Content marketing is important. Yes.
You should make content creation a priority. Yep.
You should empower and train your staff to create amazing content. Absolutely.
Is that all you should do? No.
There’s something missing in the content marketing discussion that a lot of people aren’t talking about. Here’s the deal. Right now, content marketing conversation is stuck in the “gee whiz I have a new buzzword phase.” Spend any time reading the articles and posts and you would think that content can save the world.
But content isn’t enough.
It’s missing an important ingredient – lead nurturing. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of lead nurturing before, it’s not a sexy topic. But, it’s critical to getting sales and leads from your content marketing efforts.
Here’s how most businesses use content marketing. They build it. They list it. They leave it. Usually their brilliant content sits on a “resources” page rarely noticed by site visitors. After a few months, the content effort gets abandoned because it isn’t attracting any new customers.
Are you seeing this in your business?
Well this is where lead nurturing saves the day. It’s the missing link.
Lead nurturing is simply sending specific content to customers based on their needs. Lead nurturing assumes that each reader is at a different point in their experience and sending them generic content is wasteful and ineffective.
I’ll use Pushing Social to demonstrate how lead nurturing could work in your business.
At the end of every Pushing Social post, you’ll see a box inviting you to sign-up for my 7-Minute Blog Strategy Guide. In the form, I ask readers to describe their business.
After the reader submits their information they receive a custom welcome email based on the type of business they are in. That’s not all. They also will receive a custom series of email messages based on their business type as well.
Periodically, I promote specific offers based on the reader’s actions (are they opening and reading emails) and business type. Guess what I offer them? Custom content. I rarely write one-size fits all content. I’ve learned that it is a waste of time. But a lead nurturing process allows me to write and deliver content that is highly relevant and incredibly effective.
Too Complicated? Nope.
You can set-up a basic lead nurturing process with Aweber. Here’s what you do:
1. Create a simple special report or ebook and give it away for free. I call these gems “Expert Products.” In exchange ask the reader to provide their name, email and answer a “segment” question. Examples of segment question include selecting a business type, when they plan to make a purchase, or their expertise level.
Let your campaign run for a few weeks to gather subscriber information for the next step.
2. Use Aweber to search your email list for people who meet the segment criteria you asked for on your form. The photo shows the process for Aweber, Mailchimp has a similar set-up.
Save the segment.
Now you have a custom segment filled with people who match a certain criteria. You can send specific email messages and content to this particular segment. Here’s a simple guide from Aweber to show you how.
For example, if you asked readers to select their expertise level, you can send “beginners” a special report that with basic information. Experts would get advanced topics and resources.
Does Content + Lead Nurturing Work?
Yes. My leads and sales have increased by 25% since I started lead nurturing. Clients I’ve worked with have seen similar results.
Content + Lead Nurturing works because people get the specific information they need. Each piece of relevant content they receive reinforces your credibility and expertise.
Also, segmenting your list gives you incredibly useful information that can craft insightful blog posts and boost the quality of your content. It’s a win-win for you and readers.
But . . .
I suspect 9 out of 10 people will say that setting up a Content + Lead Nurturing process is too hard. I challenge you to be the 1 person who does the bit of extra work required to be successful. Do your homework and put your system into place. I guarantee you that this “missing link” will be exactly what you need to succeed.
Still not convinced? Let’s talk about your questions in the comments below.
Today’s Micro Action
Will you be the person to go the extra mile and engage with lead nurturing? Take some time to consider it, and if your answer is “yes”, plan time in your schedule to do it.