Ah, to stand out and be different in the internet lead generation world! First one guru says you’ve got to try marketing with Facebook, and all of a sudden, every online marketer is hopping on the band wagon.
The next marketing megastar says you are nothing if you don’t have a YouTube channel and, BAM! The crowd jumps ship and races to make as many videos as possible.
I’ve heard there’s nothing more important to create brand awareness and credibility than with one of those!
By the time you read this there will most certainly be another marketing flavor-of-the-month making waves across the online lead generation shore!
Why the craze to do the latest and greatest?
Mr./Ms. Lead Generator, Meet the Internet
Because in this internet age, where there is a wealth of information available at the tap of a finger, the buyer’s traditional method of obtaining goods and services is gone forever! Remember when shopping for a new washing machine meant you drove all over the county researching appliances, getting educated (and enticed) by sales managers, calling or writing to previous customers to gauge their level of satisfaction, and haggling on the price to get the best deal?
We can still do all that now, but the results are instantaneous! What may have taken a month can be accomplished in less than a day! With the internet at the buyer’s disposal, they can literally become an expert on a product or service before they ever appear on a vendor’s radar.
So with a prospect’s ability to surgically filter the information they want and don’t want, the competition to be chosen and heard is greater than ever before!
This doesn’t only go for sales of goods. Now we need to be more strategic in our methods of generating leads, as well. To do that we need to be present in the places where our target audience is hanging out. And that audience is often just as flighty as us marketers!
How, then, does one grab the attention of their audience and hold it?
You must take the role of thought leader by offering content that serves to inform them in a winsome and attractive way. Giving away value and being “pleasantly present” is a corner stone of attraction marketing.
Lead Generation Two Ways
Let’s back up a moment and agree about what lead generation is.
This definition was found in a post by Marketo, Inc., :
” (lead generation)… describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing the sales pipeline.”
“… It’s a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually buying.”
There are two methods of lead generation: Inbound and Outbound. Though there are many benefits to outbound marketing, we will be discussing Inbound lead generation here, because it is essentially the process of online Attraction Marketing. It is also where the use of content to draw your audience really shines.
Content Marketing Institute, defines it as:
“a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.
By focusing on sharing quality, value-based information instead of promotional propaganda, you will make the most productive use of your content marketing efforts. It is truly the best vehicle to grab attention and develop loyalty with the audience of your choosing.
Content alone, though, will only tell your audience who you and/or your product are. If you want your content to get attention from the search engines, and therefore get more traffic (and thus leads), you need to find a way to stimulate engagement with your readers.
One way to do that is by including a call to action. You could send them to a landing page for your product, offer information in exchange for their email address, or simply ask them to leave a comment. Just by asking them to do something you will promote engagement. And the more engagement, the better your SEO rankings!
Another very popular way to stimulate engagement is through the use of video. Josh Haynam offers this stunning fact to explain why:
“65% of us are visual learners … Why not explain your offering in a way that speaks to the majority?”
Are you wincing at the prospect of being on camera like I am? There are ways of getting around that with tools like Animoto and Camtasia. But, as much as I hate ( I mean really, REALLY, REALLY hate!) to admit it, showing up in videos is the very best way for your prospects to get a feel for who you are. They hear your voice, detect your mannerisms, your level of commitment, your sincerity – what greater way is there to help them familiarize themselves with you and your brand? When they are comfortable with you and feel they can relate to you (and not just words on a page), the engagement and lead generating factor gets a significant boost!
Like anything, there is a down-side, though: because it is so powerful, everybody is doing it! (Read on for a lesser-used and nearly as effective alternative!)
It goes without saying (but, of course, I will!) that, when you start building an audience who returns time after time to see what’s new on your site, you’ve got to be writing new material consistently. Help them continue their loyalty to you by posting regularly. As in any important relationship, you want your leads to feel valued, not “dropped!”
Try to write content that is “evergreen.” By this I mean timeless, no-closing-date, kind of content. In her article “What is Evergreen Content? Your Guide to Long Lasting Content that Boosts SEO,” Megan Marrs writes:
“The evergreen tree is a symbol of perpetual life because they retain their leaves throughout the seasons, rather than shedding. Like the trees, evergreen content is considered sustainable and lasting.”
How-to videos, tipsheets, and product reviews are great examples of evergreen topics. Just make sure they are relevant to what your audience is expecting to see from you.
By the way, content marketing does not have to be limited to your blog, though it will serve you well as a central hub. You can also syndicate your articles with other article-sharing websites for greater audience reach.
Promote Your Content to Get More Leads
Social Media is the best place to promote your content because, by its very nature, it is a relationship builder. Spread the word to those who are already in your corner, and use it to develop new connections on the platforms you are active in. You can even write content directly on these sites. LinkedIn is an especially good social hub to write in. The role of social media in your marketing arsenal is to assist in branding you and in generating “buzz.” Use it to share and promote your value-based lead generating machine 🙂
Repurposing your articles into other formats is another fantastic way to get more engagement and traffic. Take a blogpost you have written and transform it into a Slideshare deck. Include the link to the original post so people will go back and see the material in full.
And, if video is not your thing, try its more-user-friendly and less-utilized cousin: AUDIO! Remember, if you want to generate leads on the internet you must stand out from the crowd!
For any business to succeed, you have to have a reliable way to generate qualified leads consistently. The internet is an amazing resource for the purpose of lead generation. But our prospects are drowning in a megabyte sea of information! Attraction marketing with any of the techniques discussed above will make you stand out in the crowd, promote engagement and credibility, and ultimately lead you into profitable relationships for you and your business!