Building leads is more important now than ever, especially with there being more competition and more ‘noise’ for you to try and cut through.
By having a clear mission and a clear audience and then selling them that dream, you can help to reach the right people, inspire them and turn them into warm leads.
But if you want someone to buy from you then it isn’t quite enough to just show that you dream the same dream and you know what they want. What you also need to be able to do is to demonstrate that you have the capability to help them get what they want. You need the vision and you need the trust and influence so that people see you as a good resource for information and a trusted brand for buying from.
This is the reason that content marketing has become the single most important tool for internet marketers and has managed to unify all the other approaches to marketing online.
What is Content Marketing?
If you build a website and want to market it so that you generate as much traffic and as many leads as possible, then you have a number of different options.
One option is to use advertising – by using PPC campaigns (Pay Per Click) for instance and targeting your precise buyer personas through targeted ads on Facebook and Google. This will bring the right kind of person to your site.
Another option is to use SEO. SEO is ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and is basically the process of ‘optimizing’ your site in such a way that it will show up high in the search results on Google. You do this partly by creating content for Google to ‘index’ and partly by building in-bound links which will demonstrate that your site is trusted by others and help Google to find it more easily.
SEO is a good strategy too because it helps you to find leads that are already qualified. That’s because you can try to ‘rank’ for keywords (search terms) that directly relate to your products. For instance, if you can rank for the term, ‘buy hats online’, then you’ll be attracting qualified leads from people who want to buy hats.
Finally, you have the option to create a social media page which you can use to reach out to a big audience and hopefully to have your content shared. Chances are that the people who share your content will share it with people who are similar to them and therefore more likely to pass your leads to others that fit within your buyer persona.
But none of these methods are particularly effective at taking your cold leads and turning them into warm leads. SEO targets people who are already qualified leads, PPC markets to people who are cold leads and social media is mainly useful for keeping your leads engaged once they’ve already become warm leads and demonstrated an interest in your brand. We’ve seen how you can sell a dream on social media but we haven’t yet seen how you can bring people there in the first place.
This is where content marketing comes in – which can be used alongside all of those other methods of promoting your site and attracting leads while additionally allowing you to build trust and authority, thereby encouraging more sales and helping to develop your leads further through the lead cycle.
- You write long, detailed posts providing lots of value
- You share those posts on social media and create links to them
- You create ‘guest posts’ for other sites
- You encourage people to subscribe and share
The idea then is that each of these posts will provide some kind of value, thereby demonstrating to your audience all of the things that you’re capable of delivering and demonstrating that you have the kind of expertise they’re looking for and can be trusted to provide more value through your products.
People who initially stumble upon your content will not instantly buy from you but they will notice that you’re offering good value and they’ll hopefully think to bookmark the page so that they can come back in future to read more in the future. If you continually offer great value, then they might subscribe. And then when they have a specific question or they want to buy something specific, you will be the person they think of because they know that you’re capable of offering the value and the knowledge that they need.
Once again, you’re focusing on slowly developing leads and establishing trust and value rather than going straight in for the kill and putting people off. But the reason this works so well is that you’re also going to be building inbound links (and if your content is really high value then people will link to you of their own accord!) and you’re going to be creating lots of content for Google to index.
And Google’s ranking algorithms have gotten smarter. Google can now tell what content provides real value and useful information as opposed to being a spammy attempt to try and get as many people as possible to buy right away. Google’s aim is to help people find the information they’re looking for. So if you are providing useful information to a particular audience, then your aims are aligned with Google.
Once again, the shift to a more lead-centric business has helped to improve other aspects of your marketing and your branding. In this case, it has helped you to come up with a cohesive internet marketing strategy that is built around gaining trust and building authority!