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4 Steps To Create A Perfect Marketing Strategy

The 4-step marketing strategy - How to stand out from your competition in the minds of your ideal customer  

With the current obsession around marketing tactics, it has become increasingly harder to figure out the best marketing strategy for your business.

From hacks and quick fixes to the next big idea and new trending platforms. It is harder than ever to decide the right direction for your marketing. 

In order to help alleviate some of the marketing confusion, I’ve created a definitive outline for you in this post, 4 concrete steps to the perfect marketing strategy. You can use this article to help you create a clear marketing message, direction, and plan.

The 4 steps needed to create a perfect marketing strategy in 2022;

Want to get all the worksheets you need to complete your perfect strategy?


Customer Focus

First, you need to narrow your focus to somewhere around the top 20% of your clients. This doesn't necessarily mean that you chuck the other 80%, but experience tells me that if you are working with customers and clients today, some percentage of them are not profitable for your business. 

The majority of your customers are actually detractors from your business because they didn't have the right problem or they didn't have the right business situation for your product to solve. 

Think about your client base today and rank them into groups by profitability with your most profitable customers at the top. You want to think in terms of profitability because profitability is linked to an ideal client fit.

profit-referrlas-quadrant-chart

Typically a client is a profitable client because they received value, they had a great experience, their problem was solved, and they referred your product to others. If you understand who your profitable clients are you can start to do two things;

First, you can generate more business from that top 20% of customers because that top 20% want to do more business with you. It is far easier and less costly to continue to do business with people who already trust you vs trying to gain a new person's trust. If you focus your efforts on creating an amazing experience for those clients who already trust, get value, and are referring you to others. You could actually build our business around serving and attracting them and no one else. 

Second, if you know who they are and what brought them to you, you can begin to build the ideal customer persona for your business based on historical data and profitability. Then you can design your marketing around that customer persona and attract more of the ideal customer, more of the top 20%.

When building your customer persona you want to organize your customer base into three customer groups; must-have, nice-to-have, and ideal.

For example, a remodeling contractor must-have customers who own a home that they want to remodel. Imagine that same remodeling contractor works with his wife who is an interior designer. Now customers who are looking to remodel and redesign their home go in their nice-to-have bucket. Next, that husband and wife decide they want to focus the business on high-quality materials and modern home design. Now their ideal customer owns a home they want to remodel and redesign with a modern theme and is in the top 10% income bracket.

Ask yourself, what are those ideal customers for you? Who are your must-haves, nice-to-have, and ideal customers? My ideal customer workbook contains the same tools and worksheets Duct Tape Marketing uses to create our ideal customers. 

Ideal-customer-behavior-worksheet

Ideal Customer Behavior worksheet from "How To Create The Ultimate Marketing Strategy" workbook

Solve the problem

Now that you know who your ideal customer is, the next step in creating the perfect marketing strategy is to figure out what problem you are actually solving for your customers. 

The truth is, nobody wants what you sell. They just want their problem solved. So instead of just selling a product, communicate to them that you understand and that you get their problem. Help them see that your product or service is the solution to their problem. That is when they will start to listen to you and begin to trust you. 

So how do you do this?  

- You create a core message that promises to solve that problem. 


For example, public universities have a problem. In many cases, their funding is dictated by their graduation rates. How many students graduate is directly correlated to the funding that universities receive and therefore what they must charge for tuition. They are constantly looking for ways to curb tuition rates. So we have a client that provides scheduling software for universities. We went and talked to the universities that used this company's software. They confirmed that the software worked well, but what they really loved was the great data and analytics the software provided. It allowed for more efficient scheduling and ultimately made tuition more affordable. We discovered that this software company makes great software, but they also make tuition more affordable. Tuition cost was the differentiator, the problem that they were solving.

Now, you are probably asking yourself, how do I do this for my company? How do I know the problem I am solving? What you need to do is get on the phone or in-person and talk to your ideal clients and ask them; how did you find us in the first place, what made you hire us, why did you stick with us? 

Those are some questions you can start with, but be sure to go deeper in your line of questioning. Have your customers go into detail with their answers. Don’t just ask, “Were you happy with my service?” Instead ask, “Can you tell me a specific time when we provided good service and what we did to make it such a positive experience?”

After enough of these informational interviews, you are going to start hearing themes that are addressing the real problems that you solve. 

Another great resource is Google reviews. But instead of just paying attention to five-star reviews, read the actual reviews line by line. When people voluntarily turn to a third party like Google and leave a glowing review it is an indicator that they have been thoroughly impressed. You have exceeded their expectations. You have solved their problem. 

What is the real problem that you are solving? That is what you need to uncover. And once you know it needs to be what you lead with for all of your messaging, it is your core message.

strategy forms

Create an end-to-end customer journey

A lot of people talk about the customer journey like it's a funnel. As if we create demand through this funnel. We shove them through this funnel process, they pop them out the other side, and voila that's the end of the journey. Well, that is not at all true, at least not anymore.

In just the last five years, marketing has undergone many changes. The thing that has changed the most about marketing is how people choose to become customers. That marketing funnel and that linear path no longer exist. The customer journey today is holistic and nonlinear. You no longer see an advertisement for a product, visit the store, and purchase that product. The steps between awareness and purchase are diverse and varied and oftentimes intertwined. People make decisions about the products and the services that they buy out of our direct control. Marketing today is less about demand and more about organizing behavior. 

This obsession with funnels and funnel hacking and tactics is really driving a lot of challenges for small businesses. First and foremost, we have to understand how to guide people on the journey that they want to go on. 

I know it is hard to keep up when it seems like there's some new thing that we have to do as marketers every single week. There is so much we have to do across so many platforms just to stay relevant, look at the data.

61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact the local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. So we've gotta really look at our websites and all these different devices.
87% of potential customers won't consider a business with low ratings. Now there are all these sites where people are able to go and leave reviews about our brand. And we have no control over that narrative.  
64% of consumers say watching a video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision. So not only do we have to be on all of these channels. Now we have to mold all of our content to the exact same way or to the specifications and algorithms of the platform of the month.
92% of consumers will visit a brand's website for the first time, for reasons other than making a purchase. Our website is not there to just take orders. It provides a service as well.

So I get the obsession with tactics and channels, but with this constantly changing landscape how can you possibly stay up to date? The answer lies in rethinking the customer journey. 

86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience and 83% of business owners claim their main source of new business is referrals. These stats prove that the customer journey does not end at the point of sale. There is profitability in focusing on what happens after somebody becomes a customer.

This leads me to the third and linchpin element of the perfect marketing strategy; the marketing hourglass. 

If you think about the hourglass shape the top of the hourglass borrows from the traditional sales funnel idea. After all, you have to get some percentage of the market out there to know about you and an even smaller percentage to realize that they are an ideal client for your business.

For so many businesses, that's where it stops right at the throat of the hourglass. But with the marketing hourglass, the excitement really needs to happen again, after the sale. 

The marketing hourglass consists of seven stages or behaviors. The seven stages are; know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer.  

marketing-hourglass-journey

The Marketing Hourglass - Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer

The first three stages are where you create the relationship. By guiding people through these stages, showing up, educating them, and building trust. That's how you attract your ideal customer and show people why they should pay a premium to do business with you.

Know

If we have a problem we want to know who's out there. What are the answers? What are the solutions? 

We run advertising and we show up. When somebody goes out and searches we have our content out there. We are participating in social media and building communities.

And then once we land on somebody, what do we do? We immediately go to their website and investigate. We assess if the site looks out of date or tacky. It might load really slowly or the forms might not work. All of those small moments contribute to our larger assessment of whether we like the company or not.  And we ask ourselves, is this a company that can solve my problem? Do I think they have the answer? All of these are things we take into account when moving people past that first impression threshold. 

Trust

Next comes trust. We start looking for visual cues. We start asking ourselves, who else trusts them? Who else have they delivered results to? We start to look for familiar logos and referrals from companies we know. Do I see people who are really smart and reputable? Do I see the company being featured in publications? Is there social proof? Are there reviews? Are they working with people that I know? And most importantly, are they working with people like me, people that have the same problem as me? 

The next two stages, try and buy, build the bridge for long-term success. Scaling and growing a business with your ideal customers does not happen after you get the customer, it happens at these two stages. 

Try

The try stage does not just include a 30-day free trial offer. It is much bigger than that. Every time a potential customer picks up the phone and calls your business they are given a trial run of what it might be like to work with you. So what does this stage look like for your business? What is your inbound caller process and what trials do you offer? Do you offer a free quote, free evaluation, or introduction call? Do you provide forms or worksheets for them to try? What are you giving them that allows them to try before they buy? If you can offer value in your free or low-cost options people will be more likely to invest their money in you because they have seen what you can deliver already. 

Buy

Next is buy or how the transaction happens. Most of us have been let down at some point when we've bought. Buyer's remorse is a real thing. We want the buying experience to be just as great as all the other experiences leading up to it. 

So you have to think about how you deliver your product? Do you have onboarding? Do you have an orientation? Can you communicate how you're going to communicate? What is the actual content?

Content is not just created to get an order or customer. In fact, one of the best uses of content is after the sale to teach people what they purchased, show them how to get more value, show them what else you sell. 

The final two stages of the marketing hourglass lead to scalability. Learn to scale with your clients, as opposed to constantly relying on going out and getting more clients. 

Retention

What does your retention process look like? Are you continuing to educate? Do you have special offers for existing clients? Are you cross-promoting? If you focus on discovering what else they need and consistently delivering value even after the sale those customers will stick with you.

Refer

Texas Tech just surveyed 2,000 consumers and 86% of them said they had a business they loved so much that they would happily refer. But only 29% said that they actually made that referral. So maybe there's some money in closing that over 50% gap of those customers of ours that love us, but never tell anybody about us.  

What are you doing to stay top of mind with your clients? What are you doing to nurture those champion clients? There is a huge amount of business in co-marketing and developing strategic partners outside of your client base. 

These all have to be intentional processes that you build into your overall marketing plan. Marketing doesn't stop after running a couple of Facebook ads and delivering some free content. It is the entire process. It is the entire end-to-end customer journey. If you really want to build momentum, if you really wanna scale your business, then marketing doesn't end until someone else is telling other people about your business.  

marketing strategy

Content 

The last stage in creating the perfect marketing strategy for your business is content. Are you tired of constantly creating and delivering new content? What if I told you that you did not have to.  

So many people, like myself, stood up on stages 10 years ago and said, content is king and everybody believed it. The content was like air, you needed it to survive. You could not play in the marketing game without a fair amount of content or a real focus on content. 

People started to try to create so much content, so quickly that there was just a content dump without any real strategic goals. Content is not a tactic. It is the voice of strategy. 

Content is not just blog posts. Your emails, videos, case studies, referral events, what you do and say when networking; it is all content. And content needs to be focused on guiding people through each of the stages of your marketing hourglass. Content is a tremendous lever to help you guide people through the stages. 

Landing pages, blog posts, core web pages, free tools. These are the types of content that people are going to consume when they're doing initial research and getting to know your business.  

content-strategy-quote

Next, when they go to your website what happens? Are there tip sheets or how-to videos? With this type of content, they will decide if they like you and if you know what you are talking about. 

Then in the trust category, the content is a little more segmented. Your customer is starting to ask themselves if you understand what their needs are? The content strategy here is case studies, webinars, comparison guides, and engagement. 

 The next question they will ask is, is there something I can try? Do you offer communities to join, free assessments, or samples as part of your content strategy?

 At the buying stage do you have content created for demos, audits, FAQs? 

 When it comes to producing content for the repeat stage, how do you go about it? What do your social media content, cross-promotion, and user roadmaps look like?

Last but not least, your referral content includes reviews, referral training, strategic partnerships, and co-marketing among others. Ask yourselves where are you leading your customers after they purchase? 

Each one of these stages has a need for a specific type of content. As a marketer, you need to consider every piece of your content that you're thinking about producing and make sure it focuses on a stage of your end-to-end customer journey. Your content will become the voice of your strategy. Your content will be useful instead of just another tactic. 

Duct Tape Marketing is a big part of my firm's success! First it was the books, then an assessment and then a long-term coaching relationship. I would not be where I am today without their insights and focused counsel. Most importantly they are just a pleasure to work with and I wouldn't hesitate engaging them. 

Jack McGuinness

Relationship Imapct

"Working with Sara and the Duct Tape Marketing team has been beyond what I could have hoped for! As a doctor who is very busy dealing with patients and trying to run a business, I can't say how much I appreciate how organized, efficient, and goal-specific they are. I truly had NO idea what went into building a brand, a website, and marketing a business.

Dr. Elizabeth Turner

Fox Point Dental

The 5 Funnels Every Consultant Should Build

Starting your own consulting firm can be overwhelming. You feel confident in your knowledge and expertise, but being great at what you do doesn’t automatically translate to having a whole host of clients, clamoring at your door.

To guarantee that you have a steady flow of clients, you must establish a client generation system. With the acquisition of just six to eight more clients, most marketing firms go from surviving to thriving. So if you can take these simple steps to establish a process for attracting prospects and nurturing them appropriately, you can make a world of difference for your business long-term.

Here are the five marketing funnels that every consultant must build in order to grow their business.

1. Prospect Nurture Funnel

Of course, the first step to landing new clients is attracting new prospects and appropriately caring for them. In today’s digital marketing landscape, there are many places you can turn to if you’re looking to attract new prospects.

Search remains a major channel for B2Bs, so making sure you have a strong SEO strategy and are running AdWords campaigns is one critical way to get noticed by new prospects. Social media ads, on Facebook and LinkedIn, especially, are another way for B2Bs to reach the appropriate audience.

And even in our digital world, old school tactics still hold weight. A study out of Temple University demonstrated the effectiveness of print ads; people spend a long time reading them, have a stronger emotional reaction to them, and are more likely to recall information they read in print than online.

Once you’ve made initial contact with a prospect, creating an email series to nurture the relationship is the logical next step. Start with an offer to welcome them into the fold. From there, create a series that’s set to trigger based on certain actions the prospect takes. By personalizing the content they receive, you go a long way to building up their trust in your business.

Share the most useful content and tools from your consulting practice. Once you’ve proven your value over the course of several emails, follow up with a call to action. If they take you up on the offer, you know that they’re a hot lead and worthy of additional time and attention.

2. Speaking Funnel

I’ve been talking about the idea of speaking for leads for many years now. When you have the opportunity to get up in front of an audience for 45 minutes and prove your expertise and value as a marketing consultant, it’s an incredibly powerful thing.

Whether you’re hosting a webinar or giving an in-person speech, presenting on a topic you’re knowledgeable about and sharing information that adds value for your audience is essentially like giving a sales pitch to a room full of prospects all at once. Rather than having to set up 30, 60, or 100 separate sales calls, you’ve done it all in one hour-long presentation.

After you’ve given your talk, follow up with your audience via email. Present them with a limited-time offer—something just for them that will entice them to act right away. This encourages them to take the leap immediately after they’ve had a great experience hearing from you about your business.

Continue to follow up with emails that add value: an FAQ series, meaningful content, a case study showing how you helped one of your existing customers achieve their marketing goals. With every email they receive, they’ll reflect fondly on the value they received from your initial presentation. And hopefully, they’ll eventually move towards being a hot lead that can be nurtured further.

3. Partnering and Network Funnel

When it comes to finding new leads, it’s often best to tap into your existing networks. Cold emails or calls can easily be ignored. But when you reach out to your network of connections and partners, you’re likely to find greater success.

When you meet someone in the real world, follow up with them by connecting on LinkedIn. It’s also possible to connect with new people through LinkedIn alone, but if you do that, it’s best to do your research before reaching out. People can tell when they’re receiving the copy-pasted introductory message. Taking a few extra minutes to get to know something about the individual you’re messaging and referencing that in your first message can go a long way to them accepting your request to connect.

Once you’ve made that initial contact with someone, do not move right to the sale! We’ve all gotten that cold pitch from a stranger before, and it often feels icky. That’s because they haven’t gotten to know you, and so their offer for help feels insincere.

Instead, the best way to reach out to those in your network is to start by adding value. Share something that you think would be of interest to that individual. If you’re talking to someone who owns a commercial real estate firm, send them that article you just saw about the state of commercial development in your city. Once you’ve shown that you can add value, ask them about their goals. What do they want to achieve with their business, and how do they hope to get there? If there’s an opportunity for you to help them reach those goals, let them know about your relevant solution.

If they have a goal that’s outside the bounds of marketing, you can still help! Take a look at your network of partners and refer them to a fellow business owner you know and trust to get the job done. Even though this won’t immediately lead to business for you, when this prospect has a great experience with your trusted partner, they’ll think of you fondly as the person that brought them together. And your partner will appreciate that you referred a great client their way and will look to do the same for you in the future.

4. Sales Follow-up Funnel

These first three funnels were for prospects who were earlier on in the process. But what about those prospects with whom you’ve met and presented a sales pitch? As you might have guessed, there’s a funnel for them, too.

Once you meet with someone in-person or over the phone, this is the time when they might start to get cold feet. Sure, they think you’re great, but now they’re considering the very real commitment of signing a contract and writing you a check.

It’s your job to continue to dazzle them and convince them that the work you do is well worth the price. Start by sending your prospect a personalized video recap of your discussion. This shows that you listened and took careful notes during the meeting, and it allows you to ensure that you’re both still on the same page.

From there, send them a case study that demonstrates the potential value of working with you. You have the power to eliminate the problems they’re facing in their marketing, and you have proof that you’ve done it for other happy customers in the past.

If you haven’t won them over totally yet, offer to meet up again. This is your opportunity to address any lingering objections and to prove once more that you’re a great listener who understands and cares about the problems they face.

After that second meeting is the time to send another set of follow-up communications. Begin by sharing a piece of information or content that made you think of them. This is a low-pressure way for you to stay top-of-mind with your prospect as they continue to weigh their options. Finally, give it one last check-in. Sometimes your success in winning over a prospect is more about persistence than any of your marketing skills.

5. Referral Funnel

Once you’ve gotten more happy customers on board, it’s time to establish a referral funnel. Referrals are the engine that will power your business; creating a situation where happy customers can easily pass your name along to others in their network guarantees you a steady stream of business for years to come.

Start by setting the table with an email. When you get a referral from an existing customer, reach out to provide a brief outline of what you do, and indicate that you’d love to set up a time to chat to learn more about their challenges and see how you can help.

Once you’ve met in person or over the phone, follow up—just as you should after a sales pitch—with a video recap. Again, this provides you the opportunity to send your prospect a personalized video that outlines their questions and concerns and indicates the solutions you’d propose and next steps.

Follow that up with a list of FAQs that you often get from prospects and customers. People who are just dipping their toes in the waters of hiring a marketing consultant often have many of the same fears and concerns. You sharing this list of FAQs can help your prospect see that their doubts are normal and may help to assuage them.

Next up, share a valuable resource or tool you have on hand. This can be something like an ebook or recording of a webinar, or it might be a checklist or infographic. No matter what it is, make sure it’s something that adds value and addresses the specific concerns this prospect outlined in your initial call.

From there, offer to hop on the phone or meet in person again. Very often, prospects need a second opportunity to ask a whole new set of questions that have arisen as they’ve been thinking about partnering with a marketing consultant.

Finally, after that second call, share a case study from your business. Now that they’ve had the opportunity to meet with you twice and feel confident in your abilities and expertise, an additional example of you doing great work for another business owner can be the final bit of information they need to seal the deal.

Most consultants have the power to transform their business from so-so to stellar with the addition of only a handful of clients. But to win over new business, you have to build a series of simple, repeatable funnels to nurture your leads and take them through the process to become full-fledged customers. This client generation system empowers you to continuously move prospects down the customer journey towards becoming happy, long-term clients who repeat and refer your business often.

The Key to Online Advertising Is Tracking Results

In the olden days, advertising was an expensive and risky prospect. Brands would spend lots of money up front on print ads, television commercials, or radio spots. Next, they’d hire an advertising firm to create and execute the concept. Then, they’d have to buy the air time or ad space. And they did all this without much insight into whether or not the concept would actually be successful.

Fortunately for today’s small business owners, tracking online advertising is possible! And it provides insight into exactly how each campaign performs. Armed with that information, you can tailor your messaging in future campaigns. You’ll lean into tactics that resonated with your audience and ditch those less-successful approaches.

If you’re advertising online but aren’t tracking your results, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Tracking online advertising empowers you to better understand your customers and boost your ROI on each and every campaign. Here’s what you need to do to effectively track your online advertising.

Create Conversion Goals in Google Analytics

The first step to tracking how your ads perform is defining your goals. Every ad campaign that you run should be driving viewers towards a specific action. You might create an ad designed to encourage someone to download your white paper. Or maybe it pushes them to sign up for your newsletter. Or perhaps it invites them to request a free trial of your product.

The ads should also be directing viewers to your website, where they can take the desired action. And that’s where conversion goals come in.

In Google Analytics, you’re able to define your conversion goals. A conversion is a desired action that someone takes on your website—something like filling out a form to request a quote or successfully completing check-out in your online store.

Google Analytics allows you to create up to 20 conversion goals for your business. Focus on the goals that make the most sense for your industry and business strategy. For example, a contractor might be more interested in getting folks to request a quote, whereas a clothing retailer might be more concerned with that successful check-out metric.

No matter what goals you define for your business, Google Analytics can help you track the steps that people take on your website to ultimately reach that conversion; this is called a goal funnel. Creating a goal funnel provides a visual representation of your data. That way, you understand where people drop off in the process towards completing a given conversion.

For example, if the ultimate conversion goal is a successful check-out in your online store, you can see if you lose people in the product browsing stage, or whether people are putting items in their carts and then abandoning them.

Check out this video from Google for a more detailed look at how to set up your goals in Google Analytics.

Link Your Ads to Google Analytics

Now that you’ve defined your goals in Google Analytics, it’s time to get your advertising and analytics metrics all on the same page (literally). By linking your Google Ads and Analytics accounts, you can keep all of the data on both your ad campaigns and website performance all in one place.

Google Ads allows you to track performance for each individual ad campaign, so you can see things like impressions and clickthrough rate. And when your two accounts are linked, you can then draw a direct line between how people interact with each ad and the actions they took on your site.

So let’s say you own a marketing consulting firm. You’re running an ad encouraging people to download your latest white paper on social media marketing trends for 2020. When your Ads and Analytics accounts are linked, you can see the CTR on the ad itself. Then, you can see how many people actually follow through with requesting the download once they get to your site. This gives you insight into how each piece of the marketing puzzle is working, and it can help you identify any weak spots in the conversion process.

Monitor From Click to Client

While it’s great to be able to see how ads influence visitors’ behaviors on your site, for most businesses that still doesn’t offer a complete picture of the ad’s performance. What about people that call your business to follow up on the ad they saw online? Or the people who stop by your brick-and-mortar location in person?

This is why it’s important to implement offline tracking methods to generate a full picture of your advertising campaign’s effectiveness.

Call tracking services, like CallRail, allow you to track how ads drive prospects’ behaviors on the phone. The service works by inserting a line of code into your website. That code allows you to associate online and offline interactions with your business. It integrates with your Google Analytics and Ads platforms so that you can determine your exact cost per lead.

It’s also a good idea to track in-person interactions you have with customers. Tracking purchases at your brick-and-mortar locations can help you see whether people who found you online ended up becoming customers in real life. There are a number of ways for you to bridge the gap between online and in-person interactions. If you’re a retailer, collecting an email at checkout to send an electronic receipt can help you put a face to the email.

If yours is a business where it’s difficult to collect email at checkout (say, a restaurant or cafe), you can gather that information in other ways. Restaurants can use online reservations systems to capture email addresses. Cafes can create digital loyalty programs that collect email addresses at the point of sale in exchange for a free cup of coffee every ninth purchase.

Unifying this in-person and online data is easily achieved if you’re using a CRM to manage customer interactions. CRMs make assembling all customer data in one place simple. From contact information to every past interaction with your brand, it all lives in your CRM. This kind of click to client information is invaluable in understanding the performance of your advertising.

Learn From Your Campaigns

Once you’ve created a picture of your online advertising campaign’s effectiveness, you may feel tempted to kick back and relax. But really, you’re just getting started.

By tracking online advertising, you’re now at a huge advantage. This information can propel your future advertising decisions. Maybe in tracking your ads you found that the messaging in one campaign performed well, while another failed to result in conversions. Or perhaps you learned that your ad was driving folks to your website, but they were getting lost along the way and not reaching your ultimate conversion goal.

Every advertising campaign—whether a raging success or a big old flop—is an opportunity for you to learn and improve. You can recreate the tactics that worked well in your next campaign. For those less successful campaigns, you can try a new approach next time.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Paid Search.

How to Generate Leads for $100 a Month Using Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are an incredible way to generate exciting new leads for your business. There are nearly 2.5 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide, meaning that you have the opportunity to reach a huge audience if you play your advertising cards right.

The other benefit to the platform is the relatively low cost of advertising. Across industries, the average cost per click for Facebook ads is $1.72. It’s entirely possible for a small business to get great results spending only $100 per month on Facebook ads.

But the secret to getting the most out of a small investment in Facebook advertising is creating really effective campaigns. And to generate leads using Facebook ads, you need to take a step back and revisit everything you think you know about advertising.

Reframe How You Think About Advertising

When you think about print, television, or radio ads—more traditional advertising media—you likely picture an ad that’s selling a specific product. However, this sales-focused messaging that’s worked for decades in other channels will not net results on Facebook.

People expect to be sold to by a television or radio commercial or in the direct mailers they receive. But they go to Facebook for an entirely different reason. People are on Facebook to build connections and community, not to be marketed at. So your Facebook advertising needs to be less about “buy my stuff” and more about creating content that builds awareness and trust of your brand.

When people see useful content from your brand on their feeds, they come to know, like, and trust your business. You establish yourself as a source of knowledge and become more like a trusted friend than a pushy, anonymous salesperson.

Start With Great Content

So the place to start on Facebook is not with a sales pitch, but with meaningful content. In order to identify content topics that will resonate with your audience, start with keyword research.

Take a look at your existing content, and see which search terms are leading people to find that content. Using Google Search Console, you can access a list of the real-world search terms people are using to discover each page on your website.

Look for patterns in the types of queries that are leading to your content. And look for intent in those queries. Understanding the intent, or the why, behind a person’s search term can help you craft new content that speaks to the needs and wants of your prospects.

Competitive research can be helpful in this pursuit as well. Identify gaps in your competitors’ content offerings, or find ways to expand upon the successful content they’ve created. That’s a great way to give your audience what they want.

Make Sure the Right People See It

You know that old saying about the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it? The same principle applies to your online content. If no interested parties are around to see your Facebook ads, it won’t move the needle and generate leads.

Let’s say you own a home remodeling company. No matter how great your content about preparing for a remodel is, if it only gets seen by a bunch of renters who aren’t in the market for your services, you might as well flush your advertising dollars down the (newly installed) toilet.

Once you’ve created meaningful content, you’ll turn to Facebook to share it with the world. Start by sharing your content organically on the platform by posting on your Facebook page. For your advertising purposes, you’ll want to focus on those pieces of content that get the greatest organic engagement. When a noteworthy portion of your existing audience likes and comments on a particular piece of content, it’s a sign. You know you’ve hit upon something that really resonates with your ideal audience.

From there, you can boost the post with Facebook via their advertising platform. Using their custom audiences tool allows you to show your content only to people who are likely to find it relevant. Meaning, if yours is a remodeling business, you can direct your ad spend at people in certain neighborhoods, age groups, and even those who Facebook knows recently purchased a home.

By boosting your posts, you expand your reach beyond your existing followers. And by boosting to a custom audience who looks like your existing best customers, you ensure you’re getting the greatest ROI on your advertising investment.

Follow Up With Your Best Prospects

Once you’ve boosted your content, it’s time to track how it performs with the broader world. Facebook provides detailed analytics that allow you to see how people react to and interact with the content. They’ll show a breakdown of organic versus paid reach. Plus, you can see likes, comments, and shares on the post.

You’ll also want to create and install a Facebook pixel on your website. This tool allows you to track customer behavior on your website. Adding the pixel enables you to see how your advertising on Facebook is affecting prospects’ behaviors on your site.

With these analytics in hand, you’ll want to follow up with those prospects who are showing the greatest promise—the people who are interacting with your content and exploring your website. Once someone expresses that interest, provide them with a next step towards conversion.

This should be advertising content that invites them to try. Show them an ad for a free trial or evaluation. By reserving these ads for those who have already expressed an interest in your brand, you’re boosting your advertising ROI once again. Save your serious advertising offers for your serious prospects, and you’ll be more likely to get a higher conversion rate.

Facebook advertising doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get results. If you’re smart about the content you create and the audience you target, you can generate impressive returns with a small monetary investment.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.

Why Behavior Scoring is the Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing Approach

Why Behavior Scoring is the Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing Approach

With inbound marketing becoming ever more popular in recent years, a marketer might be tempted to think broad when it comes to their approach. After all, when anyone can happen upon your brand, it means that anyone’s a potential customer, right?

That’s not quite true. In fact, the number of leads that actually become customers is only around 10 percent. So that means you should really be focused on creating highly targeted marketing messages that are likely to appeal to that small sliver of the population, rather than trying to please everyone.

But how do you find those people? And once you’ve found them, what can you do to make sure you’re speaking to them in a way that really resonates?

That’s where behavior scoring comes in. When you understand the behaviors that are most often exhibited by your customers, you can begin to identify your most promising leads and refine your marketing messaging so that it speaks directly to them.

What is Behavior Scoring?

Behavior scoring, sometimes called lead scoring, is assigning a numerical score or grade to prospects based on certain behaviors they exhibit. You start by analyzing the behaviors of your best existing customers. Are there ways they interact with your brand that consistently result in conversions? Is there a certain page on your website they visit, social media platform they follow, or email newsletter they sign up for?

When you understand the behaviors of your existing clients, you can then create a “composite sketch” of your ideal customer. Those customers who do X, Y, and Z convert a high percentage of the time, so your prospects who do those same things are given a high behavior score. They’re the people you want to focus your marketing time and effort on.

People visit sites or interact with brands for all sorts of reasons. Let’s say you own a tree care company. You may show up in search results for an apartment-dweller looking for advice on tending to her indoor potted tree, a student thinking about starting a lawn care business who’s doing research on pricing in similar industries, and new homeowner in the area who wants to replace some of the older trees on their property. Only one of these people has the potential to become a legitimate client, and since you don’t get full biographical information on those who visit your website, tracking behaviors can indicate their level of seriousness.

The woman in the apartment might watch a short video on plant care your site and then disappear. The student might beeline to the pricing page. But the homeowner looks at several pages outlining services and pricing, plus checks out your testimonials. If this is activity you’ve seen from past customers, then you know this is a lead worth spending some time on.

Lower Your Customer Acquisition Costs and Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) are two critical metrics to track for your business. When you understand how much it costs to acquire your customers and how much value they produce once you have them, you can tweak your sales approach and pricing models to ensure your acquisition costs are covered and you’re still able to make a profit.

However, the reverse is also true: When you understand the behaviors that make someone a promising lead, you can lower CAC and increase CLV. By only marketing to those prospects exhibiting desirable behaviors, you stop wasting time on prospects who will never convert. This means that you’ll get more marketing bang for your buck overall, since you won’t spend dollars chasing those who would never become customers anyway.

Plus, as you begin to develop a more and more nuanced understanding of your customers’ behaviors, you can continue to refine your marketing approach to get even greater results and drive existing customers towards purchasing bigger and better products. All of this leads to an increase in overall CLV.

Understand What Resonates with Your Promising Leads

When you understand the actions of your ideal customer, you can create marketing campaigns that drive prospects to take those actions. Experimenting with website layout, calls to action, and your messaging and tone can all help to drive people who are interested in your business to take the steps that are likely to lead to conversion.

A/B testing is a particularly effective way to further refine your approach. Try running different variations of your web pages to see which gains the greatest traction.

Showing half of your hot leads one option and the other a variant of the same page allows you to understand the messaging and layout that works best. If there’s a significant difference in response to the two variations, that tells you something.

You then can do the work of analyzing the differences, identifying the aspects that made the one page so successful, and replicating that approach across other pages, platforms, and channels.

Further Refine Your Outbound Approach

Once you understand what resonates with your hot leads, you can move beyond inbound tactics and create advertising that’s highly targeted to those leads.

Facebook’s advertising platform offers business owners a number of ways to identify and target hot leads. With the Facebook Pixel installed on your website, you’re able to track visitor behavior—a key part of the scoring process. On the Facebook advertising platform itself, you can create lookalike audiences, groups with attributes that mirror those of your existing customer base, allowing you to target them with advertising.

All of this becomes a positive feedback loop. As your marketing approach is refined, you continue to attract more qualified leads. These leads in turn give you an even more nuanced picture of what your ideal prospect looks like, which allows you to further tailor your marketing approach. Over time, you generate greater and greater results.

Pass on the Leads that Will Never Convert

The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of leads who will never convert, no matter what you do. If you spend your time and energy reaching out to every person, the majority of your energy is being dedicated to people who will never convert.

That’s why a critical part of behavior scoring is not just assigning positive points to those leads who exhibit certain behaviors that often lead to conversion, but also taking away points from those who exhibit less-than-promising behaviors.

Leads who consistently delete your emails without reading, have only been to your website once or twice, or are in a location that your business doesn’t service are ones that you should not spend time pursuing.

Inbound marketing can sometimes make you feel like you need to be everything to everyone. In reality, the most effective marketing strategies—inbound and outbound—are those that speak directly to the small percentage of the population that actually need the solution your business offers. When you use behavior scoring to better understand the actions of your best customers, you can create messaging that resonates with the leads who have the best shot at conversion. All of this saves you time and money, and it makes your customers happier, because they know they’ve found a business that really gets them.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Marketing Automation.

How to Build A Website that Generates Leads

How to Build a Website That Generates Leads

In today’s day and age, every business owner knows they must have an online presence to be competitive. But not everyone understands how to optimize that online presence. Your website is the heart of your business’s online existence, so ensuring that it’s designed to maximize lead generation is critical to securing long-term success for your company

How do you create a website that is easily found, catches a prospect’s eye, and keeps them around long enough to decide to give your product or service a try? Let’s take a deeper look at how to build a website that generates leads.

Make it Easy to Find

The obvious first place to start is in designing a site that is easy to find. You’re not going to generate any leads from a site that is in hiding.

The first step here is making sure that your domain name makes sense for your business. If you’re not able to secure your first choice, what are your alternatives? Pick a domain name is memorable, easy to spell, and is something prospects and clients will be able to easily associate with your company.

From there, you’ll want to keep track of how people are finding your site in order to understand which social channels are driving traffic and who’s talking about you online. You can then use that information to be more strategic about where you place your marketing efforts in order to drive traffic to your site.

And you mustn’t forget about SEO in this discussion. If your site isn’t ranking on the first page of Google results, you’re missing out on catching the eyes of a lot of prospects. Keyword research is a critical part of ensuring that your business is actually being found by people who are in the market for the goods and services you offer.

You’ll also want to undertake an SEO audit of your website to make sure that your current content isn’t hurting your search rankings. Screaming Frog offers services that allow you to check your website’s current SEO status: find broken links and crawl errors, analyze how existing pages rank for SEO terms, check site speed, and more.

Give Visitors a Way to Reach Out

When a visitor comes to your site and they like what they see, you want to be sure that you’re providing them with a clear, easy way to get more information from your business. Getting strategic about where and how you ask for information from prospects can help you to generate even more leads from your existing site.

The first step is to put forms on the pages that get the most traffic. Make sure that these forms ask for as little information as possible and that they auto-populate; bogging prospects down with a million questions is a surefire way to scare them off.

You’ll also want to be sure that the forms you create make sense in the context of the other information on a given page. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, don’t put a form offering a free white paper on website design on a page that’s about print work that you’ve done.

You should also provide users with as many ways to contact you as possible. Make your phone number and email address easy to find, and consider incorporating a chat function into your site’s design. No one wants to have to go on a search mission across all of your website just to find a way to ask you a simple question.

Build a Variety of Landing Pages

Creating highly specialized landing pages is one of the keys to generating more promising leads. In fact, research from HubSpot has shown that business with 30 or more landing pages on their website generate seven times more leads than those websites that only have one to five landing pages.

The best landing pages are those that keep it simple. Depending on where the traffic is coming from, you can create a specific messaging that speaks to that particular subset of your prospect population. Make sure that your succinctly outline the problem your business can solve, and that there’s a clear way for prospects to reach out—a call to action button or a simple form—and leave it at that.

Landing pages that are cluttered with too much information or that do not clearly demonstrate your company’s value proposition can leave prospects feeling confused and returning to their Google search to consider one of your competitors. If you’d like to see some examples from a variety of industries, HubSpot has some great ones here.

Create an Eye-Catching Homepage with a Clear CTA

While each of your specific landing pages should have tailored messaging and calls to action, you’ll also want to be sure that your homepage has a general call to action that serves as a catch-all for anyone who might want to learn more about your business.

This CTA shouldn’t be for a specific product or service; after all, this is the page on your website that the general population is most likely to see first, so you don’t want to single out only one of your numerous offerings on this page. Instead, give visitors the chance to learn more about your business. A CTA that asks prospects to subscribe to your newsletter or try your service for free are great ways to catch the attention of the widest swath of visitors possible.

Once you get to know these prospects better and have a deeper sense of where their specific interests lie, then you can begin to target them with more specific offers through email marketing and audience segmentation.

Use Content to Generate Leads

Having a website that’s filled with rich, valuable information is what will keep prospects on your site and entice them to come back for more. This means that your website needs to go beyond answering the basic question of how your business can solve a prospect’s problem. It must provide in-depth content on the topic that establishes your business as an authoritative voice in your industry, and provides prospects with the assurance that yours is the team for the job.

Creating valuable content and sharing that content regularly on your site is a critical part of the lead generation process. In order to do so, you need to establish a content strategy. I have advocated in the past for a strategy that organizes your content thematically. If you pick a different area of interest each month and offer a deep dive into related topics on your blog, you’re creating value for your prospects and continuing to offer interesting content regularly that will keep them coming back.

Once your blog has become a go-to source of information for your prospects, you can target them with offers for related white papers or your newsletter that’s dedicated to a relevant topic. This helps to move these prospects further down the marketing hourglass, as you begin to establish your brand as one that they know, like, and trust.

A poorly designed website will do nothing to generate leads for your business. When you begin to think strategically about all of the elements of your website—from SEO and keyword search to blog content and calls to action—you can build a website that is fully optimized to generate leads for your business.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.

Google Ads Changes for Small Business Owners

The Seven Steps to Marketing Success – How to Build a Marketing System

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Building a Marketing System

The key to an effective marketing approach is creating a marketing system. This is Duct Tape Marketing’s point of view and our key differentiator. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the seven steps you must undertake to build a successful marketing system for your business.

1. Focus on Strategy Before Tactics

The first step to creating a successful marketing system is to know who your ideal customer is, and what their core problems are. If you don’t understand the value that your business can bring to each engagement, it’s nearly impossible to select the tactics you should use to reach your audience.

When you understand the ideal customer and create the narrowest definition possible for who that is, you can then connect what you’re offering to solving the customers’ problems. This makes your approach not just about your products and services, but about your promise to solve those problems. If you don’t take the time to understand your ideal customer, there’s no way to build a marketing strategy that will speak to them.

2. Guide the Customer Journey – The Marketing Hourglass

Because of the internet, the way people buy today is largely out of your hands. They have so many places to do research, ask networks, find out about you, and discover the products and services to solve their problems before they ever contact a company.

The customer journey comes into play at Duct Tape Marketing with something called the marketing hourglass. The hourglass has seven stages: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. These stages represent the logical behavior in buying that many of your customers want to take. Your job is to help them move through those stages sequentially.

Your first step is to understand how somebody would come to know about a company like yours. Likely, they’d turn to a search engine or they’d ask a friend. At these early stages, they know they have a problem, but they haven’t yet concluded how they’re going to solve it. Marketing at this stage needs to show that you understand their pain points and that you might have the right solution for them. From there, you need to establish trust in your brand and perhaps even give them a way to try you. When they do finally buy, that experience must be excellent in order to create repeat business. Not only that, but happy customers will also generate referrals.

All marketing efforts must be built around the concept of the marketing hourglass. When you understand how your customers buy and what they’re expecting to achieve at each stage, you’re able to build a marketing plan that exceeds their expectations along the way and creates happy, lifelong customers.

3. Make Content the Voice of Strategy

Content is not just a tactic, it is the voice of strategy. You have made a promise to solve a problem for your customers; you now need to be ready to meet people where they are (search engines, social media, etc.) and generate enough valuable content to dominate in those arenas.

We use something called content hubs to outshine in search and to create content that is valuable to read, find, and share. This content must also meet customers at every stage of their journey, from know and like all the way through to referrals.

4. Create a Total Online Presence

Even if you do the majority of your business offline and in person, in today’s world, you must have a total online presence. The internet is where people go to have an experience with marketing, to understand a company, and to do research. When someone refers you to their friend, the friend turns to a search engine or your website to learn what other people are saying about you and to see if you actually solve the problem that they have.

No matter what kind of business you run, you need to be tackling all the elements of online marketing. This includes social media, search engine optimization, content, website, and email marketing. All of these pieces must work together as an integrated whole.

5. Build a Reliable Flow of Leads

Leads are the lifeblood of getting your business going, and so you have to find a predictable way to generate enough leads to grow your business. There are numerous channels through which to generate leads, and again, integration is key.

Sales, content, advertising, networking, and online and offline events all play a role. There is no one way to generate leads; the key is in finding the three or four channels that you can consistently mine and establishing a process to develop leads through those channels.

6. Make Lead Conversion Your X Factor

Lead conversion must be your multiplier. The key here is to focus on all forms of lead conversion. Obviously someone buying your product or service for the first time is a conversion, but what about signing up for an ebook, registering for an online course, getting a free evaluation, or making an appointment? Those are all conversion activities.

You need to map the experience of each of your leads and clients so you can be sure that they’re having a great experience throughout. This is how you create repeat business and reactive those clients who have been lost. Once you begin tracking customer experiences, you then need to measure these activities. When you understand customers’ behavior, you can create better experiences; even if that only increases each conversion activity by one or two percent, that has a huge impact on the business overall.

7. Live By the Calendar

When you’re developing a system, you have to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be long-term—focusing on three to four important priorities for the quarter is ideal. From there, you can break those priorities down into activities and projects so that you can plan the quarter and not expend energy chasing the next new thing.

You have to have fewer priories, and you have to make marketing a habit. It has to be something that you do daily. You have to build meetings with the appropriate people to make sure that you’re moving those priorities along. Once you establish that habit, you should start documenting your processes. From there, you can decide what tasks you can delegate, either by adding more staff or outsourcing to others.

The reality is that marketing never ends—it’s a cycle. Once you go through the seven steps and build your marketing system, you want to constantly be reviewing, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and changing your approach accordingly.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

local seo lead generation

Local SEO for Lead Generation

Marketing Podcast with Justin Sturges
Podcast Transcript

Justin Sturges

SEO tools and strategies are constantly changing. All the while, it’s never been more important that you get found online when people go out there searching – particularly if you’re a local business.

Your website is the foundation for how you get ranked and found locally. It’s important to have a well put together website with unique content that is tailored specifically to the search results you want to show up in.

It is very difficult to rank for your most desired keyword phrases without great content.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Justin Sturges. He is a local SEO, website building & lead generation expert, Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant, and co-author of the award-winning book The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation. We discuss SEO, website design and the keys to getting your business to rank.

Being immersed daily in SEO, Sturges knows what works (and doesn’t work) to help small businesses rank locally.

Questions I ask Justin:

  • What are common SEO mistakes that businesses often make?
  • What role do reviews play in your ranking factor?
  • What are some good resources for local SEO?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The driving factors in organic placement
  • Key aggregators often missed in citations
  • How using the right extensions can increase your click-throughs

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Justin Sturges:

Interested in joining Justin as a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant? Find out more about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network and attend a Discovery Call here.

professional service leads

Perfecting Your Lead Generation Efforts: A Guide for Service Professionals

If you own a professional services business, odds are you’re trying to get leads in the door. What I often see is that these types of businesses develop automated lead funnels, because that’s what they’re told to do, and spend a lot of time vetting these leads, but let’s face it, they probably don’t have a ton of time to do that!

Instead of focusing on building an endless supply of leads, you should only be focusing on the amounts you actually need as well as how to balance bringing new customers in, and keeping new customers around. For example, if you’re a CPA, wouldn’t it be easier to focus on the clients you already have year after year as opposed to constantly be looking for new ones?

Here’s how I believe you should approach lead generation for your business.

Define your ideal client

Hopefully, you have a pretty good idea of who makes an ideal client for your business, but if not, you should figure that out ASAP.  To get started, it’s easiest to target the group you can help the most, the fastest because you’ll probably be able to demonstrate how you can get quick results and build raving fans.

Develop a client generation system

I have worked with a lot of service professionals, and from what I’ve seen, most of them want to work with roughly ten of the right clients at any given time. That’s it.

The typical service professional acquires new clients by attracting a lead that wants to meet and learn about how they might help them. Let’s say you have four clients now and you’d like to get six more. If one in four meetings turns into a new client (this is very low for our approach but will use this for easy math), it will take 24 meetings to get those additional clients you’re looking for.

You need to ask yourself what it takes to schedule consistent appointments and how you can increase the conversion rate of these appointments. If you can understand this and build a system around it, you’ll remove a lot of headaches that many service professionals experience in their lead generation efforts.

Set a revenue goal

Before you put any meetings on the calendar, you need to determine your annual revenue goal. This will give you insight into how many clients (and in turn, meetings and proposals) you need to obtain in order to reach that goal.

You simply need to factor how many appointments it will take to land one new client, and move forward from there.

Create a workhorse piece of content and focus on Facebook audiences

Content development may not necessarily be in your professional wheelhouse, but it’s essential for your business. You must create a valuable piece of content that will resonate with your target audience. Many find blogging to be the easiest way to format this content.

To ensure this one piece of content is the workhorse you need for your system, spend time researching the questions and problems your audience experiences the most.

Do your research. Interview past clients, conduct keyword research, and/or look at online forums to better understand what your audience experiences and common questions they have. The information found in your research may provide invaluable information as you search for hot topics for your blog post.

Once you know who you want to target, develop a list of people that you’d like to reach. If the list is properly targeted, it doesn’t have to be very large.

Use this list to build a custom Facebook audience and further create an expanded lookalike audience to increase the number of potential targeted prospects.

Add a content upgrade

In order for your promotion to work, add a “content upgrade” to the blog post you created. This is an offer for related content made inside the blog post that entices visitors to exchange an email address to receive the upgraded version of the content as well. Your content upgrade can be in the form of a checklist, ebook, or even a video. The email should then be used for follow-ups and lead nurturing efforts.

Advertise the blog post

Once your audience is in place, create Facebook ads driving people to your piece of content. To make things easier, you can even promote your blog post in a status update and “boost” your post to the custom or lookalike audience you created to get their eyes on it. The post will then show up as a sponsored post in the timelines of those you’ve targeted.

Offer value

Once a person responds to your content upgrade offer, reach out to them and offer a valuable service for no charge as a way to demonstrate how great it is to work with you and the type of service they can expect.

Set appointments

Make sure that your prospect is qualified to move forward before you propose any services to them. Remember, you want to enjoy working with them too. Even if they’re an ideal client on paper, they may not be the best match based on personality which can make it a difficult working relationship for both of you.

Provided all seems good to go, be sure to understand your lead’s objectives, goals, and potential challenges.

Then, make the appointment.

Deliver

Once the lead is qualified, over deliver on what you promised as you set the appointment. Identify the ways you can truly help them and really show them the value of working with you.

Master the close

The key here is to help your lead tell you in their words what’s wrong and what not fixing it costs them. Listen to them before you mention anything related to your services.

Once you’ve heard their story, at that point you can identify ways to help them, but just make sure they know they have been heard. Show them how they can get immediate and long-lasting results by hiring you.

A customer generating system doesn’t have to be that complex, but it does have to be based on your overall growth needs and goals, so make sure you know what those are from the beginning.

Need more tips on how to grow your business? Check out our entire Guide to Marketing Professional Services.

change in lead generation

The Role of Content Has Changed – Here’s How You Can Adapt

It wasn’t too long ago that you could follow the formula below to attract and generate leads for your business:

  • Develop a content upgrade, like an ebook
  • Gate it behind a form on a landing page
  • Drive people to your landing pages through blog posts, social media, advertising, and email campaigns
  • People see the offer on the landing page, are interested, and give their contact information in exchange for the content
  • Voila, you have a new lead that you can nurture to a sale

While content upgrades still work well as a lead capture tool, you need to now get creative with how to get eyes on it. The market is so saturated these days and so many businesses are now following this approach that it can be easy to get lost in all the noise.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and began testing an approach that I had seen to start to emerge that I want to share with you. While my results have been significant, it may take time for business who are just getting started to see the same results, but in my opinion, it’ll be well worth it in the long run.

The key is to continue to position yourself as the expert in your field, and the best way to do this is to create and aggregate content into one place to show not only your visitors that you know what you’re talking about, but search engines as well.

Have I lost you? I hope not! To understand what I’m talking about, take a look at the details below.

Creating content – An evolved approach

As content continues to grow in importance for your business, it now must take on an elevated position in your strategy and planning.

The use of high-quality, education-based content has become a necessary ingredient in creating awareness, building trust, converting leads, serving customers and generating referrals.

Marketers these days have a lot in common with the traditional role of publishers. The good news is that the days of creating an infinite amount of thin content are over. You can create content less frequently, provided you structure it correctly and include a ton of value within it.

Today we have evolved into the “less is more” approach. Big content projects, even if there are only three per year, is better than writing a blog post every week, just because you think you should.

I’m currently experiencing great results with something that I’m calling Hub Pages. This is something many have already started doing and I understand why.

Content planning has really risen to the strategic level. It’s no longer an SEO tactic or simply content marketing. While we should certainly use it for those things, we must plan it at a foundational level.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, content really is now air for your business as it impacts every channel, which elevates how we have to think about it.

Content becomes an asset over time

Content is no longer created for today or tomorrow. It is created as an asset that can be used throughout every stage of the Marketing Hourglass. Because of this, you need to think about the time and energy you need to invest to get it right.

Hub themes

local marketing

I’ve talked about the Total Content System for years and it’s really driven by what I’m starting to call “hub themes.” These themes can be monthly, quarterly, or whichever timeframe you think is best.

Let’s say the theme for the month is “local marketing.” You’d want to drive all the attention you have to this idea of local marketing, so one of the main tabs on your website may become “The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

Instead of it just being a page that talks about local marketing services, it becomes a foundational page that has a tremendous amount of value about what local marketing is, with tons of resources and links that people can click through to for further information (it may even end up looking like a course).

All of the content you have pointing to it are like the sub-chapters of the hub theme. I not only have all of these internal pages driving back to this one hub page, I also include links to external, high-quality content on the page that can also be linked back to the hub page.

Hub pages are also a great way to organize existing content and get more use out of it. Driving it to, and including in, these hub pages is a great way to give old content new life.

With so many pages driving to one another, you’ll start to gain a lot of trust and authority from Google, which will eventually help to increase your rank in search engine results pages over time.

The role of content upgrades

Content upgrades are still the new free. When you put these hub pages together, still include content upgrades, like an ebook or webinar signup, on these pages. People will now see these content upgrades because you are driving more traffic to these pages and they are easier to rank for instead of individual posts.

So, what do you think about this approach? Have you started to implement these types of efforts in your business?

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice…see what I did there?