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Author: Heidi Cohen

3 men in black and white

Creating awesome lead generating content marketing is sexy. It attracts marketing attention and budget.

The problem: You need more than bait to attract prospects and nurture them into qualified leads.

Many marketers hand off leads to another department for conversion.

BUT smart marketers use 3 content basics to warm prospects before they’re lost. The result: More qualified leads that facilitate sales conversion while reducing the marketing-sales friction. (Here’s how the B2B purchase journey has changed.)

3 Types of basic content

The 3 types of basic content you need to build relationships and grow sales are: landing pages, welcome series and post-purchase. (Here’s more about content types in your marketing mix.) 

3 men in black and white

1. Landing pages

Landing pages and microsites are where prospects go when they click-through on a link, button or ad.

Among the landing pages you need are:

  • Ads. This depends on the type of promotions you’re using.
  • Content marketing on your site or third party sites. Encourage readers to continue reading or signup for newsletter.
  • Social media includes promotional messages and advertising.
  • 404 redirects. Give visitors options of other relevant content when they mistype a url or a search returns no results.
  • Expired product pages (redirect prospects seeking product you no longer carry) This is particularly important for Pinterest where pins may remain popular longer than your product season.
  • New-to-this-site pages. Provide guidance to site newbies. Offer them your best content as well as 101 information.

The goal: Capture prospects’ email address to continue engaging with them.

Successful landing pages must:

  • Focus the visitor on the next step in your process. Make this as streamlined as possible.
  • Limit prospect options. Too many options and visitors leave because they have to think about making a decision. Get them to act NOW!
  • Ask for the minimum amount of information. Don’t let a committee add their ideas for information gathering. This will increase the number of questions, reducing response.

Copyblogger has transformed its valuable cornerstone content into a series of ebooks. It’s positioned as membership. Who doesn’t want to belong to something bigger? Brian Clark mentioned this at Social Media Marketing World. 

Type of Basic Content-Landing Page

The major landing page tradeoff is the number of tailored pages versus more general one-size-fits-many. Targeted landing pages generally yield better tracking and conversion while more landing pages require more resources and tracking.

Remember that you want to maximize that engagement when a visitor clicks-through to another link or page. The last thing you want them to find is a blank page. Don’t forget to include a one-size-fits all landing page to ensure that you’re covered wherever you need one.

Actionable Content Marketing Basics Tips

To ensure that visitors have somewhere to go when they click:

  1. Keep the scent alive. Where appropriate, use the same branding and reference the original source.
  2. Test the various elements on each landing page. Use A/B testing so that you maximize the number of visitors each piece of content refers and the number of people who take the next step in your process.
  3. Keep landing pages alive beyond your product season. Content on third party sites and social media may live longer than your product line. Redirect prospects to the current product.
  4. Offer a relevant incentive. This can be a piece of content or an offer.
  5. Optimize your post-landing page process. Don’t add extra steps to be fancy. Cut to the chase. Attention spans are limited.

2. Welcome series

While most marketers offer an incentive to get visitors to share their email address, few continue to follow up beyond initial email.

Don’t get me wrong. A welcome email that thanks subscribers is an important first step in the process. At a minimum, use this email to get feedback that helps you know what your subscribers want.

Think of a welcome email series as romancing your prospect. Take this a step further and create a series of emailings to nurture registrants before you dump them into your newsletter or promotional series. While this isn’t a new idea, many marketers skip this step altogether.

At global marketing giant Bertelsmann, we treated new customers different from existing customers to maximize sales since new customers were more likely to purchase at higher rates. They were more excited.

Henneke of Enchanting Marketing has a great welcome series. She positions it as a Free 16 part online course. This makes it feel like more than a series of short emailings. 

Type of Basic Content-Welcome Series

Her welcome emailings are short and easy to read. The mailings are spaced out to prevent readers from getting overwhelmed.

Actionable Content Marketing Basics Tips

Enhance your welcome series with these actionable content marketing basic tips.

  1. Ask new readers for feedback. This is a great way to get readers engaged. It shows that you’re interested in them. It also yields useful product ideas.
  2. Link to older content. Encourage new readers to check out core content.
  3. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Get prospects to act while they’re still in the romance phase.
  4. Ask readers to connect with you on social media. Expand your relationship beyond owned media.
  5. Encourage new readers to refer their friends and colleagues. It’s a low cost way to build your list.

3. Post purchase contact

You have to confirm sales. Why not take the opportunity to continue building the relationship with your customer? While you can add buyers to your email list, it’s not a good practice since it can piss recipients off.

If you’re not convinced that you need post-purchase content, read this article with charts.

The beauty of post-purchase emails is that they tend to go to a primary email address, not the junk mail folder.

Type of Basic Content-Post Purchase Follow Up Email

Actionable Content Marketing Basics Tips

Here’s how to go beyond the plain vanilla purchase email confirmation with product tracking information.

  1. Provide returns information. Don’t take an ostrich approach. Let people return product if they wish or need to. Make it easy so that they have a good experience and return to buy again.
  2. Offer product usage information. Give cusomters how tos, recipes and styling advice to increase their use of your offering and make them fans.
  3. Upsell additional and related product. Showcase other products customers may need to maximize their enjoyment of their purchase.
  4. Offer customers a coupon for future purchases. Maximize the newlywed phase of your relationship. New customers are more likely to buy again from you.
  5. Ask customers for their input. Take a page from Amazon’s playbook. Get product reviews. There’s proof that customer reviews matter.
  6. Encourage customers to sign up for future emailings. Don’t just add them to your list.
  7. Give customers a reason to recommend your offering to their friends and family. Where appropriate, include a special deal.

Don’t overlook using your package to deliver additional content. At a minimum, include promotions for related products. This is particularly useful for recipients who are interested in your product but didn’t make the purchase. Ask them for their email address.

You need to do more than just churn out great content. You must entice your prospects to build deeper relationships with your brand and products.

Using these 3 content basics will enable you to extend your reach beyond your current housefile.

Do you have any tricks that make your 3 content basics (landing pages, welcome emails, and post-purchase emails) more effective? What are they?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Content Marketing World 2015   I’ll be there. Come and join me!CMW_2015

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