How To Turn Likes into Leads

You have an audience. They like you, and they look forward to reading what you have to say. This is because you work hard to provide a variety of valuable, educational content. Too many of them, however, are hanging out on the sidelines – anonymous leads who never turn into prospects. How are you nurturing your readers on social, your blog, and your website? How do you turn an audience into a client base?

As digital marketing – from your website to your social networks – becomes more and more about providing good content, and your audience becomes more and more inundated with spam, your strategies for moving contacts through the sales funnel need to evolve. What does your lead generation strategy look like in this new system? How do you do it without pushing away readers who aren’t yet ready to buy?

The answer may be simpler than you think.

“The reason that most content doesn’t drive action is because you didn’t ask for action. The number one mistake that content strategists make is not having a clear call-to-action. Including a link or a form to be filled out will help you drive more leads from your efforts. The easier you make it for the audience to stay engaged, the more likely it is to happen.” Jeff Zelaya (@JeffZelaya),JeffZelaya.com, Mid-Market Sales Executive, Vocus Inc

You can optimize your calls-to-action by collecting different amounts of information, using different colors, or testing alternate copy. Providing an easy next step for your audience is often cited as the first (and first forgotten) strategy for converting readers to customers.

“It often comes down to compelling calls-to-action. Your blog content, for example, is really the gateway into your business – but it doesn’t stop there. Turn visitors into contacts by directing them toward additional ‘gated’ resources (behind forms) that they might find interesting. This enables you to get more out of your blog content, take better advantage of the traffic you are driving, and learn more about your visitors.

High traffic numbers are great, but if you aren’t using that traffic to further your business with the right calls-to-action, you’re missing a major opportunity to generate leads.” – Brendan Cournoyer (@BrenCournoyer), Director of Content Marketing, Brainshark, Inc.

It’s a simple strategy, but what does that actually look like? What needs to happen on your website or in your promotional emails?

“Turning a percentage of your audience into a client base often comes down to a single factor –  offers. The reality is that people assign value to things they pay for. So while your audience might like you and look forward to reading your material, you must still establish value with appealing offers. 

Remember, people want direction and need compelling reasons to act. So while you should go heavy on educational material, also give your readers an occasional reason to open their wallets.” –Tom Trush (@TomTrush), Direct-Response Copywriter, Author & Speaker, Write Way Solutions

If you ensure that these offers are relevant and unobtrusive, you’ll be able to generate leads without alienating new visitors.

“There are a lot of ways to provide visitors with conversion opportunities without turning people off, or chasing the rest of your audience away. Calls-to-action can be included as static items (links at the bottom of your blog post, featured resources in your sidebar), or more dynamic options (behavior-based pop-up windows, message placements, etc.).

This doesn’t just apply to text-based content. Video content can also include clickable hyperlinks or text overlays that direct viewers to additional resources without disrupting their experience. This unobtrusive factor is important. You want to make your calls-to-action easily visible and accessible – but not hit people over the head with sales messages. The user experience comes first.” –Cournoyer (@BrenCournoyer)

As you develop smart, relevant offers and calls-to-action for your audience, you can also develop content that prepares readers to respond to those calls, in addition to educating and establishing your brand as a thought-leader in your field.

“Instead of just providing interesting information, you need to translate that information into something meaningful. You readers should be compelled to ask themselves smart, provocative questions as a result of the information you gave them. Insert those questions into your content, forcing readers to ‘try on,’ and make some sort of decision about, the information you shared. Your content should always attempt to get readers to consciously decide whether or not they need to do something different as a result of what they just read or viewed.

First, introduce an unknown, undervalued or unmet problem. Next, build a case for why it should be a priority. Describe why their status quo approach is inadequate, then introduce them to a new approach, which happens to align with some of your key strengths. A distinct point of view creates opportunities for people to respond as leads without chasing off other readers, because it still provides valuable insight.” – Tim Riesterer (@TRiesterer), Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer,Corporate Visions, Inc.

No matter how helpful your content is, some part of your audience will remain inactive unless you give them some actionable suggestions. In addition to educating your readers, make sure your content is asking questions and preparing readers to respond. Then, tell them how to respond. A clear call-to-action, or an offer they can’t refuse, adds value to your product and helps move people from reader to prospect to client.