You may have heard that pillar content helps move potential customers through the sales funnel. This is true because pillar content is designed to give readers different levels of depth and knowledge as they hit specific pieces of content. What that means to you is the better designed your pillar is, the more likely you will identify the blog pages that are your money pages.
Money pages are the ones that are designed to sell your product or service. These may be landing pages or they may be well-crafted blogs with a strong Call To Action (CTA). Money pages are designed to take a hot prospect and push them over the edge and want to purchase.
Hot Prospects Start Cold
Prospects are not always hot; they sometimes need more information about the topic and the potential solutions before they warm up to the idea that you have something they want or need. The warming up process doesn’t always happen immediately.
Think about your sales funnel like making sales calls. Once upon a time, I spent many hours every day on the phone selling stuff. When I mean stuff, my first telemarketing gig was in college selling Septic Helper. That’s right, a bunch of dried bacteria and enzymes that people would flush down the toilet to prevent their septic tank from overflowing and backing up into the house.
Back then (in the ice age) the calling list was photocopies of phone books from rural parts of the country where most people had septic tanks and had some idea of the problems that could occur. While the calls were targeted to those who likely had a need for the product, they were cold calls.
The Process of Warming Up Clients
The first thing that needs to happen when warming up cold clients is they need to feel a level of trust with you. On a cold call, this might be taking a moment to comment on the kids you year playing in the background or relating to something they say. In written blog content, this happens with providing well-researched information and being consistent in publishing data.
The second thing that needs to happen is an understanding of how much knowledge your prospect has about his own problems and your solutions to solve them. In marketing, this is called the awareness scale. The more aware your prospect is of his problem, the more likely he is knowledgeable about potential solutions. If he doesn’t even know he has a problem, he won’t care about solutions.
Example of the Awareness Scale
Going back to Septic Helper, if I happened to call a prospect who had moved from the city to the country and are brand new to living on a property with a septic system, they might not know or care to know how to maintain it. Someone who lived on a property with one for a while might be very aware of the problem, but have different solutions and not see mine as the most viable. In fact, one such master of the septic tank gave me some advice before hanging up: “Just cut the head off a chicken and toss that sucker in. Bacteria will take care of the rest.”
Getting Back to Pillar
Enough of the cold calling antics. You want to know how pillar content gets you to sales and making money on your website and blog.
The actual pillar, that behemoth article of 10,000 words gives your reader all the overview he needs. This is the person who just moved from the city and doesn’t know his shitter is going to crap out on him sooner than later. Maybe he hears someone talking about having to rent a backhoe to clear the drain field, but he is clueless. Your pillar helps educate him.
But, that reader isn’t ready to buy yet. Nope! He is just learning about the problems – what can become a great big pain point in his life, a house and yard full of crap. Assuming you have a section of that pillar that talks about the maintenance needed to keep a septic system healthy. Within that section, you use anchor text to link out to a sub-pillar talking about the various maintenance options including beheaded chickens, regular plumbing services, or a simple enzyme solution flushed down the toilet once a month.
If he clicks your anchor text in the pillar to go to the sub-pillar, you have effectively moved him down the sales funnel. He is now just a little warmer because he is educated further and curious about solutions.
Sub-Pillar or Supporting for Sales
Once the reader moves from the main pillar, he is closer to being a buyer in most cases. The money page could be a sub-pillar or supporting document. Both should have calls to action. Assume that your sub-pillar talks about Septic Helper and he figures it’s worth a try for $29 a quarter. He might just buy straight from that page after seeing how much plumbers costs and opts to keep his chickens for egg production.
However, he might be curious about these magical enzymes that eat poop. (Seriously, they consume the sludge in the tank to keep the liquid able to flow through the leach lines. Yes, I remember that from 25 years ago.) If your sub-pillar has anchor text or a CTA that takes him to the supporting page (sales page) for the product that talks about the science behind it, has data on the effectiveness of these types of products, and compares it, he has now become a hot lead.
You have effectively moved him through the pillar to your sales page. This is where your effective copywriting skills come into play. Like a great phone closer, you need to have the right tone, language, and offer to make them want to buy.
Readers Come to You At Different Stages
We’ve talked about the pillar and how someone on the Awareness Scale may not know enough to even realize he needs your product or service. What happens to those who don’t need that big overview. By doing the pillar, sub-pillars, and supporting blogs you have given Google plenty to show you are serious about the topic.
Someone who has a specific question about bacteria preventing septic backup might be led directly to your blog on that particular topic. That’s right, Google might send them directly to the sales page because that is what they were looking for. By having different content designed for different levels of awareness from readers, you are better able to target prospects in a way that resonates with them.
This brings us back to them learning to trust you and finding the solution based on their needs.
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