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5 Things I Learned About E-A-T by Analyzing 647 Search Results



5 Things I Learned About E-A-T by Analyzing 647 Search Results

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

As a writer at a content marketing agency, I’ve written for a lot of different clients, and almost everything I’ve produced has been intended to rank on Google and encourage website traffic.

Here’s the challenge I (and every other marketing writer on the planet) am up against: search competition.

No matter what industry you’re in, or target audience you’re speaking to, you’re not alone. You have competition. And if you and your competition both understand the SEO game (which is very much the case for most companies nowadays), then what do you have to fall back on to protect your visibility in the all-important SERPs?

According to Google, it’s E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

But here’s the complicated thing: Every one of my clients — even the small ones thriving in very big industries — has expertise, and authoritativeness, and even trustworthiness. So, how does that help them in search? And how can they possibly prove to Google, amid all the noise and competition and other experts out there, that they deserve a place on Page 1?

Last year, I set out to find out.


Google is pretty clear about the fact that websites need E-A-T, but what they don’t really clue us in on is what E-A-T actually is or how it’s measured. I hypothesized that, if I compiled a big list of SERPs and closely analyzed all the Page 1 results, I could narrow down what may comprise E-A-T.

Theoretically, E-A-T affects different industries in different ways. That’s because some topics and subject areas are more critical than others to have extremely reliable information — like when you’re searching for information about prescription drugs or complicated financial products.

So, the first thing I did was choose seven topic categories to focus on: legal, insurance, health care, loans, pharmaceuticals, military, and informational questions. Next, I picked 10 queries for each category.

Then I searched. The resulting 70 SERPs produced 647 results. I analyzed each of those results, looking specifically for 32 different factors.

Finally, I reviewed what I had recorded and asked:

  • Which factors were the most prevalent across all 647 results?

  • Which factors were most prevalent among the 210 Top 3 results?

  • Were there differences in prevalent factors across the various topic categories I chose?

Before we get into the results, let’s talk about correlation vs. causation for a moment. While each of these factors seemed to be very common among Page 1 results, and it seems clear that some of these factors do play a role in establishing E-A-T, all I can really say for sure is that these traits are associated with pages that rank well in search. They could be indicators of a good page or website, but not necessarily the determining factor that’s putting them on Page 1.

With that in mind, here are five lessons I learned about E-A-T after closely analyzing the results from those 70 searches.

Lesson 1: Original, relevant, recent content is essential

Of all the lessons, this is the least surprising to me, but perhaps the most important. To rank well for relevant terms, you need to strongly demonstrate that your website belongs in search results. How? Content, obviously.

But it’s got to be high-quality content. Usually, I’d say that means you’re addressing the topic from all angles and leaving no questions unanswered. But after this SERP inspection exercise, I’d actually say the three most important characteristics of high-quality content are that it’s:

  1. Original

  2. Relevant

  3. Recently published or updated

Original research

One factor I sought throughout this study was original research. To me, this included any content that’s created using information the organization sources, analyzes, and publishes themselves.

Just shy of two-thirds of the results’ websites contained original research, but among the websites whose results were in the Top 3 positions, 70% had original research available. This shows the importance of creating your own, unique content — a story only you can tell. Trust me, you have one.

Relevance and topical authority

Beyond content just being unique, it also needs to be relevant to your industry and target audience. Topical authority is a weird concept because SEOs know it’s real, but there’s no way to measure it, and Google hasn’t exactly come out and said they have a topical authority ranking factor.

However, they have given us a lot of clues that point to topical authority being a highly important factor in E-A-T — like this patent they filed in 2017. Even in their recent Helpful Content Update, Google highlights questions that creators should ask themselves when considering their own site content. The question, “Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?” in particular alludes to the importance of creating content for a topic niche or specific subject area.

Given the limited tools on this subject, I decided to create my own (rudimentary) method of measuring topical authority by way of roughly determining the topic coverage depth throughout the whole website. Here’s what I did:

  1. Determine the parent topic of the query in question. “Insurance” is the parent topic for “types of insurance” and “world population” is the parent topic for “how many people are in the world,” for example.

  2. Find the Topic Coverage Score (TCS, as I call it) of each result’s website. That’s the number of pages indexed by Google that contain an exact-match of the parent term.

  3. Calculate the average TCS of all Page 1 results for each query.

  4. Compare the TSC of each result with the average TSC for that query.

After that procession of steps, I found that while 25% of Page 1 results had a TSC higher than the average, 40% of Top 3 results boasted the same. In other words, the websites that had the most topic coverage were more likely to land at the top of the page.

Recently published or updated

Half of all Top 3 and 48% of Page 1 results were dated within the previous two years. There are plenty of evergreen topics that don’t need regular content changes (the oldest result in my study was a page explaining why the sky is blue from 1997). Updating content just for the sake of giving it a new date won’t help you rank any higher in Google. However, creating timely content and updating old content as necessary could help.

Lesson 2: Your off-site, online presence matters

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Here’s a lesson I wasn’t expecting to learn. When I set out on this study, I thought the biggest E-A-T factors would correspond to the website in question more so than the organization that manages it. Not so much: It became clear to me that your off-site, online presence plays a role in helping you rank in Google search results.

The vast majority (95%) of all results had third-party reviews of some kind, whether they’re Google My Business reviews, comments on Glassdoor, site trustworthiness information on Trustpilot, or something else.

Wikipedia is also a common thread between many of the results. While 89% of Page 1 results’ websites or organizations had at least one Wikipedia mention, 93% of Top 3 results did, too. As far as actual Wikipedia pages, 73% of Page 1 results and 82% of Top 3 results’ organizations had one.

The high prevalence on Page 1 tells me that it’s fairly common to have a Wikipedia connection, but the higher numbers corresponding to the Top 3 results hints at what their importance might be.

Another patent from Google, this one updated in 2018, discusses the topic of seed sites. A seed site, theoretically, is one that the search engine trusts because it generally has quality content and good, valuable links. Google hasn’t revealed whether this seed site theory is valid, or to what extent it plays a role in search algorithms (if any). But if I were to choose a seed site, Wikipedia would be a good contender. Each page has tons of links to websites with relevant information on carefully organized topics.

Another website worth mentioning is the Better Business Bureau. While it only gives limited perspective (since it only relates to Canadian and US businesses), I found that many Page 1 results’ organizations (70%) and even more Top 3 results (74%) had at least a BBB page but not necessarily a grade. In fact, a little over one-fourth of results that had a BBB page didn’t have a rating.

It seems to me that the value is in getting listed on BBB’s website more so than achieving a good grade — perhaps a North American-specific seed site of sorts.

Lesson 3: Transparency and honesty are the best policies

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So far, we’ve learned a lot about E (expertise) and A (authoritativeness) but where the T — trustworthiness — really comes into sight is when we start talking about transparency.

Google states right in its Page Quality Rating guidelines that webmasters should state on their website exactly who is responsible for site content. That can be a person or people, or it could be an organization. At Moz, for example, the folks at Moz are responsible for their site content, and they explain all about it in their About page. Similarly, 91% of results I analyzed had a detailed About Us page.

Another way of being transparent about what your site is all about is by publishing editorial standards or guidelines. These documents detail how your site gets populated: where content comes from, what characteristics help it make the cut, what the organization won’t publish, and more.

43% of Page 1 results and 49% of Top 3 results had some sort of editorial guidelines published. These included information quality guidelines, pitch guidelines that reflect editorial standards, correction policies, and corporate governance documentation that addresses communication or media.

Why should publishing guidelines benefit your site? Well, I could see two factors at play here.

First off, Google’s Page Quality Rating guidelines specifically notes that “High E-A-T news sources typically have published established editorial policies and robust review processes.” That doesn’t prove that the algorithm considers the presence of editorial guidelines (or even knows about them all the time) but it does lend us insight into the mind of Google.

Second, I’d be willing to bet that there’s a strong correlation between organizations that take the time to put together editorial guidelines and those that take the time to ensure their content is worthy of their site. Additionally, the process of putting together editorial guidelines is itself a good exercise in ensuring that your website content is high quality.

Lesson 4: Connections go a long way

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No business operates in a vacuum, especially not on the Internet. The connections your organization has made with others, and how you acknowledge them, make an impact on how your community views you.

Reputable partners

There are all kinds of connections a business might make with another organization. Throughout the study, I kept track of something I called “reputable partners.” To earn this mark, a website had to demonstrate a relationship between themselves and another organization that’s plainly in support or favor of their work or mission.

Some of the most common types of demonstrations of these relationships included:

  • Articles and press releases announcing partnerships or outcomes.

  • Explanations of the relationships between those organizations.

  • Accolades from recognized organizations highlighted on-site through badges, links to award announcements, press releases, etc.

  • Links to press releases or articles demonstrating the relationship between organizations, and/or award badge displays.

While 73% of the results I looked at had clear “reputable partners,” 78% of those in the Top 3 did, too. My theory for this pattern is that making it obvious which other organizations are in support of you — generally or financially, e.g. through a grant — or in favor of your mission, you’re being transparent about how your organization operates. That fits squarely with the T in the E-A-T equation.


Another type of connection modern businesses deal in today is backlinks. Links put the “Inter” in “Internet,” and they’ve become essential for people and (more importantly for this subject) web crawlers to understand and navigate the web.

The average number of backlinks across all 647 results I analyzed was 32,572. Among the 210 Top 3 results, it was 88,581.

It’s certainly possible to get on Page 1 with fewer than that — about one-third had fewer than 100 backlinks and 28 had none whatsoever. However, we can clearly see that link quantity is valuable.

But what about link quality? For that, we can look at Moz’s Spam Score. This metric indicates your backlink profile health, with a 1% rating as really healthy and a 99% rating as super unhealthy.

While Moz considers a “low” score to be 30% or less, 44% of Page 1 results had a Spam Score of 1%, indicating that most Page 1 results have a very clean, healthy backlink profile. Another 19% had scores of 2 or 3%. The Top 3 results mirrored these results (with 44% at 1% and 18% at 2 or 3%).

Another way we can make some assumptions about link quality is by looking at referring domains. When there are loads of backlinks but very few referring domains, it seems less likely to be the result of deliberate link-building efforts. On the other hand, a higher number of referring domains could indicate more honest link-building tactics or simply just a really good web page that others want to link to.

The average number of referring domains among Page 1 results was 752. Meanwhile, among the Top 3 results, the average was 1,594. Making connections with other organizations online by way of honest link-building efforts can be one way to expand your reach, but also show Google and other search engines that you offer quality, worthwhile content.

Lesson 5: The right technology is essential

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Last, but absolutely not least, if you have a website, it needs to be set up securely so that visitors can trust that they’re not putting their data at risk by interacting with it. In my study, I found that 96% of all results (also 96% of just top 3 results) used HTTPS. Interestingly, those that didn’t most often occurred in the military portion of the study.

Websites today also need technologies for cookie notifications, and some use pop-ups to convey important messages. Others use advertising to monetize their site. In any of these situations, the website owner should aim to minimize disruption to the user’s experience. Just 42% of all results had a pop-up: most of them (81) were inviting the user to subscribe to something (e.g. a newsletter), while nearly an equal number (79) were communicating information related to cookies.

Having the right technology enabled on your website may not seem inherently connected to E-A-T — which is why I didn’t evaluate even more technologic considerations such as e-payment systems — but considering that a huge aspect of Trustworthiness online today is about data gathering and management (and the ill effects of mis-management), it’s apparent that this area matters just as much, if not more so, than all your efforts into quality content creation.


When I set out to uncover the factors associated with E-A-T, I fully anticipated learning about proper author attribution, source citations, and good content. I guess I was thinking with my author hat on and not my web user hat, because I was only close on one of those three.

There are a lot of activities digital marketers can do to promote their businesses and goods and services today. Content creation and content marketing, link building, local SEO, advertising, public relations, and more can all seem like great options that you can pursue.

But the truth is, they’re not options — they’re must-haves for building a holistic digital presence. After conducting this study, my advice to webmasters and business leaders would be to assess your current online presence (including but not limited to your website’s user experience) and determine where there are holes. Working to fill those holes won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be worth it when your web traffic increases and your pages begin to rank.

To see a detailed explanation of each factor considered in this study, check out the full E-A-T study report on the Brafton blog.

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



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

Amazon pillows.


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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots



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)



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.



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.

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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.

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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.

Disruptive Design Raising the Bar of Content Marketing with Graphic

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