a lead until you’ve captured their email address. Up until that point, they’re just a website visitor or someone who has discovered your business on social media (see “A Beginner’s Guide to Lead Generation”.
Patel goes on: “no matter which of the lead generation strategies you choose, you’ll always need an email autoresponder to capture the prospect’s information, nurture the leads and turn them into customers.”
This is the rudimentary point that I want to make absolutely crystal clear before we continue, for I know from experience that there is a little confusion about what a lead is.
Definition of a lead
A lead, in marketing terms, is a potential sales contact – specifically, a person or organization that has expressed a clear interest in our goods or services. In order to be able to make contact with these people/organizations, we must have their contact information. Crucially, however, the individual/organization must have surrendered their contact information of their own free will (no buying email lists from dodgy online vendors – the contacts on these lists are not leads, for they have expressed no interest in your business), usually in exchange for access to gated content. Only when somebody has made a clear expression of interest in our goods or services and has surrendered their contact information do they qualify as a lead.
A lead is only a lead when we have managed to capture their contact information. For online marketers, this contact information is almost always an email address – which is why Patel says that all lead generation campaigns are powered by email marketing.
Importantly, though (and just to reiterate a fundamental point), a lead is not only someone who has freely given us their email address. It’s also someone who has done so in exchange for more information about our goods or services than is otherwise freely available on our website or social media accounts.
Accessing this information gives marketers a clear indication that the person or organization is seriously considering making a purchase – and so we can send out email marketing campaigns to nurture them through our sales funnel accordingly.
But now we’re drifting into the realms of lead nurturing. What I want to cover in this blog are some top tactics for lead generation – i.e. the processes we can use in order to capture those email addresses in the first place.
Top lead generation tactics for content marketers
Lead generation is all about separating the wheat from the chaff. It’s about determining who’s simply a passive website visitor with no intent to buy, and who’s really interested in what our businesses have to offer.
Keep this in mind as we go through the following lead generation tactics, for it will determine the nature of the content that you use in each instance.
Ebooks, white papers, and research reports
Blogs and social media posts drive traffic to your website, but for lead generation, we need to offer something even more valuable.
Long form content is one of the first and most important lead generation tactics that a company can use – especially those in the B2B realm. Ebooks, white papers, and research reports are what we’re dealing with here.
Let’s say you’re a telecommunications company offering the latest and greatest in VoIP services. You’ve attracted a number of visitors to your site, but at present you have no idea who any of them are. So, you write three pieces of long-form content:
- An ebook – “Top 10 Tips When Considering a VoIP Provider”
- A white paper – “Why VoIP Systems Are More Secure than Landlines”
- A research report – “The Business Case for VoIP and IP Telephony”
Those are some pretty good titles, which anybody seriously considering your services would want to read. And this is important – for remember, a lead is someone who expresses deeper interest in your goods or services beyond what you freely provide on your website.
In this sense, you can be sure that whoever fills out a form – in which they will freely hand over their email address – in order to access the content will be seriously considering your services. And when they do so – boom! – a lead is generated.
What other content can you create in order to capture email addresses?
One tactic comes in the form of webinars. Webinars are great because they offer live participation from an audience. During the broadcast, attendees are invited to leave comments and ask questions, and you as the host will of course do your utmost to answer them – either during the event, or in some sort of follow-up correspondence.
Much like those ebooks, white papers, and research reports mentioned above, webinars will promise to explore a subject in much greater detail than the content that is already available on your site. You might, for instance, use a webinar to demonstrate your product or solution in action, present the findings of your research report in a slideshow with commentary, or walk people through the basics (or advanced features) of your service.
Whatever you decide the topic of your webinar will be, you must remember that it needs to be valuable to your potential customers. This is what will encourage them to sign up to your webinar, thusly indicating that they are interested in what you have to offer, and in the process surrender that all-important email address. More leads generated.
Video is one of the most important content formats in 2017 and beyond. In fact, internet users engage with more video content than they do anything else – Cisco projects that video traffic will make up a full 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, up from 70% in 2015.
So, video marketing is clearly important – all that we need to do to turn our efforts into lead generation machines is include email opt-in forms that users will have to fill out in order to access our video content.
This may seem to go against the grain of your current video marketing strategy – which may be to generate as many video views and shares as possible. However, such tactics are solely to do with raising brand awareness and driving website traffic. In terms of lead generation, remember that we’re separating the wheat from the chaff – and those visitors who are so keen to watch your video that they fill out a form in order to do so are giving clear indications that they are more interested in your goods or services than the average visitor.
So, create two separate video marketing strategies – one that generates traffic, and one that generates leads.
Other lead generation tactics
Hopefully you’re getting the idea by now – lead generation tactics are all about creating superlative content that appeals only to those that are seriously interested in your goods or services. In order to access this content, visitors must fill out a form, thusly expressing their interest, indicating that they are considering a purchase, and of course surrendering their email address in the process.
In essence, then, lead generation is simply a more targeted form of content marketing – or content marketing that has the express purpose of capturing email addresses, as opposed to generating website traffic (which is what a lot of people assume content marketing to be).
I’ve highlighted long-form content, webinars and gated videos as three top lead generation tactics for content marketers, but there are more. Consider the following:
- Case studies
- Price lists
- Paid advertising
- Live events
What other lead generation tactics do you employ at your agency? Let us know in the comments below.