Most companies spend between 200% and 500% more on sales than they do on marketing. Not LeadPages — they flipped the model.
At our April monthly event, Clay Collins from LeadPages showed us how the B2B software company and 2014’s fastest growing startup in Minnesota used content marketing to land over 40K paying customers in 3 years without a single sales call. Keep reading to learn how they did it, and check out the 5 practical steps you can take to follow their content marketing model.
Clay Collins first described the problem that led him to look to content marketing as a way of acquiring customers. Collins noticed that Software as a Service (SaaS) companies often reported customer acquisition costs upwards of $10,000. This meant that the “payback period” on customer acquisition cost (CAC) for these companies was often over 2 years. Since LeadPages was a startup, such a long payback period simply wasn’t tenable, and they needed another way to bring in customers.
Solution: The LeadPages Thesis
LeadPages then came up with a thesis, phrased as a challenge: I bet a content team of 4 could outperform an 80+ person sales team at most companies, at 1/20th the expense. They then expanded this vision across multiple content channels, including YouTube, iTunes, blogs, and webinars.
They asked, “What if instead of hiring sales people…we could hire content creators?”
The results of this experimental approach to content marketing were enormous:
- A CAC between 1% and 5% of most publicly-traded enterprise SaaS companies (in other words, acquiring customers for $30 rather than $3,000)
- A high lifetime value (LTV) vs customer acquisition cost (CAC) ratio
- A flywheel of content that makes sales every day “while we sleep”
- An almost immediate payback period
- A marketing team that “owns” sales and bookings
5 Practical Steps to the LeadPages Content Marketing Model
1. Invest in Content Like You’d Invest in a Sales Team
LeadPages made a practice of hiring a “content channel owner” whenever they had the capital to hire a sales person (but they hired the content person instead of a sales person). In addition, they implemented an 80/20 rule for content: 80% value-added content and 20% light selling. They also designed a one-to-many sales strategy that went hand-in-hand with their one-to-many lead generation strategy (e.g. webinars).
They made this work by tracking content metrics publicly (like a sales leaderboard), making content channel owners responsible for their results, and pouring more money into the high-performing channels/content while scaling back on lower ROI activities.
2. Turn Every Piece of Content into a Lead Generation Opportunity
Instead of limiting lead generation to traditional landing pages, LeadPages turned every piece of content into an opportunity for acquiring leads—from speaking engagements to podcasts to webinars to blog posts. Clay encouraged marketers to always consider where someone is when you want them to opt in and make it an easy experience.
For example, during the session, Clay asked attendees to text “MIMA” to 33444 to receive the free slides from the event. I did this and immediately received a text asking for my email address where the slides should be delivered. The instant I sent my email address, I got an email with a link to the slides. Instant gratification for me that delivered content I was interested in at the moment, and now they have my email address!
3. Turn Every Blog Post Into a Landing Page
Similar to the above point but specific to blog posts, Clay stressed that every blog post should have a lead gen call to action (CTA). Give something away with every blog post: a checklist, a resource guide, or even a PDF version of the blog post that visitors can save and read later.
4. Utilize Post-Optin Thank You Pages
LeadPages also paid attention to what many of us would consider throw-away pages: thank you pages. The path to your thank you page is a set of many decisions, so why end the conversation with a generic thank you page? Instead, create value for those who’ve made it all the way to giving you their email address, and continue the relationship with a thank you page that encourages more interaction. For example, thank them for downloading the white paper and then ask them to sign up for a related webinar on the same thank you page.
5. Drive People From Your Thank You Page to Webinars
Finally, drive people to your webinars. Why webinars? Here are three good reasons:
- The majority of Fortune 500 B2B software companies are using webinars to sell their software
- Webinars are one of LeadPages’ top 3 conversion streams
- A webinar is the best one-to-many sales mechanism (the only thing better is getting someone one-to-one)
Webinars can be as simple as a Q&A session. Also, make sure to do webinars live, since live webinars not only convert better, but you can also directly answer people’s questions. According to LeadPages, between 30% and 60% of everyone who attends one of their webinars ends up purchasing.
To see more insights from this presentation, run through #MIMAEvent on Twitter or check out the slides available to MIMA members here: https://fndtn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/MIMA_v2_i1.pdf
Stay tuned for information on our upcoming month’s events. And remember, MIMA members always get into our events for free. Become a MIMA Member to get updated on more MIMA Events in the future.