Building Your Digital Content Marketing Ladder

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In order to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself as a company, as a marketer, as a brand, you need a way to get to them, a path that helps you understand what you should be doing next. Rather than just do stuff haphazardly or because everyone else is doing it, take a few minutes to apply some structure to your digital marketing assets.

Here’s a sampling of some digital content assets you have at your disposal:

  • eBook downloads
  • Email newsletter
  • Webinars
  • Blogs
  • Social networks
  • Basic website

Which should you be doing? In what order? Not very clear, is it? After all, beyond having a website, everything else seems a bit like a digital potluck dinner. There’s no implied strategy, no sense of what should come next after putting your digital shingle out there.

In order to achieve the goal of getting someone to buy something, you can either push them along or you can provide them with a clear avenue, a ladder in which the next rung is reachable and there’s something worth attaining by taking the next logical step. Each rung on the ladder requires additional effort and commitment, so there’d better be something increasingly good waiting for the prospective customer.

Ladder of commitment
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In this example – and it’s just an example, because your process will vary – getting someone to visit a website is fairly simple. It requires no commitment beyond clicking on something. A slightly higher level of commitment comes from a social network relationship. Clicking the Like button or adding someone in a G+ circle requires very little effort but does have a bit of commitment to it. As you go up the ladder, more and more is asked of the prospective customer, until they are swiping the credit card.

Let me emphasize again that the above is just an example. It’s almost certainly not how your digital content assets work. For example, if you require registration to download an eBook, you’re automatically asking more of someone than just asking them to sign up for a newsletter because there’s a good chance you’re asking for more information.

This will seem counterintuitive, but I’d recommend starting from the top down, building items down the ladder. You may find that you have such a compelling newsletter or such a compelling webinar that people willingly make the leap, like Jackie Chan jumping up a fire escape. You’ll also pull the most qualified prospective customers this way, the folks who are ready and willing to make a leap for you. Each rung lower that you build will bring in more people, but because the effort to reach each subsequent rung gets less and less, those people will move up the ladder more slowly.

Sit down with your team and decide what your content marketing ladder looks like. Doing the exercise of matching content to commitment will help you prioritize your content creation and get people moving in the direction you want them to go: up the ladder to being your customer.

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