It’s no secret that lead generation is a struggle for many companies. Reports from eMarketer and MarketingSherpa indicate that between 60 percent and 68 percent of B2B marketers identify lead generation as a challenge. Take a moment to think about that — at least six in 10 companies are struggling to fill their pipelines with leads.
It’s safe to say that a lack of content isn’t the reason for these lead generation difficulties. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 benchmark report, 86 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing and 70 percent plan to increase content creation.
So if the issue isn’t the quantity of content, then what is it? It’s the quality of content.
High-quality content is the foundation of an effective outbound lead generation campaign. A flimsy or underdeveloped piece of content can doom a campaign to failure. On the other hand, a high-quality, strategically sound asset will pay dividends at all stages of a campaign.
Though it might not be immediately apparent, there is a strong link between content quality and costs when it comes to outbound lead generation.
The typical process involves submitting an asset and targeting criteria to a vendor, who then returns with a proposed cost per lead (CPL). Assuming it’s not rejected, low-quality content can raise the CPL as much as 35 percent. That’s an increase of $7 for a basic $20 CPL — a sizeable sum across hundreds of leads.
The reason for this cost increase is pretty simple — outbound vendors understand that low-quality content requires more broadcasts and more contact fatigue to achieve the same objectives.
Quality content results in a more competitive CPL price and will help you connect with the right target group. To create quality content, you need a sound content strategy and a specific buyer persona in mind. Knowing and understanding this persona will help you select the most pertinent targeting criteria.
Outbound demand generation works by creating a derived content package — generally consisting of an email, a landing page, and a confirmation page — to promote a given asset. As one might expect, the derived content is only as good as the original content.
As Flint McGlaughlin of MarketingSherpa has said, the key to the email is to “give them just enough information to ensure that they click through.” If the content is convoluted or hard to explain, the vendor is forced to use longer, more complicated wording in the derived content, and that leads to fewer conversions. Conversely, an appealing, well-targeted asset allows for more compelling derived content and more conversions.
It takes a great piece of content to support this process. The best outbound content is easy to grasp but complex to master. In other words, the concept is simple enough to be articulated in just a few words but complex enough that the information and insights are more than just common sense.
In addition to a strong premise, content enriched with graphics (product images, charts, box quotes, etc.) results in more effective lead generation campaigns. In fact, according to data from MDG Advertising, 67 percent of consumers consider clear, detailed graphics to be “very important.” That puts graphics ahead of product information, descriptions, and even customer ratings. Graphics can be pulled into derived content (generally landing pages) to add credibility, to quickly convey a point, or to help break up chunks of text.
As important as content is before and during your campaign, it’s most important afterward. The campaign is intended to drive members of your target audience to download and consume your asset. It’s up to the asset to take over from there. High-quality content will get its point across efficiently and present the logical next steps you want the reader to take.
In order to convey its message, content has to overcome the challenge of diminishing attention spans. The average adult’s attention span is somewhere between a few minutes and 20 minutes, and it takes high-quality content to hold the attention of readers. The best content allows readers to quickly connect with the information they want. It is front-loaded, meaning it presents the key information early on to ensure readers get the point before tuning out.
It’s also important that content has reasonable objectives. A whitepaper alone likely won’t move a reader from awareness to decision. A more reasonable objective might be something like subscribing to a blog, consuming more content, or connecting on social media.
High-quality content will support these objectives by including contact information, links, and interactive calls to action. Taking these steps keeps users within your ecosystem, connects them to relevant related content, and makes the next steps apparent. The presence of these interactive elements is crucial. A recent study by Demand Metric found that content with interactive elements generates two times as many conversions as passive content.
From start to finish, content quality is a difference maker for outbound lead generation. Companies do themselves a great disservice by promoting assets that aren’t up to par. An investment in high-quality content will pay off in the form of successful campaigns and more leads.