How to enhance your digital lead gen in 2024

Published: Dec 06th, 2023

Updated: Jan 18th, 2024

The internet means that lead gen has come a long way from hitting the pavements, going door to door, or simple word-of-mouth. Potential customers and suppliers are now at our fingertips. Still, online lead gen comes with challenges.

Lead generation is a valuable marketing tool for many businesses. The internet means that lead gen has come a long way from hitting the pavements, going door to door, or simple word-of-mouth. Potential customers and suppliers are now at our fingertips. Still, online lead gen comes with challenges. How can an individual business stand out from the crowd to attract leads?

Business leaders and marketeers are often unsure themselves. They seldom go about the task in any kind of systemic way. A mere 43% of B2B marketeers have a documented content marketing strategy, a figure that only climbs to 60% among the most successful B2B marketeers.

Why is this? For one, many are not fully aware of the difference between a regular content marketing strategy and a digital one – as such, 92% do not feel confident in executing the latter. This post will outline this distinction as it relates to lead gen, and will guide you through the process of crafting a digital lead generation strategy of your own.

People in the room working on post-its

Content marketing Vs Digital Marketing

Content marketing is about creating pieces of media that convey a certain message around an organisation or product. It could include anything from an email to a video or a blog post, or an insightful webinar.

Of course, in 2024 the vast majority of content marketing is done online. Content marketing can in many ways be seen as a type of digital marketing. The difference between content marketing and digital marketing lies in the precise methods used. Content marketing aims to tell a story about a company or product; the way in which the content is distributed is secondary. By contrast, digital marketing focuses more on the digital channels themselves. It makes use of a variety of different tactics and tools, and gets into the nitty-gritty of web analytics, click-through rates, pay-per-click and SEO to drive particular marketing outcomes.

Digital marketing is also much more concerned with specific targets. Digital marketing may, for example, aim to target those already on the market – turning a general willingness to buy into a concrete sale. A digital marketing campaign might also aim to raise the visibility of a company by applying SEO techniques to its website. The desired outcomes are specific; they are often expressed as a number or a percentage.

People at the desk discussing

Pros and cons of content vs. digital marketing for lead gen

When it comes to lead generation, content marketing and digital marketing both have their advantages and limitations.

The key virtue of a content-led lead gen strategy is the ability to craft a compelling message. A well-written blog post or a compelling Webcast has the power to build trust among viewers, and to position a company or product in a certain, very specific way. This kind of marketing allows a company to build a brand for its product, which is the bedrock of reputation, visibility, and, ultimately, sales.

A content marketing strategy has three main limitations. First, it requires a large time investment. Content has to be well-written, well-presented, and specifically tailored to convey a certain message. A research from Orbit Media says that, the average blog post in 2024 now takes just under four hours to write.

Second, there is little guarantee of visibility. A piece of thought leadership can be incisive and beautifully written but might still languish on page eight of Google. Third, the benefits of content marketing are rarely immediate, and are hard to quantify. Building up a reputation or brand for a company is certainly important, but it is hard to measure this.

A more general digital marketing strategy can bring benefits of a different kind. First, the results are easier to measure. Modern web analytics tools means that it is easy to gauge whether, say, a marketing campaign with a click-through rating target has been successful or not. Second, the campaigns can achieve a much larger reach. Digital tools like SEO or pay-per-click ads can do much to enhance visibility regardless of the content that is actually being shown. Third, digital campaigns are highly adaptable. Digital marketeers can check in with their analytics to see what is working and adjust the campaign accordingly.

Digital marketing also has its own disadvantages. Modern internet browsers have become quite astute at simply ignoring advertisements or marketing emails, which is another reason why traditional media is still valuable. Digital marketing campaigns also tend to be fairly generic. They can get the word out about a company or product, but can rarely change the conversation. Finally, there is the issue of cost. Digital marketing often requires paid software, and paying for visibility rather than achieving it through content can be very expensive. SEO, too, must often be outsourced – adding to the cost.

Having your cake and eating it: A digitally led content strategy for lead generation

Ideally, a lead generation campaign will combine the virtues of a content-led strategy with the wide reach of a digital one. As one social media marketeer pithily put it, “Content is king, but engagement is queen”. This is, of course, easier said than done.

But trying to do so is especially worthwhile when it comes to lead generation. A lead is often making a significant time investment, whether by reading more information, or agreeing to a call or meeting with the seller. The stakes are high, and this means that novelty, trustworthiness, and flair are paramount. At the same time, digital tools have the power to reinvigorate content marketing campaigns through increased visibility and targeting. Digital tools can also be used to unite content into one connected experience – adding to it efficacy.

A royal crown on a red velvet support

Guiding principles for a digitally led content strategy for lead generation

We now know that a successful lead gen campaign should try to balance effective content with sound digital strategy. Our expertise in this area has been recognised by SME News, who named us 2023’s Best Data-Driven PR & Communications Consultancy as part of its Greater London Enterprise Awards. How might we think about putting all this into effect? A successful digital content marketing campaign can be distilled into a few key principles:

Relevance – Potential leads will want this campaign to be available on their favourite social or web channels. Ideally, they should not have to go out of their way to encounter your content and advertisements.

Consistency – A key part of building trust among potential leads is a consistent message. Lead generation is more likely if a buyer has a clear idea of the company and the product. Marketeers should seek to summarise their company’s unique selling point, and then push this message in various ways.

Creativity – In the age of the internet, attention spans are short and competition is intense. Marketeers should find a novel way to hook potential leads.

Speed – Customers in 2024 put great stock in innovation. A successful campaign will position the company or product as a disruptor, or as a part of an emerging trend in the market.

An hourglass among the pebbles

Concrete steps

At Sapience Communications, we have broken down the planning and execution stage for a digitally led content strategy for lead gen into the following steps:

Define your goals – What is your metric for success? Defining key benchmarks for lead generation beforehand – such as number of leads, type of leads, or total eventual sales – can help marketeers tailor their campaign accordingly.

Conduct persona research – What would the typical customer for your product or service look like? Building a fictional profile of this person is an invaluable step; it allows marketeers to be empathetic towards potential customers. By putting yourself in the shoes of a potential lead you can craft a campaign that will earn their attention, trust, and interest. This can be done through ordinary desk research methods, but other tools like surveys are also helpful in this regard.

Run a content audit – A content audit is a perfect example of the marriage of digital and content marketing. Use digital tools, like web analytics, to examine the performance of articles, videos, listicles, and emails that are the real meat of your campaign. Observing metrics like click-through rate are invaluable when planning future content.

Determine which types of content you want to create / what content your audience 
wants – This step proceeds from your content audit. It requires your own judgement, rather than simply looking at the data. Your content audit has given you an idea of what your audience is currently responding to – but this is by no means set in stone. Marketing is often an exercise in responding to consumer trends, but you should not discount the value of blue-sky thinking and searching for an entirely novel approach.

Determine the right type of content for different digital channels being used – Again, we are seeking to combine effective content with the intelligent use of digital channels. Marketeers should think carefully about what content will be most effective in different places. For instance, outreach messages should be punchier and snappier on LinkedIn, while posts on a company website can be more detailed and in-depth. Tweets should be attention-grabbing, almost to a fault. This kind of strategic thinking about where to place content – otherwise known as ‘programmatic PR’ – is increasingly prominent within the field.

Brainstorm content ideas – After taking these preliminary steps, you are now ready to think about the content itself. By taking the systemic approach described in steps 1-5 you will already have a fairly clear idea of what will be effective.

Publish and manage your content – When it comes time to actually publish your marketing content, you will want to bear several things in mind. First, you should consider timing. Putting out a social blog to coincide with a major industry conference or announcement will greatly increase clicks. You will also want to think about how you manage your content as the campaign unfolds. Potential leads may approach you with questions, and content may have to be clarified or edited.

Be SEO-focused – All written content should be written with SEO in mind. It is prudent to educate yourself on the basics of SEO even if you are not an expert; this will cut down on editing later on.

People working a logical scheme on a whiteboard

Digital content marketing trends for 2024

To get you started in your brainstorming, here are five strong approaches to digital content marketing to try in 2024:

Make it personal – Consumers increasingly put a premium on personal experience and stories. Content that centres around a CEO or employee can be disarming and charming, and can put a visible face to a company or product.

Go niche – In a saturated attention market, it pays to try something new – even obscure. Interesting and novel content is not only fun to produce, but it also has the potential to pique someone’s interest in a way that blander corporate speak seldom will. Stunt marketing can be a real differentiator.

Brevity is the soul of wit – ChatGPT can churn out turgid yet competent prose. There has never been greater value to being able to summarise a unique value proposition in a snappy and memorable way. Indeed, recent research from Hubspot has found that shorter pieces of marketing content – such as TikToks and Youtube Shorts – achieved the highest return on investment in 2023.

Diversify – A content audit can only get you so far. It cannot tell you about who is not currently viewing your content – but might if there were something that interested them. Experiment with a variety of mediums to bring in a new audience. As we have previously argued, a creative sense is essential to the success of a lead generation campaign in 2024.

Five tools for digital content marketing 

HubSpot – This service, which starts a steep £702 per month, is an attempt to create an all-round marketing platform. Hubspot’s dashboard lets you post, manage, and measure content, as well as track leads and interact with consumers. There are, however, limits on the amount of contacts that can be stored at different pricing tiers.

Answer The Public This tool is a perfect jumping-off point for any digital content marketing campaign. It lets users to examine the questions that consumers are asking on Google and other search engines – allowing marketeers to respond to the latest consumer trends. Subscriptions start at £9 per month.

Trello Trello is a way to organise workflows amongst a team – something that is very valuable in executing complex, multi-stage marketing campaigns. The service is free to start with, but an ‘Enterprise’ premium package is available for 17.50 USD per month.

Ahrefs Ahrefs gives you a suite of analytical tools to optimise your web content for search engines, and to track the performance of different pieces of media. The fees involved, though, are fairly steep: starting from £79 a month.

Woomio In 2024, winning the endorsement of a charismatic influencer can transform a business overnight. Woomio is a database of such influencers, and boasts a series of tools to help you determine which ones to reach out to. A digital marketing strategy will rarely focus entirely on influencer endorsements, so this platform is perhaps best used in conjunction with others. The service is currently free to use.

Woman in front of the desktop, working

Conclusion

In 2024, the best way to find leads is to combine creative and exciting content with a savvy use of digital tools. Neither is sufficient on their own, nor is it workable to embark on a lead generation campaign without first thinking about customer profiles, novel approaches, and consistent messaging.

At Sapience Communications, our dedicated digital marketing team combines fresh and novel content with the latest innovations in online marketing. If you’d like to find out more about our approach and how it can help your business, please contact us, or call 0203 327 8422.


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