How to Create a Resource Center that Generates B2B Leads
One of the Best Lead Generation Strategies
A resources page is a collection of your best materials on the problem your company solves for your clients. It contains white papers, ebooks, webinars, case studies, and shorter one-pagers detailing the problem and your proposed solutions. The lead generation strategy here is to generate an information hub that allows readers to research the topic independently. Since you are providing a lot of educational value and receiving a constant stream of sign-ups in return, your sales revenue will substantially increase over time.
When a prospect visits your website, he does so with only one thing in mind:
“Is this company able to solve my current problem?”
All content in your resource center should aim to answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”
A “Resources” page with informative and valuable content can take someone who is just doing some research and turn them into a loyal customer.
[bctt tweet=”A “Resources” page with informative and valuable content can take someone who is just doing some research and turn them into a loyal customer.”]
A resource center containing white papers and case studies is one of the most effective weapons to boost your sales numbers, but only when used the right way. In this article, we’ll show you how to create a resource center that is so powerful that it generates leads in your sleep, and your prospects would almost automatically become your clients.
How To Create a Resource Center in Three Steps
Table of Contents
Differences Between a Resource Center and a Blog
Both resource centers and blogs should contain content that is valuable for your buyers. However, the goals of these two are vastly different, and thus reflected in their structure. A blog is meant to create engagement and a loyal readership that is interested in your business or the solutions it can offer. The content can be more conversational and articles are presented in reverse chronological order.
A resource center, on the other hand, is meant to be an information hub that establishes your authority in the industry. Buyers go there when they need information or help with their problems. The content is more solution-driven and technical. The resource center is there to accompany your buyer during the buying process, offering help along the way.
A resource center offers more value…
… and therefore converts better than a blog.
The more time leads invest in reading about their problem, the more they want to buy the solution you are offering. Creating material that has high educational value for your leads, and then selecting for those who spend the most time reading is the most sustainable way to increase your conversion rate.
Since the main goal of a resources page is to provide content that educates leads on the best way to solve problems they already have, prospects having these problems will naturally be very interested. By adding how-to articles and case studies, you show your competence and authority in solving the problem for them. The more they read, the more they will be interested in becoming your customer.
All in all, a robust content strategy removes a lot of the guesswork of how willing leads are to buy from you. They spend a lot of time reading your material because the problem they are facing is a big deal and they would like to have it solved. As long as you have a way of getting email opt-ins, the only thing you have to do is follow up via email and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Helps prospects with their decision making
When a prospect reads an article on how to solve one problem, he will get new ideas for other problems he might have. If one of his colleagues has a similar problem, or if his boss would like to know more about a solution he proposed, they can be referred to the resource center because it is such a valuable source of information. When you position yourself as the go-to expert for anything related to the problems your client has, coming to you will become his go-to solution, and creating a Resources page is the best way to do that.
Below is an example of a resource center from Oracle. They filter their resource page by content category; analyst resources, articles, documentation, and so on.
Need to see more examples?
This Marketo blog post has plenty of examples of easy-to-use resource centers with strong conversion rates.
Why the Resource Center Is a Lead Generating Machine
A resource center is a “Resources” page on your website where you collect all resources that are relevant to your buyers for years to come. It is a collection of evergreen insights on the problems you solve, the solutions you offer, and proof of how your customers benefit.
A high-conversion B2B Resource Center is a collection of evergreen insights on the problems you solve, the solutions you offer, and proof of how your customers benefit. By creating an information hub, you provide tremendous value to your prospect. The chances of him becoming one of your loyal clients increase exponentially the more time he spends reading your material.
It also establishes your website as a one-stop shop for any information related to the problem they are trying to solve. This leads to referrals and new leads because you gain authority in the industry.
A Resource Center Has a High ROI
Once you have published helpful and educational content to your Resources page, the value of your resource center grows over time. When you are just starting out, the feedback you receive on the resources (be it in the comments or by email) can be instrumental in sharpening your message and adjusting your targeting. People will come to you with feedback and you’ll know what to improve based on their responses.
For example, if a prospect asks additional questions after having read your white paper, you can edit it to be more clear, or write an additional resource that answers those questions. When you follow up with people who signed up to receive your white paper or eBook, you can ask them more about the problem they are trying to solve and how you can help.
The acquisition process doubles as research for creating content, and as email campaigns that do most of the selling for you. That’s your lead generation strategy right there.
The SEO Benefits of Having A Resource Center
Search engines such as Google and Bing try to rank the most useful websites first.
They use many metrics to determine which website is the most useful. One of the most important is how long people spend time on your site and on individual pages. Steamcreative also advises to measure the performance of your resources page in order to make smart adjustments to improve the user experience.
If you create content that is highly relevant to your buyers, they will keep reading. In addition, if you properly refer them to other relevant content, they will stay even longer.
When search engines notice your readers stay on your website for a long time, they will list you higher on their result pages. And if you post solid content that covers a wide range of topics, your ranking will increase even further.
This ensures that potential buyers who use a search engine to look for a solution will enter your website first. Combined with solid marketing campaigns, you can drastically increase your sales revenue.
Before we go into further detail, let’s look at how resource centers are different from blogs.
Types of Resource Center Content
Categorizing your resource center by type of content
Whatever stage of their buyer’s journey they may be in, your resource center should offer something for all stages within the funnel—TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
Whenever your prospect leaves one stage, he enters another—this is the moment he remembers seeing a piece of content in your resource center that just became relevant.
Content ideas for your resource center
If you go to Optin Monster’s 41 Types of Content Marketing That Sell infographic, you can see a ton of great ideas to add to your resource center and overall lead generation strategy.
Once you’ve gathered enough feedback and improved your content to an extent that they are an incredible resource for your target audience, you’ll start seeing significant growth. This is partly due to increases in your page rankings once the search engines find out that people who look for a certain solution tend to spend a lot of time on your website.
The more time your visitors spend reading your stuff, the more favorably search engines will view your site. It’s similar to word of mouth. When you provide a service to one business, they are likely to recommend you to others. This ties into lead generation strategies based on SEO. If search engines see how your resource center satisfies the clients’ need for information, they will rank your resource center higher, sending more people to you.
First you create content showcasing your expertise:
- White papers
- Technical reports
- Special reports
- Industry reports
- DIY How-to Guides
- Thought-leadership pieces
- Case studies
Second, you promote the content most likely to convert buyers into customers through your website, email campaigns and social media:
- Lead magnets are downloadable content that offers your visitors valuable information in exchange for their email addresses.
- White papers are documents that examine a problem in great detail and describe the background of the issuing party, usually without offering practical advice. They revolve around the unique selling points of the business. White papers are perfect for readers with more technical knowledge or the desire to go deep.
- Webinars are live or recorded seminars that are being broadcasted online. They give practical information on how to deal with a problem and share the background of the seller (so the buyer can get to know them better). They are great for building authority and sending a personalized offer to the person who watched it.
- eBooks or special reports are designed to provide an easy-to-read, bite-size solution to a complicated problem in a PDF file. They are not as technically descriptive as white papers and less focused on building authority as seminars. Instead, they focus on giving specific practical advice that is easy to implement. With complex issues, the solutions provided can be more detailed.
- Case studies are most effective with prospects that are further along in the buyer’s journey. These prospects are already familiar with the solutions you offer and want to see examples of their real-world applications. Prospects can see your real experience tackling the problems they face. These case studies should have plenty of statistics to give them a boost of credibility while persuading informed prospects to buy.
In more detail, below are the steps to creating a resource center that instantly converts the most qualified leads into well-paying clients.
Your resource page content needs to help prospects solve their problems
Prospects come to your website because they need solutions to their problems. If your business can solve their problems, then you have an opportunity to convert them into customers.
The best way to demonstrate your company’s expertise and competence is to create a resource center filled with evergreen content. It must have content that is relevant and helpful to your customers at every step of the way.
Here are the steps to plan lead-generating content for your resource center:
- List your customer’s 3 biggest problems and pain points.
- Create relevant content with solutions to these problems, categorized by topic.
- Build an email series to create more touches with your prospects.
- Create an attractive resources page that converts.
- Test and tweak.
Even if the first version of your resource center is successful, you should measure your conversions and tweak your headlines and CTA’s accordingly. A/B testing can give you surprising insights that you might have never anticipated.
Step 1: Fill It With Content That Converts
Educate your audience with high quality resources
A resources page is a powerful tool to convert leads into clients not only because it contains high-quality information (e.g. white papers as lead magnets) positioning you as an expert in the field, but also increases demand for your services by showing the benefits of solving their problem. By showing them you understand their problem and that you have solved it for others in the past, you establish yourself as an authority in the field.
It all boils down to publishing content that helps your prospect understand the issue, and how and why they should solve that issue. As your prospects get to know you, and you build trust with them, you can then offer your product or service as the most effective solution.
When accurately defining the cause of the problem, you demonstrate understanding of the industry and your clients needs. By providing a viable solution, perhaps even one your client hadn’t thought of yet, this goes a long way toward convincing them that paying you for your products or services will bring them a great return on their investment.
So whenever you are not sure what pieces of content you should add to your resource center, just consider this question:
“Does this show the client we possess knowledge about his problem and how to solve it?”
Choosing relevant content for your resource center
Sometimes you want to show your prospects how you run your business so they can imagine you as a competent partner. Or you might want to post announcements related to improvements you made to your existing business practices.
One of the big questions is where thought-leadership articles and announcements fit into the big picture.
The former can be posted either in the resource center or your company blog, because they show the client more about how you work and what he can expect when doing business with you.
Let’s say you have a marketing agency and have very specific ideas on the morality of sales letters. For example, you might feel that being honest is preferable to hiding negative aspects of a products since honesty builds trust.
This piece is perfectly suited for the resource center. Even if it doesn’t deal directly with problems your client has, it shows the ethics you use while solving them. Your prospect will know what to expect when he decides to work with you.
What about announcements?
Let’s take a look at an example. The fintech company Revolut recently announced a change in their terms and conditions. Although they did this mainly out of ethical considerations, this post belongs on a blog, but not in the resource center.
Why? Because it will not be relevant to their clients in two years. It relates to the here-and-now and the near future, not the principles you use when solving problems for your clients.
So when in doubt, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will this content be relevant for a prospect to make a buying decision a few years from now?
- Does it describe what he can expect from doing business with you?
- Does it show you are competent and authoritative in your industry?
The bottom line? Your resource content should be evergreen and stay relevant for years to come, while any time-sensitive content should go on your company blog.
Don’t shy away from technical content
If you would like to publish detailed technical information about what you have to offer, the resource center is the place to do it. Buyers with the technical know-how can dive in. Prospects without the technical knowledge can still see that you published this information. You come across as credible, transparent, and knowledgeable.
For example, if you are a blockchain company, the resource center is a great place to publish white papers detailing the technical background of your solution. You could also share documentation – or even a knowledge base – with software developers on how to use your solution.
As mentioned, the blog is less suitable for deep and technical content. You could however announce the addition of a white paper to the resource center on your blog.
The above is an example of a high-conversion resource center from Hubspot.
Like Hubspot, you want your resource center to be well organized and visually appealing to make it easy for your visitors to find the content they need. A resource page is quite popular with SaaS businesses as well as the broader tech and B2B industry.
Striking while the iron is hot also keeps your prospects moving towards a buying decision. I say this because if, after reading your white paper or case study, the reader forgets about it and moves on to something else, you’ve lost an opportunity to acquire a customer.
For that reason, you should consider inserting a call-to-action (CTA) into your case study. The CTA might offer a strategy call or a free consultation to begin the sales process. Just don’t forget to insert a CTA.
While a CTA that kicks off the sales process may be appropriate in a case study, it would likely be out of place in a white paper, because the white paper is better suited towards educating prospects at the top of the sales funnel.
One way they do this is to offer free workbooks and templates to download in exchange for their prospect’s email address, then nurture these leads using segmented email marketing campaigns.
Step 2: Make Your Information Hub Come Alive Using Email Marketing Campaigns
Email campaigns are key to converting prospects into customers
When you post content with high educational value, search engines like Google and Bing quickly recognize that visitors stay on your website longer and return later to read more. Consequently, their algorithms will rank your pages higher for the keywords your readers used to find your resource center.
This means your website receives more visitors, which is great. But does this also mean that more and more people buy from you?
This all depends on your strategy to get contact information from your readers as well as how you follow up. You need to have a strategy in place to get readers to give their best email address and transform that lead into a loyal customer.
A basic strategy is to ask your readers for their email in exchange for access to some of your more detailed content, such as eBooks or white papers. This can be used for segmented email marketing campaigns to offer him your specific solution to their specific problem.
Implementing this strategy requires deep insight on how to move prospects down your sales funnel as well as marketing expertise in creating targeted email campaigns.
Use lead magnets to increase email opt-ins
The moment your prospect arrives in your resource center, he’ll be presented with a wide variety of content related to the problem he is trying to solve.
He will look for the most relevant piece of information. Make sure you have a lead capture funnel set up, so people can opt-in by providing their email address in exchange for a free white paper or industry report download.
And if you pay your cards right, you can use your email campaigns to point your readers to other relevant content including other resource content or blog articles. If these are related to other problems he is facing (and provide value), he will read them as well, thus further engaging with your company and moving closer to becoming your customer.
Keep in mind not every buyer that visits your website is in the same stage of their buying journey. Maybe they are doing research about the problem they are facing. Or maybe they are already trying to figure out how to buy the right solution, and just need a little nudge in the right direction. Therefore, you should organize your resource content in categories that entice readers in various stages of their buyer’s journey.
Email subscribes indicates performance of your lead magnet
If your lead magnet is performing well, you will have a lot of email addresses. But keep this in mind:
Getting these email addresses is not a license to spam their inboxes with a shotgun marketing approach. That would put you on the fast track to mass unsubscribes. Instead, a much better approach is to continue to provide value to your email list by doing more of what convinced them to give you their email in the first place. For example, you can point them to other relevant content.
You can also create an autoresponder email series that guides them through the buyer’s journey. Each email in the series should point them back to your resource center (more on that in the next step) or specific blog articles.
Meanwhile, take care not to make these common lead generation mistakes that scare away prospects that would otherwise become your customers.
There are broadly three content categories you should have in your resource center:
- Descriptive content such as white papers, datasheets and thought-leadership pieces. These should offer insight into the problem and your business for the prospects in the research phase. Focuses on educating the reader and on establishing authority.
- Educational content such as eBooks, webinars, and how-to guides. Although you may be hesitant to show them how to solve problems on their own and that you prefer to buy your solution, giving away free content makes you seem helpful and thus builds more trust. As paradoxical this seems, it actually gets them to want to buy from you.
- Case studies and comparisons with other solutions. These show how your business previously solved real-life problems for actual clients, thus detailing the return on their investment into your solution. You can also include competition analyses and comparisons to other solutions if you are able to present yours as the best one.
The end goal is to get the prospect closer to the sale. Whatever stage your prospect is in, your resource center should be set up in such a way that he’ll automatically flow from one stage to the next, with your email campaigns nudging them along.
Therefore, all content pieces should be interconnected. For example, a piece that goes in depth on defining the problem (research) should contain links to an article that helps evaluating the best solution (educational). Both should contain links to case studies (to close sales) to demonstrate that your business has solved problems like this in the past.
Before we move onto the next section, make sure you understand how to avoid the most common lead generation mistakes that sunk many a resource content marketing campaign.
Step 3: Use Your Resource Content to Convert More Sales
Imagine an employee of your prospect browsing your resource center.
He has read your whitepapers and therefore knows that you are qualified. He has also read articles about your vision and what services you offer. He is enthusiastic because he is certain you can assist him with a problem he has not been able to solve by himself.
He wants to hire your business. But he needs to get the green light from his boss, Daniel.
Daniel is the decision-maker. He decides how the budget is spent. Unfortunately, he is not as technically savvy as Mark since he oversees multiple departments and makes sure these run smoothly.
This means that your resource center should not only contain content for Mark but also for Daniel, since he is the one that ultimately makes the buying decision.
Case studies turbocharge your sales conversions through storytelling
Case studies are the most underrated part of a resource center. Not creating case studies is a wasted opportunity. When done right, they have the most potential of all your content since they show a prospect the possible return on investment.
[bctt tweet=”Case studies are the most underrated part of a resource center. Not creating one is a wasted opportunity. They have the highest conversion potential by showing both social proof and ROI. “]
A good case study examines how you’ve helped a previous client and what he got out of it. You describe their problem, how you solved it, and how much money this made the client.
Daniel, the one who calls the shots, sees you have prior experience delivering value to businesses just like his. His subordinate Mark also tells him that you have the right solution (since he has read all the relevant whitepapers). After reading your case study about solving the exact same problem as theirs, Daniel decides to hire you.
Continually test and tweak
If you followed the first four steps, you will have a resource center with several pieces of content that can identify your clients’ problems, educate them on potential solutions, and demonstrate your ability to implement these solutions for them.
Even if the first version of your resource center is successful, you should measure your conversions and tweak your headlines and CTA’s accordingly.
A/B testing can give you surprising insights that you might have never anticipated.
BONUS pro tip:
A good case study should contain a strong call to action that prompts the reader to engage you for a strategy call or a free consultation. This allows you start the sales process with readers just when they learn that you are capable of solving their problems.