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40+ Blogs, Podcasts, and Video Series Content Marketers Love

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40+ Blogs, Podcasts, and Video Series Content Marketers Love

You don’t have to rely on Google searches to find helpful and relevant content marketing blogs and educational or inspirational resources.

Your peers already have vetted many options. We asked the Content Marketing Institute community for their go-to resources and rounded out the list with a query on Help a Reporter Out.

The top 40+ list of favorite #ContentMarketing blogs and educational or inspirational resources recommended by the @CMIContent and @helpareporter community via @AnnGynn. Click To Tweet

The 40+ blogs, podcasts, and video series about content, marketing, and content marketing earned their recommendations by helping marketers learn about new topics, dig into the nuances of familiar ones, tackle strategy and tactics, and get inspired to create.

Blogs, newsletters, and content sites

1.  Animalz

While transitioning from my role as a content writer to a content marketer, the Animalz blog served as a Holy Grail of intelligent insights on how content compilation and distribution work at scale. I learned about how to curate thought leadership pieces even when I wasn’t one myself. The blog is a perfect mix of strategic and tactical content around content marketing and is a must-subscribe for content folk out there.

Kajal Jain, growth manager, SAWO

2. Backlinko

If you’re new to SEO and want to learn all you can, Backlinko is the best resource I’ve found. They explain everything in clear detail with a consistent brand voice and real-world examples. You can certainly go beyond SEO to all areas of online marketing, as they have courses on virtually everything. Best of all is their newsletter, which is full of up-to-date content and reads quickly, so you know you’re keeping up with developments in the field.

James Diel, founder and CEO, Textel

3. The Content Strategist

The Content Strategist shares short-form blog posts on content marketing and business tips. You’ll find interesting hooks, stories, and links to rare and insightful videos.

Sally Ofuonyebi, freelance writer

4. Contentfolks

Fio Dossetto offers actionable advice in customer-focused marketing and product-led content. Her posts are filled with examples and related anecdotes that make it easier to understand and implement content marketing best practices.

Meryl D’Sa-Wilson, content marketing manager, Global Call Forwarding, United World Telecom

5. CoSchedule

This site will assist you in discovering intelligent content marketing tactics. The blog pieces are authored by marketing agencies, inbound marketing gurus, and other seasoned marketing professionals.

Geoff Cudd, owner, FindTheBestCarPrice.com

6. HubSpot

I’ve read the HubSpot blog for years. I like it because they have clear sections, and then it’s broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced. You know exactly what you’re getting and when. There’s a ton of information, and it isn’t to be missed.

Ravi Davda, CEO, Rockstar Marketing

7. Marketing Dive

It provides insights on current events along with analysis for marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Overall, it’s a good top-down resource of what’s happening in marketing in a given week. There also are a lot of opportunities to dive deeper into a subject or do more research. The content is also very organized, which I appreciate.

George Tsagas, owner, eMathZone.com

8. Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the best SEO analyzer in the business. He has hundreds of blog entries to help any company rank higher in search results with small changes. Neil also offers tools to help you run checks on your website to see if you made changes correctly. He offers both video and written content that is easy to fit into any schedule.

Jerry Han, chief marketing officer, PrizeRebel

9. Optimist

I came across their website and blog via the Tech Bound podcast. I think I’ve read close to every blog on their site, scouring for more information as it relates to growth content marketing and content strategy.

They also have a Slack channel called Top Of The Funnel, where there’s a lot going on. There are chats, conversations, webinars, AMAs. It’s a trove of content marketing resources. I also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they house so many great guests and conversations around the world of growth content marketing.

Emma-Jane Shaw, head of content, Uku Inbound

10. Reforge

Reforge is one of my favorite resources. The content they put together reflects the quality of their education programs, and you get great insight into the minds of experts – folks who have been in the trenches doing this work for a long time. Often, the experts haven’t built up a large social following nor are doing much education outside of their day jobs. And that’s because they don’t have to. They’ve built such credibility and are making enough money that they don’t need to invest in additional personal branding strategies. Reforge finds these folks and works with them to share their insights with their community, and it’s amazing.

Tracey Wallace, director of content strategy, Klaviyo

11. Search Engine Journal

SEJ is a collection of insights on how to build a business your audience and search engines adore.

Sally Ofuonyebi, freelance writer

12. Some Good Content

John Bonini’s Some Good Content is solid. He gets great insight from content marketing leaders. He also provides proven strategies and tactics with examples of results. Finally, he has a good library of all of this.

Hunter Clary, freelance marketing consultant

13. Search Engine Land

My favorite blog is Search Engine Land for its sheer depth in content. Plus, the best thing is that they quote industry experts, founders, CEOs, and other thought leaders, so the information is absolutely credible. This makes it a lot easier for me to digest the facts because I’m aware that the source is true.

Scott Spivack, marketing director, United Medical Credit

14. SEO By The Sea

SEO By The Sea is a blog run by a thought leader in the SEO and content marketing industry named Bill Slawski. It provides detailed, well-researched suggestions for optimizing web content to match search engine guidelines, especially Google’s, and our company’s site has benefited from my reading of this blog. One of the benefits of reading SEO By The Sea is that the author summarizes and distills many Google algorithm updates that would take hours to research independently.

Calloway Cook, president, Illuminate Labs

15. Social Media Examiner (and podcast)

When it comes to learning all the latest trends on social media, Google algorithms, and what it takes to nurture relationships with customers, nothing is better than reading and listening to the Social Media Examiner by Michael Stelzner.

It can be hard to learn on the fly, especially with the changing trends and algorithms. What’s more, since time and money are involved, it can be difficult to take risks. Having that trusted source of information certainly helps me plan and forecast success better compared to doing my own research.

Derick Quinanola, digital marketer and chief writer, The Farm Soho

16. Superpath

Superpath is a content marketing community that puts out blogs, webinars, AMAs, and more, helping content marketers build a strong foundation. These resources not only focus on how to write good content but also how to be a good content marketer and set yourself up for success.

Meryl D’Sa-Wilson, content marketing manager, Global Call Forwarding, United World Telecom

Podcasts and audio series

17. Ask Pat 2.0

The weekly podcast Ask Pat 2.0 is like a one-on-one coaching call with a marketing expert covering a wide range of business topics. It is a call-in show where the audience asks questions. Host Pat Flynn is an online business entrepreneur who covers topics, such as when to leave your 9-to-5 job for an online gig, how to hire experts for a podcast or other program, and how to get money from your hobby.

Until about a year ago, these podcasts were relatively brief because Pat only took one question. More recent episodes have been approaching 30 minutes because Pat engages in lengthier chats with guests.

Tyler Martin, founder, ThinkTyler

18. The Content 10X Podcast

This is my favorite since it is hosted by Amy Woods, a British content marketer who focuses nearly entirely on the many components of content marketing. Amy spends a lot of time discussing how to adapt on-site material for use on social media. She also discusses how to alter content submitted on one social media site for usage on another. The episodes discuss the various social media networks and how to make the most of them. At the same time, Amy also takes care to cover industry trends.

Daniel Carter, SEO manager, Skuuudle

19. Content Callout

The Content Callout has done a remarkable job in a short time of pivoting from just being a successful agency to being an entertaining insider look at the nibbles and repulsions that we in the industry all have to digest. Kayla Graham is a vivacious and informative source that keeps the stone of our industry, gathering no moss, while she rolls along to every salacious needlepoint we all want to attempt.

Mark Whitman, founder, Contentellect

20. Content Components

Content Components is a deep dive into complex content strategy in an easy-to-understand format. I enjoy hearing from the guests that are featured.

Sarah Cuellar, marketing copywriter, Heretto

21. The Content Fix

As a content marketer, The Content Fix is one podcast I love. Jillian Bowen provides fantastic content creation and management tips through mini masterclass sessions and interviews. They’re transformational and quite easy to integrate into your business strategies.

Bobby Klinck, founder, BobbyKlinck.com

22. Content Inc.

As a CEO, I would assert Joe Pulizzi is appropriately dubbed the “godfather of content marketing.” Joe, who created Content Marketing Institute in 2007, has long maintained that organizations can achieve sustained success not through product creation and sales but through audience building through amazing content. As such, Content Inc. is geared toward entrepreneurs looking for innovative content marketing strategies to grow their business’s audience.

Each episode features an inspirational idea with the potential to transform your business. Content Inc. delivers short-form podcast episodes, with the majority lasting less than five minutes. However, do not be fooled by the brief duration of the episodes. Joe guarantees that you walk away from each episode with actionable lessons for your business.

Jamie Opalchuk, founder and CEO, HostPapa

23. Copyblogger FM

When it comes to copywriting and content marketing, Copyblogger is a well-respected authority with a wealth of useful information. The Copyblogger FM podcast assists content marketers, for example, in creating stronger headlines for their material. The greatest thing is that they walk the user through the process step by step, including how to build the subject line and other details.

James Angel, co-founder, DYL

24. The Digital Marketing Podcast

I always walk away from The Digital Marketing Podcast from Target Internet with new ideas and insights. They’re always discussing new marketing trends.

Sarah Cuellar, marketing copywriter

25. The Friday Freelance Podcast

Latasha James provides very practical and useful information for content marketers who own their businesses. I get so much guidance from this podcast and her YouTube channel.

Ashley Sowers, founder, Words + Well

26. Marketing School

This podcast is for you if you’re seeking some actionable takeaways, insights, or useful information on content marketing. In my opinion, this podcast is unique as it covers not only content marketing but also analytics, sales, and business growth. It is currently one of the most well-known content marketing podcasts.

Amy Bos, founder, MediumChat

27. Modern Day Marketer

It’s specific to B2B and combines interviews with experts and industry news, all with an actionable slant. It’s conversational and doesn’t feel preachy.

Danielle Love, content marketing strategist, Amerisource Bergen

28. Nathan Barry 

ConvertKit, a successful email marketing startup, was founded by Nathan Barry. Since 2009, he’s been giving sensible advice on UI design, social media, business growth, and marketing based on his own experiences. His podcasts can also be found on his YouTube channel.

Geoff Cudd, owner, FindTheBestCarPrice.com

29. Online Marketing Made Easy

The program discusses a range of subjects ranging from content marketing to social media marketing to conversion optimization and marketing automation. Amy Porterfield also invites successful entrepreneurs and industry professionals to discuss their approach and strategy on her show. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, Rick Mulready of Online Advertising Experts, John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire, and several others have been on the podcast.

Mark Valderrama, CEO and founder, Aquarium Store Depot

30. Science of Success

The Science of Success podcast is one of the best motivators and improves your mindset. You can’t truly market to people if you don’t know how people think. Luckily, this podcast provides science-backed suggestions given by professionals in a variety of fields. Content marketing isn’t just about the content you can create; it’s about how to reach people.

Jerry Han, chief marketing officer, PrizeRebel

31. The Social Bamboo

Formerly known as Instagram Marketing Secrets, Social Bamboo not only focuses on Instagram and e-commerce marketing but also delves into the entrepreneurial mindset in addition to covering all aspects of social media marketing.

Those who want to focus on Instagram as a source of sales leads, on the other hand, will certainly enjoy this podcast hosted by Derek Videll. Initially, he worked in traditional door-to-door and relationship-based sales, an industry that has changed dramatically with the rise of social media. Derek, in a word, is an entrepreneur who is also a skilled hustler and hacker.

David Wurst, owner and CEO, WebCitz

32. Social Pros Podcast

Social media and content marketing should constantly complement one another to obtain the best outcomes. SocialPros can help improve your content marketing performance via effective social media methods. The podcast, hosted by Jay Baer (Convince & Convert) and Adam Brown (Salesforce), features interviews with renowned social media strategists who discuss how their firms use social media to engage with their audience. Rick Wion of Kellogg’s, Zachary Lines of Walmart, and Anna Gonzalez of Google Developer Studio were recent visitors. Jay and Adam also debate, deconstruct, and disprove the latest social media trends and concepts.

Kevin Cook, chief product owner, TrackRight

33. Social Savvy Podcast

As a professional, I believe the Savvy Social Podcast exemplifies the critical nature of aligning your content marketing and social media efforts. The podcast, hosted by social media strategist Andrea Jones, provides conversations with top industry professionals who share their experiences and techniques for helping listeners improve their social media performance.

Steve Scott, chief technical officer, Spreadsheet Planet

34. Storytelling Secrets

Storytelling Secrets by Jules Dan talks about the art of storytelling in marketing. Such an art connects your business to the audience – an important step to increase your customer base. The podcast hosts distinguished marketing experts who talk about the different marketing techniques.

Nathan Hughes, digital marketing and SEO manager, Diggity Marketing

35. Tech Bound

I find this podcast to be an incredible learning experience. Kevin Indig has mounds of knowledge in SEO and content marketing, so I always walk away with a mound of notes and ideas. He also interviews some really interesting guests who I inevitably end up following and subscribing to. I also subscribe to his newsletter called Growth Memo.

Emma-Jane Shaw, head of content, Uku Inbound

36. This Old Marketing

As a CEO, I believe Content Marketing Institute is the leading online content marketing authority. So I put This Old Marketing podcast at the top of my list. The program is hosted by CMI founder Joe Pulizzi and CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose, two top professionals in content marketing. They also rant and rage about current marketing and business news stories in each episode. This Old Marketing informs as well as entertains. It’s also a terrific way to keep up with the latest digital marketing news.

Kavin Patel, co-founder and CEO, Convrrt

37. TubeBuddy Express

It is my favorite podcast regarding YouTube marketing. It is a fast-paced podcast that attempts to provide one-point advice in five- to 10-minute episodes. It delivers a lot of attitudes and strategic advice, but Tube Talk also offers thorough tactical and actionable assistance.

Samuel DeCroes, president, Stock Trend Alerts

Video series

38. Boss Babe

This is one of my go-to sources for content creation tips and how to link it to successful business practices.

Ashley Sowers, founder, Words + Well

39. DailyVee

Gary Vaynerchuck is an entrepreneur well known for his video content marketing tactics. He was among the first marketers to use live video and social media on a large scale. He now has a sophisticated method with a videographer who follows him about and then sends the raw films to the team, who edits them immediately for distribution. On his YouTube channel, DailyVee, he includes a combination of livestreams, Q&A videos, event recordings, social media clips, and more. He also has a collection of shorter vlog-style videos.

Andrew Dale, technical director, CloudTech24

40. Everyone Hates Marketers

Louis Grenier’s contrarian marketing podcast is easily the most popular marketing podcast on my list. In less than four years, it surpassed a million downloads. He began his podcast to give actionable marketing strategies to those who were tired of unethical and in-your-face marketing practices. The podcast delves into a number of marketing subjects, including content marketing. He recently invited Benji Hyam, co-founder of Grow and Convert, to deconstruct how he develops high-quality content that converts on one of his latest episodes.

Kenny Kline, president and financial lead, BarBend

41. Jade Beason

Jade Beason gives me all the quick and effective tips I need for the most up-to-date content creation tactics.

Ashley Sowers, founder, Words + Well

42. Modern Millie

Modern Millie is a content marketing educator that posts tips and strategies on YouTube. My work focuses heavily on the content marketing/growth marketing world, and Millie has found a way to make content that is useful and helpful for those just starting out. Whether you are an influencer or a marketing strategist, she knows how to create the right videos to inform in a way that anyone can understand and replicate.

– Brittany Mendez, chief marketing officer, Florida Panhandle

43. Semrush on YouTube

Semrush’s YouTube channel is an all-in-one marketing toolkit that pumps out videos several times a week, varying from prolonged seminars to quick guides and podcast episodes, all centered roughly relevant and timely industry matters like content strategy, SEO, PPC, and social media marketing. With this much content, they probably have a video on just about anything you need help with.

Brack Nelson, marketing director, Incrementors Web Solutions

Resources for now and the future

CMI community member Brian Piper, director of content strategy and assessment, University of Rochester, pulled together his list with resources that address both the now and the potential for the future:

As he explains: “All of these blogs and podcasts help inspire my creativity, find different use cases, and refine the techniques and processes to help my content succeed.”

Isn’t that what anyone working in content marketing wants? Try some of the entries on this list of favorite blogs, podcasts, and video channels. Then pick the content that fits your topical needs, the voices you prefer, and the formats that work for your learning style.

Got a recommendation? Share it (and tell us why it’s a favorite) in the comments below.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 42 Popular Blogs Motivating Marketers
Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute




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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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