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Content marketing can reduce your cost per lead - here’s how!

Content marketing can reduce your cost per lead – here’s how!

How’s this for getting your attention: Content marketing could reduce your cost per lead (CPL) by as much as 63 per cent!

That stat comes from Brafton, a content marketing agency in the US. We’ll explore this figure in a bit more detail shortly, but for now we mention it to titillate and entice you. If your CPL is the International Space Station and you’d rather it was a submarine, this 63 per cent proves that content could be the marketing strategy you’ve always needed.

Today we’re going to examine this issue on a few fronts. First, we’ll cover how to accurately calculate your CPL. Then we’re going to explain, in brief, how content marketing could save the day. Finally, we’ll move into the how – we’ve got a heap of go-to tips for reducing cost per lead with content, so bookmark this article and let’s get started!

In this article cost per lead

Part 1: How to determine your cost per lead

To determine your cost per lead, first figure out your total advertising dollars spent, then divide that number by the number of leads received. The result is your CPL. So for example, if we spend $3,000 per month on marketing and receive 50 leads, our CPL is $60.

What is a good CPL?

Sorry, but we can’t answer that! It’s different for every business.

Having a triple-figure CPL might seem gratuitous, but if those same leads are worth an extraordinary amount of money, it makes sense to spend more to capture them. Conversely, if your leads are worth less and you require more to keep your business afloat, that triple-figure CPL is going to stretch your budget to the seams, and then some.

Ultimately, if instinct is telling you that you’re spending too much, it’s worth looking at reducing the cost. You know your business better than anyone, after all.

Part 2: How can content marketing reduce my cost per lead?

Content marketing is heralded as one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies around. Take a look here:

  1. Must-read stat! Content marketing costs 31 per cent less than paid search, and over the long-term can produce three times more leads, according to a Kapost study.

content marketing must-know stat

What puts some people off content is the fact that it takes time to build up. Pay-per-click (PPC) results happen near-instantly, manufacturing instant gratification and creating a good graph to show the higher-ups. But when you focus solely on PPC advertising, you’re always going to be paying the same amount for the same (if not less, depending on competition fluctuations) leads. Over the long-term, it’s inefficient – not least because the moment you switch it off, it stops generating leads.

Content, on the other hand, is like a snowball at the top of a mountain. Sure, it starts off small, but by the time it reaches the village at the bottom, it’s a monster that needs little further incentive to keep rolling. Or in other words, content marketing becomes exponentially easier over time, as you build up your SEO strength and establish an audience.

So what about that 63 per cent you mentioned?

The proof is in the pudding, and we love pudding.

Brafton, after taking on an account that had a high CPL (US$125), put together an inbound leads strategy that balanced long-term content with targeted short-run PPC campaigns.

The team decreased their client’s CPL by 63 per cent and increased non-paid leads by a third.

Now you can work on doing the same for your business here in Australasia.

Part 3: How to use content marketing to reduce cost per lead

1. Establish your content strategy

All good marketing strategy should start with goals, objectives and metrics. Without these, you’re a boat with no chart or compass.

  1. Goals: These are tangible actions you want users to take on your website. Think ‘buy now’ or ‘download this’. For generating leads, you need goals that capture user information.
  2. Objectives: An objective is the broader aim your strategy should accomplish. Today, we want ‘reduce CPL’ overall, but you may also want to ‘increase leads’, ‘reduce reliance on PPC’ or similar.
  3. Metrics: These are how you determine success. So, how will our goals and objectives be measured? Well, the CPL figure is itself a good metric. We also want to monitor total incoming leads, and could also look at site traffic, email open rates and so forth. Anything related to leads and success.

What comes after goals? Target audience

A clearly defined audience is a vital component of a content strategy, so at this stage you must also put together a range of detailed audience descriptions, known as user personas. These are guides that define your ideal audience members in terms like demographic, job title, pain points, social media habits, or anything else deemed relevant.

Learn how to create your own by checking out our User Personas guide. Additionally, to find out more about expanding your audience size once you know who to target, check out the link in the tweet below.

2. Optimise for mobile

If your website is poorly optimised for mobile, it’s going to sting you later.

Forty-six per cent of people use both desktop and mobile devices to access websites, and 30 per cent use exclusively mobile (says a comScore study). Google knows this, and is increasingly prioritising mobile-friendly websites in its search rankings, to the point of even indexing mobile pages before it indexes desktop sites.

How does this relate to leads?

SEO is essential for content marketing, as the two are part of the same sandwich. A lack of mobile optimisation is a barrier to success you can’t ignore.

3. Optimise your landing pages

Conversion landing pages should sell a user on your content within the first few seconds.

Where do people leave their details when they want something from your business? Conversion landing pages.

So what do you need to pay close attention to and fully optimise in order to achieve success? Oh yeah. Conversion landing pages.

What makes a great conversion landing page?

  • Enticing copy: Good landing page copy does two things. First, it tells the user what the page is about in the first few lines – that’s best practice UX. Second, it entices a user with compelling information. For example, if your CLP is for a whitepaper, you’d reveal enough info for a user to feel like the document is a must-download, but not enough that they get the answer without downloading it.
  • Bold call to action: Further to copy, there should be a bold call to action. This should fit with your goals strategised above, and clearly state what action you wish the user to perform. Think “Download our whitepaper on XYZ” rather than “Click here”.
  • Smart design: Smart landing page design frees the page of clutter and shows, clearly, the copy that entices the eye and the call to action where users must click. Think arrows, contrasting colours, clear fonts – that sort of thing.
  • Not too many questions: In the lead form itself, don’t ask too many questions. You can enquire for further details as you nurture the lead. For now, just capture the basics and begin the relationship.

4. Create valuable content that is worth a lead

Content, SEO and leads are all intertwined, and good-quality content underpins this strategy.

Excellent content builds authority and your website’s SEO strength. It also gives you something to promote and discuss on social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn. This in turns builds brand awareness and helps your website rank in search.

Over time, people start finding it easier to discover your content (remember the snowball), and because it’s valuable, they lap it up. When you capture someone’s attention, you have an opportunity to capture a lead. So not only are you building leads over time, you’re also building authority, trust, SEO strength and more – something PPC campaigns don’t do.

Key takeaway: To summarise – produce regular content that is professionally made and valuable to your target audience. Promote this content and use it to capture leads. Over time, it’ll only get easier (and cheaper).

5. Build an email database

Even if you don’t need sales leads right now, an email database full of blog subscribers is a great way to capture leads for the long term. After all, if someone has handed you their email in return for a blog subscription, they’ve shown that they love your content and are willing to hear further from you.

In fact, BtoB Magazine found 59 per cent of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for revenue generation.

How to build an email database with content

  1. Put your most valuable content behind email sign-up gateways.
  2. Create content that people will actually want to see in their inbox.
  3. Encourage existing subscribers to share your content.
  4. Create email-only resources that only subscribers can see (and, obviously, promote that it exists!).

In summary

Creating valuable content that is strategically driven and targeted to specific audience demographics will build your brand awareness, trust, and SEO visibility.

Use value-driven content to boost your search visibility and brand trust, which will in turn help you attract low-cost leads.

It also gives you something worthwhile to promote on social media.

These four things in turn attract readers to subscribe buttons, asset gateways, ‘request a demo’ pages, or any other type of lead-gathering forms on your website, creating an effective long-term, low-cost loop of finding audience members and gathering their details.

You can then combine this approach with targeted, short-term PPC campaigns to promote specific pieces of content. For example, your most valuable whitepaper (hosted on an optimised conversion landing page).

With this best of both worlds approach, you will see your cost per lead reduce over time.

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Duncan Pacey
Duncan Pacey About the author

Duncan has hands-on experience developing and rolling out many of our bespoke search-optimised writing products, making him the perfect Castleford blogger. When he’s not writing about SEO, lead gen, and the art of entertaining people and Google simultaneously, he crafts prose for clients in hospitality, construction and building, and the software as a service field. Current clients include SAS, Altus, Epson - and of course the Castleford website.

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