Here’s What Your Content Marketing Plan Is Missing

Content marketing is important. Yes.

You should make content creation a priority.  Yep.

You should empower and train your staff to create amazing content.  Absolutely.

Is that all you should do?  No.

There’s something missing in the content marketing discussion that a lot of people aren’t talking about. Here’s the deal.  Right now, content marketing conversation is stuck in the “gee whiz I have a new buzzword phase.” Spend any time reading the articles and posts and you would think that content can save the world.

But content isn’t enough.

It’s missing an important ingredient – lead nurturing. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of lead nurturing before, it’s not a sexy topic.  But, it’s critical to getting sales and leads from your content marketing efforts.

Here’s how most businesses use content marketing.  They build it. They list it.  They leave it.  Usually their brilliant content sits on a “resources” page rarely noticed by site visitors.  After a few months, the content effort gets abandoned because it isn’t attracting any new customers.

Are you seeing this in your business?

Well this is where lead nurturing saves the day.  It’s the missing link.

Lead nurturing is simply sending specific content to customers based on their needs.  Lead nurturing assumes that each reader is at a different point in their experience and sending them generic content is wasteful and ineffective.

I’ll use Pushing Social to demonstrate how lead nurturing could work in your business.

At the end of every Pushing Social post, you’ll see a box inviting you to sign-up for my 7-Minute Blog Strategy Guide. In the form, I ask readers to describe their business.

After the reader submits their information they receive a custom welcome email based on the type of business they are in.  That’s not all.  They also will receive a custom series of email messages based on their business type as well.

Periodically, I promote specific offers based on the reader’s actions (are they opening and reading emails) and business type.  Guess what I offer them?  Custom content.  I rarely write one-size fits all content.  I’ve learned that it is a waste of time.  But a lead nurturing process allows me to write and deliver content that is highly relevant and incredibly effective.

Too Complicated?  Nope.

You can set-up a basic lead nurturing process with Aweber.  Here’s what you do:

1.  Create a simple special report or ebook and give it away for free. I call these gems “Expert Products.”  In exchange ask the reader to provide their name, email and answer a “segment” question.  Examples of segment question include selecting a business type, when they plan to make a purchase, or their expertise level.

Let your campaign run for a few weeks to gather subscriber information for the next step.

2.  Use Aweber to search your email list for people who meet the segment criteria you asked for on your form. The photo shows the process for Aweber, Mailchimp has a similar set-up.

 Save the segment.

Now you have a custom segment filled with people who match a certain criteria.  You can send specific email messages and content to this particular  segment. Here’s a simple guide from Aweber to show you how.

For example, if you asked readers to select their expertise level, you can send “beginners” a special report that with basic information.  Experts would get advanced topics and resources.

Does Content + Lead Nurturing Work?

Yes.  My leads and sales have increased by 25% since I started lead nurturing.  Clients I’ve worked with have seen similar results.

Content + Lead Nurturing works because people get the specific information they need.  Each piece of relevant content they receive reinforces your credibility and expertise.

Also, segmenting your list gives you incredibly useful information that can craft insightful blog posts and boost the quality of your content.  It’s a win-win for you and readers.

But . . .

I suspect 9 out of 10 people will say that setting up a Content + Lead Nurturing process is too hard.  I challenge you to be the 1 person who does the bit of extra work required to be successful.  Do your homework and put your system into place.  I guarantee you that this “missing link” will be exactly what you need to succeed.

Still not convinced?  Let’s talk about your questions in the comments below.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Will you be the person to go the extra mile and engage with lead nurturing? Take some time to consider it, and if your answer is “yes”, plan time in your schedule to do it.

Stan Smith

Stan Smith is Founder of Pushing Social, where he’s obsessed with teaching businesses how to beat the competition and boost profits with breakthrough blogging. You can jumpstart your blog with his free 7 Minute Blog Strategy Guide and get a few bonus goodies too!

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  1. Hey Stan, great to see you on the Hub 🙂 This is an awesome idea and I can see the value. So instead of just having “content” that attracts customers, you use contact to attract attention, build your list but then send targeted information to engage your audience further?

    Here’s a question. How segmented do you need to get and what do you do if your audience is still small or in its early stages of development. And how do you decide what else to send them?
    Georgina El Morshdy recently posted..20 Easy Ideas To Promote Your Micro Business With Content MarketingMy Profile

  2. Quick answers to big questions:
    1. Your marketing plan and products dictate your segments. My services are built around business type, so I only create a business type segment. For you it might be marketing skill level.
    2. Lead nurturing is an ongoing process. Start segmenting your incoming leads now. Audience size doesn’t matter.
    3. What else to send them? This depends on a couple of factors but a key question is: what decisions does your audience/prospect need to make before deciding to do business with you? I know my audience needs to make 3-4 key decisions. I make sure that I have content for each of these decisions.

    Hope that helps.
    Stan recently posted..10 Characteristics of a Spectacular BlogMy Profile

  3. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah during their unveiling of HubSpot 3 talked about the future of Content Marketing. Halligan described the thrust of Content Marketing thus far as being about the content itself. To take Content Marketing to the next level, Halligan explained, we will need to add “context.”

    Your article raises a very important point, creation and distribution of one-size-fits-all content is powerful. Putting the systems in place to make that content available to the right segment of your audience at the right time multiplies that power.

    It’s not easy to set this up in an automated way but may I suggest that, at least, folks start thinking of individual members of their audience when they create content. As Srini Rao pointed out on Mark Schaefer’s Grow, personalization is an advantage that content creators with small audiences should be exploiting.

    Consider taking the time to:
    – email a piece of content to a member of your audience
    – burn a piece of video to DVD or print out an article and hand it to someone at a networking event
    – reach out to someone directly in social media and let them know that “this is right up their alley.”

    These things don’t take advanced technical systems to execute. They simply require that you take some extra time to make an impact on a single individual.
    Russ Henneberry recently posted..Worth Your Time: The Google Zero Moment Of Truth ReportMy Profile

  4. For me, content marketing is all about lead generation. We’re businesses, if we aren’t doing it for leads, what are we doing it for?

    Rosie Slosek recently posted..Thinking about your tax return?My Profile

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