Greg Spence, Digital Marketing Manager, Seeblue Marketing looks at the common mistakes founders make when they first start marketing their business and how they can course correct to drive growth.
You may have read copious amounts of advice online about how to use digital marketing to grow your business. Sadly, a lot of it is overcomplicated by elaborate growth strategies that conceal the essential steps. This article focuses on those essential steps.
It is important you address these if you want to see growth, especially if your business is still in its early growth phase.
What many businesses get wrong
Let us start with some common mistakes you should avoid.
Assuming you understand your target audience
How many times have you heard you need to know who you are selling to? Makes sense, but do not let assumptions mis-lead you.
People behave differently online; do you know who your online audiences are? Do you know where to find them? Do you revisit this research regularly and pivot accordingly? Digital makes this all possible.
Failing to really understand the customer journey
Do you really know the journey your customer takes to purchase your product or service?
We often hear one version of the journey from the business, and then witness a different implementation of that journey in the marketing.
A misunderstood customer journey, or one that is poorly implemented, can act as a barrier to purchase, but executed well can have a significant effect on growth.
Measuring the wrong things
What are you measuring in your business to determine how well you are growing?
Many businesses assume that if metrics such as the number of Facebook likes/followers, revenue growth, volume of traffic to the website are increasing, the business will surely grow too.
These vanity metrics may help a business owner to feel good about activity levels, but they do nothing to give a true picture of growth.
Trying to convert too early in the marketing funnel
Another common mistake we see is placing a sales-focused call-to-action in front of someone who has shown potential interest in a product or service, but it is clear from their previous search activity, and the type of words they are using that they are in the research phase of the buying cycle.
Forgetting prospects do their research
One of the many advantages the internet has given us is the ability to learn a lot about a company and its products, long before we show an interest. This includes learning what customers think about the business and its products. The content prospects see in their first interactions with a business often do not take this into account.
Using content that is not relevant to the customer journey
Failing to understand the actual journey customers take towards buying often leads to exposing customers to content that not relevant to the stage in the journey they are at. For example, explaining licensing terms and pricing, before the customer has understood whether the product can fix the issue they are trying to solve.
In the same way, companies fail to provide any content at later stages of the journey to support the buying decision.
Assuming Google Analytics is accurate
If you are using the default settings in Google Analytics, you may be making business decisions based on inaccurate data. For instance, ‘channel performance’ will be inaccurate amongst other things.
What many businesses overlook
Now we turn our attention to things you should not overlook.
Why customers buy from you and how they use your products
Once a customer has been acquired, businesses do not tend to ask why they purchased or attempt to find out how they use the product they purchased over time. Customers tend to use a product in a way you may not have thought of to solve a problem. This information could give an insight into how your product can be uniquely positioned within your market, for example.
Online competitors may not be the ones you expect, and will change over time
You will have completed some market research when your business started to identify who else operates in your sector and will have a clear idea of who your competitors are. However, they may not be the competitors you see online – those who are targeting the same keywords and online audience you are.
These competitors will also change overtime, so it is important to keep an eye on how your competitive landscape changes so you can react to maintain or even increase your market share.
Digital campaigns require attention
Campaign performance will change over time due to new competitors running their own digital campaigns. Changes to algorithms by Google and Facebook will also have an impact on your campaign’s performance.
Do not assume you can “set and forget” any campaign, irrespective of the channel you are using.
The 5 things you must do to drive growth
Build a relationship with your audience
If you do nothing else, build an email list of people from businesses in your target audience and build a relationship with them before you sell to them. People are more wary than ever of being sold to. They want to know the faces behind your business, why your business exists, what your beliefs are, as much as what you do.
Get this right and they will become advocates for your business and become your marketing team as they recommend you to their business connections.
Every piece of marketing content must have a Call to Action!
Never release any content without a call-to-action. It could just be to visit a page on your website, with a view to eventually getting an email address. It could be to watch a video embedded on your website, or to download something of value.
Content that is produced simply to inform is valuable, but only if it contains that ‘CTA’!
Measure what matters to your growth
Measuring vanity metrics is nice but does not help you to grow. Determine the one measure that gives you visibility of your growth and focus all your efforts on improving it. It could be a measure of your profitability on each sale or the rate of sales qualified to sale converted, for example.
Test, test, test then test some more!
Too few businesses have the testing mindset, which is a shame because this is where the real growth can come from. Our approach is ABT – Always Be Testing. If you are not running experiments to improve sales conversion rates, landing page click through rates, lead volumes etc. you are missing a powerful trick.
The beauty of digital is that is relatively easy these days to run experiments and track results. It does not have to be time consuming or costly. Small improvements in every step of the customer journey will lead to compounded results.
Always be learning (from your data)
Once you are happy that your Google Analytics data or other data source is accurate, regularly analyse it and take learnings that you then put into practice to further improve sales performance. The frequency will depend on what tests and experiments you are running.
In the digital world performance can change quickly, implementing insights you glean from your data will put you way ahead of many others in your market.
Now you are aware of the essential steps to grow your business, here is the check list you need:
- Make sure your Google Analytics data is accurate.
- Look at how you are building a relationship with your audience and improve/implement the process where required.
- Review your customer journey and how it is currently implemented. Is it correct? Are there any blockers to sales in the process? Fix where required.
- Do you have appropriate content for each stage of your customer journey? Review and fix where needed.
- Work out where your marketing funnel is under-performing and setup your first tests to improve it.
Follow these rules and you’ll be on the right road to success.
Greg Spence is Digital Marketing Manager at Seeblue Marketing, the B2B growth specialists. Greg is responsible for Seeblue’s digital team and creating digital growth strategies for its clients. He also oversees due diligence assessments for venture capital partners.