Why Do Businesses Create Useful Free Content?

Recently a colleague from the sales department asked me to send him some information on content marketing. He enjoyed the information but he still had one nagging question “Why would you make such useful marketing content free?”. It’s a legitimate question that I did my best to answer. I’m hoping this can help more people understand why content is a key component of your marketing funnel.

The examples of content marketing I sent him were pieces I’ve done previously on Bossitude:

First Warm Traffic Ad Campaign
First Cold Traffic Ad Campaign

Colleague: Thank you! I have a question though. Why would someone create these and spend all the time on them for free? I don’t think I’ve fully grasped why people create content like this.

Also, it’s very well structured and easy to read by the way!

ME: Typically it’s top of the funnel content. It helps you segment users by interest, build authority etc. It’s the first step in a cold sales process.

Colleague: Cold sales process? May you break that down to me even further? I don’t know, it’s so hard for me to wrap my head around. What is the ultimate purpose and benefit in creating free content for people to just read?

ME: Sure, so let’s run through an example scenario. You have a company that sells real estate training. We won’t get into specifics, but we’ll say it is on the investment side. Your company is looking for people to sell their home or property to you. What you do with the property doesn’t really matter. You could flip it, rehab it, rent it, or sit on it. So how would you find these people and establish yourself as a trustworthy source to cold prospects (people that have never heard of you).

People that are not familiar with you or your company are “COLD”.

One way to do that is to create content that shows you know what you’re talking about. Content that showcases your expertise and ability to solve customer problems and create solutions.

An example for this business would be articles like “10 Signs it’s time to sell your rental property”, “5 ways to get your money out of your house”, “Checklist: Should you downsize your home?” etc.

You would then start directing traffic to this content via ads.

The people that click these ads and go to your content are likely to have some interest in selling their home. When you have enough hits you can expand your audience using a lookalike audience. This is beneficial as it allows you to laser focus your prospects by segmenting them with content.

You then use another ad to re-target the people that have viewed your content and match your customer avatar. You can retarget them with something like a discovery call or free consultation or a tool that will estimate how much money they can get for their home.

All the prospects that click the retargeted ad and complete the optin are now warm leads. They’ve seen your brand, read your content and have filled out some information. Next step would be to turn them into a conversion, client or customer.

Content → Ads to Content/Cold Traffic → Retarget Content Visitors → Optin → Warm Lead

Make sense?

Colleague: That makes PERFECT sense!

So that is the ultimate reason why content marketing is essential to do when you’re in business?

ME: That is one of the dominant reasons, yes.

Are you using content to better segment, cost optimize and target leads that turn into customers? Read more about digital marketing on my blog at www.robertmcmillin.com.


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7 Timeless Tips on Advertising from Ogilvy

You’ve probably heard of David Ogilvy and his timeless marketing book “Ogilvy on Advertising”. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy here.

I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite nuggets of wisdom that I’ve found in his book and have used for my clients, successfully, and that you can start using today to help your business grow. Let’s jump in…

Speak Visually. Create an infographic with Visme

Marketing Tip Number One:

It pays to give most products an image of quality. A first class ticket.

Marketing Tip Number Two:

Big ideas are what it takes to attract consumers to your product. (Which leads us to…)

Marketing Tip Number Three:

How to recognize a big idea.

Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
Do I wish I thought of it?
Is it unique?
Does it fit strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for 30 years?

In a recent post I wrote about harnessing the power of mass desire on to your product, I covered why some ads run for 30 days and some run for three decades. You can check it out here.

Marketing Tip Number Four:

Positioning (what it is and what it isn’t)

Positioning is not a buzzword. Simply put, it is “What a product does and who it is for”.

Marketing Tip Number Five:

For local advertising you get [much] better results when you name the city/location in your headline.

Marketing Tip Number Six:

Recall increases by [an average factor of] 28% when you put your headline in quotes.

Marketing Tip Number Seven:

Story Appeal (use it). Add photos that arouse curiosity and entice the prospect to read the copy.

When it comes to marketing your business you have to take a unique approach, because after all, your business is unique and the problems you solve and face will be unique as well.

Copying what others do won’t get you there. Learning principles, tips and “hacks” that are proven effective will help. However, it’s up to you and your team to find the groove that makes your product irresistible to your customers.

These tips can get you some of the way there but don’t look for all the answers on the internet. Use your mind, trust your gut (you understand your business better than anyone else) and rely on the facts that can help you leverage your marketing efforts further.

When you’re creating your next marketing campaign try to remember these tips and this quote from Steve Jobs. I find it both insightful and motivating, I hope you do to!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs

What’s Your Web Traffic Like?

Most clients who I talk to have Google Analytics hooked up to their site. My typical client, never looks at it, and those who do scan some top line numbers, like visits, new traffic and time spent on the site. What they don’t realize is if they dig a bit deeper in their web traffic, there is a wealth of advice waiting to be had in Google Analytics

I want to break down a client of mine’s web traffic for you. So far this month my client has seen 1,569 sessions on their web site. The traffic is meeting their expectations, but the conversions are lower than expected. So we jumped into Google Analytics to see if we could understand what’s going on.

Behavior Flow

We started off looking at Behavior Flow. This client is getting traffic from social media campaigns, email campaigns, and organic traffic, and Behavior Flow shows us what people do when they arrive on the site, based on the traffic source. We saw pretty quickly that their email recipients were much more likely to stay on the site, and click through to the inner pages that we needed.

The social media people, however, were floundering. Nearly 90% didn’t click on anything, and of those who did, we were seeing just a handful arrive at our registration page. Our first impression was that we needed to re-evaluate our social campaign, because if 90% are dropping off, we’re probably missing our target market.


Our next stop was the acquisition tab, where we looked at how our social media campaigns were performing. Our campaign URLs all have UTM codes, so it was pretty simple to see which campaigns were bringing in traffic that led to conversions, and which campaigns were total duds.

Acquisition was helping confirm our suspicion that we needed to adjust some things in our social media campaign. However, it was more nuanced than our initial impression. Our campaigns were all targeting the same audience, and since some were more successful than others, it seemed that the issue wasn’t our target audience, but was probably ensuring that the messaging in the ads was supported by the landing page. Canceling or adjusting some social media creatives would probably increase conversions.


Our last stop flipped all our thinking. We compared the difference between our mobile and desktop traffic. Our web traffic was 53% desktop, 47% mobile, but our conversions were 85% desktop, 15% mobile.

We looked deeper and found that nearly 80% of our social media traffic was coming in on mobile devices, and 90% of them were dropping off without clicking a single thing. When we compared social mobile traffic to email mobile traffic, we found the same low conversion rates. However, most of our email recipients are older, and they were arriving to the site via desktop, not mobile.

It was clear that while we needed to adjust some of the campaigns, the real issue here was the mobile experience. My client has a responsive site, but the mobile site loads slowly, and the user experience was never really considered. It was basically a modified version of the desktop site.

Now, my client has a decision to make. They can stop advertising on channels that cater to mobile users, and keep their website as is. Or they can completely rethink the mobile experience, and deliver mobile-friendly content to their mobile visitors.

As the world moves more and more mobile, it should be an easy decision to make.