You can often generate more results from your current marketing strategies without expending a proportionate amount of new effort. There. I said it. Just doing more is a dumb idea—and it's killing your ability to extract the maximum amount of growth value from your marketing investments.
Today’s marketers produce volumes of content, distribute it across a multitude of channels and then collect reams of data about the effectiveness of those efforts. There is an emphasis on always producing more – launching that new product, posting those recent event pictures, creating that latest infographic.
Marketers are so busy trying to increase engagement and generate leads that they sometimes forget to pause and reflect on which of these efforts is having the greatest impact, if any.
That is not to say marketers are not regularly establishing and tracking key metrics across their lead channels, but rather they may not be digging deep enough into the data to find out which strategies are driving results.
There are five "quick win" areas that can leverage marketers’ existing strategies and make them more impactful. There is never a bad time to set aside time to take a closer look at what is driving your results, whether it’s once a month or once a quarter.
Even if you only tackle one of the five areas, you will be able to make a measurable difference in your marketing efforts. In addition, you will discover important issues that you can incorporate into future strategic planning discussions.
Leverage Your Top Content
You likely already know which web pages, blog posts, studies, or other marketing content drive the most traffic to your online properties. If not, tracking tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console will help you understand what pieces of content bring people to your site.
Assuming you already use these tools, have you taken the next step to understand what search terms bring them to that content? If not, Google Search Console is an invaluable addition. You can use it to find which pages receive the most traffic. Click on the most highly visited pages, then use the Queries tab to find out what search terms people used to find those pages.
For example, let’s say you sell kayaking equipment, and you find that a blog about a kayak roof rack is by far your most frequently visited page, even though roof racks are not one of your top-selling items. When you click on the Queries tab in Google Search Console, you learn that users typed in the following search phrases in order to find your blog: “how to attach kayak rack to car, putting a kayak roof rack on car, does kayak rack fit Toyota, etc.”
These terms provide valuable insights. For example, you learn that it wasn’t so much that searchers wanted to know about the roof rack itself, but that they wanted to know how one was attached to a car or if one would fit their particular vehicle.
As a marketer, you now know that these question- and problem-oriented search phrases are likely to generate good traffic around this product and others, so you can create more content around these terms.
You can use the list of search phrases as possible blog titles, keyword phrases on your website, or in meta descriptions. Since these search phrases already bring people to your website, adding more variations around these topics will further boost your search engine optimization (SEO).
Expand Your Backlinks
Another tip for using Google Search Console is scrolling down the menu on the left and finding the tab called Links. This data will reveal who is linking to your content, what they are linking to, and even what links you are linking to within your own site.
Since backlinks are beneficial for maximizing SEO, it helps to get more of them. Look to see which sites are linking to your content and see if there is a pattern. You may learn, for example, that your blogs generate a lot of traffic, but your main web content does not. Maybe you can write more blogs. Perhaps you published an infographic or a study that was very popular. Consider sending out a short email request to others in your industry asking them to also link to that resource.
Cross Reference Your CTAs
One of the most interesting things you will find as you explore what drives traffic to your site is that it might not be content about your core products or services. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as the content that brings them there keeps them engaged on the site and eventually leads them where you want them to go.
One strategy for making that happen is building in cross-content Calls to Actions (CTAs) so that you are always leading the user to the next step. If they are on a blog, for instance, include a CTA to a web page. If they are on your LinkedIn page, have a download or contest link of some sort. Always have some next action for the user to take, ideally taking them to your Shop page.
Refresh Your Blog Posts
Most of these strategies for improving marketing results involve improving SEO, and this next one is no exception. Boosting SEO is the easiest way to get more people to your site, and more traffic generally translates to more sales.
The factors that Google uses to rank for SEO are, of course, extremely complex, but many of them have to do with blogging – everything from title, H1, H2, and H3 tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, length, publication frequency, and more.
If you have certain blogs that have performed well in the past but seem to be slowly losing traffic, it may be time to update them. Check to see that the links are still relevant and working. Update dates, swap out a few paragraphs with new information. Most importantly, put down new publication data and submit the URL to be reindexed via Google Search Console when you are done. Do not, however, simply copy the blog and give it a new URL because if Google suspects you have two blogs with the same content, your SEO could be negatively impacted.
A Comprehensive Approach to Customer Relationship Management
This next strategy is not one that happens overnight, but it is fundamental to your ability to achieve consistent, sustainable results in both marketing and sales. It starts by having all departments in alignment on a Revenue Operations System, meaning those strategies, systems, and technologies that focus on the customer from pre-sale all the way through post-sale support in order to maximize revenue all along the way.
In simplest terms, it means that all departments understand how each other’s efforts contribute to and support the customer’s experience along the way. One important way these strategies can be delivered is through an automated customer management relationship (CRM) and email marketing tool such as HubSpot.
Despite the onslaught of digital marketing strategies over the past two decades, email marketing continues to be one of the most effective methods for driving revenue. Email has generated the highest ROI for marketers for 10 years in a row, generating $38 in ROI for every $1 spent, according to data published by Campaign Monitor.
An email does not just show up as an ad on a potential customer’s favorite website or scroll by as an ad on their phone. It is right there, personalized to them, taking up precious real estate in their inbox. And, best of all, you control the message.
A comprehensive CRM strategy that includes email lets you tap into your customers’ interests, desires, and needs – wherever they happen to be in the buyer’s journey – and artfully convey how your products or services can fulfill those needs.
For instance, a potential customer might download a “how to” paper on your website, which triggers an automated email campaign from the marketing department that focuses on further educating the user about the product. It may include videos, blogs, or customer testimonials. The email campaign may conclude with a Call to Action that encourages the user to request a demo of the product. When the user responds, the sales team officially takes over, using their own set of automated communications that feature product comparisons or pricing guides, for instance. Once the user makes the purchase, customer service and upselling-oriented communications are triggered. And so on.
By planning through the entire lifecycle of the customer, rather than treating them in a department-by-department fashion, the overall customer experience is improved, revenue is increased, and customer churn is decreased.
Planning and Hygiene
At the end of the day, a sound marketing strategy always stems from good planning. That includes understanding your customer, planning your communications to meet their needs throughout the buyer’s journey, and having measures in place to understand whether you are being effective.
But in between the planning and the executing, it’s also good to fit in a little “hygiene” – those periodic acts of digging into the data, challenging assumptions, fixing broken links, and revisiting some of the simple steps that can make the biggest impact in your work.
From Marketing Strategies to Go-To-Market Planning
The hardest part about marketing is balancing strategy with production. The demands of the day often override the need to see the big picture and understand how marketing is driving business value. It's time to stop looking at marketing as part of corporate operations and start seeing it as part of your go-to-market strategy.
When you make this shift, you'll begin to incorporate marketing into strategy, sales, and service conversations which will elevate everyone's capacity to coordinate, collaborate, and create the growth you desire. Your target market sees you as one entity already. They don't separate their experience with your brand by internal departments. That is simply a hang ohangoverver of industrial management philosophy.
Organize your go-to-market planning around the person you want to help do and achieve more, and you'll have all the business you ever want or need.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.