I Know You Can’t Do Everything At Once, But These 5 Upgrades Will Transform Results
There is so much to do and so little time to do it. Your CEO wants results immediately. Your marketing budget is limited. There are only so many hours in the day. What can you do to drive more leads today? What should you be working on to generate additional sales opportunities this week?
Should you email more, blog more, redo your website, work with your sales team, add more personalization, segment your lists, start a podcast, run more webinars or simply throw up your hands and give up?
It can be overwhelming. Hundreds of marketing tactics can be used. Hundreds of sales improvement tactics can be deployed. You have more than 8,000 marketing and sales technology software apps to consider, not to mention the reports, dashboards, data streams and feeds required to gain insight into the performance of all these programs.
On top of this, today most marketing teams are understaffed, underinvested in and underappreciated.
But there is hope. This article will identify the five upgrades you should consider making immediately.
Upgrade 1 – Publish More Content More Frequently
If you want more visitors, more leads and more sales opportunities, and you want to see a systemwide improvement in results, you need to publish more content and do it more frequently.
A few years ago, if you wanted more visitors, an increase in keyword-optimized blogging was enough. Today we’re adding short-form content, long-form content and pillar pages to the publication schedule if you want to see an increase in results.
Some of you might be wondering about the quantity vs. quality discussion. Yes, that’s a legitimate concept. You don’t want to publish a ton of garbage content, but that has much less to do with the technical performance of your program and much more to do with general branding and the image you want to show to your prospects and customers.
If you publish crappy content, you’re not going to look smart and your program will suffer.
But quantity is a real challenge. The more you publish, the better you’re going to do, and it almost doesn’t matter what types of content you publish.
Here’s a working list of considerations for your content creation efforts:
- You should consider matching the type of content with the personas you’re going after.
- You should test a wide variety of content and then lean into the types that perform better.
- You should try new and innovative types of content, like podcasts or a video series.
- Make sure you’re using the right content in the right place; video on a website page makes sense, but it might make less sense on a landing page.
- Track the performance of everything. It will provide insights into what’s working and what’s not.
- Be persistent. If you try something once, don’t give up if you think it’s going to work. Tweak it and relaunch it until you get it right. For instance, one podcast episode might not perform well. It might take building an audience before the podcast takes off.
- Try to activate your entire organization to help you create content. We haven’t seen this work too many times, but it’s worth trying. If you can do it, it’s a game-changer.
- Create a plan that aligns your content creation efforts with your overall marketing strategy. This always makes content creation easier and informs topics, platforms, formats and frequency.
Finally, we’re advising to publish more frequently. We chose these words carefully. This means if you’re creating one blog article a week, one new long-form offer a month and one video a month, you’ll need to do more. Perhaps you’ll need to do two blog articles a week, two new long-form offers and two videos. If you’re doing 20 blogs a week, consider doing four new content offers, a video series weekly, a podcast and a monthly webinar.
The bottom line is you’ll need to do more. More is almost always better.
Upgrade 2 – Add Chat Across The Buyer Journey
There’s no denying that we live in a microwave world. People want and expect instant gratification, instant access and instant answers. Chat delivers on that expectation.
If you’re not using chat, turn it on. If you’re using it casually, adjust your approach to be more proactive. If you’re using it just for marketing, start using it for sales and customer service, too. If you’re not using bots, turn them on. If your experience isn’t customized for each page and each stage of your customer’s buyer journey, make that upgrade today.
There are a ton of reasons why this made the list.
It’s relatively easy to implement. It’s much easier than increasing your content production output. It’s aligned perfectly with the prospect’s buyer journey, and it’s self-service, meaning people who want it use it.
It’s inexpensive. Some marketing automation platforms include it, and even if you need an advanced conversational marketing tool like Drift, such tools are affordable.
It fast-tracks sales opportunities because people who want to talk to sales can now do so instantly. No need to fill out a form, make a call or wait for follow-up.
It signals late-stage buyer journey and more acute pain, and it delivers more qualified prospects directly to your sales team. As people opt into chat, they’re letting you know they have questions and need them answered immediately. This is generally a strong signal that someone might be more ready to buy than the prospect who simply downloads your e-book.
Some of the chat software is advanced enough to provide a seamless and personalized experience. If I’ve been talking to or working with Matt and I chat on your website, Matt is alerted and can respond to the chat request. This allows you to keep your prospect’s buyer journey smooth and efficient. Matt already knows me, my company and my issues.
The goal is to keep prospects feeling safe, and by working with the same rep all through the process, prospects will feel safe and close faster.
Upgrade 3 – Add Video Across The Buyer Journey
Speaking of feeling safe, video is the best marketing tool for getting prospects to feel safe. Video works for prospects in the early, middle and late stages of their buyer journey. That means video delivers results for marketing, sales and customer service.
There are a couple of solid reasons why video marketing works so well.
First, most people prefer to watch rather than read. Our brains tend to shut down when we see long emails, whitepapers or e-books. But when a video is served up, it’s so easy to click and watch. Video outperforms printed content by a factor of almost 10x.
As human beings, our eyes are on the front of our faces for a reason. We process much more information visually than when we read something. A picture is worth 1,000 words.
You can tell a disruptive, compelling and emotional story in just three minutes, whereas that same story might take 3,000 words and six pages of copy.
You can use video to:
- Move people proactively through the buyer journey
- Position your company vs. your competitors
- Highlight how you’ve helped your customers
- Help sales reps make a point, introduce content or answer questions for prospects
- Eliminate the need for prospects to speak with references
- Enable customer service to answer common questions related to your product or service
Almost everything about video is an upgrade over copy. It’s more personal, easier to share, easier to get complex points across, easier for tracking engagement and easier to produce. Video can be placed on many platforms and viewed on a variety of devices, whenever your prospects want to view it.
Video does have a stigma associated when it comes to cost and complexity. Today, you don’t need to be an experienced videographer, you don’t need to be an expert editor and you don’t need to be a production specialist to create great videos.
We published information on how we shoot videos for clients using smartphones and an app. We published information about how clients are shooting videos at home and we’re providing editing services. The Complete DIY Playbook For Creating Killer Video Content From Home has everything you'll need.
Today, videos can be done for under $1,000, and they can be done in a way that helps your prospects feel your story.
That emotional connection is proven to help close new business faster and more frequently. By using video correctly, you can outmaneuver even your biggest competitors.
Upgrade 4 – Tell A More Disruptive, Compelling And Emotional Story
This is a more complicated upgrade, but let me illustrate the point. Take a look at the actual website for this company, SAFEbuilt.
Visitors have 10 seconds to decide if they want to stick around. In those 10 seconds you have to clearly articulate what you do, disrupt a visitor’s status quo, connect with them emotionally and compel them to look around more, spend more time, look at more pages, click and then ultimately give their contact information.
It’s a big ask. To do this well takes experience. Does this company deliver? Probably not.
Now look at this home page for a cleaning services client.
It grabs you with a disruptive and compelling headline, and it quickly tells you what they do to help people who have new cleaning, sanitization and disinfection needs due to COVID-19.
It draws you in, and further down it offers you educational information and clearly shows you what verticals they specialize in. Finally, it gives people who are ready to talk today a chance to schedule that first call. Check out the rest of the site on your own.
Creating these stories take experience, finesse, a touch of art, copywriting skills and a deep understanding of your prospects and their pains. If you’ve done this once or twice, the outputs are much different than after you’ve done this hundreds of times.
Most companies come up with their messaging, story and website headlines on their own. Many of them look at what other companies are doing. They look at what bigger companies are doing. Their messages look and sound a lot like those from other similar companies.
I get it. It feels safe to copy what someone else is doing. If they’re doing it, it must be right. Wrong! If they’re doing it, you shouldn’t do anything like that. If they zig, you zag. Go left if they go right.
Changing your story and message can significantly impact results, and it can be done in days, not weeks or months.
Upgrade 5 – Run More Experiments Based On Data
OK, you’ve upgraded your messaging and your company’s story, you’ve added video, you’ve turned on and scripted out chat, and you’ve committed to increasing the amount of high-quality content you’re publishing.
There is one more upgrade that will produce a significant lift in results, and that is installing a testing and experiments initiative across all of your marketing and sales tactics.
Each month, select an experiment or three, and run them like a scientist:
- Keep all but one variable constant
- Set expectations on performance and compare results to your expectations
- Make sure you have enough data points to ensure the test and insights are accurate
Here is an example of a test we’re running at Square 2. We want to see if we get more sales-qualified leads (SQLs) from an ungated piece of content paired with a chat stream vs. a gated content offer behind a traditional form.
We have data on the performance of the content in the traditional gated way. Now we’re pulling it out from behind the gate and serving it up ungated but with the accompanying chat.
The content is the same; the only variable we’re changing is how the conversion works. We have performance data from the content to make a comparison around performance and we have set expectations for how we think the test will go.
Stay tuned, I’ll keep you updated. This is scheduled to launch July 15. We typically run at least one experiment a month and, in some months, up to four or five experiments. Some are more complex than others.
I want to make a quick point about testing and experiments. Most will fail. Yes, most of your experiments will not produce positive results.
The nature of all scientific experiments is that failure is incredibly informative. When you learn what not to do, it informs what you should be doing. Don’t fret or give up if your experiments fail.
Thomas Watson Sr., the original Chairman and CEO of IBM, said that “the fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” Here’s an excellent article on failure rates and marketing experiments; check it out if this interests you and you want to learn more.
Don’t let failure stop you from continually trying to succeed.
You should be regularly iterating on your marketing, sales and customer service execution. You should be continually working to optimize the performance of tactics in all three areas. Running experiments is one of the best ways to ensure you’re always trying new approaches and always working to improve results.
Once you get all five of these upgrades installed, once they’re running for at least a few weeks and once you get the optimization cycles set up, you’ll see an increase in a variety of key metrics, such as:
- Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs)
- Time on site
- Page views per visit
- Rankings for keywords used in content
- Site-wide conversion rate
Yes, it takes time. Yes, you have to focus on key results-producing tactics. Yes, it’s complex. Yes, you need a strong story.
Producing results takes persistence and stamina. If you quit, give up, slow down, defund or switch gears mid-stream, I guarantee your business won’t thrive.
Start Today Tip – Take the list and get to work. Create videos. Publish more content. Test a new message or story on your homepage. Turn on the chat tool and spend an hour creating chat sequences and chat bot answers to frequently asked questions. Select and run at least one experiment. The results are going to be significant, especially if you can do all five upgrades at the same time. If you have to do one at a time, then you’ll be looking at a slow and incremental gain over time. The more you do, the more results you should expect. Just make sure you’re working on the right tactics in the right order, and we’ve helped you with that here today.
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