Even though we’re already five months into 2017, it never hurts for marketers to look back at past performance and see how their efforts paid off in 2016. How did your strategies shape up in 2016? Did you see the conversions and ROI you hoped for?
If not, there’s no better time to adjust your strategy for 2017. The consumer landscape is always evolving, which makes marketing an exciting industry to be involved in. New technologies and customer trends are continuously changing the way businesses can engage with their customers.
Growth marketing is about maximizing results along every step of the customer’s journey. The question becomes this: what are the best ways to approach growth marketing this year?
In this post, I’ll cover 4 growth marketing strategies you can use to bring transformational growth to your company in 2017. You’ll read a lot about personalization, both in the content you deliver and in the way you communicate to your audiences.
Before jumping into those topics, let’s start with your content itself. We’re betting it’s good; but in 2017, good is the new average.
1. Produce 10X Better Versions of Content That Already Exists
Google a topic you want to cover in an upcoming blog post. The top results are likely excellent in quality and similar in focus. How can you create content on your topic that’s of similar quality to (or better than) the competition’s?
Perhaps instead of creating matching-quality content, you focus on creating something that’s head-and-shoulders above everyone else. That’s the core concept of what Moz CEO Rand Fishkin calls 10X content – content that’s truly 10 times better than the top search engine result.
Creating 10X content may sound daunting, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. If you’ve been keeping up with your content marketing strategies, you’ve already given yourself a head start on the work in front of you.
Consolidate Your Content
Your company is an expert in your industry, and you want to share that expertise with your audiences. One way to produce 10X content is to consolidate blog posts around a similar topic and create an end-to-end guide that everyone in your industry can reference.
You’re likely familiar with the term repurposing content. Creating a one-stop guide is repurposing on steroids. To really have your guide stand out, take the following into consideration:
- Make sure your guide is some combination of the following factors: high quality, interesting, remarkable, trustworthy, and useful. For example, include a consistent example throughout if you’re building one concept on top of another. This continuity (a.k.a. storytelling) can help keep readers engaged and help reinforce what you’re trying to share.
- Make sure your guide is completely different in scope and detail from existing content. If a guide on your topic exists, how can you present it differently? Can you pivot to a related topic that hasn’t been covered?
- Make sure your guide loads quickly and is available on any device. Easy accessibility is key to ensuring people will use (and hopefully share) your content.
Repackage Your Content
Delivering 10X content also requires upping up your packaging and design game. Make sure the format of your content is visually appealing, and is easier and more enjoyable to consume than any other content currently available on that topic.
Infographics are a great way for presenting information and concepts. And their popularity is only growing: the percentage of B2B businesses that used infographics jumped from 50 percent in 2015 to 58 percent 2016, the largest increase for any content marketing tactic.
Infographics aside, there’s no excuse for having poorly-packaged or designed content. Joseph Kalinowski of the Content Marketing Institute explains that weak or unappealing designs could cause people to skip over your content. In other words, 10X content means having great content and great design.
Reaping the Benefits
Your 10X content should be built around topics that help establish your brand as the authority in your space. Your content should always relate directly to the problems your product or service solve.
Of course, reaping the best results from your 10X content also requires using multiple sharing strategies. For example, consider using Keyword Opposition to Benefit (KOB) analysis to identify keywords that give you the most opportunity in search engine results. Turn to sharing sites like Reddit and Imgur to post infographics, images, and albums at no cost.
Simply put, 10X content is more likely to drive an increased amount of traffic to your site because it’s inherently of higher quality, making it more valuable to share.
2. Be More Human When Engaging Your Audience
Not all engagement is the same, and customers know this. They can spot a mindless retweet or a follow-up email with wooden, robotic language from a mile away. According to McKinsey, “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.”
In today’s world, marketers need to be more conversational in their outreach. In other words, be more human.
Conversational Marketing Drives Better Results
Today’s marketers have the ability to engage with customers on an individual basis through personalized messaging. Chatbots and conversational apps allow companies to speak with visitors 24-7. Apps like Snapchat and Periscope allow companies to engage directly with their fans in real-time. For younger generations (Millennials, Generation Z), this interactivity is the new norm.
You may be thinking, “how do we align these individualized conversations with our core messaging?” Perhaps you don’t – at least not in the traditional marketing sense. Conversational marketing is about authenticity over perfection. Instead of worrying about your core message, focus on having a real conversation with every customer.
In fact, this individualized data can help drive better insights. Chat logs can be collected and analyzed for trends and common themes. This “big data” is an incredibly reliable source, as it’s a true reflection of your customer’s needs.
Reaching Customers Through Video
Did you know 64 percent of visitors are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video? Or that emails with an accompanying video lead to a 200-300 percent conversion rate increase?
Video is valuable because customers can get to know the people behind the product or service being advertised. Familiarity can lead to likability and, ultimately, trust. Some video types include:
- Explainer videos, such as how-tos.
- Teaching videos, which walk visitors through using your product or service.
- Emotional response videos, which make viewers feel a certain way and associate that emotion with your brand.
Remember that, like any other content marketing tactic, every video should have a specific purpose that aligns with your marketing and sales funnels. How-to videos, for example, can be helpful for visitors who are just beginning to look for a solution to their problem and become aware of your product or service.
3. Personalize Marketing Messages Everywhere You Can
Today, growth marketers have a variety of tools that allow for personalized messaging across every touchpoint with their audiences. Some ways to expand personalization with your marketing tactics include:
Email is still one of the most valuable marketing tactics around, as it is 40 times more effective for acquiring new customers than using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. You can drive conversion rates even higher by personalizing the emails you send through every step of the customer’s journey.
Clearbit, for example, is a business intelligence tool that pulls company and personal data. From there, the company analyzed data across 70 data points to create distinct segments. Depending on the segment customers fell into (e.g. marketing, developer), Clearbit sends them targeted welcome emails.
Accelerate your customer acquisition and sales cycle by aligning your team around an event-driven conversion strategy. Events are actions that customers must take before they can move further along the sales funnel. Because no customer moves at the same pace through the sales funnel, event-driven conversations keep messaging focused on what’s relevant to them.
For example, sales can help guide leads through activation events (e.g. entering in their email and basic information) before starting their free trial. They can then guide leads through engagement events (e.g. trying your product’s core features) before their trial expires.
To speed up the sales cycle process, define acceleration events so you can close deals with customers who are especially eager to get started. For example, following up with qualified leads or existing customers that attended a webinar.
CTAs give visitors clear next steps to push them along the sales funnel. However, every visitor to your website has a different site history – and providing the wrong CTA can be jarring. For example, there’s no need for existing blog subscribers to continue to see a “subscribe to our blog” CTA when they visit your site.
Delivering personalized CTAs is one aspect of on-site retargeting, the concept of delivering personalized messaging based on visitor behavior and data. The blog subscribers mentioned above could instead see a CTA asking them to register for an upcoming webinar. Perhaps existing blog subscribers who’ve already attended a webinar can instead be prompted to schedule a call with a sales rep.
By providing the right CTA to the right person at the right time, you optimize the chances of every customer engaging with your brand in one way or another.
Personalize Sales Outreach
Let’s face it:
Most of us are wary of salespeople.
Most people believe they’re only out to make a sale, and that they will say whatever it takes to make money. In fact, a recent HubSpot Research study found that only 3 percent of consumers think salespeople are trustworthy!
The obvious solution is to make your sales team outreach more personal. ToutApp, for example, has their salespeople send introduction videos to prospects, allowing potential customers to put “a face to the name” of a salesperson. Salesforce has their sales people send personalized check-in messages to prospects they haven’t from in a while.
By showing customers you care about them as people first, and sales second, you have a much better chance of creating a long-lasting relationship with them.
4. Clean Up Your Data and Create a Closed Loop
Data is the fuel that drives any growth marketing strategy. It’s how you determine conversion rates and align deals with specific campaigns.
This year, take the following steps to ensure your results are as accurate as can be:
Centralize your customer data, from customer support records to purchase history, into one database. This allows you to deliver a truly personalized experience to every customer. Centralized customer information makes reporting more reliable, which allows better data-influenced decision-making.
Ensure you have proper marketing attribution in place for every action a visitor can take on your site. Marketing activation platform company Convertro defines marketing attribution as “the science of determining what media are driving purchases.”
This makes it easier when cleaning up old customer data. If a customer unsubscribed from your newsletter but still visits your site on a regular basis, you’ll want to keep this customer in your database. Marketing attribution helps ensure these interactions are recorded.
This is the point where your marketing team will likely pass off qualified leads to your sales team. Marketing needs to ensure all lead data is filled out so sales can properly engage with them. Continue to track every event your leads make (e.g. webinar attendance, demo sign-ups). Take notes of any call or interactions made with leads.
Once a lead has made a purchase, it’s time to report the sale and understand what happened to guide them toward their decision. Did the lead first find your website through a paid ad? If so, which one? Did they attend a webinar or try a free trial of your service?
Answering these questions requires having a closed-loop reporting system in place to align deals with your marketing efforts. As with other parts of the marketing funnel, proper marketing attribution, website tracking codes, and revenue reporting all contribute to an accurate closed-loop system.
Centralized data and proper reporting can also help with customer retention. Metrics that indicate the health of a customer (e.g. engagement, net promoter score, ROI delivered) all become more reliable when every customer event is tracked and accessible.
Growth marketers have a lot to be excited about in 2017. Creating superior content, sharing videos, and leveraging new apps are just a few new ways companies can further engage with their customers.
The 4 strategies I’ve covered all have something in common:
They’re all about creating the best experiences for individual visitors. Expertly-written guides can become a go-to resource. Data cleanup and consolidation is meant to ensure you have the information necessary to connect with visitors in a deeper way.
Today’s growth marketers are able to deliver personalized messaging like never before. It’s this detailed targeting that will continue to drive conversion rates in the 2017 and beyond.