March
11, 2020

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The following excerpt comes from The Content Marketing Handbook by Robert W. Bly. Buy it now on Amazon Barnes & Noble

When it comes to marketing, you can run two types of campaigns: one-step or one-step.

One-step content marketing is a limited campaign in which you essentially deliver meaningful content to your target group. That's it.

The classic example of a one-step use of content is writing an article or letter to the editor for your local newspaper. You express your opinion in a short article that is run once. There is no explicit CTA (Call to Action) mechanism that the reader can respond to. No list to join. And no expectation to receive further content on this topic. The Op-ed should influence and educate everything itself. Of course, readers can write letters to the editor in response to your answer.

Multilevel content marketing, which is more commonly used to generate leads or sales, usually begins with using text to guide potential customers to relevant content that they can read and download. You can add additional steps to the sequence to guide your prospects from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom. Your goal is often to capture quality leads for your business, either to sell a product directly over the Internet or to bring potential customers to a stationary location for purchase.

In each phase, the content can serve two purposes:

  1. To increase conversions, the percentage of people who continue to the next step in the sales funnel.
  2. Information about potential customers about your product, including features, benefits and applications. This answers the questions of potential customers. When they reach the bottom of the funnel, they know almost or completely what they need to make a purchase decision.

Here is an important piece of advice: Never carry out a multi-stage lead generation – postcard, advertisement, banner advertising, email or direct mail package – without a free content offer.

The content can be an informative brochure, a white paper, or a special report that addresses certain aspects of the problem that your product or service will help the reader solve. You are offering a free copy of this information to potential customers asking about your product or service.

With the offer of a strong piece of bait, e.g. B. "Call or write us today to receive a copy of our FREE brochure" 7 Ways to Reduce Energy Costs ".

Conversely, the absence of a piece of bait significantly reduces the response rate to your lead-generating direct response promotions, whether it's a B2B or B2C campaign.

In order not only to attract people who want the free brochure, you should have both a “hard” and a “soft” offer with every lead generation campaign. The soft offer is the main magnet. For example, click this link to download a copy of our free white paper on Internet security. The difficult offer is: "Call us now to make an appointment so we can discuss your Internet security requirements in detail." Interested parties with an immediate need will respond to the hard offer, while those who do not currently need your help but may be interested in the future are more likely to respond to the soft offer.

Years ago I used direct mail to generate leads for business writing seminars that I marketed to companies. The main offer was "Email this card for more information on my effective technical writing seminar."

Then I got smart and added a P.S. That means: "Make sure to ask for our FREE information sheet" 10 ways to improve your technical writing. "This was a reprint of an article that I had published in a trade magazine. As soon as I inserted this soft offer, my response rates doubled and mine too Sales.

Three factors that can increase conversion in multilevel content campaigns

At the top of the sales funnel, the first conversion is often a free content offering, with e-books and white papers being popular lead magnets. You can take the following three measures to increase the attractiveness of your lead magnet and generate more downloads:

1. Title. The title should catch the potential customer's attention by typically arousing curiosity, making a big promise (e.g. solving an urgent problem) or promising to reveal useful information or important news.

2. Perceived value. Here's a simple trick to get a high perceived value: Even if you reveal the content, put a price on the cover. Very few content marketers know this simple technique. However, if there is no price on the cover, the recipient does not consider the lead magnet to be so valuable.

3. Table of contents. Lead magnets with three to four pages or more should have a table of contents (TOC). The chapter headings in the table of contents should be written like bullets in sales copies in order to increase interest in the content.

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