Content Marketing Definition

How do marketers define content marketing? 50 marketers give their content marketing definition. Plus useful resources.

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5 Key Actionable Lead Generation Tips You Need Now

Biggest lead generation mistakesLead generation is at the heart of B2B marketing.

It’s a major driver of content marketing.

According to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research:

  • 74% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads
  • 47% of B2B marketers use content marketing to nurture and manage leads.

Lead Generation The biggest problem marketers face is focusing their efforts on creating epic content. As a result, they assume leads will magically appear and convert into paying customers without managing back-end of the process.

Here’s how B2B marketers track their content marketing performance:

  • 54% of B2B marketers measure sales lead quality.
  • 48% of B2B marketers measure sales lead quantity.
  • 39% of B2B marketers measure direct sales.

Lead Generation Metrics - 2014When generating leads, marketers must balance driving better quality leads versus more leads. Without a sufficient number of leads, converting enough prospects into customers is difficult .

Over time, with improved processes, marketers can drive higher quality leads.

25 Biggest lead generation mistakes

Here are the 25 biggest lead generation mistakes that marketers make according to experts.Biggest lead generation mistakes

1. Connie Bensen – Global Social Media, Dell @CBensen
Content that doesn’t resonate with target audiences is the biggest mistake. Placing content intended for conversion in people’s paths in the social channels is a waste of time and resources (if paid amplification is used). People will recognize it for the advertising that it is and not engage with it.

2. David Berkowitz – MRY, @DBerkowitz
A huge mistake is trying to force feed lead generation campaigns into situations where consumers aren’t as focused on taking actions. Most social media activity is best at impacting earlier stages of the purchase funnel, so many lead gen campaigns wind up looking like square pegs in round holes.

3. Bernie Borges – Find and Convert, @bernieborges
Clearly the biggest mistake I see is asking to get married on the first date. That’s an obvious analogy for asking for too much from the first touch point with your target audience. Marketer’s need to use the “romance” metaphor in their approach.

4. Michael Brenner –  SAP and B2B Marketing Insider, @BrennerMichael
The biggest lead generation mistake company’s make is assuming that people care more about your brand than they actually do. 73% of people surveyed recently said they could care less if the brands they use disappeared tomorrow. You have to provide value from start to finish.

5.  Ian Cleary – Razor Social @IanCleary
The biggest lead generation mistake is not building email subscribers.  The majority of your website visitors will never come back to your site unless you encourage them back through regular communication.  One of the best ways of doing this is building up email subscribers.

6. Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Guide, @HeidiCohen
Lead generation is skipping the romance portion of the buying process. The objective is to turn hand raisers into satisfied customers.  Here’s where marketers can go wrong.

  1. Don’t understand your target audience. This includes your customers, influencers, end users and the public. Without appreciating your key market, you can’t create marketing that drives and converts leads. This means creating a marketing persona.
  2. Don’t drive leads. You can’t assume that your audience will buy from you without getting the 5 basic types of content. Ensure that this information is both search and social friendly.
  3. Don’t give prospects a reason to share their contact information. This means incorporating a contextually relevant call-to-action (CTA).
  4. Don’t have a process to close sales. Just because your target market raises their hand, that doesn’t translate to sales unless you’ve answered all of their questions and converted them.
  5. Don’t track results. It’s critical to measure your results to appreciate where your process isn’t converting prospects.

7. Jeffrey L. Cohen –  Ball State University and Social Media B2B, Co-author of The B2B Social Media Book,  @JeffreyLCohen
Many marketers view content-generated leads in the same way as traditional leads. Just because someone fills out a lead form to download an ebook does make him or her sales-ready. This is the beginning of a trust-building relationship. And that relationship must be nurtured before you have the right to contact them in a sales context.

8. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media, author of Content Chemistry, @Crestodina
They ignore the data. They ignore the low-hanging fruit. They don’t look at Analytics and don’t optimize their blog. The don’t know what’s working so they waste a lot of time doing things that don’t get results.

I recommend picking the reports that are most interesting to you, and add them to a dashboard (it’s one click at the top of the report) Then set the dashboard to be emailed to yourself every week or so (this also only takes a few clicks) Now you’ll at least see the numbers more often.

The next step is to ask questions and then go look for answers. Do you ever wonder if…? Now go dig around and explore. See if you can find the answer in your Analytics. Once you get into it, it can be fun. The trick is to get over the “I’m bad at Analytics” attitude and jump in. 

9. Mike Delgado –Experian-North America, @MikeDelgado
Stop thinking “we tried that already and it didn’t work.” Figure out all the reasons why a campaign didn’t perform like you wanted and test again later.   Test strategically – and don’t be afraid of failure.

10. Ric Dragon – DragonSearch, Author of Social Marketology@RicDragon
Always be selling.  Isn’t that a mantra of sales?  Okay, so maybe you can always be selling, but by not “selling.” The incessant communication of promoting the brand destroys trust. Trust, on the other hand, is a fundamental element of social media marketing. If your focus is on creating customer or audience value, this will be communicated and felt, and will create trust.

11. Jason Falls – CafePress, Author of  No Bullshit Social Media. @JasonFalls
Not targeting in granular enough ways to attract qualified leads. Those same social media software companies are mostly full of community managers, entry-level account people and the like rather than marketing decision-makers who control budget and buying decisions. It’s harder to get those folks on a webinar or to download a white paper, but few software companies even try. They just assume by spraying the opportunity out to a broad audience, a few targeted folks will trickle in. We could get so much better at targeting if we wanted to.

12. Barry Graubart – Content Matters LLC @Graubart
Particularly, with social media, marketers seem to treat the “follow” or registration as the sole goal, regardless of how they got it. A good example of this is how many marketers (particularly B2C) use contests to get follows, then move to standard interrupt marketing. The person who follows your brand solely because they entered a contest, will likely not engage with your push marketing efforts on social media. Instead, they’ll wonder why they’re following this annoying brand and will unfollow you. Be consistent in the way that you engage users up front and throughout the buying lifecycle and they will be more supporting of your brand going forward.

13. Kelly Hungerford –
Making assumptions about the wants and needs of your target audience. Don’t rely on just traffic and purchasing data. Reach out and talk to your customers and prospects and ask them what they like, or dislike, about your content and your site. Once they give you feedback take action to make changes to your content or website based on the feedback. It’s always surprising the gains that can be made by daring to ask and experiment. 

14. Dave Kerpen, Likeable Local – author of Likeable Business & Likeable Social Media@DaveKerpen
Offering content without collecting email addresses is the biggest lead gen mistake marketers make! 

15. Alan K’necht – Digital Always Media Inc., @AKnecht
Asking too many questions up front. For example, If I’m registering for a white paper download, don’t ask for a phone number or even the full name. An email address should be sufficient to start the process. It’s shocking how many times I see organizations asking for First Name, Last Name, Email, Phone, Company Name, Full address all for a white paper. Structure how much information you require based on the value of what you’re giving away. For a free software download, Name and phone number might justified to both you and the person requesting it.

16 Arnie Kuenn – Vertical Measuresauthor of Accelerate,  @ArnieK
The biggest mistake I’ve seen is asking TOO much information off the bat on a lead form. Remember, it should be an equal exchange of content value for personal information. You must gain someone’s trust right here at this form before they even get to the download. If a person feels that they’ve given too much information in exchange for what they then receive, you could have just lot a potential customer. Gain trust on the lead form and deliver matching value.

17. Jason Miller – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, @JasonMillerCA
The biggest lead gen mistake that I see is giving up too quickly. Lead generation, especially in the world of social, takes time to build the right campaign strategy. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s likely going to be a lot of trial and error. But stick with it, find what works, and then scale. 

18. Jesse Noyes – Kapost
Honestly, the set-and-forget-it attitude. Too many marketers think they can turn on their marketing automation and the leads will start pouring in. A tool isn’t going to give you a strategy. You have to come up with a fluid, ongoing strategy for attracting, engaging and enticing leads. The tools just help you implement your strategy.

19. Phil Paranicas – ThomasNet
I can’t tell you how many times I see poorly worded calls to action. Or, even worse – NO call to action! If the user has made it to your web page or blog – chances are they are interested, and maybe even in a buying position. Please don’t make it difficult for them to contact you! Calls to action should be concise, clear and BIG. Every word counts. “Click here to request a quote” is a good place to start. Though, “I’m ready for a fast quote” will get you more clicks. Make sure buttons are LARGE. Here’s a tip.

Walk six feet away from your monitor and look at your call to action. If you can’t read the words, make them big enough until you can! CTA language that puts the user in the center of the action is much more likely to get click.

One last and important point-Forms should be short and only require the minimum details you need to provide a quote. Don’t turn your RFQ into a DMV form with 30 questions. Take a look at your website right now, and make sure your contact buttons are large, concise and enticing!

20. Paul Roetzer – PR 20/20 and author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint.
Not having a process to follow through with the opportunities. Marketing technology is readily available to enable advanced lead scoring and nurturing, but the majority of organizations still lack marketing automation and intelligence solutions. So the leads may be coming in, but they are not maximizing conversions and performance.

 21. Dayna Rothman – MarketoAuthor of Lead Generation for Dummies, @dayroth
Another pitfall is too many marketers today rely only on inbound only for lead generation. Inbound marketing has a lot of buzz right now, but you need to combine it with effective outbound marketing (paid) techniques in order to have a complete lead generation strategy. You need outbound techniques like events, outbound sales, advertising, and more to amplify your inbound efforts and create an even bigger splash.

22. Stephanie Sammons – Wired Advisor™ and Sammons Digital, @StephSammons
Too many offers or calls-to-action which can create indecision.

23. Neal Schaffer – Maximize Your SocialAuthor of Maximize Your Social@NealSchafferal
Generating a lead through content marketing and then “spamming” the prospect with too frequent or not relevant enough information.

24. Jim Siegel – HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, @MeaningComfort
Using social media solely for promotional means. Not cultivating credibility and trust by providing information that is useful to the recipient. Don’t just be self-serving.

25. Deborah Weinstein – Strategic Objectives, @DebWeinstein
Siloing of marketing/communications activities is the biggest mistake marketers make. Consistency is imperative in today’s hyper-connected world, where all of your marketing and communications efforts – public relations, advertising, social media, experiential, promo, direct, etc – must row in the same direction. Your brand is doomed if your right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

Integrating your key messages across all your communications channels will ensure your agency partners are on the same page and aligned with your company’s goals, objectives and KPI’s. Alignment = Success. Silos = Failure.

5 Key actionable lead generation tips

To avoid these 25 biggest lead generation mistakes, here are 5 key actionable lead generation tips:

  1. Make sure your content targeted to your best sources of leads. This means knowing your customers as well as using a variety of different forms of marketing (both inbound and outbound) to reach your entire market.
  2. Use a contextually relevant call-to-action to get prospects into your purchase funnel. Don’t offer potential customers too many choices or you risk that they’ll abandon your process before you even have a chance to convert them!
  3. Minimize the amount of information you request upfront. You can qualify prospects later. Your goal should be to maximize the number of potential buyers you have to start with. Think in terms of building an email housefile.
  4. Have a process in place to nurture and convert leads. This means landing pages.
  5. Measure your lead generation process and test different aspects to maximize results. This is an iterative process to ensure you maximize the benefit of your marketing.

What do you think is the biggest lead generation mistake that marketers make and how would you fix it?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Content

10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Content

Everyone is doing content marketing; Not everyone is doing it well.  Make sure that you are getting the most out of your investment in your content with this easy guide. Find out how to:
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• Make your content impactful

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24 Experts Share Their Lead Generation Secrets

Lead generation is the process of raising buyer interest and gathering inquiries from prospective purchasers, often in the form of names and contact information.

These leads are then qualified for their ability and desire to purchase your products and services.

While generally the focus of B2B marketing organizations, lead generation also applies to B2C companies, especially where high price, high consideration products are involved.

57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a prospect ever talks to a supplier based on  a Corporate Executive Board study of over 1,400 B2B customers across industries.

Best Lead Generation Tips

For marketers, lead generation is a tradeoff between quality and quantity. Specifically without a sufficient number of leads, you can’t achieve your sales conversion goals.

By contrast, too many leads often translates to unqualified buyers who need lots of persuasion to convert or they’ll never buy.

The best lead generation tips ever from 24 experts.

To improve your marketing, here are the best lead generation tips ever from 24 experts.Best Lead Generation Tip

1. Connie Bensen – Global Social Media, Dell @CBensen
Ensure that the content is the right type of content for the community that it’s presented to and the right place in the customer journey. Be cognizant of the many steps in your customer’s journey. Make sure that awareness content is used in social channels. Consideration type content can be used for paid targeted audience buys. 

2. David Berkowitz – MRY, @DBerkowitz
Include a strong call to action. So much social media marketing and content marketing fails when the recipient of the message isn’t clear about what to do with it. Do you want a share? A site visit? Their contact information? A subscription to your page or channel? Spell it out.

3. Bernie Borges – Find and Convert, @bernieborges
Experiment with owned, earned and paid campaigns. Try something you’ve never tried before. Be willing to fail small and fast.

4. Michael Brenner –  SAP and B2B Marketing Insider, @BrennerMichael
The most effective way for marketing to drive stellar leads for sales is to deliver the right content to the right prospect at the right time. Mapping content to the buyer journey and then delivering it to the right prospects is the best way to drive effective sales-ready leads without wasting your sales’ teams time and you company’s money.

5. Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Guide, @HeidiCohen
Today’s customers are social media and content marketing savvy. Whether they’re making a purchase for themselves or their business, they’ve at least started their research before they ever contact you.

  • Understand your potential customers including their influencers, end-users and social media community. To this end, create a marketing persona.
  • Provide your market with the information they need to make an informed decision (i.e. the 5 basic content types). If you don’t offer it, your competitors and/or near substitutes might and you may lose a prospect.
  • Incorporate a contextually relevant call-to-action. Don’t assume that potential customers will automatically contact you. Help them to buy from you.
  • Ensure that your purchase process is easy-to-use. Keep your branding consistent as prospects move from your content on one site into your purchase funnel. Use tailored landing pages and ensure that your buying process is streamlined.
  • Continually test each step of your lead generation and purchase process. Since your marketing is a dynamic process, test every step on a regular basis to ensure that your content and related marketing as performing as well as possible. This means that you must track your results!

6. Jeffrey L. Cohen –  Ball State University and Social Media B2B, Co-author of The B2B Social Media Book,  @JeffreyLCohen
You must include calls-to-action on blog posts to give visitors the opportunity to raise their hand and express interest in your company and its ideas. Too many blogs do nothing to try to convert their hard-earned blog visitors to leads.

7. Andy Crestodina – Orbit Media, author of Content Chemistry, @Crestodina
Find your super fans (online in social media or offline as clients) and put their voice on your website. Put it everywhere. Don’t make a page of testimonials. Make every page a testimonials page. This “social proof” will increase the percentage of people who convert from visitor into lead.

If you haven’t optimized your site to convert visitors into leads, your efforts increasing traffic are partly wasted. Remember, traffic times your conversion rate equals leads, so you can generate more leads by affecting either number. Simple site fixes are often one-time efforts. They’re less work than the ongoing efforts required to drive more traffic.

Think of it this way: a small change that increases the conversion rate from 1% to 1.2% is better for your lead generation than a 10% boost in traffic. Make sense? First fix your conversion rate, then work on increasing traffic. 

8. Mike Delgado –Experian-North America, @MikeDelgado
Keep testing your landing pages. Test landing page layouts, headlines, amount of text, number of form fields, imagery, calls-to-action, bullets, buttons, and how it appears on different devices. Always have an A/B test or multivariate test going on.

9. Ric Dragon – DragonSearch, Author of Social Marketology. @RicDragon
Borrow a notion from Lean Manufacturing, and think about the world through the customers’ eyes. Each single one of us is inundated daily by marketing messages that are irrelevant. Those microseconds of attention are fundamentally without value; they’re waste. Eliminate waste, and create marketing that adds value to the lives of your audience.

10. Jason Falls, CafePress – Author of  No Bullshit Social Media @JasonFalls
Bring the masses to you by providing “Holy Smokes!” content … content so good, they say, “Holy Smokes!” and want to share it with friends.

11. Barry Graubart – Content Matters LLC @Graubart
Make sure the focus is on engagement, not on generating leads. The content that you  provide should be compelling – and don’t make it just a teaser – it has to stand on its own. Make it useful and prospects will be happy to share their information with you. And be consistent – if I registered on your site or followed you because you provided A & B, don’t suddenly change your focus. No one likes a bait & switch.

12. Kelly Hungerford –
Take a half a day a month to revisit your buyer personas and ensure that they’re still aligned with your business goals. If your target personas have changed your content won’t be effective and lead generation will be amiss. The recovery will take a lot longer than that initial half day!

13. Dave Kerpen, Likeable Media – author of Likeable Business & Likeable Social Media@DaveKerpen
Offer great, valuable content without ever worrying about “giving too much away.”

14. Alan K’necht – Digital Always Media Inc., @AKnecht
Don’t forget to always have a way for people to give you the lead. This includes a basic registration form for at least an email address. Too often, there is no call to action with any form of capture. 

15. Arnie Kuenn – Vertical Measuresauthor of Accelerate,  @ArnieK
If you are offering a free guide download and have any type of gated lead form, make sure you ask yourself one question: Is what I’m providing to a prospective customer enough value in exchange for the information I’m asking them to give me? If you aren’t sure, take a look at your content again and see where you can improve or get rid of some of the required lead form information. If you’re more than sure you’re delivering on value – great! See if there is some more data you think is fair for someone to exchange if that’s the case.

16. Jason Miller – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, @JasonMillerCA
Be smart about your content creation. The mantra for content marketers should be not to create more content, but create more relevant content. Relevance is everything.

17. Jesse Noyes – Kapost
Get inbound and outbound on the same page. Your marketing should be divided up by tactic and/or separate goals. This just results in your paid efforts operating completely independently from your brand awareness and sales enablement folks. Better to get all these efforts working from the same campaign and same calendar.

18. Phil Paranicas – ThomasNet
Don’t “set it and forget it”. Your digital marketing strategy is a living, breathing, dynamic thing. You must measure activity and adjust your strategy accordingly on a regular basis. By studying the behavior of visitors, including the actions that they take, you will get critical clues on how to refine strategies to improve engagement and conversion over time.  Face it, we all know this, but why does it fall to the bottom of our priority list? Make a personal commitment to move it to the top of your list.

19. Paul Roetzer – PR 20/20 and author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint.
Understand the difference between a lead and a sales qualified lead (SQL). “Stellar lead generation” should be all about quality, not quantity. For example, if your ebook gets 500 downloads, but none of those contacts every make it to the sales-conversion part of the funnel, then it may be time to revisit your content and lead-generation strategies.

20. Dayna Rothman – MarketoAuthor of Lead Generation for Dummies, @dayroth
Don’t forget about nurturing your leads once you have them in your database! Many marketers think that lead generation ends after lead acquisition, however, what are you doing to move leads through your funnel?  Just because someone downloaded a whitepaper doesn’t mean they are ready to buy. Once they are in your system you have to use strategies like lead nurturing to educate them throughout their buying journey. That way, new leads become familiar with your company over time, and once they are ready to be sent to sales you will have much better luck closing the deal.

21. Stephanie Sammons – Wired Advisor™ and Sammons Digital, @StephSammons
Minimize the number of calls-to-action on your site so that it’s clear to your visitors what you want them to do. Have a “low friction” call-to-action that is highly visible such as a free guide, webinar, or membership offer. If you include a “high friction” offer on your site such as a complimentary consultation or assessment call (a high friction offer typically will ask for more information), set this up to be offered as the visitor goes through a logical process first.  For example, we have both a “free guide” low friction offer on our homepage as well as a “learn more” option. If the visitor clicks through to “learn more”, at the bottom of this page they will be presented with the high friction offer to schedule a free assessment. This barbell approach to lead generation has worked very well for us.

22. Neal Schaffer – Maximize Your SocialAuthor of Maximize Your Social, @NealSchaffer
Try to make your content – and messaging regarding it – as aligned to specific segments in your target audience as possible. Too general of content and messaging might bring in more “leads,” but they might not be the right ones that will convert.

23. Jim Siegel – HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, @MeaningComfort
Never forget to think from the recipient’s perspective: What’s in it for them? It’s not what you’re looking to sell, it’s what they’re looking to buy or to learn about.

Also, remember that social media are TOOLS. They are NOT a strategy. Start first with objectives and strategy. Subway CMO Tony Pace nailed it recently in the Wall St Journal: “Everybody is chasing the new technologies all the time, but you have to remember that the long-established benchmarks of marketing remain despite the fact the channels are different.”

24. Deborah Weinstein – Strategic Objectives, @DebWeinstein
To generate leads, Strategic Objectives has created a cross-channel model: PESOF

P – Paid amplification of your content

E – Earned media through public relations

S – Shared content – that is both owned content that others share, and found content that you     share with your audience

O – Owned content like websites, blogs, social connections, etc.

F – Found – use a Search Engine Optimization strategy to identify the keywords your audience is searching for, and then utilize these keywords in your content creation strategy and web copy.

Leads will be knocking down your door looking to hire your company, if you properly align lead generation efforts across PESOF.


Lead generation, especially in a connected, content-rich world, is a multi-step process. While prospects may be 60% or more of the way through the process before they contact you, don’t expect them to buy from you immediately.

Be prepared to coax prospects through the purchase process by providing them with the 5 basic content types they need, giving them the ability to gather more information and to get their questions answered, and allowing them to purchase when, where and how they wish to do so.

What else would you add to this list? What is your best lead generation tip?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Join me & Kevin Spacey at Content Marketing World 2014


Meet me in real life at CMW 2014 in Cleveland.

BTW – Don't fret if you missed my session last year: Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Content

10 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Content

Everyone is doing content marketing; Not everyone is doing it well.  Make sure that you are getting the most out of your investment in your content with this easy guide. Find out how to:
• Focus your content on the target customer • Gain the most possible exposure for your content • Make your content impactful

Download this FREE Whitepaper Today!



Related Articles

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