Move Prospects Through the Customer Journey With a Solid Content and Digital Marketing Strategy (PART 1)

NOTE: These are my personal notes from Digital Summit 2019 in Phoenix. They contain no copyrighted material or links to any copyrighted material offered during the session.

SPEAKER: John Triplet - Vertical Measures



Content Marketing: Providing Relevant Useful Content WITHOUT selling or interrupting your customers. Ensure your customers are informed before they buy.

Success in Content Marketing means month over month lead growth.

Digital Marketing Spend: 41% in 2018... will be 45% by 2020.

In more industries – people are NOT brand loyal – they care about better prices or better offerings.

Order of importance in MOST industries:

·      Social

·      Search

·      Online Video

·      Email

·      Mobile Video

·      Mobile Display

In 2019 – Customers have taken 57% of their journey before talking to a sales person. Of that group – 67% of that journey is on-line.

Marketing is about creating Awareness... not necessarily about Selling. The Sales Person is does the selling.


It’s vital to map your customer journey – what process does your customer go through? OR – All the steps the customer takes to solve their problems.

Mapping your customer journey will see increases in Marketing ROI, Sales, Social Engagement and Referrals.

Simple GENERAL Customer Journey – in the best possible scenario:

·      Awareness

·      Consideration

·      Decision

·      Advocacy 

Simple SPECIFIC Customer Journey:

·      Inquiry

·      Comparison

·      Purchase

·      Installation (Usage)

Make sure there are no gaps in your process. FOR INSTANCE: Do not drive potential customers directly to your website (sales conversion page) if you’re promising to deliver objective content that will help them to decide. If you send them to your website and try to sell them – you’ve made the decision for them and they will abandon.

Create a LOW BARRIER OF ENTRY to get customer data – Something easy. Don’t ask a lot. Don’t scare them off. Just name and email to get the data you’re promising.

Must have good CALLS TO ACTION to keep them moving forward in the journey. 

·      Hook them with Name and Email to get article. Then reference ebook that can be downloaded.

·      To Download the ebook, collect job title and more information to help place them in the right bin.

(SIDE NOTE: Video Testimonials are hugely engaging and convert really well)

The end result isn’t JUST creating the sales – it’s turning them into BRAND ADVOCATES.



62% of companies who have successful digital marketing have a DOCUMENTED strategy that they adhere to.

BUT... it must be flexible.  

Fundamental Elements:

·      Set Business Goals

·      Who is Our Audience?

·      What is our Current State? (What works, what do we need to fix?)

·      Competitive Analysis

·      Now – what is our Strategic Initiatives

Tactical Considerations

·      What will you create?

·      Where will it live?

·      Who will create it?


·      Hard Goals – Measurable, Data, Analytics

·      Soft Goals – More fluid things. Lofty & Aspirational “We want to be seen as ____ in our industry.”


·      Who are they?

·      Where do they live (digitally) – Where do they search? What Social platforms are they on?

·      What are their problems?

·      What questions do they have?

·      What are the actions you want your customers to take?

To answer these questions... Go to:

·      Sales/Customer Service

·      Do Industry Research (blogs, newsletters)

·      Google Analytics (where are they coming from, what are the referral links?)

·      Social Analytics (who is following us?)

Tools to help you:


Current State Analysis:

·      Your Current Channels (what are you using?)

·      What are your Competitors Channels?

·      State of your Website

·      State of your Competitors Website

Gap Analysis:

·      Review your Content

·      Does it align with your journey?

·      Are you missing portions of content for EACH STAGE of your customer journey? Fill in those gaps.

·      Is any of your content old/outdated? Can be consolidated into one really good piece of content? 


·      Screaming Frog is a good tool – will crawl your website and show your all the data regarding content. You can then export and handle that Gap Analysis.

·      Also – Google Analytics and SEMRush 

Target Allocation:

·      50% - Awareness

·      30% - Consideration

·      15% - Decision

·      5% - Advocacy

Competitor Research:

·      Look at Backlinks – what content of theirs is getting good backlink tractions

·      Page rankings – what keywords are working?

·      Volume – What kind of traffic are they getting? (3rd Party Tools necessary)

·      Frequency of Content – How often are they publishing?

·      Content Types – What types of content are they using? Articles? InfoGraphics? Video? Etc?

·      Organization – How are they organizing their content?

SIDENOTE: Make your Blog EASY TO FIND – Above the Scroll.

Good Tools to help analyze competitors:






Tactical Considerations:

·      What types of content will you create? (Video, Info Graphics?)

·      Do you have someone who can create these things or do you need to outsource?

·      Where is that content going to live? (GOAL: Store it on your website then use Social to drive people to your website)

·      Governance – Who is in control of the content? The approval process is the thing that most typically slows things down.

Research Content Creation Tools – there are many. Places where content can be created and places where you can get ideas.

Assign roles: Who is responsible for what? This must be clear or the whole process will slow down.



·      Consistency is key

·      Don’t necessarily strive for Viral Hits – strive for modest hits. Create good engaging content. Don’t overcomplicate.

Topic Ideation – What are you going to write about?

·      Cost/Price – Not sales, but explaining why things are the way they are.

·      Problems/Issues – Provide content that helps people solve their problems and issue. You will be seen as a trusted leader.

·      Vs./Comparison – Compare items. Products.... but ALSO – You vs Competitors. Don’t be afraid. Be honest.

·      Reviews

·      Best/Top – Lists that ranks items/products

·      Resource Pages – Content that provides information and value – is helpful

Questions to answer first:

·      Why are you creating content?

·      Who is your Audience

·      Who are you?

·      Where will you publish?

·      What will be different a year from now? See what’s coming. What changes in the industry?

Tips for Ideation and “being found”:

·      Have a place that just LIVES – anytime someone has an idea, they put it up, keep a library.

·      Involve as many people as possible in ideation – all departments can contribute (Spiffs – write come content, we’ll give you some $$$)

·      Google Suggestions are a GREAT source of content – start typing in google and see what pops up. It will show you what other people are searching for.

·      Look at Search Results – What is ranking? This is what people are looking for.

·      Predict WHAT PEOPLE WILL SEARCH FOR – And then write an article called EXATCLY that.

·      Look at Google’s “People Also Ask” section for ideas

·      At bottom of Google Search Page – look at “Related Searches” Page

·      Look at keywords and see what the suggestions are (Moz Keyword Tool)

· – Will give you questions people are asking and comparable ideas.

·      YouTube – Use YT to begin searching and see what pops up.

·      Titles – Do your best to title your items exactly what people are searching.

·      Don’t use cute titles that no one is searching for 



·      Create Keywords on YOUR website. This takes time 12-24 months to create a big footprint.

·      Drive people back to your site

·      Get them to offer their info

·      Get them into your CRM

·      Build Database

For EVERY piece of content, ask:

·      Would my Audience Search for this?

·      Specific Purpose?

·      Is it informative?

·      Easy to read? (Include images and bullets)

·      Would YOU want to read it?

When trying to get info from a viewer:

·      Ask – am I offering enough to ask for their information? 


“The Best Place to Hide A Dead Body is Page 2 of Google”

  • 93% Of Online purchases begin with Search.

  • 91% of users never move past P1 of Google

  • 53% of Website Visits are created via Organic Search

You cannot outsmart Google... this will take following best practices and understanding that it takes time!

ON-Page Elements: Should pertain to your topic

*** Keywords should be used (but NOT overused) in all of these)

·      URL

·      H1 Header (Only Want ONE of these per page, more will hurt your ranking) Different from URL, but similar and relevant.

·      H2 Header (Have Mutiple) Key Phrases

·      Content

·      Title Tag (not visible on page)

·      Meta Description (not visible on page) – use this as a call to action – entice people to enter your page 

Duplicate Content:

·      Do not create a post for a Blue Shirt and then a separate post for the Red Shirt.

·      You will dilute your effectiveness

·      Google will ding you

Mobile First Indexing:

·      Must be mobile optimized

·      Google looks at your Mobile site BEFORE it looks at your desktop site

·      Look at Google Search Console to see where your issues are

·      Be smart with your pop-ups. USE THEM.. but... Too Many or too hard to make go away and google will ding you.

·      Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)  - Use for content pages, not necessarily for all pages. 53% of uses abandon a search if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Test your page load speeds:

·      Google Page Speed Insights




TIP: Compress Images – they are the biggest source of long load times.

Competitive Keyword Research – Will give you an idea of what Keywords Competitors are using. You’ll see overlap AND places they’re getting traffic and you are missing. (Tool: SEMRush)

Striking Distance – Look at the pages that appear on P2 & P3 – likely a few tweaks with On-Page elements can get that pushed forward to P1.

Optimizing Images:

·      File Names

·      Alt and Title Tags

·      Context Matters – what is the content that is around the image

Optimizing Video:

·      Specific, Compelling Title

·      Link Placed at the Beginning

·      Relevant Tags

·      Full Transcript – Google can crawl this – it can’t crawl the video


·      Ensure you’re using secure site (HTTPS) – will help with ranking and security.


·      Top 3 ranking factor

·      Build Relationships

·      Do Research

·      Reach out and ASK for backlinks