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.
This is extremely important for consumers. Each of them will feel important and special, just because you took the time to consider their question and give them the answer they need.
4. Personalize Your Content
What does personalization mean? You are not alone in wondering about this issue, because a Gartner survey found that 63% of digital marketing leaders struggle with it, as well. There are several aspects to personalization:
The communication channel you use
The lead group you address
The type of action you expect from them.
Let us look at them in detail. When it comes to communication channels, you have to adapt your content to the specific format required by that channel. You will write in a different manner on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and an email newsletter. Even if you are sharing the same core information, the way you phrase it must be adapted to each of these platforms.
Secondly, consider the lead group you are addressing. Whenever you send emails, you will address each person by their name – there is no compromise on this. However, you must also adapt the content to the demographic and behavior of each lead group. You will write to young mothers struggling to cope with their daily activities in one way, and you will address busy professionals who try to balance their work/life schedule in another way.
Finally, there is the issue of what action you expect the leads to take – the call to action. In some cases, you need to make it relaxed and non-committal (especially at the beginning of the buyer journey). In others, you need to add a note of urgency (when promoting a special offer that you hope will prove irresistible to the lead and determine them to make an initial purchase).
5. Win the Leads’ Trust and Then Focus on Your Strengths
You may feel tempted to tell leads how great your business is in the awareness stage. They are not ready to read this kind of message. At this point, the main question a consumer asks themselves is: “does this company really understand what I need?”
You should start by winning your leads’ trust with helpful content, such as tutorials and how-to guides and articles that focus on helping the readers solve an immediate problem. For instance, a car repair shop can start their lead nurturing journey with articles on the following topics:
How to change the oil
How to troubleshoot common problems on the road
How to know that you need to take the car to the repair shop.
As one contributor to a Forbes magazine article aptly said: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.
6. Write in the Way Your Audience Speaks
Before you start writing for your leads, you should listen to the way they speak. Are they professionals who use many neologisms, industry jargons and acronyms? Or are they everyday people who use simple words and a relaxed tone of voice?
Your content marketing style guide should follow this tone of voice in all the pieces you create, from blog posts to YouTube videos. If you don’t write in a way that your audience understands and resonates with, they will not feel that you are writing for them. In fact, they will feel that you do not know them at all or that you don’t care to know them and simply want to sell them things.
7. Be Authentic
Businesses need to relate with their leads at a human level. People talk to other people, not with abstract entities. When they read your emails or articles, your leads must feel that they are conversing with a real person. The lack of authenticity in your brand voice will make everything you say ring untrue.
Thus, you must truly dive into the values you stand for and make them shine through in every content piece you craft.
Creating content for lead nurturing must be one at the front of your efforts to grow your business and acquire more clients. However, you must also focus on the core activities that make your business unique and special among competitors.
This is why we, Iris Writing International, offer you a complete range of professional content creation services. We rely on a talented, experienced and multi-disciplinary team that knows how to adapt their writing style to your brand voice and your business goals.
Get in touch with us to learn more about what we can do for you!