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Family - A Seattle Advertising Agency

How to Fix the Biggest Mistakes Digital Marketers Make: Part I

Digital Marketing Plan

A lot of digital marketing rookies think they’ll instantly convert cold leads. In fact, most of your leads aren’t gonna convert right away – for example, if you have a high price point. Some of their other marketing sins include not anticipating the following: what to do if someone clicks, what to do if someone doesn’t click, and what to do after the person becomes a new subscriber. The overarching solution is to create a complete digital marketing funnel.

Nurturing leads over the entire customer journey – all the way from ice-cold leads to white-hot evangelists – will always convert at a higher rate than simply buying digital space and hoping for the best. But it’s a lot more complicated. The following is an actionable plan for creating a more effective digital marketing strategy, and the secrets of why these work.

  • Lead magnets

  • Webinars

  • Follow-up

  • Fulfillment

  • Long-term nurturing

  • List segmentation

  • List hygiene

We’re going to explain the key to attractive lead magnets, why webinars work so well, the nurturing process and little tricks that nudge people toward a purchasing decision, a plan for when someone raises their hand and announces they’re interested in buying (don’t let those leads go stale), fulfillment when they buy and, finally, the steps to take when they don’t buy.

Marketing Systems

But first things first. You’ll need some sort of marketing automation tool. Be sure to have a robust CRM system like Infusionsoft, Rainmaker, Drip or Active Campaign that allows you to do all the steps we are about to describe. There are many different systems out there, with more being added every day. After you’ve created a successful marketing funnel around your flagship offering or service, you’ll have the basic blueprint for building the next funnel for your other products. Don’t try to do multiple funnels at once. All categories are different; there are subtle variations that’ll need to be tested.


Your first campaign should offer a lead magnet. This starts the conversation with the promise of what you’ll do for your target audience after they become new subscribers. Lead magnets could be a checklist, a blueprint, a quick video or a video series. There are a lot of different lead magnets. But here’s the critical point: Design your lead magnet so that it captures the essence of your product or service. Make sure the offer and the product align. For example, if you’re selling a healthy meals subscription, don’t talk about exercise in the offer. It sets up the audience for the wrong solution. Align your magnet with your solution. If you’re not generating a list of prospects aligned with your solution, you’re potentially sabotaging your own success.


Every product is different. However, the easiest way to create a lead magnet that aligns with your solution is to offer a piece of the product as part of your lead magnet. It’s referred to as splintering. That’s why a lot of lead magnets are a checklist or workbook. They are part of the actual product. Another successful tactic is a swipe file. If a person downloads free swipe files and sees how awesome the product looks, they’ll be interested in how they can do the same. Always remember to align the lead magnet with your solution.

If you have a warm audience you can definitely have a lead magnet that takes people right into a purchasing decision. But with cold traffic, the goal of your lead-magnet campaign isn’t actually to make the sale. It’s to have them take the next small step toward conversion. It’s referred to as the commitment curve – having a person make small incremental steps before they make a buying decision. Those next steps might include a webinar or live consultation.

How to Market Buiness


After a person has handed over their email address in exchange for the lead magnet, you have an implied agreement to be responsible with what you’re sending them. If you’re dragging out the conversation beyond three to five emails, they’ll probably not convert – but any shorter and they probably don’t know you well enough. Begin by sending emails every other day and continue testing for effectiveness. The number of emails will vary from category to category, so it’s best to test the cadence.

Another variable to consider is the length of your content. For example, if you’re offering a 20-minute video, you might want to give them an extra day to get through that much material. However, if you’re offering a short checklist, it’s probably going to be OK to send an email every other day. It comes down to knowing your target audience, understanding what they want, and considering what type of content you’re delivering.

So, to review our strategy so far: Our lead magnet should warm up the leads by presenting them with something of value that’s aligned with your solution; follow up with three to five emails; and then let them know there’s going to be a live webinar coming up that will take them deeper into the subject.


Webinars are used as part of a longer nurturing process. If presented correctly, they dramatically expedite conversions. You’ve already delivered value with your lead magnet, and they’ve heard about your product in three to five emails, so now present them with the opportunity to learn more – extending the relationship. Again, it’s necessary to think about the commitment curve; we’re moving the potential customer along in small steps, call micro-commitments.

If you’re unfamiliar with presenting webinars, start by doing live webinars. Only after your presentation has been perfected should you move on to creating evergreen webinars. Here’s a process to help get a potential customer signed up and engaged in your webinar.

First, send out an offer for the webinar. It’s a live event, so there’s already a sense of urgency built into your offer. After people sign up for it, send four emails before the webinar starts: one is the confirmation email, which goes out immediately; the next one goes out the morning of the webinar; the third is sent an hour before the webinar and, finally, the last one is 15 minutes before the start. If you have the person’s phone number, send a reminder text message 15 minutes before the start. Many people are extremely busy and need these reminders.

People need to know something about the host of the webinar. Include an introduction in the first email. Sometimes it’s also beneficial to include some sort of tip, list, lesson or video. It’s nothing more than added value. Again, we’re warming up cold leads.

In the emails right before the webinar, make sure to include a request that everyone download the workbook. Downloading a workbook is another little micro-commitment that is going to make them more likely to attend and give them something to fill out as they take notes. As they fill in the blanks of the workbook, that’s another micro-commitment. A workbook increases engagement and provides a great resource for them later.

Programmatic Marketing


After the webinar, there needs to be follow-up. Send about six emails. Some will go to the people who attended. Some will go to the people who did not attend. For those who attended, there needs to be an offer. It needs some sort of urgency or legitimate scarcity – like an expiring bonus offer. For those who did not attend, you need to recruit them to another live webinar or use a different tactic.

Read part two where we go into greater detail on your follow-up emails, and the next steps to guide leads through the customer journey. "How to Fix the Biggest Mistakes Digital Marketers Make: Part II"

Mike Johnston is a production executive and advertising creative in Seattle. He is available for freelance consulting, writing and directing. Contact Mike

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