I just read a post on Bizible declaring that lead generation is dead. It's being replaced by pipeline marketing, although I'm not terribly clear on what they mean by the term. But I think they have the right idea.
I was especially amused by the fact that they showed a picture of a headstone for the deceased activity that read "Lead Generation 1960-2015." Nice touch.
But I disagree with the article's premise. Lead generation isn't dead. In fact, it's alive and thriving. It's just that it's become more dependent on good quality data.
This blog post gives you some proven tips on how to use high quality data to boost lead generation and close more sales than ever.
The Bizible article's title misleads you a bit (although it's good click bait. Hey, I clicked on it) The real point the article is trying to make isn that lead generation is dead. It's that traditional lead generation methods are being replaced by newer methods driven by hard data.
The key point is this:
Using hard data substantially improves your inbound marketing results. In fact, the more high quality data you use to drive your sales funnel, the faster your sales velocity and the stronger your efficiencies.
Inbound marketing generates leads by using targeted content. It also uses invitations to connect to webinars, demos, conference calls, and meetings. The more compelling the content, the more leads you should generate.
But inbound marketing isn't generating as many leads as it once did. So its getting harder to generate leads that way, which leads some people to say the lead generation is dead.
Inbound Marketing Getting Tougher
Inbound marketing is getting tougher for three reasons: First, There's ad blocking. The use of ad blocking is gaining a critical mass worldwide, rendering inbound ads and offers less effective.
Second, email unsubscribing is at an all time high. The average person gets 85 emails per day and unsubscribes at a rate as high as 0.40%.
More important, many email users don't even need to unsubscribe from most spam as automated filters are being used more and getting increasingly more effective. Plus, there's a proliferation of apps and programs designed to sort, snooze, and manage your email. These programs include SaneBox, FollowUpThen, and Outlook for iOS (I use all three).
Third, your content is competing with a mind numbing and growing amount of content every minute. That's because other B2Bs are also trying to take advantage of inbound's lead gen capabilities.
So how do you generate a bigger impact with your content. Below are five tips that can help you do that:
- Shape your content
To boost your odds of creating the right content, maximizing views, and boosting shares, you must "target" your content. You can do that with help from data tools. They allow you to shape your topics around the ideas of most interest to target audiences, maximizing the chances that people will discover, read, and share your content.
The best tool for doing this is BuzzSumo, which helped me create this article. BuzzSumo allows you to search topics in your space and lists the article with the most views and shares. Nailing down the right topic maximizes the chances people will discover, read, and share your content.
- Co-opt the largest audiences
You can also use BuzzSumo to find top influencers in your space. Then, you can approach them about writing guest articles or posts for their blogs or simply share your content with them. If any of them allow your to guest post or share your content, you've effectively co-opted their audience, significantly amplifying your message.
- Spread content around
Spreading your content around is a must. At the very least, you should syndicate your content by posting on Pulse, Medium, and any other open platforms. Then, over time, aggregate and re-purpose your best content to create both ungated and gated content assets, such as white papers, eBooks, and slideshare decks..
Think of the original content as a turkey served at Thanksgiving dinner. What some people do with the leftover turkey after Thanksgiving is pure creative genius: turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, turkey soup -- all different, all delicious.
Take the same approach with content. Regardless of the way you package a piece of content, share relentlessly through all social media channels to maximize the proliferation of your message.
- Outbound your Inbound
Outbound your inbound. In other words, use data and data tools such as LeadCrunch to figure out which companies are your best prospects. Once that's done, you can target your best prospects with content to meet their needs.
For example, on Facebook and Google you can create a custom audience by uploading email addresses, then target those who visit your websites.
On Linkedin, you can share content with C-level contacts at target companies and/or relevant Linkedin groups, or use other parameters to select targets.
I recently spoke to a very large provider of cloud services and they realized that it is much more cost effective to promote their best content to their best prospects instead of promoting it to everyone. Don't spray and pray. Instead, be a sharpshooter.
Although creating inbound B2B leads using content is getting more difficult, lead generation isn't dead. But you can tilt the odds in your favor by using data to boosting your content's impact.
My guess is that for most companies it doesn't take that much data to creative a competitive advantage. A little data will go a long way toward boosting sales.
Please add any comments, thoughts, or resources below to help other readers of this article. Best of luck with your inbound content lead generation in 2016!