When it comes to content marketing, two main areas of practice prevail. The first is content creation, which begins with an understanding of who your audience is and what content they’re looking for. The second is content distribution and your strategy for delivering that content to drive traffic and generate qualified leads.
Most content marketers put a lot of time and resources into creating content, but fewer do so with a strategy designed to get that content to the right people — which is probably why as much as 60 percent of B2B content sits unused.
Without a solid strategy in place, achieving your lead generation goals is challenging. Further, not all leads are created equal. MarketingSherpa reports that 61 percent of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27 percent of those leads are qualified.
This means that less than half of all the leads you capture through gated content are a good fit for your business, and your sales team is spending a lot of its time talking to people who aren’t ready to buy just yet.
As a content marketer, how do you drive more qualified or sales-ready leads to your content assets? Let’s think about all the options you have for driving new visitors to your content. You can utilize pay-per-click ads on Google AdWords, on third-party publications, or on social networks. You can optimize your website and blog to bring visitors to you. And you can share your content with followers on your own social networks. I don’t need to educate you on the pros and cons of each of these methods because they’re strategies you’re likely using already.
Is there another option? How do you find the right audience quickly and at a low cost? Our team at Socedo has found that proactive social outreach is another great approach to make sure the right people find your content at the right time. Note: Socedo was a client of Influence & Co.'s at one point.
Each of us shares information about who we are as professionals on social media; as such, the world of social media is filled with potential customers for B2B solutions. If you engage these people on social in the right way, you can attract many of them into your buying cycle.
Social networks like Twitter are useful for finding prospects who are searching for business solutions and would be open to educational content from brands — which makes social platforms the perfect place to find target prospects and engage them with content they’d find valuable.
As opposed to reactive social media management — in which your community manager responds individually to the questions, complaints, and praise from your brand’s followers — proactive outreach means you’re initiating your interaction with targeted followers.
You can use social data to connect with individual followers and start sales conversations. Take it a step further by sending them a link to a piece of gated content they’d find valuable — like we've done in the example below:
An outreach approach like this yields higher conversion rates because you’re reaching out individually to people who would be interested in your content. According to our own study at Socedo, socially engaged leads move 25 percent faster and convert at a rate 22 percent higher than leads who aren’t socially engaged.
Leads who engage with our Twitter handle and the topics we write about (such as #leadgen or demand generation) move faster through our marketing funnel, and they’re 17 percent more likely to move into the opportunity stage once we pass them to sales. We also found these leads close at a higher rate and a higher average selling price compared to leads who did not have any social interactions with us.
Rather than spend a huge budget on paid ads or wait for your SEO efforts to lift you to the front page, you can start reaching out to your prospects on social and drive those qualified leads to your gated content’s landing page.
Your community manager is already interacting with followers on social; encourage her to reach out to potentially qualified leads and record her successes. You just might find that proactive social outreach yields better returns for you, too.