5 Content Marketing Tips to Warm Up Your Sales Leads
Getting a list of cold leads for your business is like looking at a yearbook for a high school you didn’t attend. You don’t recognize anybody, and what you do know about them is based on superlatives attached to their pictures. With your lead list, though, you’re trying to figure out which is most likely to succeed.
Let’s be honest. It’s imperative to have a group of people interested in what you’re doing. But it’s another battle entirely to get them to invest their money into your business. So what’s the best way to get people from interest to invest?
You can be doing everything right—an effective website, stunning email designs, and a top-notch product or service. The problem is that you’re not the only one doing everything right. Unless you hold a monopoly on your product or service, you’re competing with others in your industry. You may think you’re the best, but you have to convince that list of names to agree with you.
Image Source: Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing (CM) might be the spice you’re missing to build a relationship with each name on your list. Offering relevant content to your leads is a better way of demonstrating how you can make their lives better. This content can take the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, and much more.
Now before we dive deeper into how content marketing can actually help you get the yeses from your leads, let’s define the difference between warm leads and cold leads.
Warm Leads vs. Cold Leads
You know that game where you hide something and try to get someone to find it by telling them they’re “hot” when they’re close and “cold” when they’re farther away? Leads are the same way. The closer you are to a lead, the warmer it is; the farther away you are from the lead, the colder it is.
Just like the game, you’ll want to go from cold to warm with your leads.
Image Source: Marketing for Advisers
Cold leads can be leads who have never engaged with your product or leads who have shown interest but stopped connecting with your brand. As it stands, they’re just names on a page. Your goal is to begin the conversation with them.
Warm leads are people who engage with your content—they open emails, follow you on social media, read your blog—but they haven’t purchased anything yet. You can expect a warm lead to convert with a nudge in the right direction.
A lead on the brink of conversion is a hot lead, and these are the people who could buy your product or service at any given minute. These prospects are just waiting for the perfect opportunity to bite.
B2B Content Marketing
Image Source: Content Marketing Institute
In essence, you use content marketing strategies to promote an entire brand rather than a product or service. You provide your prospects with free information about your industry. This information can be business tips, a social media presence, the fact that you’re a veteran-owned business, etc. This marketing strategy aims to show people why they should buy from YOU instead of your competitors.
Let’s say that you sell electric light-up swords in multiple colors. That sales pitch on its own may do well with young kids, and you may be able to turn a profit.
However, with nine space-western movies featuring high-action content with people fighting with “lightsabers,” you can make a ton of money by selling replicas. Did George Lucas create Star Wars to sell laser sword toys? No. But someone sure is making a ton of money off the nerds who want to play Sith vs. Jedi.
You run a greenhouse, and your main products are plants. You have a blog, and you have an SEO post titled “How Not to Kill Your Houseplants.” A notorious houseplant killer runs a Google search on “how not to kill houseplants” and discovers your article.
They devour that article, then read the following article titled “10 of the Easiest Plants to Take Care Of.” All 10 of those plants have links to your shop, and Notorious Plant Killer falls in love with #5 and decides to see how much you’re selling it for.
Your price is fair, AND they see that you’ve been tending plants for over 25 years and have been taking care of your plants since they were little seedlings. You helped them, earned their trust, and they decide to buy your plant.
This fictional plant seller is an excellent example because you can see how the lead goes from cold to red hot and organically converts based on your content. CM campaigns can be incredibly effective when used strategically. As long as you know who your target customer is, you can provide content to attract them.
How to Turn Up the Heat
There is an endless number of ways to warm things up for your leads. You don’t have to try all of these strategies. It’s important to remember who your customers are and what your brand is. You’re unique, so your marketing strategy should be unique.
You probably already send emails to your leads, but your customers’ inboxes are probably flooded with emails. Gmail even categorizes emails into a “promotions” category if the AI thinks you’re selling something. Of course, you want to make your way into the primary inbox. More importantly, you want people to read your email instead of automatically deleting it.
Your leads have to trust you before you hit them with the “buy our products or services” pitch. According to Segmetrics, it takes an average of 14-30 days to warm up leads via email.
Stop Selling Your Product
That sounds dramatic but seriously, stop it. We don’t mean to stop forever but take a bit of time. You don’t say “I love you” on the first date, and you don’t try to sell your products or services on the first email. Like any good relationship, before you try to take things to the next level, you have to put in a bit of extra work.
Send your leads the links to your blog posts or a colorful infographic. Share a how-to video or your weekly podcast. Let them know you’re on various media channels. Invite them to take a quiz or give feedback. Wine and dine them a bit.
Have your email software address your leads by name, and have the email come from a person’s name or your business instead of “Support” or “Info.”
As you nurture these leads, they’ll become more comfortable opening emails from you because they’ll trust you. You’ve proven that you can provide solutions to their problems. Now that they see you as a reliable wealth of information, they’ll be more interested in buying what you’re selling.
Cold Calling to Warm Calling
Cold calls may seem like an ancient marketing technique, but these calls can generate high-value leads when used deliberately. When it’s your best friend’s birthday, do you send them a text that reads “happy b-day” or do you call them? You call them and tell them how great they are.
We can hear you groaning now, thinking, “we can’t waste the sales reps’ time by having them make cold calls all day. They need to focus on converting warm leads.” We agree with you.
Team up with An Affiliate Company
You can partner with B2B lead generation companies specializing in calling quality prospects and building awareness for your brand. Through these calls, your affiliate company can begin the conversation with your customers.
Let an affiliate company create the spark with your customers, and then have a sales rep from your in-house team follow up and close the deal.
Engage With Customers on Social Media
Meme culture has taken over, and you may as well roll with it.
You can engage with your potential customers on various social platforms that they’re already on. Businesses use media channels to connect with their consumers, and you can use the same media to contact those businesses. Your social profiles can have a direct link to your website where a lead can learn more.
Don’t post content for content’s sake, though. Remember, you want to gain interest by providing value to a customer’s scroll. People expect to see ads, so the trick is not to advertise your products or services all the time.
Back to the plant seller example:
You run an Instagram account for your nursery. You decide to host a giveaway of a $100 gift card to your online store. All a person has to do to enter the contest is follow you and tag three friends in the comments. Everyone loves free things, and boom: you gain many new followers because the people who already followed you tagged people who didn’t follow you yet.
When these new followers visit your profile, they see a series of posts after the giveaway post:
- A close-up picture of a plant’s leaves with a caption that says, “We LOVE the variegation on these leaves!! [Heart eyes emoji] What’s your favorite variegated plant?”
- An infographic detailing the best watering practices for succulents
- A meme with a picture of Kathryn Hahn winking as Agatha Harkness in Wandavision reads, “When I tell someone I won’t buy any more plants.”
- A snippet from a blog post titled “How Not to Kill Your Houseplants.”
And so on.
Those followers look through your Instagram stories and see that you’re having your followers play a game of “This or That” by voting on a series of two different plants. They enjoy interacting with your page so much that the next time you post that you’re having a sale, you sell out in minutes.
The Power of Pictures
The human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text. As crucial as it is to have written content, it’s equally important to have pictures, videos, or graphics to accompany the text. Since everyone is flooded with content, the key to digital marketing is to include images that quickly show what you’re talking about.
A stunning picture, quick video, or clever infographic can convince someone to take a moment to look at your page. These visitors initially found value in your images because pictures generally evoke emotion faster than text does. But these eye-catching images could be the thing that prompts a person to start a conversation with your business.
No matter where you post your content or what kind of content you create, use images.
How do we get great images?
You don’t need to hire a professional photographer or a film crew to get high-quality pictures and videos. All you need is a smartphone and smiling faces.
If you decide to create an infographic or graphic video, you should consider hiring a professional graphic designer. You want your lead prospects to stop in their tracks when they see your image, so this image needs to be incredible. Unless you have a graphic designer on staff, there’s no shame in hiring a freelancer for a project. Alternatively, if you decide to go down the video route and want to do everything by yourself, having an online video maker is a necessity and a good starting point (and you’ll be spending most of your time in there).
A graphic designer in your niche market will use images to evoke your brand and sell you to a potential customer. They create gorgeous graphics to target your audience. They can optimize the content for various posts on different platforms so you can make the most of the digital image. In short, graphic designers rock.
In your search for the right designer, reach out to the ones whose graphics make YOU stop in your tracks. If you believe their images have the power to warm your leads and ultimately convert them, then that’s the person you want to work with.
However, if you think that organizing all of that on your own is too much hassle, you can always hire a video production company, and outsource it. Don’t forget to supervise the process in order to get the most out of it!
Create a Call to Action
“Let’s Get Started”
“Schedule Your Appointment”
“Don’t Miss Out!”
All your content needs a call to action.
You want your leads to get progressively warmer until they’re so hot they buy something. The best way to do that is to nudge them down the rabbit hole of your website.
Providing your prospects with clear steps through the sales funnel is a great way to keep them engaged with your brand. It should be easy to click through each page on your website, and each page should flow naturally to the next. A simple call to action is clickbait that could keep them on your site for longer.
You probably already know to optimize the “above the fold” portion of your website with a call to action but think of every chunk of your content as another fold. What does this mean? Every fold needs a call to action.
- Every email should have a link that takes a customer to your website along with an enticing call to action such as, “Use your discount code now!”
- One blog article can have a button at the bottom that takes a prospect to the next blog article.
- A Facebook post can state, “Click the link to read more!” after you give a snippet from an interview you did with another person in your industry.
- At the bottom of every page of your website, you can have a button that says “Talk with Our Team” that takes potential clients to a form that allows them to set up a meeting.
You get the idea.
Using Content Marketing to Sell Your Product or Service
Don’t forget that at the end of the day, you have something to sell.
The key to selling it is creating content that highlights your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Utilizing content to sell the brand has proven to be a successful way to showcase who you are as a business and build trust with your leads.
More trust means more warmth.
B2B marketing shouldn’t be stale. Your business should create an absolutely unforgettable pitch. There are people behind the business logo of the lead you’re going after, and they are just as unique as you are. If you can make them feel special, then you have a customer for life.
About the Author: John Dubay is the Managing Partner at Leads at Scale, an outsourced sales support company that helps B2B companies generate well-qualified leads at scale, ready to be closed.