What Is Lead Generation?
The old way of making a sale was to make sales calls and send out mass emails, hoping for a response, which is ineffective for many reasons. Thankfully, there is a more effective way to spark interest in your products—lead generation.
The goal of lead generation (lead gen) content is to capture contact information for outbound nurturing. Lead gen content must be valuable enough that the reader is willing to share some personal information to access it.
To accomplish this, your job is to create content that is sufficiently comprehensive in a specific subject. In the short term, your goal is to capture leads. In the long run, your goal is to establish your company as a thought leader. Your content should be the go-to resource for the entire ecosystem—this is what will ultimately increase revenue growth from your marketing efforts.
In this blog, we’ll give you the tools to build a highly effective lead gen campaign. Read on to discover the four types of content you’ll need to fuel your lead gen engine.
The Four Key Content Types For Your Lead Gen Engine
White papers offer an in-depth discussion of an issue and how to solve it. In marketing, white papers introduce a new big idea: what it is, why it’s important and game-changing, an example of its application, why you are a highly qualified candidate to implement this on your customer’s behalf, and how customers can begin to explore this new idea.
Why are they called white papers, you might ask? White papers originated as government reports, which used color-coding to indicate distribution. White was designated for public access. The concept was adopted by other sectors to describe any report that teaches readers something new.
To create a white paper, start by conducting thorough research to support your big idea and the claims you’ll make in your paper. Incorporate visual elements to illustrate your ideas and clarify them to readers.
Prioritize organization and clarity in the writing process. White papers should be less casual than blogs, but still engaging and exciting to read. You don’t want it to be dry. In terms of length, approximately 10 pages are necessary to fully cover a topic, but highly visual designs can make for much longer papers.
Maturity models are another type of content that takes an established concept and applies it to a specific industry. A maturity model is a tool that was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of an organization against objective benchmarks of growth. The goal of this content is to show the reader the maturity level of their organization and how they can advance to the next level—with your help, of course.
Maturity models are powerful because they provide users with a real description of where they are and where they want to be, growth-wise. With this type of content, you can share objective information that is directly applicable for companies at any phase of growth. At each level, you can offer valuable information about how companies can advance to the next level, which will broaden your appeal to a greater range of potential buyers.
Webinars are like video versions of a white paper. They provide viewers with a comprehensive description of a specific concept. They must discuss powerful new ideas and how they apply to the audience—and, crucially, how you can help viewers with this process. Remember that a webinar is not a product pitch. For this reason, you should keep product demos short and ensure that your content is informative beyond product descriptions.
Keep in mind that most of your audience thinks of webinars as longer video recordings that are available on demand. Most viewers register for a webinar so they can watch on their own time. With this in mind, make sure that your webinars are just as engaging when watched on-demand later. To account for late viewers, measure total engagement by combining your post-webinar recorded viewing and the real-time attendees.
Solution guides are intended for prospects who are closer to the product evaluation stage, based on their marketing activity level. So, solution guides are more “salesy” than the other marketing content we’ve discussed.
Solution guides should fall somewhere between a white paper and a product brochure. They should start with the big idea and its application, and then show how your solution stacks against competing solutions concerning achieving that big idea. While it may compare specs and features, it should still be engaging—it shouldn’t be dry.
Be careful to speak respectfully and objectively about your competitors and their products. Remember, your audience is not yet sold on you—you shouldn’t alienate them by disparaging your competitors and their solutions.
Why Is This Important?
These four types of content are the fuel to your lead gen engine. But building your lead gen engine is just one step in the process of driving prospects toward sales to increase revenue growth. Before the lead gen process begins, you must familiarize users with your company in the first place—which starts with demand generation (demand gen).
Ideally, demand gen and lead gen should work together in a two-part process to increase revenue. The process starts with demand gen content, which generates interest among your target market. This content should put you on the long list of vendors that buyers are considering.
Then, your lead gen engine comes into play. This content should put you on the shortlist of 3-4 vendors your buyers are considering, thus increasing the chance that they will reach out to your sales team. Because the content fueling your lead gen engine is gated, it requires readers to give up something—their personal information—to access it. This is a good indicator that readers are seriously interested in what your company has to offer. With this in mind, your lead gen content must live up to their expectations if you want readers to contact sales. This is why we’ve provided you with this comprehensive overview of demand gen content to get you started.
Together, your demand and lead gen engines work together to generate and nurture leads toward sales. This is what will increase the revenue you generate from marketing.