When done correctly, a lead generation plan will create more buyers for your product or service by helping you understand the needs of your customers.
However, before you start developing and implementing your lead generation plan, you need to have your content marketing strategy established, well-defined and ready to share with your customers. Think of it like that old saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”
Content marketing is the “horse” that creates and shares information. The information is known as the content and it is designed toward a target market for the purpose of engaging and informing. The final objective is for the targeted audience to purchase your product or service; and to become a return customer. A lead generation plan is the “cart” – how you interact with the audience attracted by your content.
Establish a highly effective content marketing strategy first; and an unbeatable lead generation plan will naturally follow.
Content Marketing Strategy:
- Content marketing is basically communicating with existing customers and prospects. You are not pushing your product or service; instead you are sharing valuable information for the purpose of making your audience more informed and more intelligent. The logic here is that if you constantly provide valuable free information, your audience will grow to like and trust you. When they do need your product or service, they will turn to the company they trust -- you!
- There are several objectives to keep in mind when developing your content marketing strategy:
- You want to complement and enhance your current marketing projects.
- You want to reach your specific target market audience.
- You want this audience to become highly aware of your brand; to think of you first.
- You want increased visits to your website, blog, etc.
- You want to generate conversions from these visits;
- You want to have a plan for ongoing marketing projects which continue to engage your current customers and generate new leads.
- Develop a thorough understanding of your target audience and how your content marketing strategy can best reach them. What specifically are they looking for? Where do they look to acquire information regarding the product, service and solution you offer?
- What are the specifics of your target audience:
- How do they search for and access information?
- What type of content do they favor?
- What are their demographics and interests?
- Make an assessment of your current content:
- Do the solutions you offer meet the needs of your target audience?
- What are you offering and how is it better than your competition?
- What is the tone of your current content? Do the words encourage and entice your audience toward further contact with you?
- Determine what additional/new content you can provide to meet these needs. How can you make your content unique and interesting? How can you stand out from the crowd? How can you entice your audience to return again and again?
How to create a great content marketing strategy:
- Truly great content will make your audience stop, read, think --- then behave differently.
- Take an inventory of what you are using now for all types of marketing. Is it good? Is it informative or just pitching your product/service?
- Look at all your past marketing projects. Look in all your files. Is there something you used a long time ago, or never, that might work now as a newsletter or an eBook? You might be surprised at what you find! You can download this content inventory spreadsheet.
- Develop a realistic understanding of who you want to reach with your content marketing strategy. You are not the target; just because you find it interesting doesn’t mean your preferred audience will.
- You can work with your staff, team or partners and brainstorm to create a “persona” for your target audience. Identify several groups separated by their needs, wants and understanding of your product/service. Assign descriptive names to your groups and rate them according to the likelihood of their needing what you are offering.
- Once you have your persona groups, determine the best communication method for each group; infographics, testimonials, videos, charts, or other methods. Also identify any barriers the group may have, such as lack of technical knowledge. Building personas is highly-effective.
- Compare the content you currently have and the content best suited to your persona groups -- the difference is your gap analysis. Use this to create your new content marketing strategy.
Once you have your content marketing strategy (your horse) heading in the right direction, your cart filled with your lead generation plan will follow right along behind.