Hi I am Gary O’Toole with Sociocaster and in today’s blog we have reached the final part in our 4 part (8,000 Word Epic)  “Content Marketing 101” series. So far we have looked at:

  • What Content Marketing Is
  • Why It Is Mandatory That Every Business Does It
  • The Different Kinds Of Content You Can Create
  • Creating Original Content Vs Curating Content

We have now reached the point where we are going to look at how we can use content marketing to generate leads for our business. Just to reiterate the aim of any content marketing campaign should be to:

  • Build Brand Authority
  • Build Trust With Your Target Audience
  • Differentiate Your Brand From Competitors By Providing More Value
  • Create An Evergreen Marketing Asset
  • Generate Leads & Bring Your Target Demographic Into Your Sales Funnel

From experience I have found this is often the hardest part for business owners to digest and comprehend, just how does a blog post lead to generating a warm targeted lead ? As I have mentioned before content marketing is not an overnight silver bullet that is going to generate sales overnight – if your looking for a “quick fix” then I suggest you look solely at paid advertising (Facebook Ad’s – read about that here). Content marketing is for smart business owners who are looking for a long term strategy and who the time, patience and resources to see it through.

Everything Has A Price – You Either Pay With Your Money (Paid Advertising) or Your Time (Content Marketing) 

For those with the patience and foresight to invest in a long term marketing strategy – content marketing can really pay off and generate high quality targeted leads from educated and empowered consumers on a regular basis.  As with all strategies, you must have a clear end goal in mind when creating your initial plan.

I am going to take you through the basic steps required to setup a lead generation content marketing campaign. This is where it starts to make sense and you will clearly be able to see how the content you create actually bridges the gap between you and your target audience.

target

1.) Set Your Goals

The first step is to establish how many leads your aiming to get and how long the campaign will last for. It’s important that you begin with the end goal in mind. Its Important know what you’re working towards and how long you’ll be doing it. Sometimes business owners can launch great ideas and begin campaigns designed to improve business but if there is no clear end game, the idea can eventually fail and the campaign can go on indefinitely. You need a clear ending to give you a deadline to work towards. Don’t worry. You can tweak the number of leads if your research calls for it but you can’t tweak the length of the campaign.

2.) Set Up Your Lead Capture Tools

There are email marketing tools you can use that will help you build your email list. Before you start your campaign or create your content, you need to know where the information will go. Don’t try to facilitate this whole process yourself. Trying to keep track of emails can become overwhelming and tedious. Take advantage of the tools out there to make it easy for you. Some of them have a free plan or a free trial while others cost a monthly fee. Take the time to do some research to choose the tool that will work best for your business. Here are some of the more popular tools to get you started:

Each  one has its pro’s and con’s – if this your first time using an email capture tool I would highly recommend that you go with Mailchimp. However please review all the options to see what will suit your particular skillset and project.

MailChimp-Logo

I have used Mailchimp for a number of years now and I am recommending it due to the fact it has such an intuitive user interface and walks you through every step you need to get fully set up. You do not have to be a web designer or marketer and most people can be up and running with Mailchimp very quickly. I also believe that Mailchimp offers the best mix of features and the price point is perfect for those on a smaller budget, although you can scale up as your needs change and budget increases. Another reason I am so keen to recommend Mailchimp is it integrates with almost everything in terms of web platforms and CRM systems.

Your lead capture box might look something like this:

leadcapture

3.) Set Up Your Email Marketing Tool

Don’t dive into this process without setting up your email marketing funnel first. This is the value in using a tool over trying to do it yourself. Most tools have the process set up for you. All you have to  do is go in and create the messages you want to send to your customers when they enter your sales funnel.

The idea is that once you have captured leads using your marketing tool starts to send a series of automated messages to the people who sign upwhich are known as an Autoresponder.

Take advantage of the Mailchimp tutorials and other how to guides available showing you how to make the most of the tool. Go through and familiarize yourself with how it works.

You should also make it a point to see how Mailchimp handles the distribution of files via email. If you can’t find this information on the website, send a message to customer service. This will come in handy later on in this process so check on this now.

4.) Create Your “Lead Magnet”

CONTENT (3)

A lead magnet is simply a piece of highly targeted content that your target demographic perceive to have value and you are prepared to give away for free in order to encourage them to give you their email address. If you want to generate leads and make sales online you need to be prepared to offer huge value to your target audience before thinking about going in for the close.  Here is a list of ideas to get you started:

  • eBook – A short but informative eBook is a great piece of content to give away. It shouldn’t be more than 25 pages long or less than 10. You want it to have a high perceived value and if it’s too short, that value won’t be there. If it’s too long, you’ll be less inclined to give it away because you will have taken a lot of time and effort to create it. Keep it relatively short but informative without giving away too much information. Your eBook should arm your target audience with a skill, method or resource that will enable them to taking their first steps to solving their problem and achieving their aim!
  • Coupon Code – You could offer a coupon for a discount on any products and services you sell. It has to be a coupon with a high perceived value so it can’t be 10% off of your least expensive product/service. People have to want to get the coupon and be willing to provide some information in exchange for it.You could even give 100% off your entry level product! People always feel like their getting more value by redeeming a time sensitive coupon rather than just receiving a free product. A free product has no perceived value and even if its totally awesome you will just attract “freebie seekers” – we want to attract people who are looking to invest in paid products and services and win them over by giving them a paid product for free.
  • Free consulting session- If you offer consulting services, you could give away a free session in return for joining your email list. Look for ways to keep the session manageable. You can do it electronically and offer to answer specific questions or you can make it a short session. The key is to make sure you aren’t giving too much of your time with the free session so that it becomes a burden. Make it manageable. I personally suggest offering 30 minutes. I would advise that this offer is only redeemable via skype or if they visit your workspace – never travel until you have closed the deal!

The key thing to remember is that you are running a business and you should be getting in debt, losing money or struggling for time to be offer this lead magnet. Ideally it should be something that you are able to supply quickly and easily.

5.) Make Your Lead Magnet Visible

Now you have to promote the free piece of content that you have. You should create a sign up form on your website that people have to input their email address into gain access to the giveaway. This form should be prominently featured on your website with a clear call to action directing people to share their email addresses. You’ll also have to do some promotion across other networks.

This is a great time to make use of social media advertising. There are many options available here but I personally recommend going with Facebook Ad’s as you are able to reach your target audience in a laser targeted way that is not possible with other platforms. Putting a high quality proposition in front of an audience of who have already expressed interest in your niche/topic/industry is a winning formula. I also recommend Facebook because very cheap.

I suggest posting your offer as post on your Facebook fan page and boosting the post for $5 for 24 hours, gauging the response and scaling up and tweaking the post as appropriate. Below you can see example of a post I recently boosted:

boostedpost

These were some of our results from just a $5 budget!

Result

In the end we generated an additional real and target page as well! This was just an example but I am sure you can see how beneficial and cost effective this method is!

Once you’ve made your special deal available, you can start keeping track of how many email addresses you get. Since this campaign should have a clear end date, you can start the clock once you’ve made your offer available to the public. This should give you a concentrated period of time to let your campaign run while you measure the results

Aim for at least three months. If this is your first content marketing campaign, three months will give you some time to see how things go without committing you to something longer. This will give you the ability to assess what worked and what didn’t. You also gain great insight into your ability to execute a campaign when you actually do it.

If you’ve done a campaign in the past and are comfortable with them, you may want to let it run longer than three months but it shouldn’t last more than six months total. You don’t want your campaign to go on so long that it’s virtually never ending. You need time to see how well it works so you can make any necessary adjustments. In fact, it may be best to stick with the three month time frame and run the campaign several times, making adjustments along the way.

funnel

While you are collecting the email addresses, create a plan for how you will move those leads through the sales funnel. You need to have an idea of how often you plan to communicate with them and what you’re going to share. It’s important to make sure you don’t inundate their email inboxes with information. But it’s just as important that you don’t disappear once you have their information.

These are warm leads that you can target for potential customers. Make sure you deliver the free content right away and create a schedule for when you will contact them and how often. It’s best that all of your communications not be sales solicitations. The same way that you garnered their interest is the same way you can keep them in your sales funnel.

These are warm leads that you can target for potential customers. Make sure you deliver the free content right away and create a schedule for when you will contact them and how often. It’s best that all of your communications not be sales solicitations. The same way that you garnered their interest is the same way you can keep them in your sales funnel.

I hope you found this article useful – if your just joining us please make sure you go back and read parts 1,2 & 3 to get an overall outline of how the entire process of content marketing.

Have A Great Week And I Will Be Back On Friday!

Gary

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