Skimlinks’ real-life journeys: Acquisition, Nurture and Retention

geoffreygentry on 26th of Jul 2017

Skimlinks is a monetization platform that helps 1.5 million online publishers turn commerce-related content into a substantial source of revenue and insights.

By using Skimlinks’ unique JavaScript, a tracking code is automatically inserted every time publishers post a link to a product. Any product purchases made through that link results in a commission for the publisher. It’s like if you come across some baller sneakers in a GQ article. When you click the link and buy KD’s dope shoes, then GQ gets a commission—Skimlinks’ technology powers that whole thing.


Skimlinks provides their customers with a creative way to monetize their content without overburdening their audience with annoying advertisements. Websites like Buzzfeed, Vox Media, Condé Nast, Gawker and the Telegraph make up some of their major clients. So how did Skimlinks grow to over 1.5 million publishers? With well-thought out and contextual customer journey marketing.

The company:

  • Started with an integrated marketing tool stack
  • Created goals within their acquisition funnel stages
  • Contextualized content to maximize lead captures
  • Assigned the right leads to sales
  • Nurtured leads with relevant content that adds value, for free
  • Onboarded publishers by sending the right message at the right time Let’s break these elements down.

1. Started with an integrated marketing tool stack

Skimlinks started with a highly integrated marketing tool stack. Here’s their tool breakdown:

Everything here integrates together in Autopilot. Skimlinks connected Segment and their own database to Salesforce, then synced that data into Autopilot using the native Salesforce integration. As a result, Skimlinks can map the entire customer journey from acquisition to conversion in Autopilot. Skimlinks set up their sleek marketing tool stack in just 2-3 days and have utilized it on their journey to 1.5 million publishers and counting. Learn how to create your own growth marketing tool stack.

2. Created goals within their acquisition funnel

This is Skimlinks’ three-level acquisition funnel:

skimlinks acquisition funnel dos

Skimlinks applies their marketing stack to all levels of their particular acquisition funnel: acquisition, nurture and retention. Most importantly, Skimlinks sets relevant goals for each level. This helps them create a cohesive and streamlined customer journey. An example of how it plays out practically looks like this:

  • Acquisition: Create awareness to generate leads
  • Nurture: Gain new signups
  • Activation / Retention: Facilitate a value-adding first product interaction

We’ll expand more on how Skimlinks reaches these goals in a minute, but for now let’s appreciate the clarity and thoughtfulness of this setup—it’s beautifully simple. The bones of this customer journey are set. Let’s see how it gets filled in.

3. Contextualized content to maximize lead captures

The focus at the top of the funnel is creating awareness to generate leads. For Skimlinks this looks like a lot of content marketing: case studies, product guides, tip lists, blog posts, generating SEO traffic and PR to acquire enterprise users. But how do they decide the right way to connect to potential leads? It all comes down to language. Are they a Youtube star? Let’s talk about how to monetize their channel with a relevant tip list.

social media guide final

Are they a big enterprise company who wants to know what Buzzfeed is doing? Check out this case study and you’ll know what to do.

buzzfeed guide final

Did they stumble onto the site because of smart SEO? There’s a different conversation for that.

skimlinks blog post final

This is about knowing where leads are coming from and communicating in a way that matters to them. It’s about adding real value to their lives. Skimlinks speaks to potential lead’s pain points through contextualized content determined by their point of arrival to maximize lead captures. When the lead signs up and fills out a form this is what it looks like in Autopilot:

skimlinks activity feed final

There’s a live stream feed so the team at Skimlinks can follow everyone visiting their pages. As soon as someone fills out a form they move from being an anonymous visitor to a known lead. From that point on, every time the newly established lead visits their site, they know where they’re going and what they’re doing. This let’s Skimlinks know the best way to define the new lead and where to assign them. More on this ahead.

4. Assigned the right leads to sales

Once Skimlinks has a new lead the next task is start them on a journey relevant to their profession or to assign them to the correct team for follow-up. In this example some leads are sent immediately to Salesforce for the sales team to make contact because of preset criteria Skimlinks chooses.

salesforce lead assignment final

The lead’s journey will look different depending on what they do and how they sign-up but they all start on the master leads list.

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