Content and lead generation go hand in hand – you can have one without the other, but your marketing strategy won’t be very effective. The glue that holds these two marketing functions together is lead intelligence or what you know about your potential customers. You can use this information to create smarter content optimized for your audience to increase lead generation and help move leads further through the buyer’s journey. In this post we’ll be looking at how you can use lead intelligence to create targeted content that converts.
Making Content Matter
Your content engine is the very heart of your digital marketing strategy. The who, what, where, when, why and how of content will determine what you spend your time and resources on. It’s important that you clearly define these aspects of your strategy so you and your team understand the goal of each piece of content:
- Who is this for? What buyer persona(s) are you targeting?
- What type of content is it?
- Where does this content fall in the buyer’s journey? How is it designed to help move someone to the next stage?
- When will the content piece be available? Is it part of a larger campaign?
- Why would someone download this content? What is the value?
- How will you promote your content offering? Which marketing channels will you use?
Personalizing User Experience
We live in a world of increasing personalization and customization. Ever notice that when you shop online, the products you looked at keep showing up in ads on other websites and social platforms? Technology like cookies and retargeting are used in advertising to keep brands top of mind.
Some of the world’s most successful companies also have their own proprietary algorithms designed to recommend products based on our browsing history. E-commerce giants like Amazon and streaming services like Netflix are perhaps best known for using user data to provide personalized experiences that drive sales and engagement.
With this, we have come to expect a certain degree of personalization from all businesses. A recent survey by global marketing firm Epsilon shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences (Source). 80% is a hard number to ignore, especially in today’s competitive markets. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, there is always room to make your marketing more impactful by personalizing your messages and providing targeted content.
What is targeted content?
Targeted content is content created for a particular group of your overall audience (i.e. buyer persona). The goal of targeted content is to elicit a specific response from the group based on demographic or behavioural data. Did they land on an event page without registering? Marketing automation tools give you the ability to send them an email reminding them about the event. Want to target customers in a specific country? Marketing automation tools can help you create smart lists that pull this information from your contact database so you can send them an email tailored to their unique needs.
There are several ways you can segment your audience to ensure they receive targeted content that’s relevant to them. It will depend largely on your business model and the solutions you offer, but here are some segments to consider:
- Buyer’s journey stage. You wouldn’t offer someone in the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey the same content if they were in the Decision stage. Using the buyer’s journey can help you not only get relevant content in front of potential customers but help move them further through the funnel as well.
- Buyer persona. Not everyone will have the same pain points and goals. Using your buyer personas to segment your audience based on their unique needs will help you create content that converts.
- Geography. Do customers in different regions have unique concerns? Are you supporting multiple languages? Geography can be a useful way to segment your audience so prospects and customers are getting relevant information.
- Actions. Leverage user data like page views, link clicks, email opens and resource downloads to trigger smart, automated emails. With this information, you can deliver a personalized experience, share content that is relevant for them and guide their next steps.
Using Lead Intelligence Effectively
So, how do you get started with targeted content? The first step is setting up systems and tools to collect lead intelligence, user data that you can use to inform your sales and marketing initiatives. Don’t get caught up on random acts of marketing; collect and use user data to create useful content for potential customers.
Lead-capture forms are the most effective way to get this information. They are the bedrock of effective inbound and content marketing strategies. When it comes to forms, you have to give a little to get a little, which means you need to share valuable content for your audience if you are going to ask for information in return.
Form Best Practices
You should always be experimenting with your forms, testing new designs and updating them to reflect changes in the industry like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and increasing consumer concern regarding data privacy. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when creating your forms:
- Design. Not everyone will engage with your content in the same way. Whether it’s your website pages, blog posts or forms, all your digital assets should be designed with accessibility in mind. Consider the needs of people with disabilities so anyone can benefit from your products and services. Some accessible design principles include:
- Clear structure of the page, consistent hierarchy and appropriate use of whitespace
- Proper colour contrast for text, images and backgrounds
- Clear shape, weight and style of typography
- Clear spacing and alignment of text
- Understandable user paths for interfaces
- Position on the page. Your form should always appear above the fold. The phrase ‘above the fold’ comes from publishing and refers to content that appears on the top half of the front page of a newspaper. Anything above the fold is visible when newspapers are displayed on a newsstand. In today’s digital-first landscape, above the fold refers to content that is first visible when a user loads a page. Keeping forms above the fold on landing pages will ensure they’re easy to find and, ideally, drive conversions.
- Length of form. What you ask on a form should be proportional to the value of the content piece you’re offering. You should also only ask essential questions to better manage the length of your form. For example, you might ask for two or three pieces of information (e.g. name, email address and company) if the offering is a handout but five or six if it’s a whitepaper (e.g. name, email address, company, role/title, country, phone number).
- Title and submission button. When it comes to forms, you have a limited amount of space to make an impact. Using action words can increase the chances a visitor will complete the form. Instead of using the generic “submit” on your submission button, consider alternatives like “download,” “get your copy” or “go.” You should also replace generic titles like “Free eBook” with a descriptive line that, if possible, gestures to the benefits or value of the content piece: “Become a change leader.” Alternatively, you can ask a thought-provoking question like, “Are you digital ready?”
- Subscribe and unsubscribe. Anti-spam legislation varies by country, so you should be aware of what rules and regulations are in place in your target markets. You should ensure you also have a mechanism in place to obtain express consent from visitors to receive communications form your company. It can be as simple as a checkbox that asks if the visitor agrees to receive emails from your company and lets them know they can update their subscription preferences at any time.
Here are some useful pieces of information you can collect using forms:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Role and/or title
- Company or organization
- Location (country or city)
- Social media handles
Keep in mind that this list doesn’t include industry-specific questions. For example, in the managed print space you might ask if your contact is currently using a remote monitoring tool or an ERP solution. If you’re asking questions specific to your field, ensure that you’re asking for information you can actually use. How will you segment your contact database using this information? With this in mind, you can ask for valuable lead intelligence that helps you develop dynamic content and campaigns that convert.
Successful marketing in the internet age is fueled by content. Understanding who is looking for information, how they are looking and why they need it is the key to connecting with your audience. Core concepts like buyer personas and the buyer’s journey will help you create relevant, timely and targeted content that is useful for leads and customers, helping them solve business challenges and drive growth.
Want to learn how to get the right content in front of the right people at the right time and generate leads? Download our free Digital Marketing Field Guide for everything you need to build a marketing program that converts visitors and leads!
For more on the fundamentals of digital marketing, check out these blog posts: