Content marketing continuously proves itself worthy across industries. According to HubSpot's Not Another State of Marketing Report, almost 70% of businesses are actively investing in content marketing in 2020. However, not all content is created equal.
Generally speaking, the way that B2B inbound marketing works is that you use strategic, helpful, and engaging content to generate sales qualified leads. First, you want to attract the attention of prospective buyers through content creation (like blog posts) and then gradually guide them through their own journey by providing more and more useful content that answers the questions they have.
The way we most commonly turn a visitor casually reading your blog into an actual lead is by having them fill out a form. And the most common way to have someone fill out a form is to provide them with a strong call-to-action to download premium resources and content.
What's key here is that you're creating premium, downloadable content that your prospects actually care about.
What is Downloadable Content?
Downloadable content, or premium content, is anything you can use to generate leads through your inbound marketing program. This is content that grabs the attention of site visitors so much that they willingly surrender their email addresses and identity in return for accessing it.
Downloadable content can come in many forms including:
There are, of course, other ways to convert visitors into leads beyond downloadable content. This could be other types of calls-to-action ranging from a contact us form to scheduling a demo to requesting a quote. These tend to be more bottom-of-the-funnel conversion opportunities and they are equally important but require a different strategy than downloadable content.
Other Benefits to Using Downloadable Content
While lead generation is certainly the primary tactic used for attracting and converting top and middle-of-the-funnel leads, there are other benefits to having this kind of premium content on your website.
1. Grow Your Email Marketing Database
99% of consumers check their email every day and according to HubSpot, it’s by far the preferred way to receive updates from brands. While most marketers know the importance of email marketing, building a clean and qualified email list can be hard. Using premium content to attract newsletter or subscription sign ups is an effective tactic that brands can utilize. This sometimes looks like: "Sign up for our newsletter and get this free guide/eBook/video/worksheet."
2. Thought Leadership
Creating strategic, relevant, unique, and thought-provoking premium content is a critical part of branding your organization, your sellers, and other key team members as true thought leaders in your industry and/or market. By design, premium content is meant to be more in-depth and useful than the average blog article. It's meant to deliver on what is promised whether that be a new useful tool to use or tactical information that answers a question.
Thought leadership can be hard to define but ultimately it means that others don't simply look to you just to buy something, but that you are delivering other kinds of value. They look to you for information, ideas, and best practices. And ultimate - it's the thought leaders that people want to do business with.
3. Sales Enablement
All the marketing content you created should also be considered sales enablement content, because marketing is ultimately a sales initiative. Therefore, premium and downloadable content should be no different. Salespeople should look to the content you're creating to generate leads to be as useful to them to move prospects along in the sales process. Premium content can be used to answer questions, provide more in-depth education, gage interest level, build trust and credibility, and persuade.
Furthermore, if salespeople can get their own prospects to complete a marketing form there are added benefits to the lead intelligence they now have to create more strategic and helpful communication with prospects. Plus, the best content ideas you'll get will be from talking to your salespeople and really understanding what they're seeing and hearing day in and day out from prospects.
Downloadable content is often the nudge prospects need to reach out. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow your business and to ensure that you are not just driving visitors and traffic but that you're also generating leads.