Key Metric: New leads in your database per month.
Why it Matters: Turn anonymous traffic into “known names’’ in your database.
Final Result: Users can opt-in to your database by entering their information in a form, and you can start building a relationship by contacting them regularly via email.
Attracting visitors to your content is obviously the first step, but these visitors will be anonymous unless you find a way to capture their contact information. Businesses rarely make money from anonymous traffic, so you need leads (“known names”) that you can create revenue from.
One of the core responsibilities of content marketing is to turn anonymous traffic into “known names’’ in your database. Pageviews are a vanity metric if those viewers don’t care about what you do.
Identifying anonymous users will allow you to build a relationship with the people in your database by sending helpful, value-first emails to them on a recurring basis. As you build relationships with the humans in your database, you can reconnect with them frequently to make them aware of your products and move them through the buyer’s journey.
But first, you need a way to collect these leads and attach a name and email address to each of them.
Set up Mailchimp.
Mailchimp is a good solution for most small marketing teams. It’s easy to set up, highly trusted, and cheap to start with. Most importantly, it has all the features you’ll need to start building your Content Engine.
Of course, it’s not the only viable solution. We recommend Mailchimp when you are just getting started and HubSpot once you have more contacts to manage and the budget and team to support it. You can use a different service, but we will use Mailchimp for this course.
Mailchimp is a powerful, cost-effective service to start growing your lead database.
If you have some HTML and CSS skills, you can customize the email signup form. If not, just use Mailchimp’s form builder to create a signup form at the bottom of each blog post you publish. Use a double opt-in process to ensure high-quality leads.
Finally, you can add a pop-up signup form if you feel like it won’t turn off too many people, but your content’s primary goal should be building trust. Pop-ups might hurt your reputation more than they help in the long run.
Trade contact details for assets that provide value.
Once your content engine is up and running, you should create a gated content asset to attract more signups to your email list. Such an asset is typically a downloadable piece of content with more depth than a typical blog post placed behind a signup form.
If you don’t have such a piece yet, you can start by inviting readers to “join our weekly newsletter,” “get updates about new posts,” or “sign up for a free trial.” Put this call to action (CTA) at the bottom of each blog post.
If you are interested in learning more about creating high-quality digital assets that provide value to your readers, check out our dedicated module about “Keyword Audits and Content Clusters.” In that module, we’ll give you a template for building your first gated asset based on verified user interest.