After plenty of research, exhaustive drafting, and innovative design, you’ve put together a truly great ebook that’s sure to bring in plenty of potential leads.
Delivering the right content at the right time is only part of the equation. In order to tally up conversions and multiply sales, you need to consider what your audience plans on doing with that ebook:
Target Audience: Who’s reading it and why
Exchange Value: How much information they’re willing to provide in exchange for a download
Conversion Opportunities: How do to turn ebook downloads into signed contracts
As much as we’d love to wave a wand and turn a PDF into a retainer contract, we know that good marketing isn’t a magic trick.
Putting together a lead nurturing strategy that effectively drives readers through the stages of the Buyer’s Journey is an indispensable part of any campaign. As long as you build out a solid foundation, you'll be cashing in on your gated content before you know it.
Lead Nurturing Checklist
The ebook download is never the finish line. Publishing content is a great way to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry, but save your blogs for the public platform.
When it comes to gated content, you’re demanding that readers submit a form before they can access your piece of content. It’s important to remember that not all content should be gated—only the really, really good stuff.
Building trust with your audience by offering select high-value content for free is an important tactic as well (especially when it comes to building content pillars), ensuring that your gated content is worth exchanging contact information for.
When you create high-value pieces like ebooks, Case Studies, or White Papers, you don’t want to give them away for free.
What’s the best marketing collateral? Contacts.
Choose your fields wisely—ask too little (i.e. just their full name) and you’ll limit your ability to contact them later, ask them too much (i.e. their social security number) and they’ll run out the door. (Note: In this day and age, it’s important to read the fine print, lest you accidently give away your children in exchange for WiFi—seriously, that happened.)
Herein lies the value proposition. How much of their personal information are they willing to provide in exchange for your piece of content?
The standard contact form for B2Bs usually requires their first name, last name, email, and company name. This ensures that you can follow-up via email and conduct additional research into their industry, market, and services to determine how you can best serve their business.
Trust us—gated content works. In fact, 65% of B2B buyers say that the winning vendor’s content had a “significant impact” on their buying decision.
Unfortunately, not everyone who downloads your gated content is going to jump right into a sales call. They may be interested in your industry and certain topics you cover, but it can’t hurt. In fact, we have several clients that have kept up with Level Up over the years which motivated them to make the call when they realized they needed to hire a marketing agency.
It’s important to know what stage of the Buyers Journey your contacts are in to know how to approach your follow-up nurturing efforts. That’s where lead scoring comes in.
When it comes to generating demand, 86% of marketers used lead scoring to evaluate how they’ll approach their nurturing campaigns.
What’s the most valuable asset for a marketing professional? A highly qualified lead.
You may have generated lists according to the form submission you used in your lead capturing form when they first downloaded. List segmentation allows you to show users that you understand where they’re coming from (literally), and gives you the opportunity to provide them with content relevant to their Lifecycle Stage, their interests, location, industry, etc.
Why “Thank You” Pages Matter (You’re Welcome)
If a potential customer submits a form and no one’s around to thank them, will they convert into customers?
It’s important to show users that their request has been accepted and their form was successfully submitted. A “Thank You” landing page is the best way to clearly show users that their form was received while providing them with the requested collateral.
Provide them with a link to the PDF they’ve requested, or state a clear timeline for when they can expect to have the materials emailed/delivered to them. (i.e. 1–2 hours on average during normal business hours).
The most effective landing pages—“Thank You” pages included—are focused, goal-oriented, and straight-forward. That being said, your “Thank You” page is more than a glorified “Download Now” link.
When you start planning your follow-up materials, be sure to Include additional relevant resources, materials, and internal page links. This will encourage users to browse your site further to get a feel for what kind of services you have to offer them—and why they should consider becoming a client.
Now that you’ve done the hard work to earn that contact information, it’s time to do something with it.
Remember when we told you to choose your fields wisely? Hopefully you put that advice to practice, because the information you gathered will dictate the level (and quality) of interaction you can have with users who download your content.
Think of it this way:
You wouldn’t walk out of a job interview without learning the full name of your interviewer and their email. Call me naïve, but I believe that very few successful careers blossomed from a follow-up starting with “Dear Potential Employer...”
On the flipside, you wouldn’t look up their home address and show up at the front door with a bouquet of their favorite flowers. Why? Because that would be weird.
The same principles can be applied to your follow-up interactions with a new contact post-download. Be personal and engaging, but don’t stray into “stalker” territory.
Personalized emails improve click-through rates by an average of 14%—and conversions by 10%. If you know their first name, use it. If you know their market, refer them to industry-specific resources on your website. If you know they’re interested in a given topic, link them to a few of your relevant blog posts.
The type of content they originally downloaded is a good indicator into what stage of the Buyer’s Journey they’re in—giving you an easy foot-in-the-door to help nurture them to the next step toward purchasing.
Creating content for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey is an effective way to encourage conversions. (In this case, potential buyers that are interested in gated content typically fall in the Consideration Stage.)
Don’t forget that email isn’t the only follow-up vehicle in your fleet. If appropriate, engage with them on social media. If a prospect is interested in hiring your firm and you happen to be featured as an expert panelist on a relevant topic, invite them to attend. You know they’re interested in a given topic, and it not only shows that you’re happy to provide them with the insight and expertise they seek, but that you’re qualified to give it.
✅ HuFu Quick Tip: Make it personal with Contextual Marketing—automatically!
Email marketing isn’t a one-and-done strategy. Just because your first follow-up email goes unopened or unanswered, the fact that you’re in the recipient’s inbox alone helps you keep your brand top-of-mind.
After all, as a world of purchasers, this is how we decide to buy.
When a potential customer is in a meeting centered around the pain point that drove them to download your content in the first place, you want them to say, “I read this great piece the other day that provided some great insight into our problem—I’ll look it up and share it with you all. We could reach out and see what kind of services they offer that may help us with this.”
Give it a couple days between follow-ups—you don’t want to end up Blocked, Unfriended, or in the dreaded Spam folder. Unfortunately, there is no magic number of days to wait between follow-up, but there are a few good tips Entrepreneur shared for creating a timeline.
The bottom line: If you want your collateral to translate into sales, don’t drop the ball on this. In fact, 53% of marketers say that ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact.
Consider implementing an automated workflow with pre-loaded emails if you’re dealing with a large list of contacts and top-of-the-funnel buyers. Let your software do the hard work by automatically deploying certain emails, actions, or updates according to a pre-set timeline or how the user interacts with your content.
Sure, lead nurturing is a vital part of any successful marketing strategy, but that’s really just the beginning.
Before you can nurture leads, you have to generate leads, which means implementing strategic web design, enhancing SEO, generating engaging content…. I could go on.
Whether you’re starting from scratch with your marketing strategy or you’re totally overwhelmed with managing your campaigns, we can help.