3 Essential Stages of Content Marketing Lead Generation

lead generationThere are three primary components or stages of lead generation via content marketing. Firstly, landing pages are a distinct page that people visit to learn more about your product. The second component is an offer or an enticement to bring an audience to your product. Thirdly is a call to action, which is an ad that brings traffic to your landing page.

A landing page is a page on your website that has one primary purpose. It’s created to provide a resource to generate leads. A typical landing page has three major components – headline, copy and a form.

As with most digital marketing, the headline is the most important part of your landing page. It is what attracts a reader and it is what will have a reader continue reading or leave your page.

The copy area typically features a subheading, an image or images, a bulleted list of items, and usually a block or blocks of text. The copy area is where you tell the story of the product or service. Bullet points are a great way to make multiple important points about your product or service in a concise and easy-to-read format.

The form is where you collect information from your visitor in exchange for an offer. Finding the right information to ask for in your form is essential. I recommend that you use testing to narrow the fields within your form.

For example, you can start with first name, last name, and email. Going forward, you’ll want to test by adding additional form fields and see if that has a negative affect on your conversion ratio. For example you could add a company field in addition to your three previous fields, and see whether the people who visit your page continue to fill out your form at the same ratio.

According to research presented by Dan Zarrella in his book “The Science of Marketing“, as the number of form fields on landing pages is increased, surprisingly there is typically no major decline in visits-to-lead conversion rates. In my experience, I’ve actually seen some forms increase their conversion ratio when adding additional form fields. Often there is a tipping point at which users no longer are interested in filling out your form in exchange for your offer because they feel the information they need to provide does not substantiate their efforts or their information.

An offer within the world of lead generation is typically a piece of content or a product that brings in enough value to a potential lead that they are willing to provide their contact information in exchange for access to your product. Some examples of lead generation offers include-e-books, white papers, webinars, free consultations and product demonstrations.

Of utmost importance when creating your offer is the quality of the final product. A potential customer or lead is looking to find an expert to help them with their needs. This is where you can show your expertise by providing high quality thought leadership content. Creating worthwhile e-books, white papers, or even webinars can take a significant investment of time and resources. However without a high degree of quality your conversion rate will suffer. Consequently your entire lead generation efforts will also suffer due to this one vital component.

I recommend having your entire organization involved in the offer creation process. Every organization typically has knowledge experts in nearly every group or level within the company. It’s in your best interest to find those folks and mine their specific knowledge and expertise. With their input, you’ll have a much easier time creating a solid offer that will entice new potential leads via your website.

The final primary segment of lead generation is a call to action. The call to action can be a button, a banner ad, or a text link that sends people directly to your landing page. It’s important to align your call to action directly to the content on your landing page and your offer. Your entire lead generation process will be of no use if an audience is not aware of your offer.

A quality call to action includes the offer and the benefits of your offer. Whenever possible, I try to include in engaging and eye-catching version of your offer within your call to action. Having a good mix of images, buttons, and text links is also essential to ensure consistent traffic. From an SEO standpoint, text links are essential since search engines are able to crawl and index them.

In summary, each stage of this lead generation process carries a vital and strategic weight. If you are struggling in one specific area, I would recommend focusing on value for the end user. For example, if you are having a hard time finding resource knowledge within your organization for your offer, then consider creating a more focused version of your offer instead. If your goal was to create an e-book, then create a case study or white paper that will target a more defined area.

If you consider these three stages as a vital component of your digital lead generation, you’ll always be on the right track. Adjusting them and optimizing their capabilities will be essential to your success.