Content is at the core of all your branding, marketing and sales efforts – or it should be. There is no other equivalent strategy or channel that has the same effectiveness of content marketing. It is what consumers rely on to form an opinion of your business and what search engines (mainly Google) also uses as primary source of information about the reputation and reliability of your website.
These are not just claims, but facts, backed by statistical data, which we will detail below in this article. However, we will start by sharing one of the key findings made by leading website platform builder WordPress: every month, 409 million people read over 20 billion web pages. At the same time, 70 million new posts are being created and published on WordPress websites each month.
The Current and Future State of Content Marketing
Digital content consumption has doubled in 2020, according to Forbes magazine. According to their findings, the age groups that increased the average time spent engaging with online content are:
55% - ages 25-35
52% - ages 36-44
49% - ages 18-24
44% - ages 45-54.
These age groups are clearly a match for the target customer for most businesses, both in the B2B and the B2C fields. The reason for this sudden increase in interest in online content is clear: the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to self-isolate and they have lost the opportunity to engage with brands and procure the products and services they need in the traditional way: by walking inside a store.
In this context, content marketing is the solid bridge that connects consumers with companies and helps them:
Discover new products and services
Vouch for the reputation and trustworthiness of various companies
Form an educated opinion on similar products
Look for the best deal on the items they need.
And most companies have already understood the importance of content marketing for lead generation and nurturing purposes. A Statista report indicates that the average spend on digital lead generations services in the US is expected to grow from $ 2.84 billion in 2020 to $3.24 billion in 2023. Moreover, at global level, 91% of companies are already using content marketing and measure its success in the number of generated leads.
How Does Content Marketing Help Your Lead Nurturing Efforts?
First of all, what exactly is lead nurturing? When you persuade a consumer to connect with you on social media or to subscribe to your newsletter, you have acquired a lead. However, as much as 80% of new leads never end up making a purchase from you.
This is where lead nurturing steps in. Its purpose is to guide new leads through the so-called sales funnel. The sales funnel has three phases:
Initial phase – top of the funnel: this is the awareness phase, when a consumer has just discovered your business
Secondary phase – middle of the funnel: this is the consideration phase, when the newly acquired lead learns more about your company, your products and services
Final phase – bottom of the funnel: this is the purchase phase, when the lead knows and trusts your business and is ready to buy from you.
The role of content marketing in this lead nurturing process is to give the consumer the information they need at each step of the journey. This requires a profound understanding of your buyer persona and careful planning of the type of content, as well as the channels chosen for delivering it to your lead.
You cannot make any wrong move – from telling your brand story to delivering the type of content the lead needs to finally make up their mind to buy from you, everything must be paced carefully and delivered at the right moment.
How Can You Create Lead and Audience Nurturing Content?
So far, you understand that content marketing is at the core of your lead nurturing efforts, which should result in new customers and sales. But how exactly do you craft content that appeals to your potential customers and persuades them to trust your business with their hard earned dollars?
Here are 7 simple and effective steps:
1. Understand Your Customers’ Pain Points
Pain points represent all the problems and needs customers have and which your products and services can solve. For example, for employees who have to resort to working from home, a key pain point is learning how to use digital tools for online meetings and collaborative work. If your company develops such solutions, your content marketing strategy for lead nurturing should include:
Step by step tutorials
Video walkthroughs of your solutions
Success stories showing how other people learned to use your solutions with ease.
For this, you must know your customer profile intimately and create a buyer persona that is not just a bullet point list of demographic and behavioral characteristics, but a sketch of an actual person, with a name and a full life: family, hobbies, etc.
2. Create Content Based on Lead Activity
When you analyze the analytical data of your website traffic, you will identify patterns of content consumption. This shows you what your leads are most interested in. If many leads in the awareness phase are interested to know more about your business (as seen by many visits to the About Us page), you can capitalize on this interest and create tailored content.
For example, you can showcase your team in a video or article, encouraging each member to tell why they joined your company, why they enjoy working here and what motivates them to excel at what they do.
3. Answer Frequently Asked Questions
As you interact with your leads throughout their journey, you will receive many questions from them on various channels:
On our social media posts
In the comments section of your blog
As direct messages by email or Messenger.
Every once in a while, you should collect the questions you receive most frequently and prepare an article giving clear and detailed answers to all of them. This content marketing tactic has a double advantage. For one, it saves you from the effort of searching for relevant content topics to cover. For another, you are showing your leads that you are actually listening to them and you care about their needs.