How Content Marketing Generates Leads

Business owners want to know how content marketing generates leads.  If you’re going to spend time generating content, you need it to be doing something for you.  The idea behind content marketing is to help a company get found and to then help it generate leads.  In order to generate leads, you have to create content that people actually want.

The quality of your website dictates the quality of the leads it produces.  Lousy website, lousy leads, if any at all.  With respect to lead generation, your website is responsible for creating lasting impressions and converting leads.  And in order to do that, you have to give significant thought to how you use content and forms on your site.

Free vs. Gated Content

Most companies will provide a considerable amount of information that is ungated.  Blog content is considered ungated content—it’s there for everyone and anyone to access anytime.  In order to generate lead, the idea then is to create premium content for which a visitor needs to submit their contact information in exchange.  If a visitor is required to fill out a form in order to access certain content, it’s considered ‘gated content’.

Landing Pages for Lead Generation

The idea behind the landing page concept is to generate a page that is dedicated to capturing a lead.  For example, you might have a blog post that discusses, in detail, one step that is part of the 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing.  The call to action on that blog post could be the opportunity to download the ebook that outlines those 7 steps and you simply click a link if you’re interested in that content.

The link takes you to a landing page.  The landing page is designed to do one thing only—get you to input your contact information in exchange for downloading that ebook.  The landing page is where that lead capture form will appear.

Lead Capture Forms

You can’t generate leads if you never capture their information.  A good lead capture form may only require a first name, last name, email address, company, and maybe job function.  With forms, less is more.  The fewer fields on the form, the more likely people are to fill it out.

Short forms always perform better than longer forms and that’s just common sense.  People aren’t interested in wasting time filling out forms.  While you might want a longer form to capture more details for your CRM, there’s no question that you will be sacrificing leads in exchange for more data.  In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that the more information you request on your form, the less likely people are to tell the truth.

Shorter forms will certainly get your more responses and more accurate responses, but they might not provide all the data you want to know to quality or segment a lead in your marketing automation tools.  A possible solution is to use progressive profiling which allows you to collect information over a period of time.  Each time that individual fills out a form on your site, a progressive form asks for more information.  Take a look at the form below from marketing automation platform Hubspot.  In this instance, Hubspot tends to use a longer lead capture form and that may be because they really want to ensure they’re capturing highly qualified leads.

Content marketing for lead generation is about generating quality content that people want and they’d be willing to exchange their contact information for that content.  Think about that every time you’re creating new content.  And then think about the best way to deliver this content to generate new leads.

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