How to Generate Leads With Targeted Content (and Move Them Through the Funnel Faster)

By Sarah Asp Olson

The average consumer sees about 10,000 messages per day. Each one is vying for consumer attention and hoping to elicit a click or a read. We are awash in content, and consumers (and algorithms) have become adept at filtering out anything that is not relevant.

What does this mean for those looking to connect with potential customers? The messages you put out need to be highly personalized. Put another way: the right content for the right person at the right time. 

Creating highly targeted content cuts through the noise, generates leads and gets those leads through the funnel fast. And that’s not just, like, our opinion, man. The fact is, personalization gets results

  • 93% of B2B professionals believe that personalizing content on their website increased their company’s revenue worldwide, according to a March 2020 survey. (Statista)
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. (Epsilon)
  • 90% of U.S. consumers find personalized marketing content to be somewhat to very appealing. (Statista)

In this post, we’ll cover: 

  • The definition of targeted content. 
  • The benefits of segmentation. 
  • How targeted content earns leads. 

What Do We Mean By Targeted Content?

Targeted content is created for a specific audience and is designed to compel them to progress down the sales funnel. 

Gone are the days of tossing out a generic blog post vaguely directed toward “middle-aged women in the Midwest.” Not only do your readers have access to more content, they’ve become savvier about the type of content they consume. To elicit a click or an engagement, consumers need to feel like the message is created just for them. 

“But, Sarah,” I can hear you saying, “my marketing team is literally just me! How can I write individualized content for every single potential customer?” 

It’s a good question, and the answer is: You can’t. Even if you were to hire an awesome content-driven digital marketing agency, It would be impossible to create unique videos, blog posts, emails or social media ads for every single reader. That’s where segmentation comes in. 

The Power of Segmentation

Segmentation is simply dividing your target market into smaller groups — or segments — based on certain shared characteristics. Segmentation is the first step in building a content marketing strategy that earns leads who then ultimately become customers. 

There are innumerable ways to segment your target market, and some will depend on the nature of your business. A few examples include target markets, buyer personas and lifecycle stages. Let’s break ‘em down. 

Target markets. In traditional marketing, you’d cast a wide net over a segment of the market you’re looking to attract — say, Midwestern women ages 35-50 who make more than $90,000 per year. Today’s marketers are much more focused on catching the attention of a single audience member than a target market. 

That doesn’t mean targeting a specific demographic or region is a waste of time; knowing key demographic information is a great first step in narrowing the field. Here are a few ways you can segment your target markets: 

  • Demographics. This includes things like age, income, location and relationship status — all those dry census questions we respond to every 10 years. 
  • Geography is all about where your customers live, work and travel. What’s their climate? Their ZIP code? Are they urban, suburban or rural?  
  • Psychographic data goes a step further, dividing customers by personality traits, values, lifestyle, activities and interests. 
  • Behaviors help pinpoint how and why your customers interact with your content: Which types of blog posts are they reading? How often and what time of day are they visiting your website? 

Buyer personas. A buyer persona is a specific archetype based on your existing customers. Where target markets focus on the location, company or salary, buyer personas focus on the people — their needs, pain points and challenges. You can use all that target market demographic data to narrow the field, but then get specific. 

Read: Top Tips for Creating Buyer Personas. 

Lifecycle stages. According to Hubspot, a lifecycle stage “refers to where in the buying process an individual lead or contact currently is.” Segmenting by lifecycle stage allows you to speak directly to where your potential leads are on the buyer’s journey. “For example, the conversation you should have with a new lead who you know nothing about should be very different from the kind of conversation you might have with an established sales opportunity who is considering a purchase in the near future.”

Tow Targeted Content Earns Leads Who Then Become Customers

Now that you have a concrete idea of who your customers are, you can move beyond the one-size-fits-all approach and create awesome content that speaks directly to their needs and pain points. 

As your leads visit new pages and engage (or ignore) content you send them, you’ll have a better idea of what is important to them. Each time a lead engages, you can send additional content pieces that are the next natural step in the conversation. That’s called lead nurturing, and it’s a super effective way for lead generation to convert people into loyal customers. 

Read: The 5 Ws (and 1 H) of Successful Lead Nurturing

Many tools can help automate the lead-generation process, including Hubspot’s workflow tool. Marketing automation helps you deliver the right content to the right leads at the right time by setting off a chain reaction based on the lead’s actions.

In today’s content-saturated environment, consumers care about personalization. In fact, a study by Accenture found that 41% of consumers switched businesses due to a lack of personalization. Targeted content is no longer optional if you want to reach new customers and grow your business. 

Ready to begin your content marketing journey? Download our template here

Sarah Asp Olson

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