Marketers put a lot of effort into social media marketing and blogging because both are great for raising awareness and interacting with potential customers. 

With all of the positive statistics surrounding these mediums, it can be tempting to focus all of your efforts here. 

After all:

  • Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links
  • 23% of total internet usage time is devoted to social networks and blogs
  • 47% of all internet users are on Facebook

But, raising brand awareness is simply not enough to gain a loyal customer base.

In this article, we are going to take a look at why downloadable content is vital to your content marketing strategy.

One word... leads.

Every company needs leads. Without leads, you will never gain a loyal customer base. Lead generation involves building trust in your prospects by nurturing them to a sales-ready position.

A great way to nurture leads is through email marketing. By emailing prospects your valuable content, you can ensure that your product or service stays at the top of their mind, so that when they're ready to buy, they buy from you instead of your competitor.

So where does downloadable content come into all of this?

Downloadable content is the key to your prospects' inboxes

You cannot nurture leads without their email addresses. And people aren't exactly dying to give their email address to just anyone, they already have enough spam.

By creating downloadable content that your prospects really want, you can make a trade for their contact details.

Downloadable content usually refers to an eBook or a whitepaper. A large document with lots of valuable information that will appeal to your prospects, that they can't get anywhere else.

In return for your super-valuable downloadable content, you can ask for something that is just as valuable to you: prospects' email addresses.

You may want more than just an email address, but it can be tricky to know just how much to ask for.

Take a look at these examples of conversion forms...

lead-form-1

It couldn't be easier to fill out this form.

Forms like this can be tempting for brands that are struggling to collect leads and don't want to turn anyone away by asking too much.

However, by asking too little, you can also lose out on leads.

This form doesn't even require an email address from the prospect, you can download the eBook by sharing it on Twitter. This is obviously great if you want to improve your social following, but not for gaining leads.

lead-form-2

This form might look the lengthiest out of the three, however if you look at it closely, it has fields that someone can leave blank if they want to.

lead-form-3

This is a great way to get the details you definitely need and also a chance at obtaining the details that you'd like. Details that will help you nurture the lead more successfully.

The only way to know exactly what to ask for in your conversion forms is to test.

If you find that your bounce rate is really high, then take out unnecessary fields like company type and see if your conversion rate improves.

What if no one is visiting my landing page?

If there are not enough people visiting the page to download your content, then you need to distribute more.

There are many ways to spread the word about your downloadable content:

  • Write about it on your blog
  • Share it on social
  • Send it to everyone on your email list
  • Feature it on distribution sites, like Publi.sh

The more places you promote your downloadable content, the more people will see it, and ultimately the more people will download it.

Final thoughts

Downloadable content is vital to your content marketing strategy because it's the next step in the inbound marketing methodology. The method of turning strangers into customers through inbound marketing.

First, you attract people with awesome blog posts and cool social networking sites, and then you lead them further down your sales funnel with the help of downloadable content.

Nicola Kenyon

Published 7 August, 2015 by Nicola Kenyon

Nicola Kenyon is a contributor to Econsultancy and a writer for Wyzowl and Publi.sh. You can follow Wyzowl on Twitter & Facebook, and Publi.sh on Twitter & Facebook

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