Okay, you’ve given content marketing your best shot. You’re blogging frequently, creating valuable lead-gen content, and building email campaigns. Heck, you even gave yourself six whole months to make it work, because you know content marketing takes time to really take off.
So why isn’t your content generating leads?
Before you start pointing fingers and assigning blame — “The writer I hired sucks!” “My agency isn’t working hard enough!” “Content marketing is a sham!” — let’s take a look at seven valid reasons your content isn’t working as well as you’d like.
1. Your content doesn’t solve a problem
Before your content can even generate leads, it needs to attract readers.
To attract readers who don’t sit in the cubicle next to yours, your content needs to be indexed by search engines so the outside world can find it.
The best way to get found through organic search is to answer the questions people asking.
Here’s a real-world example: While you can still publish the post you’ve been dying to write called “I Really Love Tacos,” you will also have to accept that “I Really Love Tacos” is not really something most people would type into Google.
Instead, people are probably Googling ways to act on their love for tacos, like:
- “best cheap tacos chicago”
- “taco places near me”
- “fish vs pork tacos”
In other words, they’re looking for an answer to something they don’t know or a solution for a problem they’ve been facing.
2. Your content is stale
Yes, people want to find cheap tacos in Chicago.
But how many articles already exist on cheap tacos in Chicago?
People looking for tacos tend to be hungry. They want to reach a decision quickly. They’re not looking much further than that top-ranked Thrillist or Eater article.
If you’re writing content on an oversaturated topic — and your article sounds exactly the same as every result on the first few pages of Google — chances are, Google’s not going to think your content is muy caliente.
What can you add to the conversation that people haven’t heard before? Here are a few ideas for creating fresh content:
- Do independent research. Interview 500 residents in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood to write the Ultimate Local’s Guide to Tacos in the area.
- Get super-specific. Review only al pastor tacos, and only at Chicago’s 20 most famous taquerias (according to those Thrillist and Eater articles).
- Offer an unusual presentation. Maybe, instead of writing another taco listicle, you could add an interactive taco-hunting game to your website.
Whatever you choose, just remember that you can’t generate strong leads without interesting content.
3. You don’t know your audience
“Uh, Carol Ann, I followed your advice and added an interactive taco-hunting game to my website. But even my mom won’t play it! Your advice sucks!”
Well, I’m not sure who you know (they can’t be very cool), but clearly an interactive taco-hunting game was not what they wanted, and therefore was not the right strategy for your company.
Your product won’t appeal to everyone. That’s not an indictment — it’s a universal truth. And it means your marketing strategy should be geared toward people who are most likely to convert into paying customers.
And that’s why well-researched buyer personas are a critical tool. Buyer personas offer a clear understanding of what your customers need and how they meet those needs — and you can use that knowledge to reach your customers on their terms.
Struggling to incorporate buyer personas into your marketing campaigns? We’ve got you covered: The Sprk’d team has extensive experience in creating content from a customer-first perspective. Learn more about the Foundation Formula to get started.
4. Your calls-to-action don’t inspire action
If there’s one thing people really hate in this new, technology-infused world, it’s giving out their contact information for bad reasons. We all get enough email as it is.
As it turns out, when asked for their email addresses, 60 percent of consumers will deliberately fill in the wrong information.
You need to give your visitors a really good reason to give you their contact information.
As such, your calls-to-action (CTAs) need to be:
- Compelling. People will be more likely to give you their information if they perceive they’re getting something valuable. Offer useful premium content, like an eBook or a whitepaper, in exchange for their contact information.
- Appropriate. Just because somebody reads your blog reviews of al pastor tacos doesn’t mean they’re ready to become a full-out taqueria franchise operator. Your CTA should correspond to where your reader is in the buyer’s process: A top-of-the-funnel visitor should get a top-of-the-funnel offer, etc.
- Well-timed. Have you ever been to a website where you’re greeted a giant popup asking you to subscribe to an email list — before you’ve even had a chance to scroll through the homepage? Timing is everything. Approach visitors when they’re actually ready to convert.
- Relevant. Your visitor might be ready to convert — but if the content that convinced them was about tacos, and your CTA is about student loans, they aren’t going to fill out your form. Effective CTAs work in tandem with your content topics.
5. You aren’t nurturing the leads you do have
When a lead gives you their email address, what do you do with it? Does it just end up forgotten in your database?
The vast majority of your leads won’t be ready to buy from you immediately. But they might be willing to buy eventually. Companies that focused on lead nurturing saw their sales opportunities increase by 20 percent, proof that people would rather buy from a company they’ve grown to trust.
That’s why it’s important to build relationships with your leads by following up in a timely and consistent manner.
You also need to be able to track the metrics, process, and people driving your lead generation efforts. To that end, using the right technology — and using it well — is imperative. With an effective marketing automation platform, such as HubSpot, you’ll be able to easily set up automatic workflows to deliver personalized content at the right time.
6. Your website isn’t designed to convert
Your website must provide a positive user experience — which means that, at the most basic level, it is easy to use, navigate, and read.
Today’s online readers tend to skim and scan, and your site should account for that. A reader might spend just 5 seconds skimming a landing page — does your landing page present the offer and how it benefits them within that time frame?
If your visitors can’t easily figure out how to get what they want from your website page, they’ll move on.
In particular, your website should be optimized for seamless user experience on desktop, tablet and mobile devices — also known as responsive web design. More and more people today rely on the convenience of finding information through their phones and tablets. No matter what platform they’re using, they should be able to readily access your content.
7. You don’t promote your content
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how amazing your content is if nobody knows about it.
While generating large amounts of organic traffic is ideal, it may take a long time before your content gains real traction through a search engine.
In the short run, be proactive in getting eyeballs on your content. Social media is a great place to start. If you’ve created educational, valuable, shareable content, it’ll spread like wildfire.
You can also run paid ads on social and search. This could pay off if you are able to target people who align closely with your buyer personas.
Finally, guest posting or syndicating your content on well-trafficked websites can put your content in front of the right people. This allows you to tap into that website’s audience and builds your brand’s credibility by suggesting that your content is strong enough to get featured on a reputable platform.
Are you wasting your resources?
If your content isn’t generating leads, you’re wasting precious resources on an ineffective marketing strategy. But as this post illustrates, there are many ways to turn a flagging campaign around, from what you write to how you’re sharing it.
Strong content lies at the core of any effective content marketing strategy. At Sprk’d, we specialize in creating standout content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of your customer base. Check out our content creation service offerings, or contact us directly to discuss how we can work together to create killer content.