How To Create A “Lead-Generation Pipeline” With Your Blog (Part 1)

In the first of this two-part series, columnist Daniel Faggella outlines three strategies to ensure your content speaks to your viewers to turn traffic into prospects and prospects into buyers.


Today we’re going to talk about creating a “pipeline” that serves up leads and hungry prospects to you — every day, 24/7 — on autopilot.

Now, for the sake of full transparency, the methods you’re going to learn here today aren’t really so much about 100% automation as they are about 100% leverage. Here’s what I mean by that: Imagine you’re on an island, and you’ve been hired by a village to bring them water. It’s deep inland. And it pays well. Sounds like an easy trade: labor for dollars.

Of course, you have two choices…

  1. You can carry buckets all day, every day, to and from the village. It’ll be hot, the road is long, and sooner or later, it will become quite exhausting.
  2. Or you can build a pipeline, hang it above ground, safely out of reach of any unwanted critters, and simply make sure water goes in one side every day.

It’s from this perspective that I want to teach today. Let’s dive in.

Plugging The “Leaks” On Your Site

Now, most people are highly sensitive to the fact that they need to generate more leads, which many naturally translate to driving more traffic. But driving traffic without a proven conversion model is like dumping water into a pipeline with holes in it. Not good.

So first, let’s build the system that is going to take our cold traffic and ruthlessly convert it into leads and buyers. There is really only one simple step to doing this, but don’t fall prey to discounting it merely because it’s simple.

Simple doesn’t mean easy.

The key is to make sure your blog speaks explicitly and directly to the needs and desires of your potential buyers. There is a nuance to this, and to really understand it, you need to hack into what we call the “Buyer’s Journey” (which I’ll cover in Part 2 of this series, so stay tuned for that). Secondly, you want to give these potential buyers plenty of opportunity to raise their hands and add themselves to your list.

It’s at this point that this article will diverge from the plethora of mostly useless “training” material on the Web today… because, while most tend to dive straight into “tactics,” we’re going to talk instead about something far more powerful, far more subtle, and far more important to the success of your lead pipeline. We’re going to talk strategy.

3 Key Strategies To Building An Effective Online Pipeline

Tactics are specific “close-up” initiatives that you use in implementing your strategies. We’ll dig into those later in this article and (especially) in the next article.

Strategies are higher-level principles that really determine which tactics you use and when to use them.

It’s important that you develop the strategies first, and then fit the tactics around them. If you were filling up a glass jar, your “strategies” would be the big rocks, and the tactics would be the sand that fills in the gaps.

Strategy #1: Give First, But Only With Intention.

Believe it or not, my email marketing consultancy is an actual business that makes real money. I give away very valuable material for free all the time. But it’s always with a clear intention to push the prospect to buy.

Giving your best stuff away for free is all the rage right now. I’m not knocking it — I’m merely saying you should be intentional about what you give away. For instance, I happen to give away several free tools and worksheets for optimizing email marketing (although you probably want to frame the offer with language that emphasizes that what they’re getting still has real value). I don’t give jiu jitsu training at, because the goal isn’t just to give away free stuff.

The goal is to give away the right free offers that will attract buyers.

You might want to read that again or write it on an index card and tape it to your wall. You’ve got to “reverse engineer” this so that each piece of value that you give pushes them slowly and gently into a buying relationship with you and your company. Give with intention.

Strategy #2: Sell Quickly.

If you view “selling” as something to be afraid of, or worse, if you feel like selling or promoting your paid material is a violation of your leads and prospects, then you are in serious trouble. We’ll get into more of this when deconstructing the buyer’s journey.

The entire point of getting someone to opt in to your list is to educate them to a place where you can see real results as they “level up” to the paid stuff.  When you do your selling based on the values and goals of your prospect, it becomes less “salesy” and more helpful.

We can only offer so much value at the “bottom rung” of the ladder (the free material) before a lead will have to level up into the paid programs. Is it only to pay our checks? Absolutely not! It’s the way the world works. Name three things you value greatly for which you paid nothing. The things you pay attention to most often cost you a great deal of either time or money (or likely both), and it’s in an effort to best serve the customer that you must get them to invest as quickly as possible.

Strategy #3: Polarize, And Do It Now.

I love it when people unsubscribe from my list. Why?

Because the people who aren’t in line with our message are most likely not buyers. I’d rather someone unsubscribe than sit on my list, lukewarm and costing me money to email them — which leads us back to strategy #1: The point is to attract and convert buyers, not “freebie” seekers.

Polarizing (as in swinging to one side or the other) in your messaging allows you to connect deeply with the people who are most likely to buy from you. And it allows you to capitalize on those relationships by building virality into your marketing (They’re not just more likely to buy, they’re also more likely to share) while repelling those who are never going to buy from you.

A list of 100 potential buyers is worth infinitely more than a list of 1 million “never-gonna-buy” prospects.

Capture The Lead

Lining up these three strategies allows your tactics to be virtually unstoppable. If you get aligned on this, you’ll see noticeable breakthroughs in your lead generation efforts. Next month, I’m going to dive deeply into the best ways to actually optimize your site to capture email addresses. The point is to convert cold traffic into prospects, prospects into buyers, and buyers into raving fans.

In order to do that, you’ve got to start at the beginning (the strategy). But in part two, I’ll reveal my favorite tactics for practically rigging up your site to be a lead pipeline, and we’ll explore a few sites that are doing this exceptionally well.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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