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How to Create Digital Brand Experiences That Systematically Accelerate Growth

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Book - Building Your Digital Utopia
How to Create Digital Brand Experiences That Systematically Accelerate Growth

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The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #20

How To Generate Digital Traffic And Convert Those Strangers Into Leads

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About the podcast

The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.

Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.

The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.

Episode transcription

Frank
we ascend relationships, with our marketing, with our sales with our service with our relationship building. That's the mindset we want you to have is we want to elevate relationships, right? It's about building one to one human relationships, even if you're trying to do things at scale.

Intro
You were listening to the digital utopia podcast, a resource dedicated to helping b2b leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace.

Frank
Hey, gang, welcome to the digital utopia podcast, Episode 20. I'm your host, Frank Cowell, I'm joined by my co host,

Joe
Joseph Freeman.

Frank
Yes. What a great day. This is sunny, beautiful out. Yeah. birdie lot. Got a lot of great energy going. We're caffeinated.

Joe
Double caffeinated,

Frank
double caffeinated.

Joe
Yeah, well, let's dive in.

Frank
Let's do it, man.

Joe
All right. So we've been talking about this implementation matrix for the digital utopia methodology, which is aligning your, your marketing, your sales and your service teams. And we've been taking a top down optimization approach. As we kind of break down what it is you should be doing what it is you should be measuring at each lifecycle stage, correct lifecycle stages being if I work from the top down, we'll go wellness go from the bottom up. So it makes more sense, right?

Frank
Yeah, just as a reminder for our listeners, in our worldview, top down, it's not because it's a funnel, it's because it's a ladder, right? It's a ladder, we ascend relationships, with our marketing, with our sales, with our service with our relationship building. That's the mindset we want you to have is stop thinking like, yes, it's a funnel. In Yes, we have a journey that people go on. And whether you look at it a top down, bottom up whatever, we want to elevate relationships, right is about building one to one human relationships, even if you're trying to do things at scale.

Joe
Yeah, yeah, little nomenclature change. But at the end of the day, it's kind of the same thing. With the focus, though, of actually moving people up, right. So if they are in the funnel, they're just kind of falling out. Hopefully someone falls out the bottom. Instead, we're actually going to proactively push them from stage to stage up that ladder.

Frank
Yeah, it emphasizes the fact that you as a brand have to give value in order for that for you to overcome inertia in order for you to overcome the gravity, right? Like to elevate them up. That doesn't just happen because you put some slick ads and some slick automation in place. Right? It comes about because you were there working hard and providing value. So you're saying stop being lazy? Oh my goodness, that's another whole episode. And don't get me started laziness. Yeah, let's, I do not like laziness.

Joe
laziness, alright. So we're taking people from visitors, and they're going to go to Leads and from Leads, they're going to be qualified, some of them will be from qualified. So there's going to be some opportunities that shake out of that. And if those opportunities, if you're doing your sales job correctly, you're creating customers. If your service team is servicing these customers appropriately, then they are going to become fans. And the whole thing repeats itself as fans are going to go tell more people about what an awesome job you're doing. And they are going to come flocking to you right? Yeah.

Frank
And so in some of the previous episodes, if you haven't listened to highly recommend you go check out the the previous few episodes, because we talk a lot about those other stages, and we talk a lot about turning people into fans. And that you know, that episode alone area, do we know what Episode The fans was? For on 20? It was probably like 16, somewhere around there. So go check out the episode where we talk about fan creation, because it will tell you, that is the biggest revenue generating mechanism that most organizations and my guess is you are probably missing out on

Joe
right. So we talked about fans, we talked about customers, we talked about opportunities, and we talked about qualified and leads. And so if you have a good business model, this is assuming you have a good business model. And I assume all of you do. If you have a good business model, if you've got a good product, if you've got a good team, then your customers are raving fans of the business, right? And your sales team is driving those clients and those sales conversations and they are producing a process that is dialed in or you've produced for them a process that's dialed in, where they're actually, you know, following up with with leads in a very intentional way and they're adding value to their lives. They're not just leading with a pitch but instead they're adding value at every step of the way,

Frank
which I believe episodes 14 and 15 correct me if I'm wrong. That's another one where we talked about this what you just touched on go listen to those episodes, we dropped a ton of gold in those episodes.

Joe
By the way, Frank knows none of these numbers for real. So just listen to the whole thing. Just start at the beginning. All the way

Frank
14 and 15 were our sales episodes I promise you.

Joe
Okay, so now you have two final areas you got to focus on. You know, we got to actually get people to you in the first place. Even though we are hoping that your fans are driving people to you. We need it coming from both sides, right. So we're talking about driving visitors to the website and then turning those visitors into leads. And I think we need to talk about the the definition of lead. Because as marketers, I think we talked about leads as kind of anybody in your database. I think that a lot of companies talk about leads as qualified leads or even opportunities when we, when we get by with a lot of companies. They say to us leads, and what they're really talking about is somebody who's raising their hand ready to buy right now. We don't call them that. So today, when we say leads, we are not talking about someone who is literally ready to buy, we're talking about somebody who is giving you basically their email address some way to contact them. That's it.

Frank
Yeah, you know, it's this is, you know, if you, if you're in sales, and you're listening to this, and you hear the word leads, and you have this confusion, like Joe just mentioned, you know, I think this is not unlike what's gone on forever in the sales world, and how contacts are categorized, like, years ago, you know, the phrasing, the the phrases, you know, suspect prospect opportunity, were used to describe kind of the maturation of a contact, like suspect, man, like, Hey, we think this is a contact we might want to work with, but we don't know, the match them, you know, ICP criteria, ideal client profile criteria. And then prospect would be like, Oh, yeah, we're hand to hand we're working this this conversation. And then opportunity is like, yeah, there's a deal on the table. So yeah, that's really what you're talking about is a lead is kind of like what in, you know, 1020 years ago, we would have called, like, maybe a suspect, right? Like they come into your database, you don't yet know if there's full qualification or even an opportunity. Yeah. So today, that is our lead our suspects our leads, we talk about visitors, we're going to talk about lead. So let's start with Frank, what is the goal of these two stages? So again, the stages that we've gone through our fans, customers opportunities, qualifiers working backwards, now we're talking about visitors and leads, what is what's the goal of these two stages? Yeah, so in order to create visitors to your site, the goal of what you're trying to accomplish to make that happen, is you're trying to educate people, you know, you do have the percentage of people that will come because they're ready to buy now, in which case, I would say they're not at that visitor relationship level, maybe the first time visiting your website, but they're really kind of at that qualified relationship level, they're at that opportunity relationship level. And so you know, at those levels, we already talked about what the goals are there. But if you have people that are truly just, you know, early stage investigating their problem, or maybe they don't even know what their problem is, your goal as a brand is to educate this audience when people are at this relationship level. And the way you educate them is that you give them value when you tell them how to start taking steps to solve their particular problem or pain point. The educate word is really important. It's not the word promote, or it's not the word advertise, or it's not the word, brag, right? This is your opportunity to truly give them value and teach them something. So that way, you have an opportunity to differentiate why your brand needs to exist in their lives. And when you when you educate, you want to think about how you go about solving this particular problem for this person that is different than how your competitors go about solving this problem. For the same person. This is your opportunity to showcase where you're different but but doing so in a way that is instructional, you want to think of yourself as a professor. So in your languaging, what you want to do is eliminate a lot of the, here's what we do, here's what we think, here's our process, you want to change that to you language. And as if you were instructing this person, assuming that you didn't even actually sell anything, you don't sell a service, you don't sell a product, you're just instructing this person. And that's the lens through which you should write and develop and produce your content. Right? When you experienced this problem, the first thing you're going to want to do is to understand X, Y, and Z and sort of do that, here's the first thing you should do. You should ABC. That's the kind of languaging you want to use when you educate them. And so you want to look at your content, look at your videos, look at your podcast. If you hear a lot of like we here's what we do, and here's how our process works. You need to flip that, because then that you're no longer educating. You're just simply bragging and promoting.

Joe
So here's a real interesting concept. In copywriting world and advertising world. One of the things that's long been talked about is when you write copy, and when someone reads it, you're literally putting thoughts in their brain. You are mandating what they are thinking at that moment. So if you are telling them, we do this, and we do that, they're thinking about you doing this and doing that. If you tell them you need to do this, or when you do this, this thing happens, right? They are now thinking and because they're reading it, they're actually putting in their brain. When I do this, this thing happens and they're starting to convinced themselves?

Frank
Well, we talked about this in a previous episode, what starts to happen there is the psychological transfer of ownership, right? They start to envision themselves doing this thing, or experiencing this thing, or solving, whatever, they start to experience themselves doing it, right. It's those mirror neurons that start firing in your brain. And same reason, again, we talked about this in a previous episode, same reason why, when you, you know, watch a basketball game, and you know, go in for a killer slam dunk, or alue up, and it's just like, you know, riveting. It's why you physically react, because your brain is like seeing yourself do this too. Right. And so, that's a great point that when you right, that's what you're trying to, you're trying to get them to see themselves discovering this stuff.

Joe
And when, when they see themselves doing this, they actually this is this is actual real science. They release dopamine, right? Once they imagine themselves winning, or once they imagine themselves getting to the other side of their problem, an actual bit of dopamine is released. And that feeling becomes a bit addictive. And so we want them to be educated. We don't want to sell to them right now. We actually want them to sell to themselves. Yeah, we want them to start to convince themselves that this is the right choice for them.

Frank
Yeah, there's a whole lot of patterns that we could talk about how to do that with your content, whether it's video audio written, where you like, connect with the person commiserate on their problem, you amp up the tension. And then you start to like, explain them to them how to solve that to then give them the payoff, right, you start to create some cognitive dissonance. And then like you said, once you then solve it, and infill release that tension, then you get the dopamine that releases, right. So like, there's a lots of different places, you could go online to learn about, like proper story structure. But you're exactly right. Right. When you do that, well, they feel success because their brain is seeing themselves as having done this already. I'm reading a really interesting book right now. It's actually a really old book that was recommended, recommended to me by one of my friends, it's called Psycho Cybernetics. And it's this whole idea that your brain doesn't know the difference between you physically doing it, recalling a memory of you physically doing it, or just imagining yourself physically doing it, your brain doesn't know the difference. And so it's very powerful, that when you write to educate, purely put that person, front and center, it's about helping them visualize and learn something, this is not a time to brag about your brand.

Joe
So a couple of big takeaways here for visitors level, we're trying to educate them, we're not trying to sell us we're trying to educate them. And we're trying to get them to envision themselves on the other side of their problem, right?

Frank
Correct. Now, again, you're going to have a percentage of visitors that are ready now, whether they've interacted with your brand before or not, they just happen to be at this relationship stage where they're kind of closer to being ready now. And so you do need to have content and offers that addressed those people. By no means are we suggesting that you completely ditch any ready now offers those need to be front and center and readily available and apparent on your site, and then your other communications, but a biggest majority of your audience is not ready now. So for those people, you need to be able to educate?

Frank
Yeah, absolutely. So then that's the goal for visitors. That's something you should be tracking probably your KPIs, your metrics should be aligned with whatever it is that you can track to understand whether or not they are educated themselves properly. Yeah, you've got you know, website visits, you have organic traffic, those are probably a couple of big KPIs, then you can look at some metrics, like you just mentioned, like time on site, bounce rate, you know, repeat visits, you can look at a lot of those things to determine if your KPIs are going to be met or not. Or if you're trending in the right direction.

Joe
Okay, so then what are some of the things the processes we can put in place to help educate people at this at this stage?

Frank
Okay, so you're going to need, you're gonna need some assets. So let's first talk about the assets that you need to create. Because in following our previous pattern, you create some assets, content and slash offers, then you want to drive engagement to those content offers. And then the third step is to optimize the performance of what's happening. So the kinds of assets you're going to create one of the biggest pieces you want here, there's two main two main types of pieces. There's Cornerstone content. And then there's feeder content. Cornerstone content are the big pieces where you showcase a differentiated approach to the problem that your buyer persona has. Okay. And so this is where you're going to take your secret sauce, your knowledge, your differentiated way, and you're going to flip it and educate them, not, again, not brag about it. And so you're gonna have a cornerstone piece of content that aims to address a really big problem and that Cornerstone content can take several different forms, it can be written, so a blog post video, right, so you have a video on your site, throw it on YouTube as well, you can also do audio. So you could do a podcast and maybe one of your podcast episodes, you're going to focus on being a cornerstone piece that you're wanting to leverage as a way to really showcase a differentiated approach for this particular problem. So that's Cornerstone content

Joe
this is the thought leadership. This is what sets you apart as a service provider, or

Frank
it absolutely is your like, some of your big Cornerstone thought leadership pieces, but what I want to be clear on is when people hear thought leadership, so I made this mistake, you know, many years ago, when I started engaging in quote, unquote, thought leadership, this was like 1520 years ago, and what I thought you thought leadership was like, I need to get my opinions out there. I'm an opinionated guy. And I've got some good opinions. So like, let's be out there with like, some really like polarizing and some really distinct opinions. And that's a portion of thought leadership, that can help build a personal brand. But we're, what we're talking about here isn't just like, hey, put out like these opinion pieces, it's truly educate someone on a very big problem. And in tell them how to solve it. literally give them instructions on how to solve that problem. So like, if you and I were to meet at a cocktail party, and you found out that I had a problem that you solve in that conversation, you're not going to be able to get into the weeds of like, every single nitty gritty piece of detail, but you wouldn't be able to tell me, the high level five stages, I need to go through to start tackling this problem to help me understand, you know, the best way to think about the approach to solving my problem. And that's what you want to do with your Cornerstone piece of content. And then with in there, you can provide links to other things, which leads us to our next type of content and that you need create that feeder content. So what feeder content is, is feeder content are all the small, specific, granular questions, and related subtopics to that main Cornerstone piece, right? This is where you're going to do a ton of your search engine, keyword targeting, you might have a key phrase that is a longtail key phrase like how do i do X, Y and Z in this industry, right, you might have something really specific. And that's related to the core topic. And so that's where you're going to develop all of these pieces that ultimately end up linking to and pointing up your Cornerstone piece, you're going to kind of create a pyramid, or you're going to create what in the industry is called like a pillar where your Cornerstone content is at the top of your pillar. It's your pillar page. It's your pillar piece content. Can we call it Cornerstone? And then your feeder content are all the things that point to it. It's all the the subtopics and the specific, very specific search engine, keyword questions and phrases.

Joe
Yeah. So I think a tangible example, here in digit opia, that we would do this is if our Cornerstone piece is talking all about how to create what we call a blueprint, right, which is all of the offers that are stacked up to solve somebody's pain and take them through all the lifecycle stages to get them to the point where they're actually wanting to buy from us. We might have a cornerstone piece that gives them all of those high level playbooks, right, here's all the stages you got to go through, you got to take them through visitors to leads to qualified, we basically lay it all out in a very long article, our feeder articles might actually break out some of the tactics, right? Correct how to do that, they might talk about how to put together a landing page, how to do basic keyword research, how to do all these things. And within those little feeder articles, which are shorter, we would link back to this big contract piece. And we'd say, hey, you are looking for how to build a landing page. Did you know that the conversation is so much bigger than this, click over and learn about the entire strategy that supports this landing page build, that would take them back to the

Frank
correct Hey, landing pages are great. But to make your landing pages really work, they need to be connected to a much larger strategy, right? To learn more about their strategy, we recommend exactly, just exactly that. That's a great example. You know, the other example of Cornerstone stuff I forgot to mention, and it could be even really, really long format stuff such as a book, right? Or maybe you have an hour two hour long webinar, right? Like your Cornerstone stuff. It needs to be as long as it needs to be right. And so it tends to, it ends up being bigger pieces of content. So again, to your point, long form, blog posts, videos, long webinars, books, these are places where you really showcase that high level, educational instructional ways on how to go about solving a specific problem for your buyer persona.

Joe
And I think the secret weapon in it is that you literally tell them how to solve it on their own contract. A lot of people say, Oh, we don't want to do that. That's our secret sauce. We don't want to tell them how to do Do that, because then they won't need our services. But it's not true. Because your services require so much more expertise than what really they can do on their own. So there's really no harm in telling them, I can read an article on how to build a car. And someone could have all of the gusto in the world to go out and build that car, and they're not gonna be able to go.

Frank
And guess what the person that thinks they can and will actually attempt to build the car. That's not your ideal customer anyway, right? You don't want that person?

Joe
Yeah, you want the person who sees how much work goes into building that car, that you want them to see how thoughtful you are in the way that you place everything in that car. And then you want them to say like, that's too hard for me, I'm gonna call these guys

Frank
and what your Cornerstone content should do is one help people understand the get a handle on the approach and the roadmap so they can kind of see the big picture, you're trying to help them understand the big picture. But more importantly, you want them to go like, oh, wow, that approach to building a car is so much better than every other approach. I've read to building cars. I want to talk to those folks, right? That's what you're trying to do with your cornerstone. So when I say you want to infuse your differentiated way, your differentiated approach, that's what I'm talking about, you want them to not only be able to see the big picture of how to solve this problem, you want them to have an aha moment where they go like, Okay, wow, the approach that's being talked about here, is actually different than what I've heard. Most people talk about, I really like that. And that's what you're trying to do. And again, to your point, like anybody who's going to attempt to, like do this on their own, they're not your ideal client. Anyway,

Joe
that was your point.

Frank
Yeah. Maybe it was awesome.

Joe
That was your point. So

Frank
but but the point, here's the point, here's the point of that. Let those people who would do it on their own, and who are not your ideal clients, that those people consume that content, let those people share it, let those people help be your mouthpiece, right? Because they're going to end up telling people about it, they're ended up liking it and sharing it, right. So you're going to create an army of people that are going to help promote this for you. And that's, that's the benefit of having people who aren't ideal fits. Also be interested in your content is because they're gonna help help you spread the word.

Joe
Okay, so we got feeder content that's pushing people to that Cornerstone, what else can we do here at the visitor stage?

Frank
Okay, so those are your major assets, right? So you need to create those assets. And then once you have those assets, now you need to mobilize those assets, you need to drive engagement to those assets. And few ways you're going to do that one, you're going to optimize for search. So after you create this content, you need to make sure that someone on your team, or you hire someone who knows how to optimize content on your page for search right on that given page. And so that's going to mean, you know, maybe adjusting some of the the phrasing so he gets some keywords in there that are targeted, maybe that has to do with the way the page is laid out. So that way the search engine understand structure, maybe that has to do with the way the pages are linked together, your feeder to your Cornerstone, and so on that internal linking structure, that also may have to do with the frequency at which you add content. So someone who's going to be versed in search engine optimization, these are the kinds of things they're going to do with that content. Once you create it.

Joe
You know what I would say, of all the things we preach here, most of it can be learned and done on your own. I would say that one piece along with maybe web development, are the hardest ones to do in house on your own. Just go find someone go go either get an agency or get someone on Upwork or get your cousin's best friend, someone who knows what they're doing. Yeah. Because that's hard.

Frank
Yeah, it's it's just one of those things where it's technical work.

Joe
And it's always changing.

Frank
And it's always changing

Joe
gotta keep up with the latest things

Frank
that you can just have someone on your team do this as like a second hat. No, really not

Joe
go get a professional for this part, everything else learn how to do on your own.

Frank
Yes. So that's, that's one thing you can do. The second thing that you want to do is you want to go get inbound links to that content from relevant websites. Okay, so if one part of search is about optimizing the content in the structure in the internal linking, the other part of search engine optimization is going and getting links from other relevant websites to that content. And the reason this is important is because this becomes a big indicator for the Googles of the world, that this is relevant, credible content. The more content you add, the more that contents optimized, and the more links you get the very high level SEO little primer there. The more you do that, the more Google starts to see you as an authority for that topic. So the inbound links from relevant websites are another important piece to start driving engagement with this content. Because once you do those first two things that the first thing and then this thing we're talking about, you'll start to get more organic traffic cam.

Joe
So driving engagement. What else we have here?

Frank
Yeah, so then the next thing you need to do is you need to make sure that your company leadership is sharing this content on their socials, especially LinkedIn. In a b2b scenario, if every company leader isn't sharing this content, like you're missing out on easy eyeballs, and traffic and awareness and you know, reinforcement of your positioning, it's so easy to do. It's free. And LinkedIn is still a platform where there is organic reach to be had, what do I mean by that most of the social platforms out there, you don't get much reach by just posting it on your page or your, your company page, because they throttle it, and they want you to pay for advertising. LinkedIn wants you to pay for advertising. And they definitely will promote your content if you pay them and your offers. But organically, if you just post, you still can get a lot of traction, there's a couple of you know, tips and tricks for how to do that and maximizing that traction and to play against the algorithm. But every company leader needs to be sharing this content, that has to happen every time you put out new content, every company needs a leader needs to be sharing it. Then what you want to do is once the company leaders share it, you want to make sure that everyone in the company is also liking those Posts, Re sharing those posts, if they want to originate their own shares of that content, they can. But it's really easy for everyone on the team to just go to whoever their favorite leader is on the team and like the post and share from from their post. So if you get everyone in your company involved in posting and sharing and liking this content on social, you're going to get some additional engagement with this content.

Joe
Yeah, we talked a lot about operationalizing, all of this stuff. And it's really important, we call this a process because it is a process, you can't just hope your company is going to do that you can't hope that they're hanging out on your blog and on your website, on your socials, you actually have to every time you post a piece of content or make a post on social whoever's doing that needs to also send out a memo to the entire company that says, please do this right now. And here's the link to do it.

Frank
Correct. Right, that has to happen has to become part of the process, like you mentioned. And it's got, you know, it's got to be in someone's checklist. So Can they do put up a new piece of content? They go? Did we optimize it for search? Did we announce it to our database, you tell our leadership, you know, promote it? Did we tell the company to like and share it like you've got to go through all those,

Joe
it sounds so basic, but it has to be done just like my kids, if I don't put the little posted on the mirror that says brush your teeth, they'll literally go weeks without brushing their teeth. And it sounds like come on, I've told you to do this, but you got to remind them every single day.

Frank
Yeah, this is true. okay, next thing you want to do is you can advertise on social channels. So we talked about organic reach on some of these social channels, especially LinkedIn. Next thing you want to do to start to then drive even more engagement is you want to pay to promote that content, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on uncertain websites within your industry, if there are advertising opportunities, that can be another great place to promote, promote the content. But first and foremost, advertise on the social channels, and also advertise on Google where relevant. So Google's got a display network. And that might be relevant for some of this content. In their search product, where we call that PPC in their search product, where they're showing ads based on people search, you want to be careful here, because oftentimes, if people are searching for a specific solution, and they're looking for a provider, you don't necessarily want to put content in front him, you want to put your your foot in the door offer, right, you want to, like, Hey, this is now time to buy. So we're not suggesting you, you mismatch that, but where possible, where the keywords make sense, you want to advertise on Google as well, this content. Next thing you want to do online reviews, go get online reviews. So that way you drive traffic to your site. Now, you may not be linking directly to this content we've been talking about. But it's definitely a way to start creating more visitors to your site. online reviews are not only great for relevant, qualified traffic. But it's also another great indicator to the Google, that you're in authority. Right? Because now you're showing up in these online directories. Speaking of directories, go find directory / best of or top x websites. So like in your industry, you might have an organization that regularly puts out Hey, the top 100 You know, it firms in America for 2020. Right? If you have if there's an organization that puts out that list every year, go get on those lists, go find out how to compete for that and get on those lists. Or if there are directories in your industry, right? Hey, this is a website where we gather all the it firms in the country and find an IT partner that you know that is best for you. And they've got search and filter features, find a way to get into those directories. And then finally, you can do like just an overhaul of your entire website and do a full on site. You know, search engine optimization project one time to kind of just go through all your existing content, and just make sure it's all optimized for search and index ability, making sure that the taggings done right, and the internal linking structure is optimized. So again, what you're telling Google is, here's how to think about our site, here's how to know what we're, you know, supposed to be categorized for, right.

Joe
There's also all kinds of technical stuff that goes into there as well, right, making sure that your page is loading quickly that it works well, on mobile, all of those things matter exact, they're not just convenient, but Google cares. So you got to make sure you got someone who knows all about those things.

Frank
Correct. Now, if you look at all these activities, a bunch of these things are the things that should be taking place regularly. And we talked about a couple of things that you'll just do one or two times or, you know, not that frequently. But these are all things that, you know, are important if you're trying to drive this visitor relationship level, if Now, if this happens to be your focus at this given point in time, right, because we in previous episodes, we talked about the importance of focusing on your bottleneck, right. So as an executive team, you should be focused on wherever the bottleneck is. So if your bottleneck happens to be in driving more visitors, then this is where you're going to have a higher level of attention from the executive.

Joe
So in every one of these levels, we end with optimization. And I want to move us along here, because optimization can take the form of so many different things, it depends on what kind of content you're creating depends on what your goals for that content is. So I think we should leave that as you need to optimize. And if you need help figuring out what that means for any specific type of content hit us up, we can help you with that. But at every level, once you build this stuff, optimize it, test it, change it, you let it grow, don't just set it and forget it because it will go stale. Yeah, you're in general,

Frank
you're optimizing for two things, you're optimizing for the search traffic it brings, especially at this level, but the other thing you're optimizing for is just its performance. And so you need to look at those assets and say, what kind of performance are those assets supposed to drive? So in this particular case, it might be time on page and click throughs to your offer. In another area of this process? It might be, you know, form submission, you know, did they actually request the foot in the door opportunity? So what was that conversion rate? And so you're optimizing for the performance is really critical. And in certain scenarios for content, you're optimizing for the search engine traffic.

Joe
So now you get people to the site. Yeah, what do we do next, we got to turn them into leads, what's the goal of leads,

Frank
okay, so the goal to get a lead to happen, your goal is to empower them, okay, so you need to create content and offers that empower them, because remember, you've got them to the site, and now they're being educated. And if you've done a great job with your content, now they're educated, the next thing you need to do is empower them, you need to empower them with some sort of tool or asset that helps them take action on what they just learned. And so one of my favorite phrases that I learned from one of my friends, and you know, digital marketing mentors guiding Ryan deiss, says this, he uses this phrase, now that you've done that, you should do this. And that's a very important sentence construct to remember and drill into your brain. Because it's how you connect one step to the next thing you want people to do. So in effect, what you're saying is, now that you know how to solve this problem, the next thing you should do is download this template and start taking action on the first step today. Okay, so the next thing you should do is this lead level when you're going to offer a piece of content that empowers them to take action. Now, a lot of people go wrong at this level, is they'll offer people more content and information to read and consume,

Joe
like a brochure

Frank
or an E book. Yeah, you know, ebook is a is a favorite for a lot of marketers at this level. But I think an E book is wrong. At this level. I think ebooks are great as like deep dive and nurturing content. But you want this particular piece of content, to empower them to take action, want them to start physically doing something, it's a checklist, it's a calculator, it's a template to start building out something, you follow me.

Joe
So in our example, earlier, we actually do have on our site Cornerstone content that tells you how to build the equivalent of a funnel, what we call the, the blueprint, and we talk all about it. And you could go write that out on a piece of paper, if you wanted to, you could take all of the instructions that we give in that article, and you could go make your own version of this or, at the end, you're given the opportunity to not do that. And instead put in your email address and download our template. All you got to do is fill in the blanks correct. So that's how we empower you to take the next step

Frank
correct. And what's really important, what you just described, is a hyper connected, hyper connectivity between those two pieces of content, I call it a one two punch, right and just using that phrase I mentioned earlier, now that you've done that, you should do this. Now that you know that you should do this using that construct. You want to Make sure that this content that you offer which we call a lead magnet, by the way, you want to make sure that lead magnet is directly related to the thing they just learned, not directly related, because you need to be able to say that, now that you know the strategy to start driving better engagement in your funnel, why not get the template that's going to help you map out that for your organization. Here it is, we want to save you some time every day now that you know how to perform an analysis on your financial bubble, blah, blah, why not get this calculator, that'll help you make that calculation that much easier, and help you make that audit that much easier. So you have to have a one two punch there. And remember, educate with one piece, empower with another raise, empower people to physically do something, not just read more and consume more.

Joe
And it's important to have them to inspire them to do that right then in there. You know, it makes me think of like high school and college textbooks where you read the chapter, you learn the philosophies, you learn how to do the math, you learn about SOHCAHTOA, you remember SOHCAHTOA? Sine over hypotenuse, whatever you learn, you learn about the concept of heard of Krakatoa. I don't know what that is, you learn the concept. And then right at the very end, it says now that you've learned this, let's try a couple practice problems. Right? Exactly. And you they give you, they give you the problems to do and you got to do them. And it's right there that it solidifies for you. Right. Hopefully, you've learned the concept, you now pencil it out, you get the answers, you see the answer key, you've got the tool, all right there and it's all in one sitting, we want to do the same thing for these people. We want to give them all of the concepts, we want to give them all the instructions and then encourage them right then and there. To download the practice example or whatever it is,

Frank
yes. What's really important though, what you don't want to do is then give them something that is the tool to do everything you just taught them, what you want to do is make sure they understand that the first step they should take is x. And this is something that will help you take the first step, right. Remember, you're getting people to take the first step, you're not trying to get people to like take all 10 steps at once. So when your Cornerstone piece, you may have educated them on something really strategic that you know, five stages and whatnot, the action you want them to take is the first thing they should do right now, because that's how you're going to end your your content. By the way, that's how you're going to end your Cornerstone piece of content, you're going to say, hey, to get started, the first thing you need to do is blank, it might be the first thing you need to do is audit your brand. The first thing you need to do is audit your financials, the first thing you need to do is survey your customers, whatever that first thing is, then you give them a tool to help them do that. That's your lead magnet, that's your empower piece. And you may have tools to help them with every step, but you don't deliver them as the ultimate package, you don't put up that was popular for a while, right? It doesn't work the ultimate kit for everything you ever needed to do, don't do it, break it out and deliver those individual pieces along their journey when it's appropriate for them to take that next step correct. Because as you string people along and dole it out to them, a couple of things happen for you. One, not only do you have more reasons to keep people engaged with relevant, valuable content, not sales pitches, but to you start to see who's actually taking advantage of that content, who's engaging on that content, that starts to increase lead scores, that starts to tell your sales team who should be followed up with, so you have a couple of benefits by not just like throwing the whole kitchen sink right up front.

Joe
So we're at the leads level, we got visitors there, now we're turning them into leads what KPIs and metrics should be tracking to make sure that this level is behaving appropriately. So one of the obvious KPI is just leads per month, right? So you're gonna set a target of, you know, 100 per month, let's say you want 100 new leads in the database per month as a result of all the traffic on your website. So a little bit of an aside, but how do you know what number is a good number to shoot for there?

Frank
Well, ultimately, what you need to do is start at the very end and say, What are our revenue goals for the year? What percentage needs to come from our existing clients? And what percentage needs to come from New? And you just start working those numbers backwards? And so for your new, you would say, Well, how many sales opportunities? How many customers? Is that based on the average sales price? Okay, well, how many sales opportunities does our sales team need with new prospects to hit that? Okay? How many qualified conversations Do we need to have to turn into that many opportunities? Okay, how many leads in the database Do we need to then turn into that many qualified you just keep working backwards, and you come up with a traffic number at the end? Yeah, that'll be for your new. And then for your revenue, you're supposed to get from your existing customers, you're going to kind of have like a separate little working backwards analysis there. And so that might be on your service team, that might be on a combination of your sales and service team to to increase revenue from your existing client base, right. And so you're gonna have a shorter quote unquote, funnel there. But if we're talking about new, which is where you really like all the leads, and the visitors come in, that's where you're really only talking about new, you're going to work backwards. So that's how you get to that number. Ultimately, what you'll find out in more times than not, and I see this in organizations day in and day out, the number you come up with, you're probably way far off compared to what you're getting right now. So don't be disheartened. know if the number you come up with is 152. And all you're getting right now is 10. That's okay. Don't make the benchmark don't make the target 150 to make it 20.

Joe
Yep.

Frank
Right. So you want to look at two things, what should it be based on your, your objectives and working backwards and then to what's actually happening?

Joe
That's right. Okay, so that's KPIs a couple metrics, maybe that we want to track here as well. Could be Yeah.

Frank
So if you're looking at total number of leads one of the metrics, that's a great indicator of you know whether or not you're going to hit your lead KPI would be like landing page conversion rate. Like ultimately, you don't care about landing page conversion rates. That's not bankable currency to the organization leads or bankable currency. But landing page conversion rate will actually be a clue. To tell you whether or not you're going to hit your leads KPI.

Joe
And what we mean by that is how many visitors came to the landing page. And of those visitors, how many of them actually filled out the form becoming a quote unquote, lead? Correct,

Frank
right? Correct. So now if if your conversion rate is 5%, and you know, you're having trouble hitting your lead goals, your lead KPI, well, then that's an indicator like, wow, we've got a problem with landing page conversion. Like ultimately, we don't care about landing page conversion, it becomes a clue,

Joe
right? You got to fix your offer or fix your copywriting or app page or something to get people to be enticed to actually fill it out. Once they land there, something got them there, they were intrigued enough to get to the page. But if they're not converting on that page, you got fixed that

Frank
correct, you might look at overall site conversion, too, right. So on given landing pages, you know, you want to be between 30 and 50% conversion, but overall, you might be at one to 5% conversion rate on your customer sent is good.

Joe
That's a good start for most companies

Frank
correct for its but especially in b2b and most b2b is we come across are actually at point two 5%, a quarter of a percent Max, right. That's the reality. So if you're listening today wondering if you're normal or not, then you do your overall site conversion, and you find you're at like point two, five of a percent. That's what we normally see, what you can get it to is one and 2%. That that with effort that is very possible. Above that, then it starts to, you start to have to spend more on advertising for targeted traffic to targeted landing pages to kind of affect that overall percentage beyond kind of the 2% mark. Now, I will say, like, if you start to get into business to consumer websites, and you get into websites like QVC, or home shopping network, those sites are known to have like 10% conversion rates to purchase, by the way, not just to lead to purchase, but you have to remember those are like very specific destination sites to go buy something.

Joe
Yeah, with a conservative concerted effort, you can get way higher than the two or five, I'm just trying to paint a picture that don't get discouraged. Most companies are not even to 2%, which is not good. But most companies are not there yet.

Frank
Yeah. And that is the reality. I mean, right? Like we talk to them, when we first meet companies, they are literally at half a percent or less or less,

Joe
or .01 percent in many cases.

Frank
Yes. And so you can only go up from there,

Joe
right? Okay, let's get into the process. So we're talking about how to turn these people into leads, what do we need.

Frank
So we talked about the lead magnet already. So that's one piece of content. Okay, so you need the lead magnet. The other type of content you need is what's called a welcome series. So when someone comes into your database, and they convert on this lead magnet, you want to make sure that they have two to three emails that welcome them to the brand, right? Introduce the person they're going to get emails from, and yes, your email should come, especially in b2b, your automated emails need to come from a person, not a logo. Nobody wants emails from a logo, it needs to come from a person. So you're gonna, in your welcome series, you'll introduce the person, the persona, the face of the brand, whoever that's going to be, you're gonna introduce that person, you're also going to ask them to, to maybe click on something and maybe watch a video, you're going to give them a ton of value, you're going to share with them why you're passionate about what your brand does, right? You want to welcome them to the family and indoctrinate them into the brand. So those are the two major pieces of content you need for people at this level. Again, one, you want to give them a lead magnet to empower them to take action, and then the welcome series to get them indoctrinated and then further empower them by giving them some additional value that they didn't expect.

Joe
Okay, that makes sense. So then once we've got the welcome series, we've got our lead magnet or lead magnets, you got different buyers with different pain points we tried companies do once you've got those created in place being optimized, what do we do?

Frank
We got to drive engagement, right? So this is our cadence, right? Create the assets, drive the engagement, then optimize. So how are we going to drive engagement with these assets, and we're primarily talking about the lead magnet, right? One of the first things you have to do is make sure you add calls to action on your Cornerstone content and any other relevant content in your website. So people will never find this lead magnet if you don't link to it from relevant related content. So absolutely in your Cornerstone, you need to have 2, 3, 4 calls to action throughout that content to link over to this empowering piece of content called the lead magnet and so You're going to do that via text, you're gonna do that via graphics, but you have to add calls to action CTAs to that content, that's number one. Okay. Number two, you want to optimize, optimize the landing page for search. So previously, we talked about optimizing your Cornerstone content for search, whether you want to optimize the landing page for this lead magnet for search. Now, I will say, most landing pages for offers like this, don't index that well, because they're typically not filled with a ton of content, they're typically not the pillar page. But at minimum, you at least need to make sure it's optimized. So you don't have any, you know, indexing problems.

Joe
And let's stop there for just a second, if you're sending traffic, if you're paying for paid search traffic on Google or on being, and you're putting dollars towards people actually searching for a solution, don't send them to a landing page, those people are actually looking for a solution, because they're already up at the qualified opportunities level, just send them to wherever they can contact you to get your services

Frank
now that they're just to the point of differentiation there, that might be a landing page. But what we're saying is don't send them to a lead magnet. Good point, right? Like, you might have a foot in the door, landing page, that's all about like, you've got this problem, we've solved that 1000 times. Look at all these great testimonials, these great brands we've done, get this consultation where we're going to help you, you know, take your first step note, good point, that landing page for sure.

Joe
But lead magnets now just to be distributed on social, maybe you retarget them, maybe you do pay to get them there through a display ad after they visited your site or some property of yours, but don't send people searching for you know, I need medical devices, don't send them to a lead magnet, send them to where they can buy a medical device.

Frank
Yeah. Or take that first step, right. Okay, so you're going to optimize it for search, you're going to do like we did with the other content, you want to get inbound links from relevant sites where applicable, again, you probably not going to have a lot of direct traffic from search in inbound links to this page. But if it's relevant, let's say for example, one of the lead magnets you created is an industry report. And let's say it's the first of its kind in your industry, and it's an amazing authoritative piece, I believe you could actually go get some amazing inbound links to a piece of content like that. Now, if it's just a template related to a cornerstone piece of education, you may not get a lot of links from other sites to that particular landing page, because it's so connected to this, like, very specific niche conversation. But if like you had an industry report that you develop, that was is one of your lead magnets, that's something that you absolutely can get associations and publications to link to. So go get the links where appropriate, make sure again, we're talking about sharing on social, make sure your executives and your leadership shares that make sure your team shares and likes it and talks about it. You want to advertise it on relevant websites, you want to advertise it on social where relevant, the advertising on social, and as you mentioned a moment ago. Usually this is great for like colder lead gen where you're going to nurture people, but it's also great for retargeting. So let's say you had someone come to your site, and they were already now and they ended up on that ready now foot in the door page, but they just didn't convert. Well, you can now retarget to this because maybe they just weren't quite quite ready to talk to you and engage with a salesperson from your brand. So maybe they just weren't as hot as you thought they were retarget to a valuable piece of content like the lead magnet. So that's super important to do, make sure you announce this to your email database. One of the biggest problems I see as marketers develop this great content organizations develop this great content, and they don't even tell their existing database about it. So every time you develop something new, whether it's Cornerstone or lead magnet, tell your existing database about it send two or three emails to let them know about this new piece. Make sure you include this in your email nurturing sequences. So your nurturing sequences could and should grow over time. So as you develop new content and develop new lead magnets, make sure those are updated in your nurturing sequences. Another thing you can do, make sure your sales team proactively uses this content with their prospects. Right? We do this all the time we're talking to somebody. And in the conversation, they're like, Yeah, I was really struggling with x, y and z, we might say, Hey, you know what, we actually have a template for that. So while we are waiting for our next conversation, we're gathering the stakeholders, I'm going to send you this this piece of content, your sales teams using it to give value along the way, right. And that's how they want to be perceived. You could also use it to create email reengagement campaigns where you try to activate people in your database that are stale. A couple more things here. Let's see what else we talked about that email nurturing. So that's it. Those are the kinds of things you can do to drive engagement. And then once you're driving engagement, you start measuring now you want to optimize performance. So you want to do a B testing of everything a B testing your landing pages, a B testing of your CTA is AV testing of your emails, right. This is really important to start to see what do people resonate with? What are the best words to use what's the best value what we should be giving these people. And then finally, you want to then create new or reframe existing offers that aren't resonating, right. So like if you have a deep dive that thing that you want them to do next, if people aren't taking advantage of that, then reframe those offers, right? reframe those are creating new ones based on what you're learning.

Joe
Okay, so over the last few episodes, we've covered the entire implementation matrix from fans, customers opportunities, qualified leads, and visitors. So you've got, you've got KPI recommendations, you've got process recommendations for all of these to move people through these lifecycle stages. Now, Frank, should we really wait until you've optimized every other level of marketing before you start optimizing and creating visitor and lead content?

Frank
Absolutely not. So you need to make sure you continue doing what you're doing, especially keep doing what's working? Right, what's the Hippocratic oath, you know, first, do no harm. So my first do no harm is don't stop doing the things that are already working. Like, don't let me be the guy that screws that up for you keep doing those things. But then the next thing I want you to do is find where the bottleneck is, and start deploying a disproportionate amount of energy and effort there. Right, the biggest mistake you can make is to try to tackle all this, at the same time with equal effort across all of these relationship stages. Don't do that. Keep doing what's working. And then take your extra time, take your extra effort and energy for your quarterly initiatives, and disproportionately deploy energy and effort towards the bottleneck. Right? That's what we call top down optimization. And so you start at the top and you work backwards. Where's the first bottleneck you come across? Go there. Sound good? Sounds great. Okay, Episode 16 through 20, or based on this implementation matrix, check them out. If you haven't checked out and go back to Episode 16. Listen all the way up here to 20 where we cover this, this whole concept. This has been super fun. Actually, I'm super excited to hear about what our next set of topics or episodes are going to be. So tune in because I don't even know. But it's gonna be amazing. I promise you tune in the next time. Give us a like, give us a shout out. Tell a friend and we'll see you next time.

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