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How to use content marketing to generate leads (in B2B)

October 20, 2020

Wanna get your higher-ups to believe in content marketing?

Then it’s time to start generating leads

And not just any kind of leads. 

Leads your B2B sales team can follow up on without being virtually egged. Leads that are actually interested in buying your product. Leads that’ll convert and bring in that sweet revenue. 

For this article, I’m going to share how I go about doing just that at Leadfeeder.

So buckle in. Here’s your whistle-stop tour 👇🏼

Lead generation

What is lead generation in B2B content marketing?

On the surface, it may not seem like lead generation and B2B content marketing have a lot in common. 

But, off the top of my head, I can think of three things: 

  1. They both get better with age. 
  2. Some of the best examples are already on your site. 
  3. They depend on the alignment of your sales and marketing teams, kind of like the bromance between The Rock and Kevin Hart. 

In the B2B space, content marketing attempts to ease customer pain points that push them further down the buyer journey, serving them different types of content based on their priorities.

How does content marketing help B2B buyers through the sales funnel?

When it comes to guiding B2B buyers through the sales funnel, it can feel like you’re stuck watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (all in one day). It can take forever!

That’s where content marketing comes into play. 

Let me walk you through a sales funnel example at Leadfeeder.

Let’s say someone searches for “B2B lead generation software” in Google. Leadfeeder will serve them a Google Ad that directs them to a landing page. 

This is the type of content we use for the first phase of the funnel – attract. 

Then, that same person is browsing Facebook a week later and is served a retargeting ad to visit our blog. The blog content is the second phase of the sales funnel – engage.

After the user signs up, we push them into our email funnel to surprise and delight our users for retention.

Buyer personas

What is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is the characteristics that make up your ideal customer. Your buyer persona can include things like gender, income, education, job title, and even things such as interests and likes. For example, I could say at Leadfeeder our buyer persona works in the marketing field at a B2B company, with interests in cheesy burritos. Minus the cheesy burrito part. 

How can creating buyer personas and mapping content to them help generate leads?

When beginning to map your content, start with a buyer persona then walk through their customer journey

For example, at Leadfeeder, we have two buyer personas – sales and marketers. We have created a content map for each of those personas for each part of the funnel. The content at each funnel stage matches a goal we want that persona to take. 

For instance, we have different Facebook ad campaigns targeting sales pain points. And, we have separate Facebook ad campaigns for marketers. Here’s how it works:

  • Each of those Facebook ad campaigns pushes the persona further down the funnel with a blog post.
  • The blog post is targeted at a specific pain point for the salesperson or marketer.
  • Then, the blog post has a lead magnet for sales call scripts or marketing report templates, depending on our persona. 

Lead magnets

What are lead magnets?

A lead magnet is a piece of downloadable content that pops up like a garden gnome to greet you. Lead magnets are typically embedded into your website within the content. Examples include a pop-up, a banner, or a side panel form.  

How do you choose the right lead magnets for your buyer personas?

I choose the lead magnets based on the types of content I know our buyer personas are interested in. For example, at Leadfeeder, we tailor our lead magnets for the blog based on blog category. If they’re in the sales blog category, we’ll deliver a pop-up with a cold call script. If they’re in the marketing blog category, we’ll use a pop-up with a marketing report template. 

We do A/B test the performance of these using Unbounce. Based on the conversation data, we will rotate these out with new pieces that hopefully match the pain points of each persona. 

Keywords

What different keyword groups are there?

We use different keyword groups based on our site architecture. We use our keyword-rich main navigation to create our strategic keyword strategy for the rest of the content on our site. 

Our keyword groups for our main navigation are targeted at purchase-intent. For example, instead of “lead generation software” we use “buy lead generation software” for our product pages. But, for our blog pages, our buyer personas may not be ready to buy yet; the intent is not to purchase but to learn more. We use different keyword groups based on the phase of the funnel they’re in. 

How do these different keyword groups cater to leads at different stages of the funnel?

Each keyword group should be mapped to each phase of the customer journey in the same content map we talked about above. We use informational keyword groups at the beginning of the funnel during the awareness phase. Then we use transactional keyword terms like “Leadfeeder pricing” when their intent is to buy. 

Tracking and nurturing leads

How can marketing and sales work together to take leads through to conversion?

This is where the magic happens! When you have a database of leads, marketers can export this to begin targeting them with ads to pull new users into their sales funnel. And, sales teams can begin their cold outreach through social, phone calls, or email.

The complete content marketing guide

Did you like this article on how to make your content marketing lead generation more data-driven?

If so - we have many more insights to share with you!

Download our Complete Content Marketing Playbook. It’s an exhaustive manual for building and scaling your very own B2B content marketing strategy. Featuring top tips and hacks from some of the brightest minds in B2B and SaaS, it includes:

  • Advice for content planning and setting goals.
  • A step-by-step guide to engaging with industry thought leaders.
  • A blog writing and SEO workshop.
  • Tips for activating your content on social media and going viral.
  • Templates and infographics to help you report on your content.

Best of all - we’re giving all this knowledge away for free! Simply click 👇 to get your copy.

Content Marketing Playbook

Author bio

Anna Crowe is the Assistant Editor for Search Engine Journal and Head of Content at Leadfeeder. Over the last 10+ years, Anna has successfully been running her own SEO and content agency working with brands like Moz, Kissmetrics, Dollar Thrifty Rental, Hearst Magazine, Mailboat Records, Philip Morris International, Bloomin' Brands, & many more. She enjoys burritos and puppies (in that order).