How to Create a Winning Downloadable Guide for Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Jen Saunders
Reading Time:6minutes

A successful inbound marketing strategy encompasses a number of moving parts, and one of the biggest pieces that helps move traffic through the funnel is your downloadable guide.

A guide (also known as an asset) is typically found a blog or paid media advert within a CTA. When people click on it they are taken to a landing page where they can download the guide. Then their email address is captured, put into a list, and they become a lead where they continue to be nurtured through content that is strategically delivered through a marketing automation platform. Based on the model, they will either request a quote and enter a deal stage, or they will make a purchase and become a converted lead.  The best inbound marketing agencies in Los Angeles have mastered these guides, and this is no easy task. A lot of time goes into creating these; your creative developer, SEO specialists, content strategist and inbound team must have a deep understanding of the client, their brand, their customers and the industry as a whole in order to put out a powerful piece of content that will foster revenue.

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Consider the Buyer’s Journey Stage

Your guide’s intention should be to educate readers and lead them through a discovery process, so it is important to create content that speaks specifically to the right stage in the buyer’s journey. These include:

  • Awareness Stage – Buyer has a problem and realizes knows there is an opportunity to fulfil a need
  • Consideration Stage – Buyer has now identified the problem and given it a name. He will research all available approaches and methods to solving this problem.
  • Decision Stage – Prospect has decided on a solution and is trying to make a decision based on available brands / products

Your guide should educate people based on their stage in the buyer’s journey. Choose a topic that matches your audience’s needs. If you are writing content targeting potential customers in the first two stages then be sure not to give away too much information, as you will need to reserve it for the dangling carrot that leads people through the funnel.

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Incorporate Visuals

Visuals can be the deciding factor as to whether or not someone reads your guide. The key to making images fit well is to think of them as complementary components to your writing. Also remember that creative design and images aren’t there just to make your guide look good; they actually help enhance your reader’s ability to understand the material and identify with their inherent needs.

Be sure to add that customized touch to make your guide stand out among the others your reader has likely digested. There should be ample white space to allow for content to be easy on the eyes, and the format should be easy to digest. Avoid large blocks of content; break it up with high-quality relevant images to help readers avoid feeling overwhelmed.

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Your CTA

Placing a CTA in a guide requires a different approach to placing one on a landing page. For landing pages it is ideal to place them in various places and perform A / B testing to get the most conversions. However, it is almost always standard practice to place a CTA at the bottom of the guide. Afterall, in order for a potential customer to move through the funnel and become a delighted buyer, each content phase must be digested and resonate. Placing a CTA right after they have read the material will increase their likeness of moving on to the next stage in the buyer’s journey as they ebb closer to becoming paid customers.

inbound buyer persona

Master the Buyer’s Persona

Diving deeper into the buyer persona can be the difference between seeing a winning conversion rate. Remember, you are creating strategic content that resonates with the buyer’s stage the customer is in, so knowing what his common pains and challenges are will arm your content with compelling messaging that will strike an emotional chord.

Let’s say the client builds high-quality custom swimming pools that start at $200K and can run well past the million dollar mark. The client wants to create a buyer’s guide that targets potential customers in the Consideration Stage. A basic buyer’s persona may reveal that the customer is male, in their 40s to 60s, make more than a million dollars, and live in affluent communities throughout Los Angeles County. A pain point would be that they seek a custom pool that offers features not commonly found in traditional pools. A really good buyer’s persona will include what these features are and the pain / need the resolve. For example, more than 70% of these buyers have families, so the features will need to entertain children and keep them engaged. Another advanced pain point in a buyer’s persona could be the need for the pool’s architecture to compliment the home’s construction to increase resale value and enhance the feel of a desired outdoor living space. Also, while the man may be the decision maker”, a great buyer’s persona will still factor in the needs held by the mother of the family, as most couples still make joint decisions on large purchases and therefore addressing all family member needs in the guide through appealing to a robust buyer persona will likely garner greater favor.

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Your Email Lists

Remember that your downloadable guide is one piece to the grand puzzle designed to collect the contact information of people likely to buy from you. Your email lists will come, in part, from the users who download your guide. Use the data points behind the guide to determine who these people are, and create email lists based on those findings. Because you will likely be running multiple campaigns and each will have its own downloadable guide, be sure to segment your email lists according to buyer persona. More specifically, you can tailor them to a buyer persona at a specific stage in the buyer’s journey. If your email list is large enough, and you have all the data on hand, allow it to work for you in your marketing automation platform. Just make sure all the right pieces are set in place to actually generate leads from emails. If you are sending eblasts to a list that has yet to engage with your brand, the email subject line must be spot on and appropriately written to resonate with your buyer persona. To ensure email subject line accuracy, you can run a series of tests with subject line experimentation to determine KPIs for the most clicks and conversions.

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Watch Your Language!

Finally, write your guide using language that best matches the buyer’s persona. For example, if your target audience is highly educated, then use a vernacular that appeals to theirimperium in imperio. If your buyer persona reveals “some college” or a BA degree, then communicate using proper, straight-forward English void of slang. If the buyer has a high school diploma and lives in the “world of Mountain Dew / X Games”, use simple language with powerful statements and slang readers will identify with. You may interpret this as “classist bullshit”, but remember that your goal is to hit high-revenue targets, and this means you need to increase sales. In order to increase sales you need to capture YOUR audience with content that will resonate with them.

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Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.