Build a Graceful and Effective
Lead Generation ProgramFor your high-end services firm
business development strategy
inbound content marketing
outbound lead acquisition
By the way, you know what your problem is?
You are great at giving sales presentations but you need appointments to do so (wild guess, how’d I do?)
This is why most services firms’ websites end up being a waste of space/money. They operate on the fools-gold premise that an effective website is the outcome of design and UX (UX is essentially a subcategory of copywriting), instead of copy. They don’t focus on lead generation.
Which is a shame because there is no more powerful marketing technology, strategy, whatever you want to call it, than your website with compelling copy – copy that sparks a conversation with your customers.
And because for a high-end services firm, ALL forms of lead generation, online/offline, outbound/inbound, word-of-mouth/complete-stranger, whatever the case may be, must go through your website.
This is why you should never hire a digital strategist who can’t write. If you can’t write out a strategy in copy that inspires action, is it really a strategy?
Same goes for positioning statements. You do “[X thing] for [Y type of customer]”. OK, sounds like you just checked a couple boxes. Not compelling, not interesting. Your positioning statement itself need to inspire action.
Nothing destroys both inbound and outbound lead generation efforts like content where conversion copywriting is called for.
Why am I telling you this?
Copywriting isn’t the end-all/be-all to lead generation, so why harp on it right off the bat? Let me back up. Most of my career I’ve been at digital marketing and technology firms; that’s put me on over 200 large digital projects.
I also helped build my own multi-million dollar, 20-person consulting firm, from scratch, as a partner.
The agency world is full of talent, but the work it does usually lacks something:
1. Effective copy (#1 for a reason: it’s rare)
2. Market/keyword research
3. Precise analytics
I’ve seen this lack in many businesses: SaaS and app startups, coaching/management consultancies, nonprofits & NGOs, UX and web design firms, dev shops, technology/IT consultants – and yes, even ad agencies and marketing firms!
Where digital marketing projects fail
Here’s how projects get sidetracked:
● First, someone says, “let’s redesign the website”
● OR, a new Director of Marketing is hired. Who says, “let’s redesign the website”
● Tons of time and money wasted in discovery/planning meetings
● Over-focus on the web, at the expense of other marketing channels
And so on. Lots of talk, no action. Days debating color choices: “But I don’t like green!”
The end result? A site redesign, instead of a *lead generation* redesign.
So the site becomes unimportant. It rusts.
Then 3 years later someone says, “I don’t like the website. Let’s redesign the website”.
The cycle repeats.
How do we break this cycle?
We start by inserting positioning-based messaging into your site. We transform your business strategy into a market-ready copy. Is your offer worth it? Let’s tell your customer why.
Not that we neglect UX design and technology. We just don’t let it DRIVE your marketing strategy. Web design is not a strategy.
Copywriting by itself isn’t either, but it’s the essential mechanism for (a) communicating your strategic value as a business and (b) putting a business strategy into action.
So what’s the magic bullet? The secret recipe? Is it a this “funnel” thing you might have heard of – or is it a special combination of this technology plus that ad channel?
Of course not.
Your entire digital presence is a lead generation funnel
In 1999, Seth Godin was the first to define inbound funnel marketing, in his book Permission Marketing.
Here’s how that concept is usually defined today, thanks in part to the “Hubspot” jargon:
(1) Attract strangers (SEO, blogging, ad copy)
(2) Convert visitors (Search and social ads, landing page copy, UX)
(3) Close leads (Web sales copy, UX)
(4) Delight customers (Email marketing copy, CRM, social re-engagement)
By the way, notice a pattern? COPY is everywhere.
But here’s the point: it’s not that funnels are bad or superfluous; there may be a use case for them. It’s that your core need isn’t a system, or a technique, or a trick. Your core need is good copy, throughout your digital presence.
And there’s something else ties it all together:
Technology, data, and metrics
That’s right: technology. The bigger your enterprise the more important it gets, especially the beating heart of a sales and marketing technology stack, CRM, and the primary mechanism for delivering copy, CMS.
Just think, our ancestors in the Olduvai Gorge were crafting “sales” technology 1.7 billion years ago, in the form of handaxes. And the best makers, early technology and marketing consultants, were the ones who showed others how to make their own handaxes. How do I know this? Because teach a man to fish, as it says in the good book.
I ran my own technology integration consulting firm and now my job is to teach a man to fish.
Data and metrics always matter, even in the selling of high-end services. I read the masters of copy: David Ogilvy, Rubicam, Caples. I’ve studied their methods too, like long-copy (still reading?), but what stands out is their focus on data. They’ve been metrics-focused for 100 years.
Digital marketing has no excuse not to be.
Measurement is part of everything I do from customer and competitor research to SEO analysis, to measuring ad performance, to every part of the lead and sales generation funnel.
So if you want a lead generation-focused digital strategy with MEASURABLE results, let’s talk…
What clients say
“Thank you for helping us get those 11,000 leads!”
“Rowan is a master of content strategy — he designed a perfect editorial calendar for our team.”
“Understands technology better than any marketer I’ve worked with.”
“Great at training and tries to teach whatever he knows. He turned our team into SEO content writers.”
Notes & Observations
What’s the difference, between the difference, between a UX consultancy, a digital ad agency, and a tech consulting firm? In my opinion, less than we think. All digital services firms are creatives, technologists, and bottom-line focused business strategists. Or should be…
One of the exercises advocated by management consultant David C Baker is “Drop and Give Me 20”. Here are 20 ideas about marketing that I obsess over. Tell me yours.
SEO Writing & Strategy
Brand & UX Messaging
Ads, CTA’s, Landing Pages
Drupal & WordPress:
CRM & Marketing Integration
Market Research & Analysis
I was fortunate enough to help build a global digital commerce solution for Tiffany & Co. as a Design Engineer at Oven Digital. Long before their suburban brick-and-mortar strategy put a retail outlet in every upscale mall in America, Tiffany & Co.’s web presence provided the only way for a huge customer base to learn about and purchase its jewelry.
The project was enormously successful from day one. As a result, its aesthetic qualities and content strategy have remained unchanged. It was the first enterprise website to combine a minimalist UI with large, top-line photography. And thanks to its photography, it was a pioneer in email-based spread-the-word marketing. Tiffany.com has been the benchmark throughout my career for superior digital content, content strategy, and user experience.
PetSmart Charities is the nonprofit arm of PetSmart Inc. and has a tremendous impact on pet welfare in North America. It sponsors animal welfare programs and is major grantmaker to thousands of animal welfare organizations.
Our teams worked together with PetSmart Charities to revitalize its online presence with an enterprise web and social media content strategy powered by Drupal. We integrated the new web presence with Luminate CRM e-commerce and email marketing tools, with outstanding results.
While I led PetSmart’s digital rejuvenation, 11,000 new marketing leads were created − along with a 70% increase in traffic.
The opportunities presented by a multi-generational, evergreen alumni base are mindbogglingly complex. Especially when most alumni contact records have never existed in digital form. By leveraging digital engagement technology and strategy, the University of Chicago saw an opportunity. It could boost alumni participation, improve the value of the network, and streamline fundraising and membership revenue.
A custom, private social alumni portal that did all those things. It even let former students “self-service” verify themselves online with a social security number or a decades-old student ID number. Solutions like that contributed to the evolution of the university’s most powerful revenue stream and let former students continue to get value out of their alma mater.
Rowan is a digital lead generation expert with an international client base of privately-held B2B agencies, consultancies, and startups selling into the US market. He conducts radically deep research to provide positioning-focused services and advice:
- Conversion copywriting
- Creative paid search and inbound funnels
- Strategic brand messaging
- Big-picture/SEO content strategy.
His own digital agency background is substantial and includes co-owning a 20-person Drupal and integrated marketing firm. Rowan also presides over Stampede, which creates simple lead generation websites and other marketing assets in one day. Clients who work with Rowan enjoy access to a network of designers, data scientists, writers, and developers.
Over his career, Rowan has contributed to over 200 digital marketing and engagement initiatives for clients ranging from the United Nations to Tiffany & Co. and the Smithsonian Institute.
In his personal life, Rowan loves dogs and rants about things like conversion rates and metrics.