- Content marketing is essential to growth online
- However, it’s also time-consuming and hard
- Here’s our 4-step strategy for running an effective content marketing program WITHOUT having to hire new staff or spend all your time producing content…
Back in 1996, when the web was still in its infancy, Bill Gates wrote a seminal essay entitled: “Content is King”…
“Content”, said Gates “…is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”
Gates’ prediction was spot on; content is the fuel that powers the modern internet…
The most popular online applications in the world are content platforms – places where new content channels can arise: social networks, blog hosts, video sharing websites. And of course the most visited site of all – Google – is a search engine that helps us navigate and organise all this content…
As a result, having a “content marketing” strategy has become essential to growing your business. Content is the main way that we discover new brands online, right? (including yours – and your competitors).
Content attracts potential customers.
Content builds trust, authority, and good-will.
In Gates’ essay, he goes on to say that:
“One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create…the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.”
Twenty year later, content marketing online has never been easier…
Social media has enabled us all to become producers and publishers. As such, no company is too small – and no business too “dull” – to take advantage of content marketing. Drinks companies, printing companies, even insurance companies are creating and sharing popular content. And if you can supply relevant, useful information to your target audience and entertain at the same time, then you’ve hit the jackpot.
But “content marketing” is not just about informing and entertaining (otherwise it would just be “content”!)
Your end goal is to sell your products and services, right?
Selling online is all about creating a seamless “flow of assent” – from first click through to purchase… and you need a “yes” at every step to make it work: “Yes, I’ll click on this ad; yes, I’ll read this article; yes, I will view your product and read the description” and so on, until you’ve made the sale.
This is where a sales funnel comes in. Your content must be part of a sales funnel, designed to move your prospects along the flow of “yeses” until they purchase your product.
- A “sales funnel” is basically a series of web pages that you send people through in a specific order to elicit a specific response. In other words, it’s a deliberate sequence of engagements designed to get people to say yes to your offer.
So here’s our content-based sales funnel in a nutshell – the process of amplifying content as a means for generating interest in a product or a service:
It’s just 4 simple steps:
- Attract – first you attract your target audience via posts/ads on the social networks (e.g., Facebook, Instagram) that point towards relevant content. Success = Click
- Engage – Next you engage your prospect in a conversation with a piece of content about a topic relevant to them or a problem they have – and presell your solution. Success = Attention
- Capture – Your content page should be used to capture your audience as retargeting leads and/or email leads with a relevant, compelling lead-magnet. Success = Re-marketing Lead
- Convert – Finally you convert your prospects to customers with your sales pages – augmented with retargeting ads & email sequences to multiply your conversion opportunities. Success = Sale
Now, let’s go through these steps in a bit more detail:
We’re using the social networks for our traffic in this model – which is more than enough traffic for any business if you know how to leverage these networks (there are over 2.3 Billion people on social networks)
And the one key thing we know about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… is this: Social traffic is needs content. People don’t go onto Facebook to buy, so if you run ads direct to sales page, you’re swimming against the tide.
You login to Facebook to socialise & share mutual interests, right? Not many people click on or share ads, but they DO share interesting articles. So the best way to leverage social traffic, is with content that warms up your audience – and pre-sells your product…
The main way this differs from query-based advertising (e.g., Google search ads) is that we are not sending people directly to an offer page or product page. With query-based advertising it is quite easy to send people directly to an offer page. Since you know precisely what they are looking for, you can show them an offer for exactly that thing. Now, if you intend to get contextual and social advertising to work for your business, you need to add a step before you get to your offer.
Which leads me into the 2nd step…
Once you’ve got your audience to click on your ad/post, you need to hold their attention with a piece of high-quality content (generally a written article or video) that engages them in a conversation about a topic relevant to them or a problem they have.
Essentially, you’re “reversing the frame” on the traditional advertising model. Instead of interrupting & chasing people with an offer shouting, “hey, you: buy my stuff,” you attract & engage them with a piece of content saying, “hey, look at this cool article.”
That piece of content can then presell or mention a relevant product, and provides a link to check it out. So the customer ends up chasing the offer, instead of the offer chasing the customer. They are interested in the article; they consume the content; the content suggests your product; they click on the link and end up on your sales page.
People are much more likely to buy your product if they think it’s their own idea.
Once you have the attention of your prospects, it’s critical that you turn this attention into action while you have the opportunity.
Now, we know that most potential customers do not buy straight away; it takes a number of interactions. Therefore, simply linking to a sales page from your content is not enough…re-marketing is key. If you’re not able to re-connect with your visitors once they leave your website – via both email and re-targeting ads – you’re throwing away 98% of your leads..!
There are 5 ways you can actively convert every website visitor into a re-marketing lead using Wishloop:
- Pixel banking (i.e., ad retargeting) Every single person who lands on any of your web-properties should be banked as a retargeting lead, whom you can then “follow” with contextual ads on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and 1000s of other websites via ad-networks
And then 4 levers for generating email subscribers:
- Conversion Mats
- Scroll boxes
- Contextual popups
- Exit-intent offers
Learn more about these 5 Active Conversion Levers here
Now, to convince your prospect to subscribe to your email list you need to use a “lead magnet” – a “bribe” they receive in exchange for opting into your list. This must be useful, relevant and specific – i.e., related to the content they just consumed. So you could offer an e-book, plugin, free trial…depending on your niche & product.
- Pro tip: to increase your optin rate, you can add a step before the email form to your Popup or Conversion Mat, with a question related to the content. This has the effect of creating a micro-commitment, which increases the chance that they’ll opt-in on the 2nd step. You can even route your prospects to different steps depending on their answers – and offer them a lead magnet that matches their answer. Giving them exactly what they want! How much would this boost your conversions!?
Once you’ve attracted & engaged your prospect, and captured them as a lead, you’re ready to convert them into a customer via email sequences and retargeting ads.
Sounds pretty simple so far right?
And while it’s true there are no longer any technical or financial barriers to disseminating your own content online – it’s not all plain sailing…
Churning out engaging, original content on a consistent basis is hard, time-consuming, and draining…
We know this ourselves first-hand!
If you’re a startup (like us 🙂 or an SME, then creating content is likely to be an “extra” job that existing staff take on – at least to begin with. As such, it’s liable to fall by the wayside. So we asked ourselves:
“How can we run an effective, sustainable content marketing program WITHOUT having to hire a specialist team, or spend all our time producing content..?”
In other words…
“Is there an easier way to do this hard job?”
You see, content marketing is not just about churning out a continuous stream of new content. First and foremost, it’s about helping your audience to solve problems with timely, useful information – which in turn leads them to your brands & products…
And this can be achieved via curation as well as creation. After all, there’s already so much content online, right? The answers to a lot of questions are already out there. And of course social media makes curating & sharing content around your niche incredibly easy.
But sharing content has a big problem too…
If you share someone else’s article, you’re just sending traffic to their site. You lose your leads as soon as they click on the link.
But what if you could easily leverage the HOTTEST content that’s already out there, and make it work for you, and your business? What if you could piggyback on content produced by trusted brands and authorities in your niche, without losing your traffic & leads?
The “Content Infiltration” Growth Hack
How to instantly leverage the web’s hottest content to drive free traffic & leads…
Now the great thing about this technique is – it’s very fast, simple, and scaleable. Which is why it’s so powerful. It also works in pretty much any niche, so I’m confident that you’ll see great results with this, whether you’re selling physical products, info-products, software, or even promoting offline businesses…
This technique basically involves adding your own custom Call-to-action Overlay to content you curate and share. Which enables you to “Infiltrate” the 3rd party content – and keep the traffic in YOUR funnel.
This means you can tap into the benefits of content marketing (attract, engage & capture leads) without the huge burden of actually having to create all the content yourself.
How does it work?
You can add your own Call-To-Action to pages you share with Wishloop Share.
Rather than share the direct link to the page you’re sharing, Wishloop Share creates a special link that enables you to overlay your own lead-generation campaign to the page. So you can add your own Retargeting Pixels, Conversion Mats, Timed Popups, and Exit Intent Offers to the hottest content on the web…
And best of all, you can do this without leaving the page you’re sharing, in exactly 3 clicks – with the Wishloop Share Browser Extension
- Click on the Wishloop Share icon in your browser
- Select the campaign you want to add to the page
- Then choose where you want to share the link for maximum impact!
Adding the Content Infiltration Hack to your content marketing strategy is pretty much a no-brainer – because you’re likely already doing 99% of the work for this. You already spend a lot of time browsing the best articles in your niche, right? These are the same articles your potential customers are reading too. So you know they have the power to:
- Drive traffic to your webpages,
- Engage your audience, and
- Pre-sell your products and services…
So if you’re browsing hot content like this – then you’re already doing all the work.
Combine Curation & Creation
Of course, the optimum content marketing program involves a combination of content curation and creation. 3rd party content is not likely to presell your products as well as your own content.
So we recommend using 3rd party content to expedite your lead-generation (i.e, stages 1-3) and your own content to convert leads into buyers (stage 4).
This allows you to focus on creating high-quality “pillar” content that shows the value of your products, whilst leveraging existing 3rd-party content to do the heavy lifting.
What do you think? Could the Content Infiltration Hack help you attract and engage more leads whilst saving you time and money?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Great post Tom!
I was sharing “trending” content instead of content that was in line with the product I was promoting.
You said to share content that helps solve a problem, right? What if you’re promoting a shirt, what kind of problem does a shirt solve?
Thanks for your imput!
The content doesn’t necessarily have to solve a problem – as long as it’s relevant to your niche. With a shirt I’d focus on content that the target market would be interested in. For example, If the shirt is for guys who like football, then overlaying over football articles would work a treat. Hope this helps!
Yeah, I’ve been sharing articles in the same niche as my shirt. But, I guess it’s a little tougher to sell a shirt since it doesn’t solve a (desperate) problem, huh?
Do you boost the posts you share to get initial traction/traffic to test conversion rates? Or, do you just share and see what takes off organically?
It depends on the size of your organic reach. If you already have a big Facebook/ Twitter reach, then you’ll get more organic traction. You’ll need to boost most posts to get a larger audience. Each post will give you incremental benefits, so you shouldn’t get disheartened if you don’t see results from one post.
Awesome post. Thank your for sharing such a nice article.