Engaging site visitors is the key to lead generation. You can measure scroll depth, page views, and social media shares all day long, but accurately assessing reader engagement levels is still somewhat of a mystery. There are, however, best practices you can use to create engaging content that results in higher lead conversion rates. Let’s explore the difference between qualified and unqualified leads and ways you can create content that truly engages your audience.
What Is the Difference Between a Qualified Lead and an Unqualified Lead?
To create content that results in a higher rate of qualified leads, you first need to know what a marketing qualified lead (MQL) really is.
MQLs are prospective customers who are on your lead-tracking radar. These prospects have performed some type of behavior indicating their interest in your product. They have also passed your lead qualifier indicators. For example, a site visitor subscribes to your blog. By using a variety of analytical tools, you are able to gather data relating to this person and you confirm that he or she:
- Can make a buying decision
- Has a problem you can solve
- Has a budget that can afford your product
- Has been looking at other products offered by your competitors
Once prospects are confirmed as MQLs, they are then pushed further down the sales funnel and vetted by the sales team to determine whether they are a sales qualified lead (SQL).
On the other side of the fence are unqualified leads, which are often costly to your content marketing budget. They are unsure as to what your company offers, and, many times, they don’t even know they have a problem your product can solve. Prospects can also be deemed as unqualified leads because of their budget constraints; they simply can’t afford your product.
Proof that Engaging Content Increases Qualified Leads
The goal of your content marketing campaign is to generate qualified leads. Engaging content is key to achieving this goal.
- 56% of marketers agree that engaging content in the form of personalized messages encourages comfortability with your brand, which leads to higher rates of qualified leads.
- AT&T acquired $47M in new business in 18 months by distributing engaging content on social media.
- 80% of decision-makers would rather receive engaging content rather than viewing an advertisement.
- 78% of buyers want to build relationships with companies that provide them with custom content.
Engagement vs. Traffic
Just because you have a high number of clicks does not mean your engagement level is high. Sure, your content is reaching a wide audience, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to land your content in front of an audience, no matter how large or how small, that actually has a need for your product. It’s much better to land your content in front of an audience of 5,000 people, 30% of which are qualified leads, than an audience of 20,000, of which only 3% percent are qualified leads.
Your ultimate goal is to achieve both higher rates of traffic and higher rates of MQLs. You can accomplish this goal by distributing engaging content to targeted audiences. To determine who your targeted audiences are, you will need to create buyer personas.
Tips for Creating Engaging Content
Once you have developed buyer personas and you know exactly who your audience is, you can then move on to creating engaging content. This content is going to provide detailed information on how your product can meet the needs of your audience. You’re going to present the information in formats that don’t come across as overly promotional. Excellent formats for distributing engaging content include:
- Blog postings
- Status updates
- Case studies
The value of using videos, interactive content, and other visuals in your content should not be underestimated. HubSpot posted an article stating more than 32% of online users’ activity involves watching a video. Videos and other forms of visual content have numerous benefits:
- More information can be spelled out in a video in less amount of time when compared to having to read the information in a text-only format
- Videos are convenient; simply press play and watch — there’s no need to scroll up or down
- Visual content is easier to recall than text (consumers recall only 10% of what they read; they recall a mind-boggling 65% of what they see in a visual format)
Another tip for creating engaging content is to carefully curate titles, subheads, and first paragraphs. Every word in a content piece matters, but these elements tend to matter most. You first attract the attention and initiate engagement through the title. Next comes the first paragraph. If your reader doesn’t stay engaged during the first paragraph, they will go elsewhere for the information they are looking for. Subheads are especially important too because they break up the content into easy-to-consume digestible pieces. More so, they allow the reader to easily scan your content for the exact information they are looking for.
Maintaining Content Engagement From the Very Beginning
Opening with a story locks in the reader’s attention. People reading your content want to know your brand is authentic, and storytelling helps them see a side of you that they probably haven’t seen before. Everything gets more personal when being told as a story and your readers will value that you took the time to share a piece of your brand’s journey with them.
If you want to get even more personal, you can begin the first paragraph with a confession. Share a secret that you’ve never told anyone and you’re sure to increase engagement.
Also important for increasing engagement is to be upfront, meaning don’t curate a misleading headline. You’ll really frustrate readers if they click on your content only to discover your title has nothing to do with the actual content. For example, if your title is “5 Ways to Make Money From Home Today” and your content outlines five ways to work from home that take anywhere from two weeks to six months to start generating money, then you obviously lied in your title. No one likes a liar and you don’t want your brand to be associated with being misleading. MQLs are going to come at a higher rate if your readers know they can trust you.
You can generate leads all day long, but if these leads are qualified, they are going to bring no real value to your sales revenue. Instead of wasting money on tactics that boost traffic, you should focus your budget on creating buyer personas and quality content creation that truly resonates with your targeted audience. The better you know your audience, the better you’ll understand the challenges they face. In knowing these challenges, you can then have a professional content creation specialist curate content that goes into great detail as to how your product can serve as a solution.