In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about the SEO component of your content marketing plan – how to pick keywords, write SEO articles, and create pillar pages that will rank for important searches. That content is really important because it builds your top-of-funnel metrics; when you rank for critical keywords, you’ll get more traffic.
But if you want to maximize your lead generation results, you’ll need a content marketing plan that both builds out the top of your funnel and nurtures the people you draw in so that they actually buy from you.
So, in Part 2, I’m going to lay out a simple strategy for turning that traffic into sales:
- Create a legitimately valuable content offer for each of your core keywords.
- Build out an email drip for each content offer.
- Create a newsletter based on expert content.
Let’s dive in.
1. Create a legitimately valuable content offer for each of your core keywords.
Let’s say you followed each step I laid out in Part 1 and you now rank on the first page (maybe even in the top three results) for your three core keywords. That’s driving a significant amount of traffic to your site; maybe you’re getting 1,000 visitors a month from those searches.
That’s great. But here’s the thing: Only a very small percentage of those people will be ready to buy straight away from you. The exact ratio is dependent on your niche and your solution, of course, but it’s unlikely that more than .05% of your website users are ready to move straight into a consultation with you (or sign up for a free demo of your software or take whatever the first step is in your sales process).
That means that you’re only getting five contacts per month from all of that work. But you can increase this drastically by creating relevant lead magnets.
Lead magnets bridge the gap between the top and bottom of your marketing funnel. Most people who come across your solution won’t be immediately ready to work with you – but a larger percentage of those people will be interested in your expertise. You can create a relationship with them by offering high-value content in exchange for an email address. From there, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a relationship with them, so that, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be top-of-mind.
This strategy is basically content marketing 101. Go to any B2B tech website that’s invested in marketing, and you’ll almost certainly see lead magnets in action. That’s because it works – but only if it’s done well, and, honestly, most companies don’t do it particularly well.
The key lies in providing legitimately valuable content.
While the right approach will vary significantly from context to context, it’s usually not that hard to come up with content that will add value. Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes as they search your core keyword. What information would be most helpful to them at that point in time? Make a whitepaper out of the answer. Put it on that page and make it accessible for download. The contacts will come.
Pro tip: I recommend having content both in-line on the page (meaning that there’s a section in the content where users can download the offer) and as an exit-intent modal popup (meaning that, when users go to exit the page, the offer is displayed.) We’ve generally found that this dual approach drives the most conversions.
2. Build out an email drip for each content offer.
Once you’ve created your content offers, you need to make them count. When someone gives you their email address – even if it’s not a signal that they’re immediately ready to buy – it’s critical to engage them quickly. Let’s sketch the flow: Someone searches your core keyword. They find your pillar page. They aren’t ready to buy, but you provide a helpful piece of content for them, so they download it. Now, you follow up with an email drip. This will keep your business top of mind and allow you to deliver additional value that will, hopefully, lead to a sale.
I’ve written before about the narrative format that we’ve found to be most effective, but here’s the gist:
- Identify Your Buyers’ Pain Points
- Introduce Your Solution
- Provide a Case Study or Testimonial
- Cover Buying Objections and Offer Rebuttals
- Send a Final Sales Letter
A couple of notes: First, I recommend sending an email every two or three days. This will be often enough to keep the conversation going, but will be spaced out enough to avoid feeling pushy. (The timeline may be different, depending on your sales cycle, but this is a good starting point.)
Second, the beauty of creating three separate lead magnets and three separate email drips is that you can speak to different needs for each. You should weave in the pain points, solution benefits, and objections that are specific to each keyword and solution you offer.
If someone makes it through your drip and doesn’t unsubscribe or convert into a customer, they should be added to your newsletter; they may not be ready to buy from you yet, but if you add value over a long-term relationship, it may only be a matter of time.
3. Create a newsletter based on expert content.
The final step in this content marketing engagement plan is to regularly create expert content and send it out in the form of an email newsletter.
You and I both know that you (and your business’s offering) are good. Your expert content is your chance to show it. By regularly demonstrating your expertise, you’ll generate repeat sales and upsells from your existing clients, and you’ll convert interested contacts into new sales.
Speaking of which: Your list should include everyone who might buy from you – both existing clients and new contacts (who probably came in via content downloads). You can (and eventually should) segment your list further – say, by sending a weekly newsletter to each of your three keyword segments – but as you’re getting started, the key is simply to make sure you’re staying in touch and providing value.
To that end, I recommend generating content ideas via two means:
- Answer common questions you’re getting (both from current clients and from prospects).
- Write on observations you’ve made in your market that your clients would find valuable.
These two methods should give you plenty of fodder for consistent content. If you run out of ideas, ask people you trust what they’d like to hear from you. If you don’t trust anyone, here are 18 ideas from HubSpot.
Want help creating your content marketing plan?
So, there you have it: A simple content marketing plan for B2B tech firms that’ll get you ramped up on SEO and engagement. These strategies are not complex, but they do work.
If you want to start using content marketing to generate leads, let’s talk. At New North, we’ve been doing this for over a decade, and we have extensive experience in the B2B tech space. We can help you nail down the direction of your strategy and then put it into action.