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Inbound Marketing

Best Practices for Creating Lead-Generating Content Offers

One of the most effective methods of generating sales leads is the content offer. People enjoy receiving free resources and will generally be happy to hand over their email addresses and more contact details in exchange for useful digital media. When a visitor to your website downloads a content offer, he or she is expressing interest in your niche and brand.

The Best Way To Create Lead-Generating Content Offers

If the download represents this person’s first interaction with your company, then the opt-in form on the relevant landing page brings him or her aboard to your list of fresh, active leads, which then allows you to begin nurturing the relationship with targeted marketing messages. Moreover, if a prospect has already begun the relationship nurturing process, you can send him or her free resources, which helps to position your brand as trustworthy and generous and your management team as thought leaders.

Offers that Bring You Closer to Your Goals

Nurturing leads with valuable content is an excellent way to keep leads advancing along the conversion funnel. Content is also a prime sales tool when it subtly talks up your product and service while it educates and informs.

Creating content can be relatively easy, but content that serves as an irresistible lead generator, as an effective lead nurturer and as a sales tool? That's significantly more challenging. Follow these guidelines to produce content that does what it ought to for your business.

Answer Your Prospects' Deepest Questions

What do your ideal customers most want to know? One way to discover what your prospects questions are is to ask them. Send out a survey to ask your audience what they would like to know about your brand, or ask people who call customer service what their top concerns are. Collect customer service emails, and organize them according to topic to see what the biggest issues are.

If you’re a new business without an existing customer base, ask your acquaintances to browse the website and list the questions they want answers to. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find out what phrases people are searching for online, and rephrase them as questions.

Once you have a list of customer questions, identify the ones likely to be the most burning, and use them as a basis for content writing. Make sure your content actually answers the question and provides real value to your audience. There are few things more damaging to a new customer relationship than having them sign up to receive content, only to be disappointed in the quality of that content.

Match Content to Funnel Positions 

Lead nurturing requires content that is targeted to the lead’s position in the conversion funnel.

Prospects at the top of the funnel ("ToFu") will appreciate different content from those in the middle ("MoFu") or at the tail end ("BoFu"). Content targeted to a lead who clicked through to your site from a social media post for the first time should be more basic than content written for a lead who has been receiving your emails for three months.

Don’t Try to Sell

The most successful content offers are those that don’t even mention your company. Create educational content which will help prospects in their decision making process without actively pushing your business.

If your competitors offer a slightly different product, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of product and which customers each one is best suited for. Write a thought leadership piece that maps out important knowledge in your industry and builds brand trust without any overt mention of your company. Focus on nurturing an emotional connection with your brand without any attempt at selling.

Content at Any Size

When we think of content offers, we often think of eBooks. But content doesn’t have to be long-form to be compelling. Even bite-size content can provide value to prospects and build trust and thought leadership. Consider generating checklists, infographics, templates or ten-minute Podcasts.

Length is not the determining factor here; value is. If your content is informative and memorable, the lead will appreciate it and be that more likely to eventually do business with you.

Generate Automated Workflows

Your content media offer should be set up to enable further engagement with your prospects. When a lead clicks through from your content offer, this activity should trigger an automated email "workflow," which sends out targeted messages to nurture the relationship between brand and lead.

Once a complex and expensive venture, automated workflows are now an integral tool for businesses of all sizes. Use a platform that easily segments and automates, so you can easily send the right content at the right time to the right customer.

Powerful Relationship Building

A good content offer is one of the most powerful lead generation tools available to businesses. Invest some time and effort creating valuable content that's optimized to resonate with leads at different stages of the sales funnel, and you'll likely see major improvements in your conversion volume.

Written by Ben Jacobson / March 25, 2015

A content and social media marketing specialist, Ben Jacobson joined the Lean Labs team in the summer of 2014. Ben has been active as a digital branding professional since the early days of social media, having overseen projects for brands including MTV, National Geographic, Zagat and Wix. His writing has appeared in Social Media Explorer, Search Engine Journal, Techwyse and the Mad Mimi Blog. Ben resides just south of the Carmel Mountain ridge in Israel with his dashing wife and two sprightly descendants.

Articles by Ben Jacobson