How a “Free Retirement Planning Guide” Shows the Future of Marketing
March 28, 2017 by Bill Rosenthal

I recently did a Google search on the phrase “free retirement planning guide,” and got 10.5 million hits. Some of these hits were from organizations like Consumer Reports and AARP. Most of them were from firms that sell retirement planning services. I don’t see anything sinister in this. In fact, I think it indicates an extremely effective marketing technique, particularly for complex product and service offerings. It is called digital content marketing. 

Digital content marketing is the practice of offering high-quality, relevant content over the web in order to attract a clearly defined audience. Marketing content may take the form of white papers, webinars, podcasts, a blog, infographics, checklists, newsletters, or ebooks. When readers find the content you are offering, they are performing part of the sales qualifying process on themselves. A prospective customer who reads your marketing content is inviting you to be involved in their thinking about a need they have. When they read your content, in other words, you have made them part of your marketing conversation. Furthermore, those who consume your content may view you as an authority, and that gives you a great position in their minds when they think about their need.

The best thing you can do for your marketing operation is to offer content to people who want it. The more people take advantage of your content, the more of a web following you accrue, and the more of a web presence you become. People like to spread the word about resources they have found, so they put up links to your offerings in other places, from their Facebook pages to their contributions in forum discussions. Good content marketing is like creating a satisfied customer before you have even made the sale.

But even if you offer outstanding content, you still need to master online marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO), digital advertising, email marketing, and social media marketing. The web tends to hide firms that don’t have online marketing skills. There is proof of this in the 10.5 million hits I got when doing a search on “free retirement planning guide.” Of those 10.5 million, only the first three pages of hits (i.e., 30) have any real visibility, and for most users, it’s only the first page (i.e., 10). All the rest are essentially hidden from view, together with the answers that don’t get hit at all because they are misnamed or lack credibility to the search engine algorithms.

The online marketing strategies that gain you visibility on the web usually represent hard-won experience among marketers, but as knowledge has accumulated, digital marketing has become a discipline. With our partner, the Digital Marketing Institute, we have created an industry-recognized, expert-facilitated training curriculum that is geared to help marketing and sales professionals gain the skills needed to succeed in the digital world. 

Logical Operations offers that curriculum, which leads to the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing as well as the Professional Diploma in Digital Selling training curriculum. Each is a 5-day instructor-led training program with extensive hands-on activities and a real-world approach to gaining the skills needed for marketing and sales professionals to be more successful in their jobs.

To know if you could be helped by this training, see this link to a free diagnostic test of your digital marketing skills on this page.