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Content Marketing Plan Template (With A 10-Step Guideline)

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

Content marketing has become so huge that it’s predicted to grow by $417 billion between 2021 and 2025. 

With such enormous growth, it’s safe to say most organizations have dabbled in producing at least some content by now. But guess what? Only 29% of organizations report being extremely or very successful with content marketing in the last 12 months. 

One of the main problems we’ve found is that many companies jump into content marketing without a solid plan, posting things willy-nilly and with no clear purpose. 

Not only is this ineffective, but it can also erode your credibility, reputation, and brand trust. But no need to beat yourself up over it because it’s a relatively easy fix — you just need a plan. And we’re going to tell you how to make one.  

Guidelines for implementing a content marketing plan: 

1. Determine your overall content marketing goals and KPI’s

2. Lay out what you need to achieve your goals

3. Identify topics that’ll attract your audience

4. Factor in topics that can drive search traffic

5. Determine your distribution plan 

6. Determine a publishing schedule 

7. Assign the right people to each task 

8. Determine owners and collaborators for each piece 

9. Develop a conversion optimization plan for each piece

10. Launch!

Why do you need a content marketing plan?

A content marketing plan takes your overall content goals and lays out a course of action to achieve them — kind of like a game plan or blueprint.  

You need to have one so you can create content that’s both useful and relevant to your audience. Otherwise, you’ll just be creating clutter. 

Here’s your content marketing plan template 

A 10-step guideline to using our template

Now that you’re armed with a content marketing plan template, we’re going to walk through the guidelines step by step. Let’s get started. 

Step #1: Determine your overall content marketing goals and KPIs

Like they say at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), you can’t achieve content marketing success unless you understand what success means to your organization. 

That’s why the first step in developing your plan is to determine your overall content marketing strategy and goal(s). Why are you creating content at all? What’s your end-game, so to speak? 

Some of the most common content marketing goals include the following: 

  • Driving organic search traffic

  • Building brand awareness

  • Increasing audience engagement

  • Generating new leads

  • Nurturing leads in the middle of the sales funnel

  • Fostering customer loyalty 

  • Boosting sales and profitability

Once you’ve identified what you’re trying to get out of your content marketing efforts, you need to figure out how you’re going to measure success. CMI recommends using multiple KPIs, otherwise, you could negatively affect other metrics without realizing it. 

That said, you don’t want to track too many KPIs or you’ll just end up with information overload. Digital marketer Neil Patel puts it this way: “KPIs are all about quality—not quantity. They are about what really moves the needle for your business.” 

Let’s say your goal is to increase sales using email marketing, for example. Some relevant metrics or KPIs would be open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and sales growth. 

Here’s a list of other KPIs that are often used to evaluate content marketing: 

  • Email: Open rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, click-through rate, delivery rate

  • SEO and website: Website traffic, unique visitors, time on site or page, bounce rate, page views, traffic sources

  • Social media: Amplification rate, number of followers, fans, and likes, return on engagement (ROE), post reach

  • E-commerce: Sales, sales growth, conversion rate, website traffic, average order value, shopping cart or checkout abandonment rate

Step #2: Lay out what you need to achieve your goal(s)

Once you’ve outlined your content marketing strategy, it’s time to figure out what you’ll need to achieve your goals. For example, do you have enough staff (or the right staff) to implement your strategy? 

Do you have the budget to pay writers and other content creators? How about the right tools, like project management software or a content marketing platform? 

Identify exactly what you need to achieve your goals and then get to work on lining it up. This may mean going to the higher-ups to pitch a budget increase. If that’s the case, having a well thought out plan will go a long way towards getting what you need. 

Step #3: Identify the topics that’ll attract your audience

One core purpose of content marketing is to attract your audience by creating useful, relevant content. To figure out exactly what’s useful and relevant, it’s important to identify some key pieces of information:  

  • Who is your target customer? 

  • What problem is your target customer trying to solve? 

  • What are their pain points? 

  • How does your product or service solve this problem? 

  • What kind of information will your target customers find useful?

  • Where do your customers typically look for information? Do they go to search engines? If yes, what are they searching for? Why are they searching for those things?

Then, start brainstorming topics that would be of interest to your audience. Let’s say you run a meal prep business, for example. You identify that your target audience is high-income parents who are struggling to make healthy meals at home.

This audience is probably dealing with pain points like not having enough time to cook meals or shop for groceries. And they probably look for information on popular recipe websites or healthy living blogs. 

With this in mind, your customers would probably be attracted to topics related to healthy eating, time-saving kitchen hacks, meal planning, and family-friendly recipes. 

Step #4: Factor in topics that can drive search traffic

Once you’ve come up with a broad list of topics that are relevant to your audience, it’s time to hone in on specific phrases that can drive search traffic. 

What kind of questions are your customers asking that relate to the topics you identified in the previous step? You can figure this out by plugging your topics into an SEO tool. This will give you a list of keywords and phrases around each topic, including search volume for each keyword, keyword difficulty, and more. 

Going back to the meal prep business, for example, you’ll probably find that customers are using some of the following keyword phrases in search engines: 

Topic: family-friendly recipes

Keyword phrases: lunch ideas for kids, kid-friendly casserole, how to make a smoothie, recipes for toddlers, easy dinner recipes, 30-minute meals

Topic: meal planning

Keyword phrases: meal planning template, how to make a weekly meal plan, monthly meal plan with a grocery list, best meal planning apps

Step #5: Determine your distribution plan

Content distribution can be divided into four main buckets — owned, earned, shared, and paid. Here’s a quick recap of what each one includes:  

  • Owned media – Channels that your company owns, like your blog, your website, your email list, and so on. 

  • Earned media – Unpaid mentions by influencers or on channels like podcasts or blogs. 

  • Shared media – Social media channels and other online communities. Examples include user-generated content, product reviews, shares, retweets, and more. 

  • Paid media – Paid advertising for content promotion. 

To determine which bucket to focus your marketing efforts on (and you can always do a combination), it’s important to consider both your business type and your audience. 

B2B companies, for example, are more likely to find success distributing content like case studies and long-form blog posts on owned channels (like their email lists) and shared media (like LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook) — depending on where their target audience is. 

Small B2C startups, on the other hand, will probably have more success distributing short posts or videos on shared media (like Instagram & TikTok) and using paid influencer marketing. 

As for your audience, where are they already going to find information? Where are they usually “hanging out” online? B2B customers, for example, are typically found on LinkedIn (with 80% of B2B leads coming from LinkedIn alone). 

But even beyond general statistics like this, you’ll still need to do your research and find where your specific or niche target customers spend most of their time online. 

Step #6: Determine your publishing schedule

Now that you know what you’re publishing and where you’re publishing it, it’s time to figure out when — which means determining your publishing schedule. 

Often referred to as an editorial calendar, publishing schedules are important for keeping your team on track in terms of content creation. Without one, it’s hard to maintain consistency, something that’s key when it comes to content marketing success.

Jon Simpson, the owner of Criterion.B, recently shared in a Forbes article that one of his clients increased new visitor blog traffic by 90% just by posting consistently. Plus, social media followers on Facebook increased by 30%, Twitter by 9%, and Linkedin by 8%, all in the same time period.

When determining your content calendar, it’s particularly useful to have some technology behind you. And while a simple spreadsheet might work for small projects, you’ll want something more powerful if you’re managing a large team. 

Welcome’s software, for example, allows you to visualize all work in a single, easy-to-use, and flexible marketing calendar. Here are a few specific perks: 

  • Leverage our marketing calendar software for a single view across all planned and in-flight campaigns, with updates in real-time. Ensure all content marketing efforts roll up to broader strategic initiatives with a comprehensive breakout of sub-campaigns and tasks.

  • Track the execution of all content activities and provide visibility across teams to encourage collaboration. In our marketing calendar software, you can drag-and-drop projects to shift deadlines, promoting agile planning to ensure a successful overall strategy. 

  • Monitor campaign progress at a glance within the calendar, or drill into supporting activity with one click for a detailed view of who’s working on what, and when, to ensure teams meet necessary deadlines.

  • Filter the calendar to focus on the work that matters most. Surface relevant activity for specific teams or individual contributors with customized filtering across geography, channel, target audience, or any custom metadata.

Step #7: Assign the right people to each task

Once you have your publishing schedule outlined, it’s time to assign the right person to each job. Before you can do this, though, you need to break each piece of content down into individual tasks. 

A blog post, for example, is typically broken down into the following tasks: 

Then, you can assign each task to the right person, whether it’s internal staff, an outside agency, or a freelancer. When doing so, it’s important to keep an eye on everyone’s workload to make sure it’s management. 

Welcome’s software, for example, allows you to keep an eye on the current commitments (and bandwidth) of everyone on your team. This helps avoid burnout and ensures you have the right people and time allocated to every project.

Step #8: Determine the owner and collaborator(s) for each piece of content

Collaboration has become increasingly vital to content creation over the past few years, especially when you’re dealing with a large organization with lots of stakeholders.

Take the tasks for the blog post that we outlined above, for example. Many of these tasks will need to be assigned to different staff members, from writers to content strategists to SEO experts. 

Plus, you’ll often need to gather input from other stakeholders like clients, subject matter experts, and marketing directors, to name a few. 

So it’s important to identify the owner and all the collaborators for each piece of content from the very beginning. If you wait until the end to ask for input, it often results in lengthy revisions to the piece. 

Step #9: Have a conversion optimization plan for each piece

In content marketing terms, a conversion rate is the percentage of people who visit your website and actually convert into customers or do whatever the desired action is (sign up for your email list, register for a course, download an ebook, etc.). 

Let’s say 100 people find your blog post in the search results and then visit your website to read it. If 10 of those people purchase your product while on your website, your conversion rate would be 10%. 

(Which would be amazing, by the way — the average conversion rate of online shoppers worldwide was just 2.17% in 2020.) 

So, a conversion optimization plan lays out how you’re going to increase that number, or to get more visitors to become customers. When it comes to optimizing blog posts and other content, here are a few solid strategies to include in your plan: 

  • Write strong headlines

  • Deliver on the promise made in the headline

  • Solve for search intent

  • Include case studies as evidence

  • Create original graphics and/or charts

  • Design a clean layout

  • Focus on readability 

  • Drop in as many relevant, internal links as possible

  • Include a clear, compelling call-to-action (CTA)

Step #10: Launch!

You made it! It’s finally time to put your plan into action. Strategists can start strategizing, writers can start writing, and so on. 

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea during this phase to build automated workflows to manage your content as it moves through various stages of creation and approval. One way to do this is by setting up workflows in your project management system that automatically route content to the next appropriate person. Take the case of Pure Storage, for example. 

In early 2020, the Pure Storage content team was struggling with inconsistent workflows and offline docs that created confusion and made approvals difficult. 

So they partnered with Welcome to build workflows for all of their most common content and creative tasks — whether it was a blog post, a thought leadership piece, technical web content, or another type of request.

“It was a very data-driven approach,” said Lisa Oda, Content Studio leader at Pure Storage. “We assessed everything: where the work should start; who needs to be involved; who is the final approver; how much time each person needs to complete their part; where the final assets need to go. We now know exactly what needs to be done and can easily forecast when projects will be complete.”

The results? Pretty amazing. Pure Storage now produces 200% more content while spending 50% less time in team meetings. 

Content marketing strategy FAQs

How do you lay out a content plan?

Once you’ve developed your content marketing strategy, you can lay out your content plan. Start by listing the following items on a spreadsheet or other organizational tool: 

  • Content goals

  • KPIs

  • Budget and resources

  • Audience

  • Relevant topics

Then create the following fields plus anything additional that helps you achieve the goals laid out in your content marketing strategy: 

  • Content type

  • Content name or title

  • Keyword phrases

  • Search intent

  • Collaborators

  • Distribution channel 

  • Publish date

  • Tasks

What are some elements of a good content plan?

A good content marketing plan is detailed and specific. It identifies the who, what, where, when, and why of content creation:

  • Who’s consuming your content? Who’s creating your content? 

  • What type of content are you going to create? 

  • Where are you going to distribute your content? 

  • When are you going to publish your content? 

  • Why are you creating content in the first place? 

What does a content marketing strategy look like?

A content marketing strategy is similar to a plan but is more broad. For example, a content marketing strategy might be to use email marketing to boost engagement. But a content plan lays out exactly how to do it. 

Conclusion

With your content marketing strategy and plan in place, you’re well on your way to joining the 29% of organizations that are extremely or very successful with content marketing! Yay you! 

Now it’s time to get down to the business of creating useful and relevant content for your audience. Best of luck! 

Content Marketing Plan Template With A 10 Step Guideline


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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.

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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.


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