What Is a Content Pillar

What is a content pillar

A content pillar is a large piece of content that can be broken into smaller, bite-sized pieces of content. This allows you to focus on a single topic or theme, but at the same time, meet the needs of every department in your organization.

Sample Content Pillar

Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and guides. You then repurpose this big content into individual blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, social media updates, and more.

The Need for Content Pillars

A content pillar approach is both an efficient and effective way to create and distribute content. It benefits your entire organization, not just your marketing department.

Imagine a potential customer browsing your website. She is very inclined to buy one of your products and called your hotline to confirm some specs. The customer representative then said something different from what she read on the website. She got turned off and decided not to buy any more.

This situation is not uncommon, even in big companies.

Most of the time, this happens because the people in-charge of the phone (sales) have a different piece of content that came from another part of the organization (product team). The content on the website is also different because it’s handled by different people as well (marketing).

The product team updates the product, they updated their technical specifications, both marketing and sales didn’t get the updated notification. Another scenario is marketing receives the specs, tried to reword it so the public can easily understand its benefits, but understood the features in a different way.

Multiple departments creating and handling their own versions leads to content chaos.

Creating a mash-up of content from experts and other teams without a unifying theme or approach results in a disjointed customer experience.

The solution to content chaos is to have every department involved in the content creation process. They should buy-in the idea that content is everyone’s shared responsibility.

Why? Because of the customer.

The customer only sees one entity — your organization.

The customer doesn’t make any distinction across the different “departments’ content” — sales brochure, fact sheets, website, calling cards, press releases, social media, flyers.

That leaves you with the only effective approach to solving content chaos — a content pillar.

Remember to involve the other departments when planning content campaigns. That way, everyone has a centralized content resource — avoiding different messages conveyed to customers.

Have you used content pillars in your digital marketing?

Let me know in the comments below!

What Is the Customer Lifecycle

What its the customer lifecycle

Customer lifecycle, or lifecycle stages, is an organization’s way of grouping their contacts. Take note that this is different from the buyer’s journey, where the customer goes through different phases from their perspective. Here, customer lifecycle is segmentation from the perspective of your organization.

Customer lifecycle is an organization’s way to describe the various stages a contact goes through when they are considering, buying, using, and remaining loyal to your organization.

The most important benefit of the customer lifecycle is it gives both marketing and sales a way to understand exactly where their leads and customers are at any given stage.

I’ll write a more thorough article about the main differences between the buyer’s journey and the customer lifecycle next time. But for now, I’ll focus on what the customer lifecycle is.

7 Customer Lifecycle Stages

1. Subscriber

A subscriber is someone who is slightly interested in hearing more from you and is not ready to buy now.

They may or may not be a good fit for whatever you are selling. The main reason for this is you don’t know anything about them.


Most of the time, these are people who subscribed to your blog and newsletter updates.

That is why selling to your subscribers often have disappointing results. Both parties don’t know anything about each other, but one party (you) already started selling to them.

It’s like proposing to someone to marry you on the first date. 🤦‍♂️

[pullquote align=”right”]Customer lifecycle is segmentation from the perspective of your organization. [/pullquote]

2. Lead

A lead is someone who is more engaged than a subscriber.

These people have self-qualified themselves by completing one of your macro goals. These come in the form of engaging your marketing offers like downloading PDFs or asking you some questions about what you offer via your contact us page.

Comparing to the other frameworks I’ve written, usually leads are in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. This also coincides with stages 2-3 of the awareness stages.

I suggest reading those articles because they can give you a clearer picture of how people buy and how your organization can be part of that buying process.

For small businesses or those who are starting out, most of the time you can group subscribers and leads together. The more important distinction are what follows next.

3. Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Marketing qualified leads or MQLs are people who performed selected actions on your website.

For example, they filled out your contact us form that asks them thoroughly so you know exactly what you need to know. If you’re a software provider, these people are the ones who downloaded your software and/or requested for a demo.

It’s important to remember two things here:

  1. MQLs are more engaged than regular leads. These are the people who performed selected actions on your site. Not everyone will convert to an MQL.
  2. Usually, this is the point where marketing passes of the lead for sales.

It is important to note that MQLs have been pre-qualified by marketing to meet certain criteria that would make them a good fit for your products/services.

4. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

A sales qualified lead or SQL is someone who has progressed further down the funnel.

In practice, these are people whom your sales team have contacted and have responded positively.

5. Opportunity

An opportunity is a contact who is ready to buy, able to buy, and willing to buy.

This is the only time when you (or sales) create an associated deal for the contact. It means they have fulfilled the 3 conditions listed above.

What this means is sales have re-qualified these people and have weeded out people who are just looking around. These people are, in fact, in the buying process. They are actively looking for a solution to their problem (or put it differently, trying to seize advantage of something).

In your CRM, when a contact becomes an opportunity, it creates a deal associated with the contact. That’s when you can clearly attach a ₱ or $ value to it.

6. Customer

This is the stage that everybody loves — a paying customer.

When a contact becomes a customer, several things happen. This should trigger a proper onboarding series. Along the implementation, you should create several milestones where you can ask for feedback, get some reviews, and ask for some referrals.

7. Evangelist

Evangelists are people who you know will never buy from you but are raving fans of your business. For example, these can be brand ambassadors or simply someone who likes what you do but can’t afford you. Other people also call this Promoters.

For example, I’ve been following HubSpot since 2012. I’d count myself as being one of their evangelists since they have given me so much value through their content. Up until 2015, I personally can’t afford their software, nor do the organizations I worked with at those times.

If you were to only categorize me in the normal sales cycle, I would have already fallen out. No lead nurturing campaign lasts for 3 years.

But, when I had the chance to handle the digital marketing of an organization with a relatively big budget, I jumped on this opportunity and subscribed to HubSpot’s marketing platform.

8. Others

Not everyone can and should be your customer. By trying to sell to everyone, you will eventually experience customer churn and/or realize more problems for your organization.

For example, you sell enterprise software. A small business will eventually stop subscribing to your software because it’s expensive and that they aren’t using it that much. Another scenario is if you’re a startup and your target are small businesses. You certainly don’t want to target bigger organizations because, even if they have the budget, you”ll often be asked to do more than what you can offer. This can take in the form of more customizations, favors, and a whole lot more. Basically, more headache for you.

Pro Tip: if you are using a CRM, you’d notice that the lifecycle stages are tied to the Contacts (or People, depending on how your CRM calls them). They are not associated with deals. What this means is that you don’t only look at deals. Deals, like discussed above, are real business opportunities that have a ₱ or $ value to them. This framework allows you to focus only on customers that are a high fit for your business.

So, what are you going to do next?

Use the customer lifecycle to segment your contacts internally. Having a proper marketing and sales alignment on how each stage is defined will save you future headaches. Both marketing and sales will know their respective roles and won’t keep blaming each other for not reaching their goals.

How are you using the customer lifecycle in your organization?

Let me know in the comments below!

7 Easy Steps to Generate More Leads Online

7 Easy Steps to Generate Leads Online

Generating leads is undoubtedly the single biggest challenge for every marketing professional. But, it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

If you want to succeed in digital marketing, you need to know how to generate leads effectively.

1. Create Marketing Offers

Marketing offers, or lead magnets, are special pieces of content that people are willing to trade their contact information to gain access to it. They can come in the form of PDFs (like white papers and eBooks), spreadsheets, and email courses.

Marketing offers are the only proven way to generate leads online. The most popular among them is the newsletter signup.

But, that by itself isn’t enough. There is no value added to the user when they signup for your newsletter.

Start thinking about your customers and how you can help them.

If you’re a photographer, you can create a mini email course about the basics of photography. If you’re an accounting firm, you can create a PDF checklist with all the tax returns businesses need. In fact, you can create a checklist for the different types of registration. If you’re an eCommerce site, you can create a First-time Online Buyer’s Guide to educate people about buying stuff online.

Now, for every marketing offer, you follow the succeeding steps.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume your chosen marketing offer is a PDF.

2. Create a Thank You Page

Now that you have your marketing offer, it’s time to create a thank you page. This differs depending on what software you use or plan to use.

In my case, I’m using Thrive Themes. It’s a conversion-focused theme that allows me to create and design landing pages/thank you pages with ease.

You can also use standalone landing page builders like Instapage.

Or if your email marketing software already offers it, use the built-in landing page builder. For example, if you are using ConvertKit, you can do it there without the need for any special software.

Keep this simple for now. Add a button to enable download of your PDF. That way, when people click on it, they can download the PDF you just made.

Pro Tip #1: Add a noindex tag to this page so that no one can accidentally stumble upon this page from search engines.

Pro Tip #2: When you have your next offer, add a call-to-action here to keep the user engaged. Think of it as the next logical step in your sales process. So if they downloaded a “checklist on pros and cons of the different dog food diets,” your next offer could be something like “the science behind dry dog food and why it’s the best diet for your dogs.”

3. Create a Thank You Email

A thank you email is a supplement to the thank you page. It is basically a confirmation of the action that your user just took. For example, if it’s to download a checklist, it’s an email that does two things:

  1. Thank them for downloading the checklist; and,
  2. Allowing them to download the checklist

It’s a best practice to either have the download link directly in the email or link to the thank you page where people can download the PDF.

I always go for the latter option, but that’s up to you.

4. Create a Landing Page

You can read more about landing pages here. In that article, I shared the 9 key elements of an effective landing page and why landing pages are a must if you want to start generating more leads.

The most common landing page is the contact us page. Sadly, that’s about the only landing page most organizations make.

But remember this — the average conversion rate for a landing page is between 1-3%. Most of the time, it’s at the lower end of that range.

So if you’re targeting 50 new leads a month and you only have one landing page (the contacts us page), with a 1% conversion rate, you would need at least 5,000 people to visit that page.

And we both know you’re contact us page doesn’t get that much traffic other than your homepage or your blog. So, realistically speaking, you’d need 3x to 4x unique users to reach your goal.

Does your website get that much traffic?

5. Create a Call-to-Action (CTA)

A call-to-action in digital marketing is a way for marketers to link to their marketing offers. Essentially, it’s a link that points to a landing page.

It can be as simple as “subscribe now” or “download this eBook.” This then links to your landing page created specifically foe the marketing offer.

There are best practices for crafting the copy of CTAs and there are multiple variations you can use — from plain-text links to images, or placements like sidebar, homepage, within the blog posts, etc. You can read more about it here.

6. Distribute

Distribution is a step that is often neglected by marketers. After creating an awesome marketing offer, they post it once on their social media accounts. Some even try using paid ads.

But remember, not everyone can and will see what you post today. 10 weeks from now, your offer would still be valuable. But by then, no one has seen/heard about you and your offer. Don’t forget to keep sharing / posting about the offer you worked so hard to create.

The more content you create, the more you can vary this.

Another way to distribute your marketing offer is to put them all over your website. For example, if you browse different pages of my site, I have placed multiple CTAs for the Case Study I made. For example, on the right side of this page (assuming you’re reading this on a desktop), you’ll see a CTA there to download the case study. You can also see this prominently displayed on the homepage.

I also link to the case study in my blog posts like what I did here.

Just keep in mind that it has to be natural. Which brings me to the next step…

7. Add Supplemental Content

This is an important step you need to take if you want people to see (and eventually download) your marketing offer.

The more places you can showcase your marketing offer, the better.

Basically, this step is to create more blog posts related to the topic so you have more chances of linking the landing page of your PDF.

If you noticed, throughout this article, I have tons of links to my other articles. This is called internal linking.

If I don’t write blog posts like this, then I won’t be able to link to my other articles — or in your case, the marketing offer.

Pro Tip #3: At first, it’s ok to use the same marketing offer across all your blog posts. But, as you create more offers, you can group them based on topics and/or buying stage. For example, I have an email course about email marketing and a PDF report on blogging. I can place my email course CTAs on my articles about email marketing and use the PDF CTA on my blogging articles. This will make your marketing offers more relevant to the reader. More on this some other time!

So, what are you going to do next?

Generating new leads is easy if you have something of value to offer. Newsletter signups don’t provide value to the user. Also, if you rely on your contact us page to be your primary source of leads, prepare to be disappointed.

Start creating marketing offers in exchange for your contact’s information.

If you’re stuck or don’t know where to start, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

How to Generate More Leads on Online

Create marketing offers

Marketers offers are lead generation tactics that you put on your website. Other marketers call this a lead magnet. This can come in the form of PDFs like eBooks and white papers and case studies. It can be a special video tutorial or a webinar. Whatever it is, the more offers you have, the more leads you’ll get.

Use thank you pages to guide them to the next step

Thank you pages are specific pages on your site that loads after a person gives you their information. The best use case for this is to add the next logical step in your funnel to keep your visitors engaging with you. For example, they can download an eBook. Then, in your thank you page, you add a…

Write an awesome thank you email

A thank you email gets sent to the person who enters their information on a form. The best practice is to add the link to the offer in the email. It’s also a great idea to add specific steps you want the recipient to do next. Remember, thank you emails (sometimes referred to as a welcome email) is the email that will get opened the most. Use it to your advantage. That said, don’t start selling here.

Use landing pages designed to convert

Landing pages are specific pages on your website that are designed to convert its viewers into leads. Its one and only goal is to get the user to fill-out a form (or take an action). If elements on your landing page do not contribute to that goal, remove it.

Add calls-to-action (CTAs) all over your website

Calls-to-action or CTAs are links that drive people to your landing page. It can be as simple as a “download” button linked to a landing page, or a “click here” text, or an image with a link to a form. Whatever the type of CTA, what matters more is that you use them all over your website—in blog posts, sidebar, above the fold, below the content, in the footer.

Distribute your content everywhere

In order to generate leads, people have to find your landing pages. They can’t do that if the CTAs that link to them can’t be seen. So, make sure you distribute your content everywhere. Social media, email, browser notifications, and ads are a great place to start.

Add supplemental content

Generating leads is a numbers game. Statistics say that the average landing page converts only 1 out of 100 visitors. In order to skew this to your advantage, don’t use generic offers on the page. Make it relevant to the content it is referenced. This is known as content upgrades.