For B2B marketers, creating social content is a highly effective way to drive traffic to your website – but it can be difficult to turn those visitors into qualified leads. As a result, marketing dollars are wasted on producing social content that drives page views, but few true leads.
With the right type of social content, you can engage qualified prospects at every stage of the marketing funnel – and turn more of your brand’s social followers into lifetime customers.
(SUBSCRIBE TO THE ADOTAS NEWSLETTER AT THE
BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE!)
Follow these five steps to leverage social content to convert visitors into buyers during different stages of the marketing funnel.
1. Create highly shareable, “ungated” content for the top of the marketing funnel.
Start by developing content that readers will proactively share through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Content that’s likely to be shared is compelling and high-value, but not heavily specialized. Examples of shareable content include educational blog posts, industry leader Q&As, videos, and infographics.
For instance, a blog post that lists innovative ways to use customer case studies will appeal to many B2B marketing employees, capturing users from that large demographic. This type of general content will help you cast the widest net and reach prospects at the top of the funnel. Such content should be “ungated” – that is, visitors should not be required to fill out information forms to gain access to it. Reaching a broad audience builds awareness of your company as a thought leader and expert, and subsequently can result in more qualified leads at later stages of the content marketing cycle.
2. Publish problem-solving content pieces for mid-funnel audiences.
After using general educational content to drive a broad audience to your website, it’s important to capture information from the most qualified leads by guiding them towards “gated” content. This type of content focuses on issues relevant to your target prospects, and requires users to register before downloading or reading the content.
Develop tactical content that provides solutions to specific business problems, such as whitepapers, webinars, newsletters, and eBooks. Prospects in the mid-funnel stage are evaluating whether your product or service will help them solve a business problem. Give them the information they need to make informed decisions. For instance, a webinar that shows viewers how to troubleshoot website coding problems in Drupal should attract prospects interested in your company’s Drupal consulting solution.
3. For the bottom of the funnel, create results-focused content to drive sales.
After generating and nurturing leads, it’s time to convert your visitors with compelling content that demonstrates the results your products have delivered for customers. At this stage, focus on developing client case studies, evaluation guides, ROI calculators, and video demonstrations that executive decision-makers can use to fully understand the benefits of your solution. Once your prospects have reached this stage of the marketing funnel, it’s critical to follow up with personalized interactions by phone and email to help nurture and guide them to the final buying stage.
4. Use social retargeting tools to retarget the top- and mid-funnel prospects who haven’t yet converted.
In most cases, only a small fraction of readers who click on your ungated social content will travel all the way down your content marketing funnel to become buyers the first time around. Similar to the technique of site retargeting, social retargeting delivers display ads to prospects who’ve previously clicked on your social links or arrived at your landing pages. Use these ads to invite prospects to download gated content, which will allow you to capture their contact details and then nurture them directly through email and phone contact. Social retargeting ads bring ‘lost’ prospects back into your marketing funnel and direct them towards the purchasing stage.
5. Analyze and attribute your results.
To continuously improve your content marketing program, measure a set of metrics – such as clicks and shares of social content, whitepaper downloads, webinar sign-ups, and retargeting conversions. Use attribution modeling to measure the impact that each type of content has on generating leads and sales. Once you know the content that’s working to drive leads, you can create more of it.
To further optimize the value of your social content marketing efforts, consider using tools that provide deeper analysis of your results. For instance, a link-shortening tool can track who is clicking on your links and capture those leads. Through site and social retargeting, again, you can then guide those leads back into your marketing funnel.
With a savvy mix of social content and advertising geared towards your target audience, you’ll increase the number of prospects entering your funnel at every stage of the marketing cycle — and generate more sales.