Ever walk through a store in August and notice that Halloween candy is already loaded up on the shelves? Or get that anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach when Christmas decorations begin popping up in October? As unnerving as these early merchandizing techniques may be, they provide a valuable lesson - especially when it comes to your lead pipeline: always be looking ahead.
Your pipeline may be chock full of prospects today, but to keep the line moving you must regularly take action. One of the best ways to ensure a robust pipeline is to continually offer fresh and relevant content that will attract those important potential new clients.
Here are five content ideas to consider that can help keep your lead pipeline overflowing.
1. Press Releases
The easiest, fastest, and simplest way to increase your visibility is to regularly send out press releases to update your audience on your business. Major milestones such as a new product launch, additional funding rounds, or merger/acquisitions are obvious topics for a release, but you can also announce less monumental happenings. Significant new hires, participation in local events, executive speaking appearances, new client contracts, and company milestones are all valid reasons to issue a press release. There are number of companies that will help you get wide distribution of your releases. You can get additional exposure by posting your releases on your web site, and emailing them to existing customers and prospects.
2. Blog Posts
According the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2019 B2B Content Marketing Survey, three out of four respondents chose blogs and articles as the most effective content vehicles in the “Interest/Awareness” stage of the buyer journey, the highest of any content type. A survey from Inside View says B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads that those that do not and HubSpot says 69% of businesses attribute their lead generation success to blogging. Tech Client says you have a 434% better chance of being ranked higher in search results if you feature a blog as part of your website.
Many marketers are hesitant to create a blog because they feel once they start, they must commit to a rigid schedule that will become another “to do” item on their already seemingly endless list. But there is no reason to be intimidated into an accelerated daily or even weekly post. Yes, the more you get in front of your audience, the better (Impact says businesses that blogged 11+ times a month had almost 3X times as much traffic as those who post 0-1 times a month), but sharing interesting content in a blog post once or twice a month is still better than never posting at all.
One of the biggest obstacles to starting a blog is the fear that you won’t be able to generate enough topics on a regular basis. Don’t let that stop you since there are a number of ways to generate topics for your blog posts. Spending a half hour with one of the subject matter experts or managers in the company, asking the sales team for questions customers and prospects have, or having company executives discuss the latest industry trends are all ways to generate compelling posts.
3. Case Studies
There is nothing like a case study to “show, not tell” your prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service. It is real-world evidence that you are a company with which they should be doing business. Getting a customer to “sing your praises” is a powerful message to send into the marketplace. Nearly half of the respondents to the CMI survey said case studies were most effective in the middle “consideration/intent” stage of the buyer’s journey.
Another benefit of publishing a case study is the opportunity to provide your customer with additional publicity for their product or service - cementing your relationship with them even further.
4. White Papers/eBooks
Longer form content continues to be effective it comes to establishing thought leadership and credibility with prospects. White papers and eBooks are the leading type of content in the “consideration/intent” stage of the buyer journey - named by more than half of respondents in the CMI report. A survey by Content Demand revealed that 71% of B2B buyers used white papers in the past 12 months to research purchasing decisions.
Not only does a white paper or eBook help build your brand and establish your company as an authority in your industry, it also helps generate leads by acting as an asset you can send in exchange for a prospect’s contact information. Instead of having to ask the prospect for this valuable data, you are offering them something that will help them improve their business. It’s an effective way to build your lead database.
White papers provide you with a vehicle in which to explore important topics in depth. You have the luxury of adding important details and backup data to flesh out the topic more fully than you can in short form content, thus increasing engagement time with your audience.
5. Website refresh
When was the last time you updated your website? This is typically your first contact with prospects and if they arrive to find stale, out of date content, you’re off on the wrong foot. You don’t need to redesign or redevelop your site - that’s expensive and unnecessary - but if you’ve left your site on the back-burner for too long, investing in new content can bring it back to life.
Set up a schedule to take on one page of your site every week. Discuss it with the companies SME’s or relevant managers to ensure that it is as up to date as possible. Such a schedule will make sure that content on your site is always fresh and ready to make a positive first impression for prospects and potential clients.
Your lead pipeline is a living, breathing organism that is crucial to the ongoing success of your company. Don’t neglect it or it will wither and die, forcing you to scramble from scratch. Planning for tomorrow today is a much more effective approach to ensure that doesn’t happen.