Just last week, Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ released their fourth annual B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America. The timing of the report’s release couldn’t have been better, as this week we are hosting our Landing Pages for Content Marketing webinar.
The report indicates some positive momentum for the upcoming year:
93% of B2B companies using content marketing (up from 91% in 2013)
30% of B2B marketing budgets being allocated to content marketing
58% of B2B marketers planning to increase content marketing budget in 2014
Brand awareness, customer acquisition & lead-gen continue as top goals
42% of B2B marketing believe they are effective at content marketing (up from 36% in 2013)
Content is (still) huge.
People want content. Brands are committed to delivering it. However, while the report shows a nice little bump in content marketing effectiveness, there is still a problem.
58% of B2B marketers feel they are not effective at content marketing.
Because (and we are only half-joking here) some content marketing programs look like this:
1. Create amazing content
2. Distribute amazing content
4. Get more leads and sales
A whopping 84% of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing said they have no documented strategy. Whoa! Brand awareness may be hard to measure, but lead-gen and customer acquisition are not.
What happens next?
Answering the “what happens next?” is the difference between passive and active content marketing. Passive content is “publish-and-pray,” while active content marketing gives the visitor the next step, provides measurable results (leads & sales), and tests & optimizes “framing content” to increase conversions. Simply put, active content marketing leverages landing pages to drive lead-gen and customer acquisition.
Below are nine practical ways to deliver measurable, significant conversions from your content marketing initiatives, beyond dumping your content behind a lead capture form.
9 Ways to Drive More Leads From Your Content Marketing
Sure, you’ve used landing pages to ‘gate’ high value content such as white papers or ebooks, but there more creative ways to up-sell and cross-sell content to convert your audience’s attention into business results.
1. Up sell on your blog
Embed a landing page into your blog to up sell related content or a complimentary offer. The offer must be highly valuable and highly relevant to the specific blog post. In this example, Online Marketing Institute cross-sells to Scott’s Landing Page Optimization for B2B Marketing class at the bottom of ion’s 25 Elements to Test On Your Landing Pages guest blog post. The landing page uses fantastic framing content — benefit bullets, interactive tabbed content, class ratings — to help drive the free trial conversion.
Offer is highly relevant to blog topic — benefit-driven call-to-action is clear & concise.
2. Offer nurture subscription on your blog
Most blogs encourage readers to subscribe to a feed or email stream of new blog posts. Great! But why not go for a broader nurture approach? The promise of deeper, topic-specific content — beyond the blog — is enough to enough some folks to opt-in to your nurture program. Use embedded landing pages to test your calls-to-action and supporting copy to find the message and offers that drive the most engagement (free subscription, “exclusive” membership, monthly resources, etc.)
3. Cross sell within white papers
Or, as content folks like to call it, contextual content cross sell…allowing readers to opt-in to receive more of what already interests them. For example, in our Landing Pages for Content Marketing Idea Book, readers can click or scan a QR code to get the infographic companion to the guide. Of course, that infographic is hosted on a beautiful landing page that encourage social sharing/distribution and furthers exposes the ion brand (see #6).
4. Try a white paper teaser
Lists have been shown to work well as hot content pieces, spreading rapidly. You can extract a fairly meaty chunk of content and present it within a landing page as a teaser. The up sell? The full-length white paper, guide or ebook. A microsite is an awesome format for content teasers as they encourage exploration and discovery. eHealth showcases their health insurance buyer’s guide in five steps via a tabbed interface. Readers can choose to read now or download a .pdf copy. An up sell to “Get Quotes” remains consistent on the landing page. Love this interactive teaser — kudos eHealth.
Tabbed content or microsite formats are highly effective at engaging visitors to explore.
5. Drive infographic CTAs to lead-gen forms
Infographics. They attract so many eyeballs that they have huge potential to generate deeper engagement than just social sharing. When distributed as .pdf files, call-to-action can be built in to cross-sell/up sell complimentary content or offers. When distributed as web-native graphics (.png, .gif, ,jpg), they can include QR and URL calls-to-action. I love this example from BzzAgent. The Field Guide to Brand Advocates includes a call-to-action to download the complete Field Guide (see #4 above) and links to a lead-gen landing page. Nice!
Infographic offers a highly valuable complimentary content asset, which is promoted via a landing page.
6. Use landing pages to further “reach” of infographics
There are so many ways to help infographics go viral. In addition to social sharing icons, ’click to tweet’ link and embed codes, you can also use landing page to showcase your infographic. Check out our Landing Pages for Content Marketing [Infographic] landing page for some inspiration.
7. Try a webinar trailer
Webinars, like infographics, are highly desirable content. They are intensive to produce and can be significant lead-or demand-generation drivers, especially in B-to-B markets. If you decide to ‘gate’ recorded versions of your webinars, you can easily communicate the value of the webinar content with a highlight reel. Gating an asset, such as a recorded webinar, doesn’t have to be an impediment to a pleasant user experience. A quality landing experience can ensure value is established and communicated with relevance, design and substance.
8. Use slides as bait
Probably my favorite of the nine — using slides as “bait” for recorded webinars, Embedding a “sneak peek” of webinar slides into your landing page is a sexy (and effective) way to entice and convert. Below, you’ll see how a SlideShare slide deck is being leveraged as a teaser. Users can interact with the excerpt content and decide for themselves if the exchange of information for the content is fair. I love this tactic because there are so many elements within the framing content that can be tested — everything from headline and bullet copy — to specific slides and presentation of the player!
Embed a “snak peek” of webinar slides to engage and convert.
9. Generate leads with slide decks
We are big fans of slide decks as ion. If you are a SlideShare PRO customer, you can embed a lead form into your slide decks. We offer an opt-in to our monthly nurture program. Its easy to set up and works well to capture high-funnel leads. Another way to generate leads through your slide decks is by cross selling to another content asset within your deck. I’d recommend sticking to a relevant and topic-focused piece of content rather than a free trial or sales inquiry. Folks who are viewing your slide decks are more likely to be doing research or looking for new ideas. Don’t interrupt their information gathering “zen” with a noisy sales pitch. Use your landing page to (again) communicate the relevancy and value of the content.
Offers within slide decks must be highly relevant and valuable. No noisy sales pitches allowed!
The idea book
The nine tactics above look at practical ways to introduce landing pages into your content marketing. Each are designed to deepen engagement and participation with your brand, while providing you with measurable results from your content marketing initiatives.
Interested in checking out a really cool idea book, with visual examples of these tactics? Check out our the full guide to turning content in conversions with landing pages!