The Zero Clutter Approach to Content Marketing: 3 Things You Must Do

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You’ve been told before that content marketing is essential to growing your business online. So why do you procrastinate, failing to execute on even a small scale content marketing strategy? I run a business too and even I don’t have the time to create useful content for my people with any frequency.

The Zero Clutter Approach to Content Marketing: 3 Things You Must Do from Brendon Turner on Vimeo.

How can you fix this?

You’ve really got no recourse but to start using content to market your business. The power of content marketing done right is irrefutable. It will without question, literally transform your business, grow your customer base and impact your bottom line – if you are consistently executing a content marketing strategy. As an example, your blog can account for more than 80% of traffic to your website and can be the source of 75%+ of your leads. That marketing channel usually costs your company the least and provides the most return.

If you don’t have much time to dedicate to content marketing then at the very least you should spend your time on the following 3 techniques that will provide you with the most return for the least amount of time and money.

#1 Create Amazing Content with Regularity

It would be virtually impossible to have a content marketing plan without having any content. So you’ve got to produce content in some way or another. The content that you create has to be awesome! If you put fluff out for consumption it won’t be consumed. Period. Conversely if you plan ahead, learn a little about SEO, do some keyword research and take the time to create a publishing calendar or schedule – even if you plan to publish one new piece of content per day, week or even once monthly, stick to that schedule! Here’s a key takeaway: You have to be consistent with your publishing schedule. If you don’t stick to it your traffic will drop and it can take you months to regain ground. Momentum is a real force on the Internet.

#2 Build a List of Email Opt-in Subscribers

Your email list is how you’ll generate most of your repeat website visitors. I’m sure you’ve been told a hundred times over that the money is in the list. While this is true there are other benefits to building a list of email subscribers. When you publish a new piece of content and you let your list know about it your list will be the most engaged channel of traffic to your content. A highly responsive list will account for at a minimum 40% of comments on your blog posts and socially share your content 4 times more than any other source of traffic.

How do you build a responsive list?

Well, you won’t build an email list very quickly using a simple opt-in form placed as an afterthought on pages of your website. To get a decent percentage of people that visit your website to opt in to your email list you’ve got to be in their face with an unbeatable offer. Always remember that the opt-in form is competing for the visitor’s attention with every other element of content on your web page.

How do you compete for your visitor’s attention?

Use a WordPress plugin like Popup Domination to create a pop up that works with your email list management service. That ridiculously easy to use software can create a pop up opt in box that I’ve personally seen increase opt in’s by 300%.

How do you create an offer that is so compelling that it causes hordes of people to opt in to your email list?

Remember how I talked about failing on the execution of a content marketing strategy at the beginning of this article? This is where I don’t want you to fall down and stop short of achieving victory. Don’t install a pop up opt in box on your web pages without taking the time to create a compelling offer for your pop up box. If you drop the ball on this you’ll end up annoying your visitors, driving them away and they will never return to your website. Serious business!

Here are some real world proven techniques for creating an unbeatable offer.

Forget the ebook! Too many marketers are offering an ebook as incentive for capturing an email subscriber. That is no longer the most effective offer. What’s more effective right now is offering a course. Use a series of auto responder emails to deliver course material over 7 to 30 days. Give your email subscribers bite sized nuggets of useful and actionable information. Provide them with just enough to not overwhelm them.

Assigning a monetary value to the information that you’re giving away email subscribers can cause your opt-in conversion rate to skyrocket. Just because you’re giving great information away for free doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. Assign a dollar figure to your offer and watch your opt-in rate increase noticeably.

Colors can make a huge difference in the conversion rate of your opt in box. I’ve tested this at length and without getting into the psychology of color I just want you to know that red, green and orange are the highest converting colors when used on a call to action button.

Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your pop up loading characteristics. You can delay the time in which your pop up will appear on your web page. You can choose to show it only to people who have visited more than one page of your website. You can chose whether or not you’ll show the pop up to people on a mobile or tablet device. You can be very deliberate as to who will see your pop up. I’ve tested this extensively and the highest rate of opt in’s happens when I load the pop up immediately when someone visits my website for the first time.

The placement of the opt in form within your pop up box matters. You can place it at the top, on the left or right and underneath your offer. I’ve tested this and it produces the highest conversion rate when the opt in form is placed underneath the offer content.


Ask people for as little information as possible when they fill out your opt in form. Typically you only want to ask for their name and email address using two form fields if possible. To get the highest increase in conversions ask only for their email address – one form field.

Remember, now that you’re building an email list, each time you publish a new blog post send an email to your list and let them know about your new piece of content. That’s how you drive return visitors back to your website.

#3 Convert Content Consumers into Social Media Fans

You can use a pop up box for converting readers into social media fans. As a user scrolls further down the body of your article or blog post, pop up a box and ask them to ‘Like or Follow us to continue reading this article’ and be sure to provide a ‘No thanks’ link that will close the pop up box. This one tactic can acquire thousands of Facebook fans and Twitter followers for you.

Ask your visitors to socially share your content and to follow you. The 3 largest social sites that mean anything are Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Just encourage your visitors to engage with you on those 3 places. This will help your content to spread virally and will also help to improve the search engine rankings of your website too.

In Summary

If all you had was 15 minutes per day to spare, that would be more than enough time to execute those 3 things. At a bare minimum you must do these things to quickly grow your business online. These are the least expensive and most effective tactics for successful content marketing.

What other content marketing tactics have you found to be effective and worth your time?

Brendon Turner

Brendon Turner

Brendon Turner is a Partner and Director of SEO at, a full service SEO, web development and design company. Brendon also moderates the SEO... Read Full Bio
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  • Really great tips! I want to emphasize what you said about asking your visitors to share your content. Many people this is tacky, but a little ‘call to action’ at the end of each piece of content with your newletters, social networks and share buttons, is NOT pushy by any means. If you provide awesome content and simply ask them, ‘hey, if you liked this content, then please share!’ is a courtesy, not a demand.

    Truly great up-to-date tip about not offering an eBook. So many people offer eBooks that they just become cluttered messes on our computers and most of the time nobody ends up reading them anyway.

    Courses, however, are a great way to get people involved and engaged with you and your brand. Personally, this is the best takeaway from this article.

    Thanks for keeping it real, Brendon!

    • Brendon Turner


      Thank you for your comment.

      You’re right. There really is no reason not to ask your readers to take some kind of action with your content aside from reading it. Asking them to share your content socially is perfectly acceptable. Asking your readers to comment on your blog posts can sometimes prompt them to post an opposing viewpoint which opens the door for discussion and constructive dialogue to take place.

      And again you are correct. Asking for reader interaction is not tacky. If it were then we all might as well put down our pen and stop creating content, if it weren’t for the presence of content that engages readers and gets them thinking creatively, then we’d have fewer reasons to write better quality and more useful content for consumption.

  • Josh

    I like the sentiment, but it’s these kinds of invasive ‘Like Baiting’ techniques that I think quickly ruin the reader’s experience.

    You know what I do when I get a popup to “Like” a page when I’m reading an article? I close the page! Especially if I’ve just landed. The article/blog post loses credibility and I immediately look somewhere else.

    I suppose if you were offering a generous discount or similar benefit it might not be as bad, but when you’re straight up slamming readers with popups for like or subscriptions? No dice!

    Maybe these techniques are more effective, but I for one see a lot of benefit in a more subtle approach.

    • Hi Josh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You make a valid point and you aren’t wrong. There are certainly some websites where these techniques would never perform as well as on other websites with an entirely different audience.

      Your view point is quite valid, however you represent a segment or demographic of an audience that would choose to close the browser window versus taking a conversion action. There is another segment of the audience though that would willingly act on a call to action. For a website (business) owner to leave that segment of their audience untapped, it would be like leaving an opportunity for customer/viewer/reader engagement on the table without capitalizing on it and maximizing the potential for reaching out and acquiring new customers through social friends of their existing website visitors.