Building a robust and structured marketing funnel is important not only for acquiring new leads, but also for retaining existing clients. Through emails, webinars, blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers — whatever the medium — savvy marketers create content to keep their audience engaged with their brand before and between sales. But it’s not just a matter of creating the content. Of course, doing so is important for brand awareness, but in order to effectively fuel your funnel with content, it’s important to focus on conversions in the production, promotion and distribution of all your initiatives. Here are 10 tips for using content in different parts of your funnel to get leads, and ultimately close more business.
1. Think responsive. Landing pages, emails, eBooks, your site — whatever it is, make it responsive. In 2014, the number of global mobile users surpassed the number of desktop users. Don’t miss leads because they couldn’t view your content easily. 2. Tell a story. Use a combination of visuals and text to find a story – find a way to relate to your audience, as people. eBooks are incredibly powerful for this purpose. So are explainer videos and video ads. Check out this moving commercial by VistaPrint. 3. But don’t tell too many stories. It’s no secret that attention span is short. Make brevity your rule of thumb, if not focus. Just pick one subject per piece of content. When we simplified our messaging, we saw nearly a 400 percent increase in leads converting directly from our emails. 4. Make sure you have a clear, easy call to action. This goes for emails, promotional blog posts, landing pages for webinars, eBook downloads, event promotion… everything you’re going to promote. If you want to get leads from a specific marketing program, give it a clear and easy call to action. It’s best to just have one. People get distracted and if something seems too elaborate, they’ll move on. 5. Include testimonials. This goes along with both segmentation and telling a story — find a way for your audience to relate for each other. Show them how others, similar to them, have used your product for a specific use case. People don’t want to be “sold” – they want to see how something has worked for others, who are like them, then make the decision themselves. So help them see. We use Uberflip to display case studies and capture emails in our content hub.
6. A/B test. Tools like Marketo and Optimizely make split testing easy for landing pages, email subject lines, or with Optimizely, more intricate product marketing changes in your website. Of course, the data is only valuable if you are using it: split test a percentage of your traffic and when a clear winner presents itself – even if it’s by a small margin – send that winner to the remainder of your audience. We’ve found that personalized subject lines in emails tend to convert better, though it depends what you’re optimizing for. It’s important not to mislead your audience. 7. Customize and segment. The more customized the experience, the better. So create custom content for your brand personas. Marketo allows you to segment users for landing pages and emails, splitting the traffic based on your own data. If your product has multiple use cases, create separate content to promote each one. This could be through an infographic or through plain text – however you do it, shape your content to cater to the needs of individual leads and clients. Datanyze is also a helpful tool. It allows you to see which tools your customers are using in their website – depending on your product, you can use this information to target people effectively.
8. Be timely. Send your emails when people are on the computer but not overwhelmed with information. Beyond that, pay attention to trends in your industry and create related content. Anticipate the needs of your customers and create content based on that. 9. Consider email unsubscribes a blessing. You don’t want to trick users, and you don’t want users who don’t want your product clogging up your database. So don’t bother hiding your unsubscribe in white text or bypassing it – you don’t want artificial, forced demand anyway. 10. Leverage Micro-content in Distribution. It is extremely valuable to create branded micro-content to distribute all of your initiatives, as teasers. People are more likely to view your long-form content if they’re compelled by what you have to say about it. Make them want to click and share. Use GIFs, images, smaller graphics, or truncated videos – we’re here to help! Different types of content require emphasis on different emphasis in production, promotion and distribution – and what’s most important will vary, too, with your business – but following these 10 tips should give you a strong foundation for effectively using content to convert leads in your marketing funnel. Larissa is a marketplace analyst at Visually. You can follow her on Twitter @rissyrussell.