What would you guess is the most common and urgent need we hear from virtually all of our customers? Answer: the need for a reliable way to generate a steady stream of business leads.
Every Business Needs More Leads to Keep Growing
One of the best things about being in the creative marketing profession is the opportunity we have to talk to many different people about what they do. Whether we’re helping a non-profit get the word out about a new event, or working with a manufacturer to make the public debut of a new product, the conversations we have with them about their business are always fun and lively.
While the things that make people and companies unique are a steady source of interest, so are the needs that seemingly every business has in common. We pay very close attention to those needs, and there is an obvious common thread that ties them together.
Virtually EVERY customer we've met wants a reliable way to generate a steady stream of leads without being pushy.
No One Wants to Be "That Guy" (The Pushy Salesperson)
No doubt, everybody expects lead generation to take some hard work, but they also want it to be the kind of work that makes them feel good about their company or cause, and about themselves.
No one wants
to be pushy, or come off overly sales-y and self-interested. And though
all of our customers make great products and provide amazing services
& experiences, what most struggle with is finding the people who
really need what they have to offer, and connecting to them with the
least amount of friction and expense.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a way to generate a steady stream of leads and actually have FUN doing it!
There actually is a way to make marketing and lead generation truly fulfilling. In this post, we’re going to walk you through it and challenge you to start thinking about how you can put it to use in your business or non-profit.
Premium Content and Email Automation: the Proven Way to Generate More Inbound Leads
Using Premium Content and Email Automation has become the most common small business practice for generating leads because it offers major advantages over knocking on doors, cold-calling, or slipping literature under windshield wipers. Let’s get motivated (yeah!) by taking a quick look at these big advantages, right out of the gate:
Premium Content and Email Automation Enables You to:
- Capture accurate (voluntarily submitted / opt-in) contact information
- Build up your email and prospect lists over time
- Continuously communicate with and nurture prospects through a customer journey
- Set up automated, measurable processes to identify ready-buyers; and close sales. Then request reviews, get referrals, and ask for renewals.
- Create content that establishes you and your company as an authority in your industry
If you do your homework right, you’ll also be establishing authority about the things your customers care about the most.
You Know this Method…Because You’ve Probably Signed Up!
Usually, when we begin explaining this idea, people begin to recognize the process we’re describing, because they’ve been served in this way by the businesses they like the most. I know I have.
I’m an (eternally) novice guitar player, so my inbox is filled with
free offers from teachers who have written instruction guides for jazz
guitar. I actually have several of their eBooks, and a few handy chord
charts, and I downloaded them all for free — or rather, for the price of
my email address. I also have some eBooks about home-repair, a few
about how to write better emails, and one about how to start a podcast.
Actually, scanning my inbox, there are quite a few more! But the best
part is: I’m more than happy to hear from all of these people when they
have new services or information to share.
Premium content marketing works because people love relevant information.
Undoubtedly, you have some of these emails in your inbox too. It’s rare these days to find someone who hasn’t shared their email to get an article, e-book, or helpful chart or pictogram. And this is where we go back to the start of our conversation today: the idea that your business or service, and subjects directly related to them, are inherently interesting — and they can be made irresistibly interesting to your target customers.
This is the first big step of the process: choosing the subject you want to create premium content for. Once you have that, the rest of the process flows uniformly and easily. So let’s take a look at the four key steps in this process and how they connect, then we’ll dive in to describe what’s involved in each one.
With the right hook, your business can be made irresistibly interesting to your target customers.
The Premium Content Process Flow
- Create your content
- Build your automated email process
- Get the word out!
- Track your
results…adjust…and keep going...
1. It all starts with the right content (and a GREAT title)
First, you need to create the piece of premium content that you want to share. As this is the item that will motivate your customers to reach out to you, it’s worth taking some time to think hard about the subject matter that will be of greatest interest. What will make your customers stop in their tracks when scrolling along on the web or on their favorite social channel?
Ideally, the subject matter you chose will have something directly to do with the product or service you offer. But the relationship can be indirect too. One of the most successful content campaigns in history was created by the Michelin Tire company in France. They offered a road guide for motor-car travelers (their target market!) with reviews of wonderful places to stop and eat. The world famous Michelin Guide was born, and to this day, Michelin is equally famous for their tires, and their restaurant reviews.
Choosing your subject is a crucial step, and so is choosing the title for your premium content. It’s crucial for your title to convey an urgency that will make your target customers act…right now. You want them to feel like this is an opportunity they simply can’t miss.
Here are two titles for an eBook for a home electrician — which would you download immediately?
- Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Home-Electric Safe
- The 10 Most Common (and Dangerous) Home-Electric Risks…and how to fix them, fast!
Our guess would be that the the second title would get more interest and clicks. We would further anticipate that the people who download this guide would be ready to buy! (Especially if they find fixes in the booklet that they’re not comfortable handling themselves.)
Think about how you can make your title announce immediate importance — or suggest a source of irresistible fun. Then get that idea into your title as clearly as possible. Also, consider giving folks a reason to click right now. …If your subject matter isn’t urgent, you might even consider giving something away for those who click TODAY.
2. Build Your Automated E-mail Process
The basic steps for your automated email process look like this:
When a customer clicks to read more about your offer, you take them to a landing page, where the copy and images are all designed to re-sell the piece of premium content you’re offering. They’re interested now, so here is where you close the deal and get that email address.
When they accept your offer, they receive a confirmation email with a link to download the premium content you offered.
When they download the content, you send a thank email and your system sets them up for whatever further email contact you wish to have. You can set up the topics and the flow of these emails ahead of time.
With the right team and tools, you’ll be able to measure every step of this process, and continuously make improvements on any aspect that can perform better.
Harvest Media uses Mail Chimp to set up these Email campaigns because they provide an excellent, affordable platform that’s designed to handle all of these steps elegantly and easily. They also offer some great accessories like pop-up and embedded forms that, experience has shown, maximize responses.
3. GET THE WORD OUT!
Once you have your piece of premium content created, the next step is the one most familiar to all business-people: letting your target audience know what you have and how much they’ll benefit when they have it too!
You can integrate the offer into all of your selling and customer service efforts, and use the premium content to encourage the customer sharing their email with you, even if they just called to get information. We recommend you consider all of the following venues to feature your offer:
- Your website — see if you can get your offer on the front page, and possibly make it a sidebar on multiple pages.
- Your social media sites (Linked In, Facebook, Instagram) — both on your home page and on your social feed.
- In your regular customer communications (like over the phone, or emails). And yes, you may want to offer this premium content to customers for whom you already have an email address — because you want to have them opt-in for the new series of communications you’ve set up to drive your offer.
You should also consider some paid advertising and media, on the web, on social channels, or through traditional advertising channels, like print, radio, our outdoor. If you have a strong offer that’s getting responses and making the cash register ring — and your target audience is large — by all means: GO BIG.
4. Track Your Results
This last step is crucial, and many companies who excel at this process today, made it to the top by putting as much (or more) energy into this step than any other. It’s all about testing and refining: finding the right subjects, titles, images, landing page construction. Everything matters, and the great thing is, everything can be tested and optimized. Great tracking tools are another reason we love Mail Chimp for our Premium Content platform. They place an emphasis on making measurement both thorough, and easy.
Ready to Generate More Leads? We Can Help.
If Premium Content Marketing sounds great to you but you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of doing it yourself, let's talk. We'll schedule a time to meet with you and give you a no obligation consultation. We love the opportunity to learn about the people, businesses, and community around us—and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Our team of experts will demystify the email automation and marketing
process. We'll provide the marketing and technical help you need for:
- Planning your premium content strategy
- Setting up an Email List
- Designing Email Templates
- Writing and designing a premium content piece targeted to your audience
- Installing sign up forms on your website
- Building an automated drip campaign to nurture your leads
- Growing your audience organically and through advertising
- Tracking your campaign's performance
This is our favorite kind of work, as it combines learning, creativity, business discipline, and results. Contact the Harvest Media team or call 1-847-352-4345 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
We've also written about how this process has generated many new leads for one of clients (Terri Lynn Fundraising). Read the full case study here.