As an entrepreneur, lead generation is central to your organization. Having the capability to consistently create new opportunities directly correlates to your bottom line and your ability to effectively scale your organization. So how do you steadily build lead pipeline, both economically and in a way that understands B2B consumer behavior patterns? Let’s find out.
Over the last ten years, the information explosion, coupled with rapid technology advances, has created a fundamental shift in consumer purchasing behavior. These forces have permanently altered the marketing landscape and have made “old world” marketing tactics like cold calling, direct mail, television and radio ads obsolete. As society gets smarter, these tactics have become ineffective and fruitless. Consumers now have the ability to tune out marketing messages by using new technologies like Internet radio, Tivo, email spam filters, and do-not-call lists. This new environment creates challenges for marketers and business owners still utilizing these tactics.
However, with the changing business landscape comes a whole new set of opportunities for marketers. The typical B2B consumer researches solutions via search engines, engages on social media, and self-educates on products via industry blogs and websites. Essentially, the Internet has democratized information, allowing consumers to get access to what information they want, when they want it. Entrepreneurs that want to win in 2014 need to understand this foundation, deconstruct ineffective marketing tactics, and reallocate budget to marketing activities that align with this new paradigm.
Developing a content marketing strategy
For a business to succeed in lead generation, marketers need to approach their craft differently. Today, marketing is more about teaching and less about about promotion. The B2B buyer is looking for e-books, case studies, product details, fact sheets, reviews, pictures, and videos to learn about products or services. So as a marketer, you need to be developing these assets and then working to thoughtfully distribute these assets through the appropriate channels. So let’s talk about developing an effective content strategy
to help you garner visibility and engage leads.
Build a buyer persona
The first infrastructure component that needs to be developed is a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a detailed write-up on your ideal customer. The following information should be in your buyer persona: age, income level, company, education level, family, information consumption patterns, job title, concerns, values, etc.
The buyer persona is the foundation from which you will build the rest of your content marketing. The more detailed information you have about your buyers’ values, concerns and goals, the more effective you will be at developing content for that particular buyer group.
Develop your content
Once you have developed a robust buyer persona, you’re ready to start building your content. The content that you develop can take a variety of forms, such as e-books, case studies, instructional videos, whitepapers, and Slideshare. However, the content should always focus on addressing the concerns, issues and values that are important to your buyer persona.
Map your content to the buying cycle
As you build out your library of content resources, it’s imperative that you map your content to the buying cycle. Marketing research has shown that leads generally break down into three categories:
- Research: The lead knows there is a problem and is researching solutions (75% of leads)
- Evaluation: The lead knows your category of product would meet the need and is evaluating vendors (20% of leads)
- Purchase: The lead is ready to buy (5% of leads)
As you begin to develop content, let these statistics influence the type and amount of content that you generate. Roughly 75% of your content should be top-of-the-funnel content like e-books, guides and industry white-papers. The next 20% should be assets like product webinars, customer case studies, and comparison documents. Finally, the last 5% should be items like free trials, audits, and consultations.
To successfully attract strangers and engage visitors, entrepreneurs must adapt to how consumers engage with their marketing strategies and tactics. It is imperative to reallocate marketing budget, staff time, and creative resources away from antiquated marketing tactics in favor of content marketing in all its forms. So start shifting your efforts toward developing valuable content for a specific buyer persona, map it to the buying cycle, and watch your lead generation grow.
Posted by John Tarin