It comes in many forms, works on multiple channels and builds a digital footprint better than any other marketing strategy. There's no question: On the digital marketing front, content is king.
Though content is a flexible asset that can be used to target a wide range of business goals, many organizations use it as a tool to drive lead generation. It's not unusual for content's primary goal to be generating leads — and as long as consumers keep turning to the Internet to find solutions in the form of products and services, content will be a necessary tool.
If you're looking to wield content for lead generation — or to simply upgrade your current strategy — here are a few key ways to make that happen.
Find Consumers As They Research a Purchase
Consumers generally find brands in one of two ways. In the "discovery" phase, they find brands and products when they aren't necessarily looking for them. This often happens through social channels and blogs where consumers are taking in media without searching specifically for something. But other times, those consumers are researching a specific solution to a problem, and they're actively seeking content to help find answers. This occurs through online search and other channels where solutions are more actively sought.
While both research and discovery can serve as the starting point for consumer activity and lead generation, they find consumers at different points. You and your team should develop distinct content for each stage. When implemented, that content can connect directly with individuals in a way that feels relevant to their needs and create a lead opportunity.
Provide Content in Exchange for Information
Content is of value to consumers, so use this to your advantage. Particularly in the B2B world, your brand may consider offering free content in exchange for contact information and a quick profile of that user. eBooks, PDFs and even website-hosted content can be used to quickly build a virtual Rolodex of qualified leads.
Create for the Customer Journey
Marketers now rely on content to do a lot of the work once delegated to sales staff, so content must provide all the different functions and roles that a sales representative would perform. With that in mind, content needs to be built for every stage of the customer journey. Citrix notes in VentureBeat that it's important to match the right content with the right consumers by distributing it on the most appropriate channels at the best stage in the buyer's journey. More importantly, any content you create should build upon consumers' previous interactions with your brand so that they receive a consistent but uniquely targeted message at each stage.
Retention may not seem like an important area of emphasis, but the value of this work is in building potential advocates. By finishing strong and fleshing out the customer experience from start to finish — and beyond — content targeting these existing customers can turn them into brand advocates who go out into the physical and digital worlds and generate additional leads for your brand. Content is the driver of a great customer experience, and these final stages can provide a big boost to lead-generation efforts.
Leads aren't the only reason content is king, nor is it the single reason for investing so strongly into this strategy. Given its importance to most companies, marketers should be diligent in building an optimized content strategy.