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How to Run A Content Audit in 2022

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How to Run A Content Audit in 2022

As a marketer, how often do you run content audits? How do you keep track of how content is performing? Do you use those metrics to improve future campaigns?

If you’re missing this kind of organization for your company, consider investing in a content audit. They are an excellent planning resource and roadmap for future content creation. They also help you organize your analytics so you can refer back to high-performing posts if needed.

Download Now: Free Content Marketing Planning Templates

In this post, learn how you can perform a content audit for your own business, and discover high-quality tools to help you streamline the process. Keep reading, or use one of the links below to jump ahead to the section you’re looking for:

Content Audit Goals

Running a content audit for your website can boost your traffic and improve the experience of your readers.

First, content audits help you take note of the areas on your website that aren’t properly optimized for search engine rank. For example, you might add meta descriptions to your blog posts as part of your current strategy, but if that always wasn’t the case, a content audit helps you locate which posts need to be updated.

Content audits also help you find new SEO opportunities for your website. For example, did you know that adding keywords to the headings on your site gives search engines more clues about what your web page is about?

If search engines have as much knowledge as possible about the content on your website, they’ll be able to suggest your web pages to browsers more accurately.

Running an audit is a chance for you to update the content on your website to improve the comprehension of your site by readers. For example, you might not know the links on one of your product pages are broken, but a content audit provides you with a reminder to update those links. Let’s discuss some additional benefits below.

Benefits of Content Audits

Your content audit should help you bring your content up-to-date, improve the rank of your web pages, and make the website you present to readers easy to navigate and free of error. In addition, content audits:

  • Give data-driven insight into the performance of your content, helping you make informed decisions based on factual information rather than just assumptions.
  • Identify areas for content repurposing or updating where numbers are lower than desired.
  • Highlight pieces of content that perform best that you can leverage in marketing materials.
  • Understand more about what your audience likes and dislikes.
  • Content maintenance becomes easier when you have an understanding of what you’re offering.

To make sure your website content audit is valuable, carve out enough time to complete it. However, you don’t have to be in it alone — there are plenty of templates to guide you through a content audit if you’re unsure of where to start.

Content Audit Template

To show you how a template can speed up the content audit process, let’s walk through HubSpot’s SEO Audit kit. It includes three useful tools:

  • How to Run an SEO Audit guide
  • On-page SEO template
  • SEO audit checklist

The guide is a comprehensive overview of SEO audit principles and factors. It’s a great resource for both beginners and experienced content marketers looking for a refresher.

Next, to begin your content audit, open the on-page SEO template. This template guides you through checking the on-page SEO of your website.

The template has 16 sections, with instructions for each section.

Under each section, the template helps you understand what to look for and why it matters for on-page optimization. For example, if you note that you have multiple similar pages, the canonical tags section will help you make sure they’re grouped together.

Below, we’ll talk about the sections of the template.

Page Type

Content audit template example: Page type

In the first column, you’ll specify your page type for each page you’re auditing. It works for many page types, like a home page, landing page, blog post, or even a form page.

URL

Content audit template example: URL

Then, you’ll fill in the URL.

Canonical Tags

Content audit template example: Canonical Tags

Next, note any canonical tags your site may have. Remember, you can find canonical tags in your page’s source code.

Pagination

Content audit template example: Pagination

After that, you’ll note if your page is a part of a sequence of pages to ensure that your code is properly formatted for sequencing.

Page Title

Content audit template example: Page Title

Next up, you’ll fill in some details about the page’s copy. For instance, the page title. If I included a blog post similar to this one in the audit, for example, I would put “How to Run an SEO Content Audit” in this section.

This section makes sure you’ll have keywords in your page title, boosting SERP rank.

Page Purpose

Content audit template example: Page Purpose

In this section, you’ll define the goal of each page.

So, for this blog post, I would define the purpose of this post in a short and descriptive sentence. For example, “Educating readers about how to do a content audit.”

Focus Keywords

Content audit template example: Focus Keywords

Then I’d note the focus keywords of that page. My keywords for this post would be something akin to “On-Page SEO,” and “Content Audits.”

Headlines

Content audit template example: Headlines

After that, you’ll note the headlines or title tags on your page. A good rule of thumb is to make sure at least one keyword appears in an H2 to help your rank.

Meta Descriptions

Content audit template example: Meta Descriptions

Take the same approach with meta descriptions. Add a short, concise description of your content. It should also contain a keyword to improve rank.

Images

Content audit template example: Images

Once you outline your headings and include your meta description, then you’ll focus on images. First, include the file name of your image and note the alt text. Recall that alt text tells Google what your image is about, so if your images don’t have any, this is a good reminder to add them.

Internal and Outbound Links

Content audit template example: Internal Links

Next, you’re going to focus on links: internal and outbound. Remove broken internal links, and make sure your page has at least two or three. Remember, internal links help you to boost the traffic of other pages.

Page Speed

Content audit template example: Page Speed

Following your link optimization, note the page speed. If your page takes longer than two seconds to load, it might not keep the reader’s attention.

Social Sharing

Content audit template example: Social Sharing

Next, make sure your page is available for sharing on social media.

Content

Content audit template example: Content

Review the contents of your page, paying special attention to the length of your copy and where and how you’re using keywords. This is also a chance to check for duplicate or similar content.

Mobile-friendly

Content audit template example: Mobile-friendly

Finally, check your page on mobile devices. This can help improve the accessibility of your webpage.

Once you’ve entered these details in your template, you’ll get a clear picture of what you can do to optimize your page. As you add more pages to the template, you may start to notice issues that come up repeatedly or holes in your content strategy.

For example, the “Images” section above shows that several posts are missing images and alt text. For those that have alt text, the copy isn’t optimized for some focus keywords.

This content audit data can help you form a data-driven foundation for strategy updates and recommendations.

Content Audit Spreadsheet

The SEO audit kit also offers a spreadsheet checklist. The SEO Audit Checklist helps you make sure the content of your website is fully optimized and up-to-date.

So, the template helps you update the on-page SEO of your website, while the checklist gives you an in-depth reference for running the audit.

Content audit spreadsheet example: HubSpot SEO audit checklist

This sheet will cue you on what to look for as you audit your site. It includes the following sections:

  • Crawling and indexing audit
  • On-page elements
  • Ranking factors
  • Content evaluation
  • Link structure
  • Status codes
  • Scripts and coding
  • Internationalization

These sections can help you understand what to look for as you audit your site. To use these checklists, you’ll simply mark “Yes” or “No” for each task, and add any notes to inform your action items.

How to Run a Content Audit

While a template can be extremely useful when auditing your content, each audit is unique, and many will use templates as a guide to create a more personalized process over time. The steps below can help you create a custom process to reach your content goals.

1. Think of your goals.

First, think about what you want to accomplish. When you have your goals in mind, you will have a better idea of how to categorize your audit later.

For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you might audit your content with the goal of increasing branded keywords. Other goals to consider could be figuring out which pages need to be SEO-optimized or finding the best-performing website content to place on your homepage or in your email newsletters.

Ultimately, a content audit identifies engaging content for your audience. It can also include information on SEO and conversion rates. This process will help you see the strengths and weaknesses of your content and workflow.

Leading with company goals will ensure your content audit is useful for tracking and updating your strategy with improved tactics. After this is complete, then it’s time to collect your content.

2. Gather your content and create an inventory.

Which content are you going to audit? Content audits might include product descriptions, blog posts, video media, or online publications. Decide which content you want to audit and gather the backlog of that content.

Pulling your content together in an organized spreadsheet will create a content inventory. This will make it easier to track changes and goals for your content.

To start, collect URLs and other page information for the web pages you’ve chosen to audit. Page details you may want to collect to begin your audit include:

  • Page title
  • Content type
  • Content format
  • Word count
  • Date last modified
  • Linked CTAs

A content audit template can help you quickly pull together a content inventory to begin your audit. There are also online tools to help you collect this data, like SEMrush, Screaming Frog, and HubSpot.

Some tools will provide this information based on your sitemap. A site map is a file that has all your website’s information. You can usually create your sitemap for free online. For more information on this, check out this sitemaps guide.

3. Categorize your content.

After you gather your content, categorize it on the spreadsheet. Tracking every metric for every piece of content can get overwhelming quickly. So, use your goals to guide the categories you track for your audit.

Think of categories that offer useful insights from different pieces of content. For example, an SEO audit focuses on metrics like keywords, page speed, and backlinks. But if you’re running a content conversion audit, you may want to focus on traffic, click rate, and different types of conversions.

Some online tools will include metrics in audit data as well. Tools like Google Analytics can help you pull this data. Metrics can add value and context to your analysis.

Some online tools can categorize the information for you, but it’s often helpful to do it yourself. Adding relevant categories will keep you organized so your content audit meets your needs.

It can be tempting to add and remove categories throughout the process, but this can give you more data than you’re able to analyze. It’s also easy to start analyzing data before you’ve finished categorizing.

But these habits can also make the process more complex and time-consuming. They can also lead to hasty and incorrect analysis. If you notice interesting or surprising data, take a quick note, but keep categorizing before you start your analysis.

In this step, your goal is to complete a spreadsheet with the categories of data that you need to audit your content toward a specific goal.

4. Analyze your data.

Now, it’s time to look at your data critically. This is the step that will give you a good measure of the state of your content. When analyzing your data, here are some things to take note of:

  • Content that’s missing — What is your audience interested in that you haven’t covered?
  • Content that’s underperforming — Which pieces of content aren’t getting the numbers you want?
  • Outdated content — If you have old content, can you update or rework it for optimization?
  • Top content — Content that has performed extremely well.

Based on the results of this analysis, organize them in the spreadsheet. A way to do this is to assign different colors based on what you’re analyzing. Then, highlight the rows with those colors so you have an idea of which category is which. This can help you see which content takes up the largest part of your content library.

It’s also a good idea to scan your results for patterns, trends, and connections that can be hard to see when you’re looking at standard reports.

  • Are there outlier posts whose performance exceeds expectations?
  • Are there new topics that are getting more attention than they did a few months ago?
  • Have organic backlinks spiked for specific content?

This information can help you recognize some of the happy accidents that are impacting your content performance. You can use this data to expand these ideas into your content strategy and tactics.

5. Create action items.

In this step, you will finalize and clean up your audit. You now know what to focus on based on the analysis and can go from there. Think about the posts to delete, update, re-write, or re-structure.

To organize these action items, add one last column to the spreadsheet — one that’s close to the front so you can keep tabs on it. This column will let you know the action to take on a specific URL. For example, are you going to keep, update, delete, or re-write that blog post?

If you plan on ranking by priority or including a timeline for this audit, now would be the time to include that. Some organizations use editorial calendars, while others choose a more casual approach.

To make a priority timeline that fits best with your content audit, think back to your initial goals and rank the items you want to execute first.

Keep this list of action items top of mind. That way your next content audit will show clear progress toward your goals, based on the data you found during your audit.

Content Audit Checklist

The graphic below is a checklist you can use to make sure you’re on the right track when performing your content audit.

Content audit checklist graphic

Now, let’s go over some content audit tools you can use to further automate your content audit process.

While not a requirement, choosing a content auditing tool can help you with your process. Rather than gathering URLs manually, the tool can automatically aggregate the content you’re looking for and display metrics for you to see.

But the most significant value of content audit tools is that they are fast, helping you save a considerable amount of time.

SEO Tools

1. Screaming Frog

Price: First 500 links free, unlimited for $209/year

Content audit tools: Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a website crawler. It collects URLs from your sitemap and creates an SEO audit list for you. If you have a smaller site, Screaming Frog can audit up to 500 URLs for free.

The desktop Screaming Frog website is great because it provides a ton of analysis about your website and categorizes it for you.

2. Ahrefs

Price: Pricing for this tool starts at $99/month and they offer Lite, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise plans.

Content audit tools: Ahrefs

Ahrefs makes it simple to track your SEO site performance. It also offers powerful tools for keyword research, competitor analysis, and backlink tracking. You can export specific reports or track URLs, SEO performance, or groups of keywords with this useful audit tool.

3. SEMrush

Price: Free trial, then $120-$450/month

Content audit tools: SEMrush

In three steps, users of SEMrush can receive a robust audit. By putting in the desired domain, you’ll get a customized report that shows you where you can improve your site:

From there, you can connect an analytics tool account, like Google Analytics. This can help if you want to see more information about your sitemap, like posts that are the most engaging for your audience. You can use this information when developing a strategy. It can help you find content that performs well for your audience.

4. Google Search Console

Price: Free

Content audit tools: Google Search Console

This tool makes it easy to track and analyze your website and search data. You can manually confirm that each page of your site is indexed and track URLs for useful data. The mobile usability issues features are also helpful during a content audit. You can also connect this tool to Google Analytics for more SEO insights.

Learn more about how to use Google Search Console with this useful post.

5. Google Analytics

Price: Free, with paid premium options

Content audit tools: Google Analytics

Google Analytics doesn’t give you a traditional audit, but it provides good information to help formulate your audit. It lets you know who is visiting your website, and from where. It also gives a rundown on the behaviors of your visitors:

Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics in 2023. The new version of this tool, called G4, uses data to predict user behavior and give you a clearer picture of your buyer journey.

It’s also important to know that Google Analytics creates reports with samples of your data, not exact data. This means that numbers on this tool may not match the numbers you may see in other content auditing tools.

Note: Another free Google tool, PageSpeed Insights, is a great way to track page speed on mobile and desktop devices.

6. WooRank

Price: Pricing for this tool starts at $80/month and they offer Pro, Premium, and Enterprise plans.

Content audit tools: WooRank

WooRank has two amazing features for content auditing: SEO monitoring and Site Crawler. SEO Monitoring from WooRank lets you know the performance of your landing pages. It also lets you know if your website ever goes down and how that’s affecting SEO. This is another metric to import if you’re tracking web page metrics in your audit.

The Site Crawl feature lets you know how Google sees your site and interprets the information for search engines. This information is great knowledge to make audits more effective when you’re coming up with action items for the future.

Content Organization Tools

7. Google Sheets

Price: Free

Content audit tools: Google Sheets

If you’re not used to spreadsheets, this useful online tool makes it easy to organize your content audit. This tool can help you:

  • Tie together different data points from your content audit
  • Let team members collaborate and comment on data
  • Offers formulas and other tools to update critical metrics

If you’re not sure how to make the most of this tool, this guide to Google Sheets can help you get started.

Content Media Tools

8. Casted

Price: Contact sales for pricing on the Starter, Pro, and Enterprise plans.

Content audit tools: Casted

Content audits aren’t just for blogs and web pages. Casted helps you understand how contacts are engaging with your podcast content. This can help you make actionable business decisions to drive engagement.

HubSpot customers: Casted integrates with Marketing Hub. You can use CRM tools to create lead capture forms to draw in your listeners for further nurturing.

9. Vidyard

Pricing: Free, with paid Pro and Business options

Content audit tools: Vidyard

According to HubSpot research, 54% of companies plan to invest more in videos for TikTok this year, and another 56% are investing more in Instagram videos.

But no matter where you publish your videos, auditing your video content is essential, especially when trying to show ROI. Vidyard offers a comprehensive insights dashboard with visual analytics that you can use to audit your video content.

If you’re looking for more useful tools, this list of content marketing tools can help you organize and improve your content.

How to Do a Content Audit That Makes an Impact

You have the knowledge you need to perform content audits. You know how to create them, where to source them, and essentials to include. You’re fully prepared to use these audits in your organization for better content strategy and results. Give it a try, and use these tips to elevate your next campaign. Happy auditing!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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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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