Content Marketing

GroWTF? podcast E1 – How to build a Content Lead Engine

This episode I want to talk about how we changed our content marketing approach two years ago, built a content lead engine and quintupled (5x) our product trial leads. One of the success posts, there will be learnings from failures in the next episodes (promised ;).

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We used our blog which already generated a lot of organic traffic (we were #100,000 in the Alexa traffic ranking) but our readers were not jumping on our product train. We had a super low number of visitors trying out our product.

After some failures in putting promotional ads into our blog, we talked to some experts and started building a content lead engine. By adding a lead-generation component to our blog, we nurtured our audience slowly and moved the interested ones to our product value.

By creating e-books as lead magnets and remarketing our audience from the blog, we increased our product trial leads by 400% per month.

Listen to my personal growth podcast to find out all the dirty details :).

Episode 1 – How to build a Content Lead Engine

Have fun and share your feedback about this episode with me. If you have a similar approach why not share it with the audience (=> Comments).

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Transcript of the podcast:

this is the grow what the f** podcast a personal growth podcast of hog klaus-m.

hi my name is klaus-m. schremser and i’m head of growth of usersnap, a user feedback platform that helps companies collect actionable customer end user feedback to build better more successful products and services we provide solutions for feedback around the product development life cycle from feature requests to mps and from visual bug tracking to user acceptance testing i’m a serial entrepreneur and i launched my first website in 1994 in the last 20 plus years i co-founded three companies within the martech industry, two of them got acquired and in the third one, usersnap, i’m currently working as of today and in this podcast i want to talk about successes but more about failures and learnings as a co-founder and head of growth
so let’s start with our first topic it’s about so the first episode is about building a content lead engine and quintuple so five times more product leads

so around one and a half years ago we had a problem we had a very successful blog but almost no leads coming from this blog and our organic traffic was and a very important source so we wanted to investigate and find out what we can do about this valuable on content asset so we dived a little bit deeper into that and you see our organic traffic is one of our main sources and 93 percent of our visitors came by the block so it’s pretty successful in alexa ranking uh worldwide we were number one hundred thousand and seven percent of the organic traffic went to the website and the second most successful um growth channel was direct which is for us word of mouth but when you look into the relation between um the visitors and how many people tried our product we had a very poor relation for that so only 50 people per month tried our um product although we had around 100 000 visitors so we wanted to find something and make our blog a better source for new product leads so this is how we defined first of all our objective get more product leads from blog

this is how we started with our first trial which was the most obvious one let’s put some promotions into our blog and of course they were not so simple as this one but yeah we built like i think four um ads per per page and we have around three we had back then we had around 300 blog posts so it was a hell of an effort to integrate um um ads in any like in every um blog post and as you might imagine it was not very successful yeah because people are when they look for your blog when they find a blog they’re looking for a certain problem or issue and then they read about how to solve it but they’re not interested in indirectly trying out your product because otherwise they would land with your website so you have to like nurture them a little bit more so this is where we restarted our efforts this time a little bit more intelligent and i also learned one thing which i kept for the for many years and and still it’s one of my resources ask smarter people than you are when you start something new and this is why we hired one main expert in this case it was manuel weiss and he’s an ex-cmo of codeship a very successful startup and now he’s doing marketing as a consultant and he told us about his content lead engine which he implemented at coaching and we learned how to do that and we did the same for us and there is a second secret ingredient to a successful initiative and this is have awesome people in your team and this is ashley and she um she implemented all of that and i have to say i think that a lot of the success of the current engine is contributed to her work

so okay content lead engine what exactly does this mean yeah so our goal was to get more product leads people who are trying our product um from the blog post so they are coming to your website looking for a certain topic um probably not directly interested into your um product and then you have to slowly you know pick them up nurture them and then over time bring them nearer to your um to your product and see if they if it resonates or not and so the first thing we did is we we took our blog posts and we put them into categories because you know you cannot personalize or attribute each single blog post especially if you have like around 300 or more blog posts and so we put them into categories these were like customer feedback customer experience quality assurance user acceptance testing so these are categories which are um more specific and and important for us as a user feedback platform we of course um also it’s the optimization part for seo which you should always do and and then we started you know to pick up leads um from our blog posts with lead magnets lead magnets in our case right now were um ebooks so we wanted to offer them you know additional content so when you’re interested in the one topic or in the one article then maybe they want to know more about it and if we talk about leads we’ll have to define what a lead is and the lead is for us someone would which or who we have qualified at least with their name and their email so we started with ebooks but we only had one and initially we thought this will be a huge uh um job and and it will be probably will take months but um we quickly found like some some pretty helpful thanks at that time uh helpful people who who were um or who were available for interviews and they were from amazing companies like um typeform and uber and like these people we just reached out to them on linkedin and they were wonderfully helpful and and helped us with content for the ebook so the ebooks were crafted within a few weeks we launched one after another and for each of that lead magnet we created an email nurturing sequence so we at that time we used intercom um currently we switched with our email marketing from mailchimp and and intercom to uh activecampaign and we implemented a marketing automation and an email nurturing sequence and that sequence over weeks is nurturing um the leads we got from the ebooks um with new ebooks um other helpful contents and then slowly bringing them to our product and to the sign up for a product trial

one thing i i don’t want to leave out because this was i think this was the special ingredients and this the the right spice for for the soup and this is remarketing so like we have a lot of people coming to specific categories on our blog and many of them are leaving and not um catching up or signing up for the ebook but when they landed on our website they were automatically integrated in our audience in google ads and google analytics of course and um we started then a remarketing campaign for each of the categories and this this was super successful so here you see a few of our um i think right now we have seven e-books as i said the the left one is the first one which was already there but then um we for each category we build one um customer feedback uh one ebook and now of course we are transitioning to to customer feedback so we are building more um ebooks on that end as i said remarketing was wonderfully uh successful for us we also hired an expert here michelle weidinger thanks a lot on that end and he helped us to set up this campaign let’s say for here people who are on our blog for at least 30 seconds so we are not wasting money on on people who are leaving immediately and and were like the the wrong people so um yeah so we implemented a lot of remarketing ads you see some of them here and with with that we gained a lot more visitors and also product trials so let’s drum beat what are the results of this campaign

so the first observation period was like 2017 to 2018 and now let’s look from 2019 to 2020. um so the blog and ebook pages have uh around 130 000 um visitors per month which is a plus of 40 that’s quite a nice number um the alexa ranking also increased so we are now at position 66 000 uh with which is an increase of 34

and the most important one is the product lead so the people who are trying our product per month increased from 50 to 250 which is a 400 percent increase additionally we have around between depends 1 000 and 2 000 email leads per month and for us it’s a huge success you see that here in the metrics how the light blue um line is like really increasing from especially like here in 2019 started here in 2018 when we started the content engine so the content engine started somewhere here maybe here and then it it grew there it took some time and then it went off so especially the remarketing takes some time and you should have an expert who is familiar with google ads to make that work what are the learning so far so don’t wait with the invoice at the entrance of the store so what i mean by that is um if you’re like immediately uh promoting your product within your blog the the visitors and readers are probably not in the stage of their of their journey to um to try your product so at the at the entrance of your store you should not try to convince them to buy something let them come in let them look around let them find out if this is the right product and then follow up with some email marketing and bring them back into your shop into your store um yeah you have to move your audience from one layer to the next one which i what i mean by that is like if you look at the user journey also like an onion you have different layers and uh when they start in an awareness and then speed uh in in a uh acquisition phase later on you have to give them the right content for the right um funnel stage yeah so move them to the next funnel stage and then um after a while you can convince them to try your product remarketing is a powerful tool if you handle it with expertise if we handle it with experts um i think we will do more on the remarketing specifically because we don’t want to waste our money in normal ads and promotions but for remarketing when people are already interested on your website in on in your product maybe or in the direction um and you know that they are kind of from your audience then remarketing is is the tool to spend time and invest into that um involve experts and learn from them so don’t start everything on your own um yeah ebooks as i said we we crafted them not only with the help of wonderful people from from um well-known companies this was the one part but also we hired some external help on from content writers and and this uh gave us a lot of speed in in launching and publishing ebooks

there is also like not everything is shiny on that and to be honest like there is still something where we have to unlock to convert more customers directly from this source um currently it’s very low there is also like a hidden or for me and still an unknown gap when when you’re especially when you’re working in b2b sas companies and and products there is often a different person because uh in companies there is not not one um person who is informed uh or bringing in the information about the product and then uh the same person is uh deciding and the same person is purchasing um but in especially in bigger companies you have split um there are different roles and um there is still this gap where people you know try your product sometimes work gmail address and then suddenly they uh went dark and someone else on the other hand um signs up out of the blue direct um direct traffic and converts as a customer and and from a lot of user research we found out that these are the people who just get an email and they say hey we tested out user snap please sign up with your company email and put the credit card in so this is still something we have to link and hopefully this will be another episode of this podcast

yeah as always i want to finish or uh tell you my secret that is you know grow with the magic power of feedback feedback is something we personally can grow um off and also our businesses so there is like a magic when you ask for feedback about yourself or about your company and last but not least um if you want to follow this podcast please subscribe to my mailing list and if you have some feedback for me then please hit your keyboard and send me some of that i would love to hear it and i will answer you on that thanks a lot hope to hear you again