Marketing and sales boil down to relationships.
It’s about getting to know your prospects and customers well enough to understand what they’re looking for, and then knowing they’ll say yes when you ask them to take the next step in the relationship.
That means you need to take time on the relationship and not jump ahead too quickly. Just like you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, you’re not likely to close the deal the moment a lead appears in the pipeline – especially in the B2B world.
Let’s figure out what it takes to play the lead gen dating game!
The Basics of Lead Generation
Marketers and salespeople are always talking about leads.
Everyone wants more qualified leads, but most of the time, they want them to appear out of thin air. While we all wish leads grew on trees, we have to do some work to get them.
Lead generation is the process of getting a prospect to take interest in your products or services.
Generating leads can come in many forms, from an organic blog post to paid social advertising – check out this top ten list to learn more. After you get the leads, you can nurture them through the pipeline in a variety of ways.
Nurturing a lead makes all the difference. It’s what separates them as just a contact in your CRM to a loyal customer who advocates for you. Lead nurturing takes a lot of planning, but it’s worth it if you use content to attract the right people to your business.
How to Generate + Educate Leads within the Content Funnel
As a former teacher, I appreciate education and learning. Really, everyone is a student of something at any given moment in life – which means you have the opportunity to educate your prospects before you even know who they are.
With so much information available digitally, B2B buyers prefer to educate themselves on products and services before ever speaking to a salesperson. That means your content matters, and you can provide the answers that your prospects need as an expert in your industry.
Just like a relationship, it’s important to build trust with your leads and prospects as you educate them with your content. Don’t give them too much at once or they’ll become overwhelmed.
The simplest way to do that is to organize content into funnel stages: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
Here’s what that means:1. TOFU: Top-Of-Funnel Content
TOFU content exists to raise brand awareness about your product or service which is why it comprises the awareness stage of a buyer’s journey. It helps leads put a face to a name, or a logo to a product/service. It gives them just enough to understand who you are and what you do and makes them want to learn more.2. MOFU: Middle-Of-Funnel Content
MOFU content, which falls into the consideration stage, helps prospects get to know your products and services better. It provides educational resources, narrows your audience to the right buyers, and teaches them how to choose a solution that meets their needs.
3. BOFU: Bottom-Of-Funnel Content
BOFU content gets to the decision stage of why your product or service could meet their needs in the best way. While you’re still educating them, the types of content become more specific to how your solution is effective, such as case studies, demos, testimonials, and more.
It’s important to remember that the content funnel should not be focused on YOU, but on your audience. Don’t come on too strong – build the relationship over time.
TOFU and MOFU content should be very helpful and educate prospects without pushing your products/services. Readers should see you as a helpful guide who’s allowing them to learn without pressure. As they move further down the funnel, they can get to know you more in depth. BOFU content allows them to see the true value in your offerings since you have built up their trust along the way.
Types of Content for Lead Nurturing
I love HubSpot’s Flywheel concept, because it helps me visualize the goal of effective content: marketing momentum. The more you invest in great strategies, the more you’ll grow.
Here’s my own alphabetical spin on the idea: Attract leads through TOFU content, Bring ‘em in with MOFU content, Close the deal using BOFU content, and Delight for the long haul by keeping the momentum going throughout the customer lifecycle.
Attract leads with TOFU:
- TOFU blogs
- Social posts
- Brand awareness videos
Bring ‘em in with MOFU:
- MOFU blogs
- Email marketing
- Chat bots
- Storytelling videos
- Downloads such as tech sheets, white papers, etc.
Close the deal with BOFU:
- BOFU blogs
- Personalized (smart) content
- Case studies
- Informational videos
Delight strategies to keep them coming back for more:
- Customer surveys
- Referral programs
- Promo items / gifts
- Great customer service
- Ongoing relationships that are genuine and interactive
Within each category, there are endless possibilities of strategies that lead to full-funnel marketing, just keep in mind the process of moving from high-level to in-depth so that you’re not overwhelming your prospects.
It’s also critical to have ongoing meetings between marketing and sales teams to ensure that your processes are in alignment.
The Future of Lead Generation
What’s next for lead gen? There will always be evolving strategies to help you make the most of your marketing, but the more you can prioritize genuine interaction to build relationships, the more your prospects will trust you (and your products/services).
Now that third-party cookies are making their exit, companies will have to rely more on first party data and lead generation than ever before.
Keep your content a top priority as you continue to build your lead funnel.