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Good lead magnets are all about building a relationship, but how do you get people to see them? Director of content Carey Ballard and demand gen specialist Jared Kimball talk with DigitalMarketer’s VP of marketing Molly Pittman to talk about driving leads and eyeballs.
The biggest piece of the puzzle? Retargeting. It helps you pick up a conversation where it left off. Also, don’t be afraid to create content that covers a topic more than once. Remember: your audience is a revolving door, and they haven’t read everything you’ve written.
Mentioned in this episode:
Carey Ballard: All right. Thanks for tuning in. We are the Small Business Success podcast. I am Carey Ballard.
Last week, we talked a lot about content creation and lead magnets. And today, we're following up our special series digging into lead magnets and how to create a really optimized customer journey. And I am joined today by a very special guest, Molly Pittman, the VP of Marketing at DigitalMarketer. Welcome, Molly.
Molly Pittman: Hey. Happy to be here, Carey. Thanks for having me on.
Carey Ballard: Absolutely. Thanks for – thanks for joining us. And then I am also joined today by a very special colleague, Jared Kimball. He is our demand gen strategist and in charge of all things nurture and just making sure our customers are delighted all the way into the funnel.
Jared Kimball: Hello, hello.
Molly Pittman: Yeah.
Carey Ballard: Welcome back. All right. So we spent a little bit of time a while ago talking about content and – content that converts and how to create great content, one of my very favorite topics, obviously. Today, we're gonna talk a little bit more about those lead magnets and what happens to customers or your future customers when they get caught by these wonderful lead magnets. That's our job, right?
Molly Pittman: When they get delighted by them.
Jared Kimball: That's right. Yeah.
Carey Ballard: When they get delighted by them. That's right. So tell me, Molly, right now – and for those of you who didn't hear the last podcast, we talked a lot about how it's so important to make a lead magnet solve a problem for a customer. And you're pretty passionate about that, as is your whole company, correct?
Molly Pittman: Absolutely.
Carey Ballard: So tell me – and I'm backing it up a little bit, but let's talk about why. And this is, I think, one of the most important parts, when we start talking about how lead magnets become valuable for customers and really enter them into your system. It has a lot to do with building a relationship, correct?
Molly Pittman: Totally. We believe you should give value first to a prospect. So a lead magnet is a great way to start the customer journey because you're giving a prospect something of value, something of standalone value. They don't have to buy something else for it to be useful to them. This lead magnet is valuable to this person. And they're getting it in exchange for their contact information or for permission to follow up with them.
Carey Ballard: Got it. So tell me, of all the best lead magnets you've ever produced, what's your favorite and why?
Molly Pittman: So my favorite is definitely our Facebook ad template lead magnet. I referenced it in the last episode. It's my favorite because I created it. No.
Carey Ballard: Hey, there's – we all have our favorite children. It's fine.
Molly Pittman: Totally. No, I love the lead magnet. I think it solves a big pain point for our market. People struggle with Facebook ads. So to have a template where they can sit down and understand what the image should look like, what the copy should look like, how to click all of the buttons inside of Ads Manager, it just really solves a pain point for these people.
But it also is something tangible that they can write on, they can print out, they can post – they can hang it up next to their desk. So it's not just a free report. It's not just a blog post wrapped up into PDF form. It's something they can actually use.
Carey Ballard: And I think we've – I think it's Ryan Deiss who's talked a lot about the bank analogy, that the interaction between a business and their customer is like a relationship with a bank, right? You can't just go to the bank and ask them for money, AKA, emotional relevance, if you haven't given them something of value first. So you have to give them something, provide value. Then you can talk about extending the relationship a little bit further. And this is one of those pieces that you deposit in the emotional bank – a tool, a useful piece of content that gives them value.
Molly Pittman: Absolutely. This is our way of giving value, building trust, and for them to say, "Wow. DigitalMarketer's awesome. They gave this to me for free. I can't imagine what their products must be like."
Carey Ballard: So to give to that point, where they give their information, you don't – I mean, sometimes people send ads and say, "Okay. Go download our great Facebook kit." But often, it's a setup that's a little bit broader, right?
There's information on your website about the lead magnet. There's blog posts that T-up the lead magnet as kind of this key piece of the puzzle to solve. Tell me how you set up that environment a little bit.
Molly Pittman: Yeah, definitely. So we have blog posts that are actually pieces of the lead magnet. So if you're reading a lead – or if you're reading a blog post, we have calls to action for particular lead magnets within the blog post. And we know that people will be interested in the lead magnet because they're reading about that topic in the blog post, right?
Carey Ballard: Yep.
Molly Pittman: We're also driving traffic straight to lead magnets. We're driving traffic to blog posts and then retargeting people with ads to the lead magnet. So there are multiple entry points into these offers, for us.
Carey Ballard: Now, one of the things that we've tested – and Molly, I'm not sure if you guys have tested this, but we have had very clear call to action buttons. So it's like a mini ad in our blog post that goes to the call to action or the lead magnet that we're trying to send customers to or readers to.
But then we've also done in-text ads or in-text links and things like that. We test all sorts of ways to get people to those relevant tools within our blog posts. And sometimes we find the in-text links work even better than those more obtrusive ads.
Molly Pittman: Oh, absolutely. A native ad is usually going to work just as well as an ad that's driving traffic straight to a landing page, if it's – especially if it's to cold traffic and people that have never heard of you before. And the reason being is people don't like being sold to, right?
Carey Ballard: Nope.
Molly Pittman: It's like a relationship. You're going to ask someone to go to coffee first or to get drinks before you propose marriage. So if you're able to send traffic to blog post with a call to action that's seamless, right?
Carey Ballard: Yep.
Molly Pittman: If you're talking about vegetarian recipes and your call to action is to go buy this certain beef, that's not gonna work, right?
Carey Ballard: Well, and you're hitting on a key point, right? – is crafting that journey. And I call them microfunnels. Jared, you often call them "campaigns" when we run 'em here at Infusionsoft. But what we – what we build and what I think is important for users to start to frame their thinking on these things is we build problem solution statements. And we start with, what are the customers asking at the very beginning of the journey?
We do SEO research for that. We – like you were mentioning in the last podcast, Molly, we dig into forums and we do research online. And Jared, you – actually, you have a master solution for how do you start investigation, what do you write about? Do you wanna give us a little insight into that?
Jared Kimball: Sure. I actually – I just pretend like I'm in a world of Play-Doh or I'm just figuring stuff out. I have – it all comes down to just setting up some sort of discipline with yourself whenever you're doing research. I just open up an Evernote doc and I just – I figure out, okay. Who's my target market or where are they – I think they're gonna hang out online.
And like Molly mentioned, I'll go to forums or I'll go to Facebook groups. And then I just start scrolling and reading. And then you'll just see all these questions, like, "Oh, this is a good question." And then I'll just copy and paste it right in the Evernote doc. And then, "Oh, this is another good question." I'll copy and paste that.
And by the time you've sat down for – I mean, depending on how long you wanna do research. I recommend doing it for quite a few weeks. Definitely invest some time into it 'cause it is so valuable. You will start seeing amazing trends. You'll say, "Man, this question is asked a lot.
A lotta people ask this question and they use these words. So I think I could solve this question with a lead magnet." And it just gives you exactly what you need to do and what – and you have now – instead of starting from just, "Oh, I think people will like this. Yeah. Let's do this," now you've got actual research behind it, where you feel very confident that people will definitely be attracted to that.
Carey Ballard: And to –
Molly Pittman: Absolutely. And –
Carey Ballard: Go ahead, Molly.
Molly Pittman: Oh, sorry, Carey. If you look at what big brands in your market are doing, right? – it really doesn't matter what market you're serving. There's someone else that's serving that market and that group of people in some way. So especially if you go and look at what the big brands are doing – they've already done the research, right? So if you wanna shortcut that process – I mean, you're definitely not gonna rip off someone else's content, but you can absolutely get ideas from what other companies are doing, too.
Jared Kimball: That's great, too.
Carey Ballard: Absolutely. I find that sometimes – I've worked a lot with retail organizations in the – in the past. And I feel like a lotta times, they get to be on the leading edge of these things because of how their customers buy. So using the example of how do you create a lead magnet and a lead magnet system, one of my favorite, favorite blogs to follow is West Elm.
I love their stuff. It's beautiful. But I also love how they entrap me to buy things. I just – I'm mystified by the way they do it. And a great example –
Molly Pittman: They always know what you want.
Carey Ballard: I know. And then they keep retargeting me and I just – and then I want it more. It just looks wonderful.[0:09:00]
But a great example to me was when I was looking for – to buy a rug for our living room. And I started investigating how big a rug to buy. I wasn't shopping for a rug yet. I just didn't even know where to start. Do I do an 8 by 10? Do I do a 7 by 7? I had no idea.
And the blog post that I found was about how to measure your room and match it with the size rug you're looking for. I'm like, "Great. Fabulous." Brought to you by West Elm. And then the follow-up or the lead magnet was download this kit for your home decorating something or other. And of course I'm gonna do that because I – they already gave me great feedback.
Now they've got my contact information. They're retargeting me. And they know I like rugs. So it's kind of a fluid system. They're not serving me beef. They're serving me rugs, which is wonderful. And so tell me a little bit about how do you guys do planning for kind of that whole ecosystem that you're trying to build out?
Molly Pittman: Yeah. Absolutely. So like we talked about in the last episode, it all starts with something we know the market's interested in. So whether you've done research or proven it on your own, you know that this is something they're going to be interested in.[0:10:00]
After they download the lead magnet, it's – the customer journey really goes from there. So it's, what product do we have to sell them that's most related to the topic they just showed interested in – interest in? A lot of companies will generate the lead and then start talking about something totally different, right?
Carey Ballard: Yep.
Molly Pittman: It's like, "Hi. Nice to meet you." We're supposed to go to coffee and talk about shoes and then you show up and you're talking about dogs and totally changing the conversation. And a lotta – a lot of times, business owners are so close to their business, they're so used to talking about one thing, that changing the conversation isn't a big deal for them. But to the end user, it's really confusing. So for example, I saw – I can't remember which company it was, but it was a company that was selling paint.[0:11:00]
And they did a great job because they had – they basically had this calculator that helped you figure out exactly what paint color you should be using, right?
Carey Ballard: Love it. Yep.
Molly Pittman: And so you use this calculator. It's basically – I'm trying to figure out what color I should paint my kitchen. It spits out the color. You opt in for more information. And then they continue the conversation about paint. You notice they didn't continue the conversation about your rug, right?
Carey Ballard: Right. Exactly.
Molly Pittman: So making sure that your lead magnet aligns with whatever the sales conversation is that comes after the lead magnet – what's your ultimate goal – work backwards from there.
Carey Ballard: I love that. That's fantastic. One of the things that we do is we almost retrofit it. And we start, a lotta times, like we were saying with a lot of our small businesses, of saying, "What is your most profitable product? Start there.
Okay. So you are a landscape service. And the best thing – you make the most money and you have to do the least amount of work on is trimming trees." So you say, "Okay. Trimming trees, that's the – that's the solution I want people to come in with."[0:12:00]
So then you create a lead magnet that's a calculator – great example – of how they're gonna charge you for – how much you should budget for trimming trees. But you're not gonna create blog posts about how to garden – how to set up your winter garden. You're gonna set up blog posts about how to gauge the health of your trees or what's the season to trim trees. And now you've got a functioning ecosystem of content. And so you’ve got all of these beautiful pieces that are all driving people to the main outcome and you keep the conversation consistent.
Molly Pittman: Right, Carey. And maybe five years down the road, when you've run out of things to talk about in relation to the trees, then you can start talking about topics that are closely related, but a little broader. But yeah. When you're first getting started, you have to start the conversation about whatever you really want the conversation to be about in the end.
Carey Ballard: Absolutely. And we – to that point, when you run outta things to say, people haven't run out of things to hear from you. I think that’s one of the biggest misses that a lotta people –
Molly Pittman: Oh.
Carey Ballard: Right?
Molly Pittman: We're so close to our content.
Carey Ballard: We are. Yeah.
Jared Kimball: Right.
Molly Pittman: We spend so much time planning and writing and our content is so close to us. And we assume that every person out there has read or listened to everything that our company's ever produced. And it's just not true.
Carey Ballard: But haven't they? I thought they did.
Molly Pittman: Right? And not to mention that even – say you're targeting a group of people on Facebook and you're running traffic to a blog post. Well, that audience is changing, too, right? As more people become interested in digital marketing, our audience also changes. So realizing that everyone hasn't read your content, right?
Carey Ballard: Absolutely.
Molly Pittman: No one is thinking about your content even one percent of the amount of time you're thinking about it, right?
Carey Ballard: They're not. Yeah.
Molly Pittman: And also realizing that that audience you're speaking to is a revolving door. There are new people coming in every day. So it's okay to keep talking about the same thing.
Carey Ballard: Well, we find – and I know you guys do something similar – is we've found that what we do a lotta times is go back to blog posts from a year and a half ago, refresh them, bring them up to date, and republish them.
Molly Pittman: Oh, totally.
Carey Ballard: Because the content – the – if you did a good job of researching what type of content to create, it's still valuable. I guarantee it's still valuable, unless you're doing something that's so cutting edge that every six months, it's not relevant any longer.
Molly Pittman: Well, and from an SEO perspective, that's actually highly encouraged by Google. So if you write – so we wrote a post about e-mail marketing. And we've updated it twice now and added a few thousand words each time.
Google loved it. The organic spike from those updates was incredible because Google's recognizing that you're keeping that content fresh. So yes, I highly recommend that. The more relevant and the more timely your content is, the more you'll be rewarded for it.
Carey Ballard: I agree.
Jared Kimball: I think also when it comes to content, if people feel like they're producing too much content or they, "Well, I've already talked about this topic before" –
you can totally talk about the same topic. Just approach it from a different angle. So for example, let's say you're talking about – we'll stick with trimming trees. You can approach it from the view of an expert. So "As an expert in tree trimming, I'd recommend you do this," right?
That's one angle you can approach it from. You could also approach it from an angle of, "This is a case study or this is a common problem that you face," right? There's different ways you can still say a similar thing in a different way that makes it much more powerful.
Molly Pittman: Yeah. It's all about finding hooks. There are different reasons that people are interested in one thing. So just like you said, someone might be interested in trees because they're actually doing landscaping. They're a tree expert. Someone might be interested just because they noticed their tree wasn't looking healthy and they're having an issue.[0:16:00]
Someone might be interested in trees because they're doing a research report on it. Everyone has a different reason for being interested. But it's a similar conversation. It's just repositioning the "why."
Carey Ballard: Yep. Absolutely. And I think that's – I – we go back to and we say it all the time, but that's where the research becomes so important, is to try to get a list. And I typically recommend when you – when you have your product solidified and you know one you're sending people to, tree trimming, and you've got your lead magnet, which is your ultimate guide to – I don't know. What the heck would one be?
Jared Kimball: Hiring a tree company.
Carey Ballard: There you go – hiring a tree company. Froze on the spot there. And then you start investigating all the different questions. And write them down. I tell everybody, "Please write them down and keep that list," all the questions that people ask that that piece of content would solve for. And those are your topics for blogs.
Taking Jared's point, spinning 'em out to different perspectives – this is from the expert, this is a case study, this is this. And then getting into format variations where one's a blog post and one's a video and one's as podcast. That's where all the testing and the fun stuff happens.[0:17:00]
But I feel like you could have 10, 15, 20 triggers or hooks, Molly, as you called them, driving to that lead magnet to really test which works the best.
Molly Pittman: Oh, absolutely. And really finding more hooks is going to allow you to target different audiences and really scale whatever campaign you're running.
Carey Ballard: Absolutely. So we've talked a little bit – and I don't know that all small businesses do this, but I feel like for us – and Molly, I think for you guys, as well – retargeting is a really big piece of the puzzle when it comes to that content journey and making sure that once you've captured someone's attention, they don’t get lost because a squirrel ran across the tree in front of 'em. So can you talk to me a little bit about your guys' philosophy on that?
Molly Pittman: Yeah, definitely. It's okay if someone leaves one of our pages without doing whatever we hoped they would do. And that's because of retargeting. That's the beauty of retargeting. We can now follow up with this person with an ad.
And not only that we – not only that we can follow up with an ad, but the ad can acknowledge their past action and then the action that we want them to take next. So if they were reading a blog post and they didn't click on the lead magnet ad that was within the blog post, we can run an ad that acknowledges, "Hey, you were reading this blog post. We appreciate you spending time on our site. Are you interested in this particular lead magnet," right?
Carey Ballard: Yep.
Molly Pittman: Retargeting's beautiful. It allows you to pick up wherever you left off. And I think it's really changed the entire customer journey of any business that's online.
Carey Ballard: I think it's also – one of the, I think, the hidden gems in retargeting is its ability for you to test content types and formats in a way that you can't alone with just the magnet.[0:19:00]
And what I mean by that is if this tree trimmer produces this ultimate guide to tree trimming and finds no one's converting – every time he e-mails these people or calls them, they just – they're just not – they're not following up and he runs a side retargeting campaign that says, "Hey, looking for a tree trimmer" on one campaign or "I'm looking to become a tree trimmer" – and maybe he finds that everybody was actually looking at that guide because they wanted to become a tree trimmer. The ability to do testing with retargeting, I think, is kind of unparalleled.
Molly Pittman: Right. And the ability to fail, right?
Carey Ballard: Yes.
Molly Pittman: You can test because you can run an ad to that person in the future. They're not gone forever. So I think it gives us a lot more flexibility.
Carey Ballard: It does, yeah. A lot of agile learning, which I love. And I love that you agree that it's cool to fail. We've screwed up plenty of times. It's not a bad thing.
Molly Pittman: Oh, totally. I believe you learn most of your lessons through failure.
Carey Ballard: I agree. I totally agree. We did a piece recently and we're like, "This is gonna be the end all, be all for awareness. Everybody's gonna love it." It totally flopped in awareness, but was an awesome conversion piece. So I'm happy with learning that.
Jared Kimball: Yep.
Molly Pittman: Failure is celebrated at DigitalMarketer. _____ failure.
Carey Ballard: Agree a hundred percent. So everybody out there, it is okay to fail. All right. Well, it is – this has been an awesome conversation, Molly. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today.
I hope it was helpful to the listeners. And we're gonna conclude this edition of the Small Business Success podcast. Don't forget to rate, share, and subscribe. And for more great information about the small business success method and other great content, go to Learn.Infusionsoft.com.