5 min read
Content marketers are the boots on the ground, driving results for the marketing strategy. But your efforts are only as good as your habits.
How you approach your content every day makes a big impact on your short and long-term success. If you’re stuck with bad habits, you might be killing your ability to both attract and nurture your leads.
It’s easy to overlook the value of lead nurturing when you’re primary responsibilities in the day-to-day are brainstorming ideas and writing, editing, and amplifying your content.
But your team’s ability to nurture leads through content has a direct impact on your company’s bottom line. According to Forrester’s 2014 study, marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads, as compared to non-nurtured leads. What’s more, companies excelling at lead nurturing earn 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost.
Simply put, you need to stop these four bad habits hurting your lead nurturing:
1. Creating for a Broad Audience
Creating content for everyone will likely impact nobody. Content that is overly generalized is often thin and uninformative. Frankly, generalized blog posts suck.
This write-for-everyone mentality kills lead nurturing because your audience won’t find content that is relevant from you.
Do this instead:
Learn exactly who you’re addressing, and look at the whole picture of the audience experience. What are they struggling with? What questions does your buyer persona have? How do they want to consume helpful content? What formats are most engaging to them?
Great content marketers know exactly who they’re targeting and how to best educate them. They also understand how varied their ideal audience is.
Start segmenting your audience by criteria, like which buyer persona you’re targeting and what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in. When you segment and understand exactly what your ideal reader needs, you can use contextual marketing tactics.
Contextual marketing is geared toward giving your visitors an individualized experience. For example, visitors from social media will see a different homepage than those who come from organic search.
This experience can impress new visitors and keep them coming back for more as they advance through the buyer's journey.
2. Valuing Quantity Over Quality
The “content is king” mantra from marketers is partially accurate. The full mantra should be, “quality content is king.”
Just putting up blog posts for the sake of consistency can lead your team to waste resources on content that you don't get much mileage from. You want every piece of content to serve a distinct purpose for buyer personas.
Focusing on quantity kills lead nurturing because you’re not thinking about the long-term value of each piece. Also, chances are you’re putting out subpar content that is rushed, which will hurt your reputation with existing leads and fail at attracting new leads.
Do this instead:
Build a lead’s path based on buyer personas, and map pieces to each stage of their path. This is called content mapping.
The mission of inbound marketing is delivering the right content to the right people at the right time. Mapping your content helps you target content based on both who your buyer persona is and what buyer’s journey stage they’re in.
Check out HubSpot’s Content Mapping Template to get started now!
3. Staying in the Comfort Zone
For content marketers, nothing is more exciting than seeing your work pay off in big ways. Your blog articles continue to generate loads of traffic. Your gated resources are bringing in a lot of awesome leads.
But just like everything, there is no set-it-and-forget-it strategy. It’s a great idea to stick with what’s working, but you also need to consider what will work tomorrow.
It’s tempting to stick with what makes you comfortable as a content marketer, but don’t let your comfort zone hold your creativity back. This leads to boring, repetitive content. Merely creating the same content in the same formats won’t get you far.
Do this instead:
Strive to test your efforts as you diversify your content strategy. For example, experiment with new topics and new angles that address specific challenges your buyer personas have.
Also, explore new formats, such as:
- Original research reports
- Case studies
- Slide decks
- Product reviews
When you branch out, you can uncover awesome new formats that engage your audience in ways you’ve never seen before. Just make sure you measure, analyze, and adjust your strategy as you explore new avenues.
4. Working Behind Closed Doors
Content teams that work in silos are not in tune with leads as much as they can be. This kills lead nurturing because other departments, specifically sales, can deliver valuable data on leads. This information can help you better tailor content to them.
Your other teams can deliver amazing insights into who your leads are and where they need targeted content based on their stage in the buyer’s journey. Otherwise, you’re taking shots in the dark with your strategy.
Do this instead:
CSO Insights’ 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study found that a staggering majority (89%) of companies that aligned sales and marketing lead generation efforts reported measurable increases in the number of leads that turned to opportunities as a result of continuous nurturing.
This shows the big impact marketing and sales alignment has on overall business goals. Establish a smarketing approach so everyone is on the same page.
Smarketing starts with a service level agreement (SLA). Traditionally, SLAs are used to tell a customer exactly what they’ll receive from a service provider. But your smarketing SLA is a little different -- it’s an agreement that details marketing and sales goals. This document is used by both teams as a commitment to support one another.
Unfortunately, according to HubSpot’s 2018 State of Inbound report, only 26% of respondents say they operate under a marketing and sales SLA.
But of those who say they’re tightly aligned with an SLA, a whopping 85% say their marketing strategy is effective. Also, 69% of those using an SLA said they generate the highest quality leads for their sales team through their inbound practices.
Bottom line: create an SLA for marketing and sales to align, and meet regularly to discuss content strategy.
Published on August 2, 2018