In an era where the consumer has more buying and decision-making power in the sales process, operating your business without a thought leadership strategy in place is like trying to drive a car without an engine. Sure, it works for Fred Flintstone; but chances are that you’re not him.
But, why is thought leadership so important? There are a lot of reasons why it’s so valued in the marketing space, but the biggest is one that no business should ignore—it converts your website visitors into leads.
In case it’s not immediately clear—or if you’re a marketing director who needs to have a third party vouch for this to your business leadership—we’ve provided a breakdown of how thought leadership generates leads.
What Thought Leadership Is
Thought leadership is one of the biggest differentiators in lending your business credibility before your future customers ever come knocking on your metaphorical door. Most savvy business leaders know it’s an invaluable branding tool, but it’s also a great way to attract new customers and clients both near and far.
It takes many different forms one can find on an organization’s resource center—whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, blogs, and other digital and physical pieces. However, the subject matter one can cover for the purposes of thought leadership is endless. It’s an objectively great way to build your brand’s reputation as trusted experts in your industry.
What Some Thought Leaders Are Doing Wrong
However, one critical mistake that a lot of brands make is not using their thought leadership pieces to capture leads. They’ll put out some genuinely brilliant pieces of information that can be vital for anyone seeking information on their industry without any way to know whether or not the reader visited it or wanted to learn more without talking to sales first. It rides upon the idea that they’ll be so dazzled with your content that they’re compelled to pick up the phone and ask for a quote or a consult.
Chances are, that’s not what they’re doing. Your business shouldn’t rely upon it to make money, either. But, there are ways to get the content to work for you and generate leads that your sales team can turn into customers.
How to Generate Leads Using Thought Leadership
Using content for lead generation rides instead on the mindset that your ideas and thought leadership are so valuable that those who want to have it can—if they ask for it. The most common way to do this is by having them submit their information on a form.
Doing this allows you to capture leads while helping you vet people who are legitimately interested in doing business with you versus people who are just browsing or competitors who may be trying to keep up with your team.
However, it’s important to note that there are different types of forms, and different types of information you request on them.
For example, if you’re offering them the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter, you may only want to ask for their email address—which is almost always essential—and maybe their name. But, if you’re hosting an exclusive webinar designed to answer nitty-gritty questions about your industry, you may want to ask for more information to see what their pain points are and find out why they’re looking for your services.
Your goal is to use the information they fill out on a completed form to find out what their pains are. Once you know the answer, you’ll know if your business is able to help them solve their problems.
A Caveat on Using Thought Leadership for Lead Capture
Despite how well this setup works for capturing leads, we don’t recommend putting every last piece of thought leadership behind a form. Your blog, as one example, should never be put behind a form—not only is that a terrible strategy for SEO, but it gets rid of the tasting menu of your expertise that your blog posts can offer.
At the end of the day, regardless of your industry, thought leadership is an asset that can and should be a weapon in your lead-generating arsenal. It provides your marketing team with the support they need to get even further recognition for your message, all while supporting your sales team in their ongoing plans to become trusted advisors.
To learn more about how thought leadership works and why it’s critical to your business, subscribe to the LeadG2 blog.