There’s a reason we all know Alec Baldwin for his “coffee's for closers” speech in Glengarry Glen Ross — it’s somewhat hard to forget that terrifying (and vulgar) rant.
Using fear as a motivator, he threatens to fire a room full of salesmen if they fail to close the leads they’ve been given. He really lays on the pressure.
The big excuse was, as Jack Lemmon’s character says, “The leads are weak.”
And that’s the thing about “cold leads” — warming them up was hard enough back in 1992, when the movie came out. But it’s still a common issue for salespeople today.
A better way to generate and nurture leads
With outbound marketing, modern marketers essentially do what desperate salespeople used to do: cold-calling prospects. Only now they're doing it through digital channels like display advertising or email.
The problem is that there's no way to know in advance if a prospect will be interested in your product or service (i.e., qualified) and thus the ROI of outbound marketing is typically much lower than it is for inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is becoming a more prevalent method for lead generation because prospects take the first steps in qualifying themselves — much like a potential car buyer who walks onto the lot asking for a brochure.
With inbound, you attract visitors with great content, and from there you nurture them with a steady stream of material that educates and keeps them engaged as they move closer towards making a purchase decision.
Warming your leads up
In the “attraction” stage, people come to your website because search engines helped them find you. You've got content that positions you as an expert source on a problem they face, and as a result, they land on your site.
Once a prospect is drawn to your website, you have to get them into the “activation” stage. You can do this by offering them something valuable to download in exchange for their email address or get them to sign up for your newsletter so you can stay in contact and nurture them further.
As leads take actions to engage with your content, they learn more about their own problem and how your products or services can help. Content thus serves to pull your leads further into your funnel, and prospects “warm” themselves.
By the time a sales rep reaches out, they're more likely to earn their cup of coffee by closing the deal.
The only catch is that, these days, it takes the highest quality content to attract, nurture and convert leads. In a landscape littered with mediocre content, marketers need to find fresh ways to stand out.
4 tips for making your content more valuable
Producing content that will attract visitors, convince them to hand over their information, and then nurture them until the deal closes, requires more effort than many marketers are willing to invest.
But for the brave and committed — those marketers who remain undaunted by the prospect of real effort (and for those who need to close because they're hopelessly addicted to coffee), here are some tips for creating content that's sure to warm your leads up.
1. Create visual content
This can't be emphasized enough. Today's audiences want content to be highly visual. Human brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text, so people naturally pay more attention to imagery. Visually stunning content is requisite to capturing attention in a crowded space.
As people move through websites more quickly than ever, scanning instead of reading, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention before they move on. A well-designed visual can stop them in their tracks and get them to really look.
In many cases, visual content is also able to communicate your message more effectively than textual content. Images tend to evoke emotion much faster than text — and emotional resonance is what will make people remember you. So, portray your value proposition with imagery as often as you can.
2. Make it personalized
Our own research has shown that personalizing content to your readers can increase the time spent engaging with your content by 22 percent. People like being addressed by name and being shown content that is uniquely relevant to them.
If you run a site where users are usually logged in, this should be easy using smart content that pulls information from your CRM. But even if that's not the case, you can collect the information you need with forms or social media integrations.
One of our clients recently used LinkedIn to personalize their digital white paper and show readers only the pages that were relevant to their chosen industry. While their white paper was nearly 40 pages long, any given reader would see just 25 of those pages depending on their LinkedIn profile.
For them, this led to a 71% increase in reading time and a 75% increase in social shares.
3. Make it interactive
Technology allows you to take your content from boring and static to interactive and engaging. Give your readers something to do, and they’ll consume, remember and appreciate your content that much more.
Involve your readers by requiring clicking, swiping, and scrolling as they move through your content. But be sure to make the navigation both intuitive and fun.
Using animated transitions and even sounds that provide feedback to user actions will make for a more immersive experience.
Additionally, feedback forms, sharing options, quizzes, and embedded games can all serve as opportunities for your users to actively partake in your content, rather than only passively consuming it. Be thoughtful about it, though. Too much interaction can distract users from the message you want to convey.
4. Make it easy so you can make more of it
If creating visual, bespoke, interactive content hinges on the availability of an expensive team of developers and designers, you won't be able to make as much of it as you need to fill your pipeline with qualified leads (much less nurture those leads).
So, you should take full advantage of the many tools available to marketers and content producers designed to help eliminate much of the work.
Content creation platforms like Foleon were born out of the need for marketers and brand owners with little or no technical skill to produce exceptional digital content on their own. Our powerful and easy-to-use editor allows anyone to create media-rich HTML5-based content in just a few hours.
Empowering marketers to create awesome content themselves is what we’re passionate about — as passionate as Alec Baldwin’s character is about closing. (And we're not quite as mean).
Discover: How to build a lead generation tech stack.