Content marketing can be very intimidating.

content marketingIt’s such a broad topic that covers a range of activities like web content, blog content, gated content, search engine optimization, keywords, lead capture, email follow up and social media.

There’s too much to know and too much to do.

You can see why many businesses never get around to implementing a content marketing program.

Well, here’s the good news.

It’s NOT all or nothing. 

If content marketing makes sense to you on paper, don’t think you have to match the content-creation intensity of a Hubspot or some of the other content marketing leaders.

That’s just not practical – and we all know it.

But you can create a content marketing program at the foundation level and then expand at your own pace.

The foundation of content marketing

Bringing traffic to your website is the first and most obvious step in content marketing.  You create content around phrases that people use to search for businesses like yourself.  Eventually (and hopefully), you get found by the search engines, searchers click on your listings and you get visitors to your website.

Simple, right?  Actually, it’s the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process. But it can be done over time and your pace.

What is simple – or at least practical – are the next two steps in the process which is to convert those visitors into leads and nurture those leads until they are ready to buy.

Convert visitors into leads with lead magnets

We all know the vast majority of the people who visit your website leave without a trace.  Some leave immediately.  Some may click through to multiple pages and then leave.  You know you had visitors but you have no leads to show for it.

getting started with content marketing

One of several lead magnets on my website

You may have invited response by putting your phone number, email address and contact form prominently on your website – which is good, but not enough.

What you need is a lead magnet – an informational report, white paper, ebook or tip sheet.  You need an incentive to get people to raise their hand and say “this interests me” – enough to get them to turn over their email address or other contact information.

By placing your lead magnet on every page of your website along with a contact form, you will start to get leads.  And the whole process of collecting contact information and delivering the lead magnet is done automatically 24/7.

Over time, you can experiment with other lead magnets, but for now, just focus on getting one.

If you need help creating a lead magnet, call me.  Learn more about sales lead magnets.

Nurture your leads with drip email

drip email 1

Day 1 Email

Once a new lead comes into your system, it will automatically be added to your email list.  You or your sales manager should also be notified of a new lead and maybe have it added to your CRM system.

New leads are ripe for immediate follow-up and email is the best way to do that.  A follow-up phone call to qualify the lead may also be a good idea, but you will need to have asked for a phone number during signup (which would have depressed response).

You should have a series of introductory emails that go out to every new lead on a pre-scheduled basis.

email drip 2

Day 4 Email

Create 5-10 (or more) emails to build your case and slowly give your prospects a fuller picture of your company or product/service.

If you create these emails in advance (and you should), you will be able to put everything on auto-pilot.  This is called “drip email” and you should be using it wherever you can.

I’ve provided snippets of the first two emails in my introductory email drip program.  The first arrives one day after the inquiry, the second arrives 4 days after the inquiry.  You can schedule it any way you want.

You can also create multiple email drip campaigns – by product/service, by industry or any other way.

If you need help setting up an email drip campaign or creating the emails, call me.  Learn more about drip email.

Now you can worry about traffic

Once you have the lead capture and lead nurturing pieces in place – and entirely on auto-pilot – you can begin to explore ways to get more people to your website.

Content marketing with effective SEO is one very powerful way to build traffic, but that will take time and a lot of effort.

In the meantime, you can use outbound marketing – advertising and direct mail – to jump start your traffic.

At least now when they visit, you stand a chance of converting them into leads.


Written by Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and writer specializing in direct marketing, digital marketing and lead generation.

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About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."