This article originally appeared in Adotas and is written by Vin Turk, Co-Founder & SVP of Audience Development
As a publisher, you live and die by how effectively your content attracts the right audiences and ultimately translates visits into revenue. As such, you should be viewing your website as an ongoing feedback loop, wherein your customers dictate their preferences for advertising and content through their consumption patterns. This helps you answer those preferences and needs, as well as generate new leads. However, to truly focus those efforts on qualified prospects, and turn your site into a lead machine, it is crucial to identify as clearly as possible whom your site visitors are and prioritize your content, as well as your sales efforts, accordingly.
Publishers today have the ability to identify the users consuming their content. It’s important to learn where these visitors come from, to glean what you can from their on-site and off-site activity, and, if possible, to append data to flesh out their profiles more fully. Publishers can then use that information to guide a user through the site, leading them to the content that will be most valuable to that user and their business.
Three Key Ways To Generate Leads
There are three key ways to generate leads on a publisher website: via email, through contextual ad units on your site, and through an on-site resource library, wherein premium content is offered behind registration forms.
Email will provide publishers with the best opportunity to leverage data, append data and then segment audiences based on that data. Publishers keeping track of what users are reading and what’s important to them will have the information they need in order to send relevant offers based on their interests and persuade them to register for webinars, white papers and other premium content.
Contextual ads are a great opportunity to engage users, but it’s an opportunity wasted by many publishers today. Why send visitors off-site, when you can instead entice them with your own content or custom content created by your advertisers? Use your website analytics data to surface the right white paper or webinar offer to the right client. Many publishers have the ability to understand customer needs and append data in real time to determine exactly what’s known about each organization and individual user. We can prioritize that lead generation material based upon what we know in the moment, and ensure relevant, enticing content is offered.
On-site resources: Once visitors have clicked through to your landing page, be sure that experience is optimized with data, as well. While the “fair value exchange” is a Golden Rule of content marketing, too many fields may turn off visitors who are short on time and inundated with content. It may be wise to limit fields to name and email only, then append data later to build a fuller profile. If your site visitors tend to be from larger enterprises, this should be relatively easy to do. Publishers unsure of this strategy should consider testing longer versus shorter forms. Not only will this determine whether you can afford the better customer experience of a shorter form, it may help assess the real value of the content being offered.
These practices will not only help generate leads, they’ll also help align sales teams and audiences. Of course sales and marketing teams should understand who’s visiting the site and what content is being consumed by which audiences. There are likely to be clear trends, wherein certain defined audiences gravitate to particular topics. There will be clear “winners,” too – those content pieces that attract thousands of viewers and are shared across social channels. Those should become opportunities for sales to reach out to advertisers who would either sponsor similar fresh content, or even create related custom content.
The Extra Step: Leverage Analytics
To take the sales opportunity a step further, publishers can leverage analytics to discover what’s trending across industries and create content that aligns with these trends. Not only will that keep current visitors coming back, it will also attract the audiences clients crave. Publishers that can mesh their own first party data with information from the broader web will have the greatest success here. Adding in third-party data and surge reports – along with the trending analysis – will help advertisers determine whether their target clients are in market, and which large companies are seeking the products and services they offer. This information will be tremendously valuable to advertisers, particularly those in the B2B space who are endeavoring to engage niche audiences, and who face longer sales cycles.
Ultimately, publishers should use data as much as possible to guide their decisions regarding content, and share the benefits of their discoveries with their clients and partners. To do so will yield better results for everyone involved, from the publisher, to the advertiser, to the end-user.