The Difference Between A Good Meal And A Great Meal Might Be Love – Here’s How That Translates To Marketing Results
We’ve all experienced an amazing meal at a great new restaurant. Then when we go back, the meal is good, but it’s not great. What happened? Usually, it’s simple. The chef who cooked the meal just doesn’t have the same passion she had when she opened.
A lot of parallels exist with marketing, especially inbound marketing. In most cases, it’s a bit like Groundhog Day. Every day people are doing the same things over and over again. It works, but it takes an insane amount of repetition and patience.
We see this more with in-house marketing teams because they’re working on the same company day in and day out – the same story, the same kind of content and targeting the same people. It’s hard to stay excited.
At Square 2, working with different companies in different industries at different stages of growth helps us stay sharp and engaged. It helps us share the love for what we do with our clients, and that shows in the results we get for them.
Here’s how to maintain that passion for marketing so you love what you do, day in and day out.
Change Up The Recipe
Even the best chefs change their recipes. A dish that is good could be great and a dish that is great could be exceptional, but only if you take the time to try new spices or cooking methods.
The same holds true with your marketing. I can guarantee that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you should expect the same results or worse. There is definitely a degradation factor that comes from not adding, optimizing or adjusting what you’re doing to generate leads.
Your prospects will become blind to the same messages, the same offers and the same nurtures. Instead, you should be continuously working to make even subtle adjustments to your campaign plans to ensure the program works better over time.
What’s nice about marketing is that you should have access to the data that informs whether your changes are working. Chefs don’t always have direct access to their customers. But you should know exactly how your email, social, search and website pages are working in real time.
Setting goals that increase over time will challenge you to make these subtle adjustments, and your program performance will improve.
The greatest chefs spend hours in the kitchen after service is over experimenting with new techniques, new ingredients and new recipes. You’ll have to do the same with your marketing and sales tactics.
The more new things you try, the better your program will perform. Try both small experiments and big experiments. At Square 2, we like to do a lot of little improvement-oriented experiments and a handful of big ones, too.
Make some big, bold moves in addition to your smaller, safer improvements. This combination will accelerate your growth.
One example of a big experiment was our launch of Smash The Funnel – The Podcast a few years ago. We did two full seasons, and the results were modest at best. However, we learned what it takes to do a podcast, how to promote a podcast and the value of having podcast assets. We even made some new friends through the guests we had on the podcast.
Not every new idea is going to be a home run.
In January, we launched our content week experiment called The Butterfly Project and generated over 800 new leads in just a few weeks. It was an unmitigated success. Now we’re working to nurture those leads and see if legitimate sales opportunities are in that pool.
Some small experiments we’re working on include testing the style of email we send. Recently we tested a full-graphic email against a text-only email. On the surface, the A/B test didn’t produce any insights, as both performed equally well. But that on its own is an insight.
One aspect of cooking with love and creating sustainable revenue growth with love is you can’t be afraid to fail.
Failed experiments teach you more than successful ones. They teach you what not to do again. This is extremely valuable.
Make sure your CEO and the company culture allow you to try bold flavors and aggressive experiments. You should feel safe trying new things. Even if they don’t work, everyone should embrace your desire to push the envelope. No blame or shame should be cast.
Our January promotion around content week was one of those big experiments. It took a lot of people a lot of time to create the content to drive a week-long event. We needed to work with a couple of partners. We needed new presentations, new website assets, multiple emails, graphic design and more. It was a big lift.
It did produce leads, but no sales yet. On the surface, it might look like a monumental failure, but when you look deeper you find many more positive notes.
We created enough new content to support our content marketing strategy for months. Those pieces of educational content jump-started our entire year, giving us new offers to use on our website, in our blog and as part of our email marketing campaigns. This was a big win, accelerating our content creation efforts by months.
We did generate over 500 net new contacts for our database. They are being nurtured and could become legitimate sales opportunities. We’re keeping close tabs on these people, and we’ve seen them returning to our website. We’ll continue to monitor their activity with us.
We created a new pillar page for our website with ungated content to drive additional search engine optimization (SEO) signals to Google and help us drive new organic visitors to our website. Both rankings and organic visitor growth are up and to the right as a result of The Butterfly Project campaign.
Rarely do chefs measure their efforts in purely black-and-white terms. When they step out and try something new, it usually triggers other ideas and helps them stretch creatively. Marketers need similar opportunities.
Doing the same thing over and over again is certain to produce the same results.
Get Outside Experiences
When great chefs hit a wall, they look for outside influences, outside motivation and outside inspiration. They travel to different parts of the world, sample different cultural dishes and try exotic ingredients. This is all designed to help them make better dishes.
Marketers are no different. Look around you and you’re likely to find ideas that might help you break through your wall to develop new ways to generate leads and sales opportunities for your company.
I like to find marketers from all different industries and keep tabs on, follow or subscribe to their stuff.
Google has a number of thought leadership and strategic resources. Some of the marketing software companies are very good at their own marketing and have spawned a few interesting ideas for me in the past. HubSpot, Drift, PathFactory and Neil Patel are a few of the more inspirational teams.
I also like retail marketers, primarily because we view our role as people-to-people marketers, not B2B or B2C. Retail marketers are usually good at leveraging their channels for one-to-one marketing. I think B2B marketers can be inspired by the tricks, tips and techniques buried in those campaigns.
Like cooking, marketing is a highly creative practice. Looking for inspiration from outside sources can be a bit of trial-and-error. I like conferences (I mean, I used to like conferences, when there were conferences) because sitting in the audience allows me to clear my mind and listen to the speaker. New ideas would flow freely.
Virtual conferences are not the same, I’m sad to say. But everyone has the opportunity to find places where inspiration can be unleashed, and you should leverage those outside experiences into ideas for your lead generation and sales opportunity creation efforts.
Consult With Experts
Finally, if you watch any cooking shows, you notice that all the great chefs know each other. They are friends, they work together, they encourage each other and they inspire each other.
For some reason, marketers are a bit more competitive and a lot less collaborative, but not all marketers think like that.
At Square 2, we decided long ago to talk with anyone who wants to talk with us, regardless of budget, size of company, industry or experience. We’re happy to talk with other marketers, share our experiences, help inspire and, better yet, help create the programs and tactics you need to produce results.
Every executive, leader, marketer or sales professional should seek out experts and talk about their businesses to share ideas. What’s working? What’s not working? What could be working better?
There are very few secrets in marketing, but there is a ton of value in experiences. Connect, meet and talk with people who have done it before. They’ll help you skip the mistakes, jump over the potholes and scoot around the detours because they’ve already made those choices. Now they know better.
They should be happy to help you, too.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!