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How to Generate Thousands of B2B Leads Using Content

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Since 2013, Wishpond has generated over 100,000 leads using content marketing. And that number continues to grow month over month as we continue to optimize our lead generation processes and funnels. It seems we’ve mastered the ability to generate B2B leads using content marketing!

But lead generation wasn’t always easy for us. When we first started created content there were a number of mistakes that we made that ended up costing us big time in the long run.

In this post I’ll share some of the biggest mistakes that we made when starting with content marketing, and the exact strategies we use today to continually drive thousands of new inbound leads month after month.

Early Lead Generation Mistakes

1. Unoptimized Offers

Like most startups full of passion and energy, when we first heard about content marketing we were gung ho to hit the ground running a fast as we could. As a result we began creating a ton of great content while neglecting to spend the same amount of time creating relevant content call-to-actions.

So what does this mean?

In a nutshell, a lot of missed conversion opportunities that were hiding in plain sight.

As a general rule of thumb you should always aim to have at least one content-specific CTA on any piece of content that you publish. This can include things like content upgrades, additional worksheets, courses, etc.

When we first started creating content we tended to focus on generic bottom of the post CTA’s promoting an ebook or other type of download. The problem with this type of unoptimized (and generic) CTA is that it tends to only convert at somewhere between 0.5% – 1.5%.

Compare this with some of our click popups which now convert at around 54%, and you’ll start to see how far we’ve come from our original posts (more on this later in the article).

2. Segmentation

My content editor once told me that “lead segmentation was the bane of his existence”. And while I highly doubt this, there’s still something to be said about trying to retroactively segment leads after the fact.

Had we known what we know now, we would have simply passed a hidden field in each of our lead generation campaigns marking each lead with a specific interest. For example, if a user converted on an Instagram marketing ebook they would be tagged as a “social media marketing” lead.

Or if they converted on a “landing pages webinar,” then they would be tagged as a lead interested in landing pages

Segmenting your leads properly and knowing which leads are interested in which topic areas is the number one way of increasing email engagement, click throughs, and free trial conversions.

Current Lead Generation Strategies

1. Content Upgrades

Over the past year content upgrades have gotten a lot of attention in the marketing world, and for good reason. Content upgrades have proven to be one of the most effective lead generation strategies on the web today,  and implementing them is even easier.

A content upgrade is basically just a downloadable piece of content that’s specifically prepared for an individual article. It’s generally used to either provide a resource for users to access later, or to expand on one of the ideas mentioned in the post. The most commonly seen use of content upgrades is a downloadable PDF of the article.

Here’s an example of a content upgrade offering an article as a free PDF download on the Wishpond blog:

Using this strategy on a select number of our new articles, Wishpond was able to generate 2,302 new leads in 10 months.

2. Popups

Would it surprise you to hear that Wishpond still drives a lot of new leads using popups?

Well, we do, but it might not be in the way that you think.

When people tend to think of popups they tend to assume that we’re referring to entry popups which appear as soon as a user visits your site. These types of popups are generally seen as annoying, not to mention that Google has decided to penalize websites that display popups upon entry for mobile users.

What I am talking about though, are popups triggered based on engagement, and ones that provide relevant information to users at just the right time. And one engagement metric that we use to determine when a user should see a popup is based on scrolling.

The reason we choose to trigger popups based on scrolling is because we can assume that someone scrolling past a certain point in your content is an actively engaged visitor and therefore much more receptive to a specific offer related to the content they’re reading.

Here’s an example of a scroll popup which we have set to trigger at the 30% mark of an article on marketing for realtors:

Using a targeted offer and triggering the popup based on the user behavior of scrolling, we’re able to see otherwise unprecedented results from popups.

Here’s a screenshot of this popup campaign analytics where we see it’s converted over 156 unique leads at a 55.8% conversion rate.

Now I’m not sure about you, but a 50% conversion rate for an article is pretty damn good!

3. Contextual Offers

The last thing that I’ll touch on is what we call contextual offers. This could be considered to some degree similar to a content upgrade, the difference being that contextual offers don’t have to be created specifically for the article.

Contextual offers can be things like courses, ebooks, industry reports, or any other resource that you may have created in the past. The way they work is you add a call-to-action linking to this resource whenever possible from inside your different blog content.

Here’s an example of an contextual offer that we use in one of our growth hacking articles when we mention running a social sweepstakes:

Notice how after the tip is mentioned to run a sweepstakes, a CTA is displayed below prompting users to sign up for a free course teaching them how to successfully run a sweepstakes.

The great thing about contextual offers is that they can be recycled and used amongst different articles. For instance, we often link to our Facebook Ad ebook from different sections of different articles.

Take an inventory of the different resources that you’ve created over time and strategically add them to new and old blog posts. The added customization – adding them within specific parts of your post – is a sure way to increase engagement and provide a great user experience.

Summary

I know what you might be thinking, how can generating thousands of leads be that simple, right? Well the system that we’ve set up isn’t rocket science, but it does require consistent effort, publishing, and action.

Share in the comments below how you generate B2B leads using content! Who else has reached 100,000 leads?

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About the Author

Kevin Ho

Kevin Ho manages Partnership Marketing at Wishpond, a platform designed to help marketers run amazing social campaigns. He is a contributor to Social Media Today, Convince and Convert, and Social Media Examiner. Connect with him on Twitter @mayoshrimp

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