LIFT Speaks Ep 30 with Joel Widmer: How to Build a Conversion-Focused Content Marketing Strategy (That Actually Works)

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Joel Widmer, Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing, is a highly sought-after content marketing guru. He recognizes that every business owner brings unique experiences and a perspective that will resonate with their audience. He gets results by taking his client’s expertise and voice and getting it in front of the right people – time and time again.  The impact is lead development and revenue generation.

Joel is teaming up with the LIFT Office to host a hands-on, half-day workshop designed to help small business owners and marketers master their content marketing strategy. You’ll gain the insights and understanding you need to plan and execute a marketing strategy that generates more quality leads for your business.

This workshop will teach you how to get out of the content friend zone and build real connections with your readers (Just like you do offline).

In today’s podcast, Joel shares two of his recent success stories and who would benefit by being a part of the workshop – How to Build a Conversion-Focused Content Marketing Strategy

Hurry! The seating is limited. (Really!)

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Catherine Miller: Hi. Welcome to LIFT Speaks. Today I’m visiting with Joel Widmer of Fluxe Digital Marketing and Joel is a member here at the LIFT Office and one of the smartest guys I know and I mean that really sincerely.

Joel’s website Fluxe Digital. I go there regularly. He can probably see that I’m always downloading his content. It’s full of great ideas. I know of no other website that has as many lessons and classes and papers on how to do things in the marketing world. I absolutely love it.

Joel Widmer: I will pay you later.

Catherine Miller: Oh, yeah. OK, fine. But it is great. It’s great stuff.

Joel Widmer: Thank you, yeah.

Catherine Miller: So I’ve asked Joel to come today because Joel has agreed to partner with us here at LIFT Office to conduct a class, to teach us how to use our expertise to generate leads and to increase our revenue. In the end, that’s the end game is that we’re going to work to take those leads and to turn them into actual revenue. So I’m super excited about learning this class.

I recently read Seth Godin’s latest book “What is Marketing?” and in the intro of his book, he talked about how we think of the internet as this great vast playground where we can tell our story and people will find us and a lot of times it doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s like we lay our story out there and it seems like, “Wait, did anybody hear that story?”

What Seth says in this book is that actually, it’s more like there’s a billion whispers out there. So connecting with the right people, connecting with people who have a need for your product as well as sharing your story, telling the right content. That’s where you’re going to help us in this one area is to help us take our expertise and turn it into a good story.

Joel Widmer: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: So tell me first how did you start Fluxe Digital, if I can say it correctly. Fluxe Digital Marketing.

Joel Widmer: Yeah. So I started it – first off, thank you for having me on.

Catherine Miller: Oh, delighted you’re here.

Joel Widmer: This is fantastic. Yeah. So man, it was right after college and I was trying to get a job like everybody else. It was 2009, so yeah, 10 years ago and I had applied to – I was in Nashville at the time and had applied to like CarMax, got turned down. Even – there’s this company called the Shane Co. It was a jewelry company and I had gotten like a ton of research on them. I even found that they were actually in bankruptcy and I brought that up during the interview. They did not like that at all. They’re like, yeah, you did too much research and it’s like that’s public information.

So it was about at that time a mentor of mine convinced me and was like, “You know what? You already want to kind of start your own business. Why not do it?”

So being the smart college kid I was, I was thinking about names and I came up with Fluxe and – because marketing is always in a constant state of change and if you’re not evolving and changing with it. My logo is a wave.  Picture if you’re standing on a beach with waves hitting you, like if you’re standing, you’re going to get pummeled by those waves, right?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: So if you’re not actually moving with it, you’re going to get knocked over and like you’re irrelevant, right? But also being the dumb college kid I was or recent graduate, I was like – about at that time, there were all these companies with like the – the popular thing was spelling your name wrong, right?

So I was like ah – I went to buy Flux and it was taken. Go figure, right? So I was like, “Oh, I will just put an E at the end of it.” So it sounds cool. Then everybody was like, “Fluxe, eh?” I was like, “Ah!” I didn’t really think that one through. But I did buy “Flux” without the E and one day I might rebrand but it works great for now.

I still love the – like it really is all about in a constant state of change because that’s what flux, the definition of flux is.

Catherine Miller: Right. So with Fluxe, you have evolved and changed over 10 years. I’m sure you are very different today or have built and added on to where you were 10 years ago. So tell us a little bit. Give us an example of what you do for your clients.

Joel Widmer: Yeah, and it has evolved a tremendous amount. At the beginning, I was a full service agency trying to be everything to everybody. Quickly learned that’s the worst way you can go about it and thank goodness it didn’t take me – it took me a couple of years to figure that out. But I cut down everything I was doing and just focused on this one piece.

I worked with these smart business owners who are brilliant at what they do. But they just don’t have the time or the internal team to create content around that to help attract more customers and convert them.

So if you think about – you’re an expert at what you do, right? But you use that expertise for working with people one on one a lot of times, right? So you do that to carry out your daily tasks. But what if you could leverage that and use it to help a lot more people buy from creating articles, emails? Any resource that could help your target audience better achieve their goals so you could achieve yours, right?

Those who succeed in business help the most people. It’s that simple. So, for example, we can – what we have done is reverse engineer the entire process and we have a bunch of nerds on the backend that make it so that a business owner can spend an hour, a month with us and from that hour, they can create a half a dozen articles, an email sequence, lead magnets to generate email opt-ins on their website, social media content and it’s all strategic in the strategy that we built and optimized for SEO and actually in their voice versus having a ghostwriter come in and you tell them, hey, I want a topic on how to clean your grout tile and they’re like, “OK.” Then they come back from the clouds and they’re like, “There you go.”

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: It’s actually in your voice because what I firmly believe is the way that you have been successful up until now is because people doing business with you, right? So a lot of times there’s this disconnect between our mouth and our fingers where we go to write and it sounds like a bunch of corporate mumbo-jumbo.

Catherine Miller: Yes.

Joel Widmer: Right? It’s like hey, how are you doing? It’s like to whom it may concern.

Catherine Miller: Yes.

Joel Widmer: And there’s like – we just have such a tough time. But if I get you talking, I can pull that out of you and you don’t even realize – you know, it’s just like you are talking to a prospect. So we put those – we put our clients into that position where they feel like they are just talking to a prospect. We do all that research and we get their best content out of them because that’s the stuff that people love about them. So we just help them look as good as they do online as they do offline.

Catherine Miller: Right. So I know one of your big clients is a doctor’s office. Is that right?

Joel Widmer: Uh-huh.

Catherine Miller: And in that situation, you put out articles, all that skincare or different articles that are very pertinent, right? So if I have a special need in that area, then I can go look up that article and then be connected with that doctor’s office.

Joel Widmer: Yeah. So we created a strategy. When they had first started, they hired me and they were one office and they had a couple of hundred visits to the website a month and we created a strategy to – I mean it really, really does start with that strategy though. But where we created an article a week for them and it was around the biggest topics that – and questions that their patients had. It was all for local because it’s great that someone in Portland, Maine reads it, but we want people that are in Texas, right?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: So a local strategy with content positioned because doctors a lot of times, they’re brilliant. But they aren’t the most amazing at communicating in human terms, right?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: So we were kind of a translator for them. But in short, we started with them a couple of years ago, helped them grow to three locations and now they’re at 45 locations. They were acquired and now we do it for all of them. But they started with – I think they were at like 1500 visitors a month when we started and now they’re at 175,000.

Catherine Miller: Per month?

Joel Widmer: Uh-huh. And we’re their biggest lead gen source of people coming in and coming into the website, going through and opting into the emails, getting sequences being nurtured through that entire piece. So …

Catherine Miller: Wow, that’s crazy.

Joel Widmer: And we were ranked higher …

Catherine Miller: I’m going to sign up today.

Joel Widmer: Yeah, we ranked higher than like WebMD for these articles and LiveStrong and I mean they ranked for like tens of thousands of keywords.

Catherine Miller: That’s incredible.

Joel Widmer: Yeah, it has been a lot of fun working with them.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, that’s incredible and I knew that that – I didn’t realize the success story was that big. But I knew it was a great story about how you took the expertise of these doctors and the questions patients were asking and just took real live information and basically you took kind of what phone calls they either got on the phone, questions they got on the phone or they got in the office and you made it so many people could glean from that.

I remember when you told me that story. I thought that is so cool. But it’s real concrete to talk about how to get rid of a pimple or a zit, right? But it’s not as concrete sometimes when you’re a consultant or a coach or office space, right? That’s a little bit broader, not specific. Can you give us an example of someone that you’ve also helped with your content marketing this way who’s maybe a consultant or a coach or does a different type of business?

Joel Widmer: Yeah. So it is really tough because the question I hear the most and tell me if I’m wrong is, “If I’m a consultant, how much should I really, really give away?” because what happens is I don’t want to – like no, I’m not stingy with my content but at the same time, I don’t want to give absolutely everything away just because like I still want there to be an exclusiveness to my brand, right?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: We had a consultant. He was in a niche industry and his goal was I want to work less but keep – he was making a good amount of money and make the same amount of money and he was actually writing and he did a great job of it. But it was only in articles. So we helped him repurpose that and turn it into workshops and events and helped him not only work less but we increased his bottom line last year by 50 percent and it was just through, oh, you have all this content but you could be using it in other ways to help your target audience and just by repurposing it and turning it into like another format, workshops, we were able to do that.

Catherine Miller: It’s not that we’re forcing ourselves to do more work. It’s more about taking what we either know or are already doing when you’re helping us create like a laser focus and pinpoint the right audience, the right strategy and get it laid out in a way that it connects with people.

Joel Widmer: Uh-huh. It takes so much less work if you are strategic about it.

Catherine Miller: I’m ready. I’m serious. I’m ready. I feel like we work really hard at that. We do have a plan in place and it’s good but I’m ready for it to be great. So tell us what we will do in the workshop. Tell us what we will learn and what we should walk away with this workshop.

Joel Widmer: Yeah. So that’s the very first piece is to take the guesswork out of your content marketing strategy. So whether you have one or maybe you are stuck throwing spaghetti at the wall, right? And you’re just trying to figure out what works. I love that approach if you – in the name of testing.

So I don’t condone it to not have a strategy and do it but you should be – always be testing. But you need to do it in a way that you can predictably improve, right? Most people, it looks – their path of success looks like this and then back and then this way and then down, then over. We want it to be like this, right? Up until the – right, not all over the place.

Catherine Miller: You know, I have to be real honest. When you talk about testing, I think about that and I think I don’t have time for testing. I’m barely getting done what I need to get done on a day to day basis. So I’m hoping that you will teach us some ways to test that doesn’t really even take that much more time.

Joel Widmer: You’re already testing. A lot of people just don’t know how to glean the information. Like I had an old professor who said torture the data until it speaks to you, right?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: So a lot of times, you have all the information that you need. You just don’t have the insights. So it’s learning how to interpret what it’s telling you and maybe that’s not much at all and understand how to make the next move forward.

Catherine Miller: Right. And, you know, for some of us, even just looking at data is …

Joel Widmer: You want to crawl in a hole.

Catherine Miller: Oh, it’s eye-crossing.

Joel Widmer: I had a client once that he said, “If you ever give me a spreadsheet, I will hang up on you. I don’t ever want to see a spreadsheet,” because he was – I mean the guy talked with a pen and paper and was one of the most – is still one of the most amazing teachers and storytellers. But I completely get it. Some people just don’t want that and to that, I would say get just good enough to delegate it. But you still need to know what you are doing and it’s still – I mean it’s like having a car without a speedometer or without a gas gauge, right? You’ve got to have those metrics to tell you is it – am I getting closer or farther from my goal?

Catherine Miller: OK. So that will be part of it. You will show us how to pull those metrics and know what we’re doing.

Joel Widmer: Yes, yeah. And then it’s – so what content should I be creating, right? How to create that for every stage of the funnel-like we talked about and take the guesswork out of that. Like giving – I will give you different frameworks on what types of content to create and depending on what business you’re in because obviously it’s not a one size fits all.

Then like people are on your website. Great. You have good content. Awesome. Now how do you actually get them to take that next step, get them to give you their email or should you get them to schedule a call or should you get them to like your Facebook page? What do you do, right? So how to figure out what your – what that strategy looks like from the moment they step onto your website to what’s next, what’s next after that. So maybe they sign up for your email list. Then what do you send them?

Most people send a newsletter and that’s it. That’s a huge mistake, right? So we will talk about exactly how to do that and I have lots of templates and a workbook that everybody will get that – will help them actually map that out.

I’ve made enough mistakes for everybody, like just learning from those and going forward with it.

Catherine Miller: Cool.

Joel Widmer: And then yeah, with like how to format your content. I will talk a little bit about SEO and then we will talk about how to promote it so it actually gets seen. I always like to think about the question. You’ve heard the phrase of a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it. Well, if you hit publish on a post and no one sees it, who cares? Was it worth the effort?

Catherine Miller: Right.

Joel Widmer: So how do you actually get it seen and how do you get people to take – by the right people and how do you get those people to take action?

Catherine Miller: Right. And this all comes in the baseline of knowing who you are and taking the information that you already know and haven’t shared.

 Joel Widmer: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, I’m super excited about it. I’m expecting to learn a lot. Joel does this for a lot of high-level clients. So what he’s going to teach us in this class is how we can do it ourselves. So it will be limited in size because Joel has promised to give us some one-on-one help and really make it specific to what we are doing so that we can actually show the work that we’ve come out. Do we need to come and bring anything that we’re doing? Is there anything we need to come prepared for?

Joel Widmer: Just bring your computer or a – your – probably a laptop computer and notepad if – depending on how you take notes and of course we will record it and we will have a workbook but those are the two biggest things.

Catherine Miller: Joel, I’m really excited about the workshop. I think I’m going to learn a lot from it. I’m expecting to become laser sharp in what I do and I think it will be a great day. Are you going to be able to teach us all of that in half a day?

Joel Widmer: Definitely.

Catherine Miller: Good. Well, if I missed something I know where to find you.

Joel Widmer: Yes, and we will have it all recorded. We will have the workbook, the worksheets and we’re keeping it like you said super small, so that we can help every single person one on one and make it really tailored for them.

Catherine Miller: Which is great. So I will be there with my computer and my notepad and ready to learn. So it’s going to be on March 26th. Seating is limited. So go to the That’s the and we hope to see you there. Joel, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Joel Widmer: Thank you.

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