Content marketing and lead generation: When CPMs don’t matter

By Michael FosterFebruary 4, 2015

In a social media-crazed era, many seem to think online marketing’s only goal can be getting more eyeballs. But social media can be a tool for more than just reach; with effective content and strategic media planning, marketers can find and generate high quality leads that yield conversions far above average. The trick is to avoid many of the metrics of traditional advertising, and that includes the cost of paid media placement.

While cost-conscious advertisers fret about finding low CPM ads, the lead generator needs to think very differently. You want to reach the right people – not necessarily a lot of people – and you want their engagement level to be very high. The key to this isn’t cutting the cost of impressions but cutting out the worthless impressions in the first place.

In the right place

How to do this? The optimal lead generation strategy involves finding what people are interested in and gathering those who are interested in your product and focusing your attention on them. In this day and age, that means having a content marketing strategy that works.

For lead generation, social media is not your enemy; it’s your friend. If you have a B2B product that carries a high price point and is targeted to a relatively small number of individuals, you need to create content that those people will see, read and be inspired by. That means content marketing: producing white papers, drafting studies, doing analysis to explain to your customer base why they need to spend attention on you and your product. If you’re promoting a broader, mass appeal product at a lower price point, you might think content marketing is a waste of time. You’d be wrong.

With social media, you can create and promote engaging content that will get more attention from people who are interested in your product. While banner ads and SEM were lead generation gold in years past, the Internet is different now. People are on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms actively looking for content. They want to be entertained, informed and stimulated. As a marketer, you can fulfill this need but only if your strategy focuses on one thing: content.

Implementing content marketing

So how does content marketing work? The workflow is simple:

1. Develop a deep bench of talent.

Make sure you have people who can create good content, keep them on board with your product and reward them well when they deliver the goods.

2. Know which platforms to use.

Social media platforms have broad reach, but people use them for different purposes. Find out where people go when looking for your kind of product, and focus your efforts there.

3. Ignore the price tag.

Of course you need to optimize your campaigns—but do it to ROI, not to cost. All too often people get sticker shock at high CPMs and CPCs, when in reality they should worry more about wasting money on low-cost ads that bring nothing but bounce rates and wasted efforts.


A content marketing strategy is an investment and should be treated as such. Those who make the investment and who have a high quality product that is presented in front of the right people will see rewards. Those who lack a strategy will find their efforts fail, no matter how good their product is. Nowadays content marketing isn’t an option – it’s a lynchpin that transforms lead generating campaigns into resounding successes.

This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.

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