4 ways to generate leads and qualify them through content

Content marketing is one of the most popular ways of generating leads. A staggering 91% of B2B marketers use content to collect details of potential customers. How do you collect leads? And how do you qualify them?

Generating traffic to your website and getting people interested in your content is important but it's not enough. It all comes down to converting your visitors into actual sales leads, and to qualify those leads so you'll be able to identify your ‘hot prospects’.

1. Install the right tracking tools

Your website is probably at the heart of your content programme. You're effectively guiding your target audience towards your website through multiple channels. Once they're there, and if you have the right tracking tools, you can learn a lot about your visitors – even if they don’t log on to your site.

What kinds of information about your online visitors can you collect?

  • Who are they? Who reads and views your content?
  • Which companies come to you for information?
  • What subjects are they interested in?
  • How often do they return to your website?
  • Do they request more information via the calls to action you insert under articles and clips?
  • Are they willing to leave their contact details, possibly in return for additional content?

The nature of the data you collect will depend on your activities and strategy, but you'll definitely want to be able to identify ‘hot leads’ – those who are ready to buy your product(s). That means you must determine which behaviours of visitors to your website point in that direction: downloading a white paper, for instance, or returning to a specific product page on multiple occasions.

CMI and Marketing Land are just two of the resources that can give you an overview of the tracking tools that will enable you to monitor your visitors' behaviour.

2. Ask for contact details in return for content

One of the easiest ways to generate leads is to request contact details in return for content. For example, ask your visitors for their name, the name of their company and their job title in return for a guide or a white paper and of course, you would capture their all-important email address, too.

The less data you ask for, the higher the conversion rate but the lower the qualification level. Limit the number of compulsory fields to be completed if your primary goal is to generate leads instead of qualifying. If you're looking to qualify leads, you should ask for additional info. According to this e-book by Marketo, 5 fields give a conversion rate of 13.4%, a percentage that drops to 10% for 9 fields.

If you’re looking to optimise conversion, you should also research how much free content you should give away to attract your visitors. And remember to tell them what will happen to their data. Read more on this topic in our blog post ‘What do they really want with your data?

3. Place your content behind a paywall

Increasingly, traditional media are hiding part of their content behind paywalls. Erecting a 'wall’ doesn’t necessarily mean you'll charge your visitors to access what is behind it.

The WordPress plug-in OnePress Social Locker is an interesting tool in this context: it puts part of your content behind a social media button. To gain access to the full article, readers must first share it on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. In general, this produces better results than non-binding 'Like' and 'Share' buttons. Remember, though, that this only works if your content is worthwhile.

4. Bring your online visitors together offline

Have you collected the contact details of a fair number of leads online? Then invite them to an offline seminar, training course or some other event. In principle, all you need is an email address, although if it’s an expensive event, you may only want to invite qualified ‘hot leads’. You can use the invitation and the event to get even better acquainted with your leads, and it will also strengthen your ties with them. Moreover, at the event you can demonstrate your expertise in person.

Ready to collect leads through content? Get inspired by the crossmedia content Cypres created for other customers.