Businesses should consider some new growth marketing tips to improve their strategy, since many factors are now affecting online reputation. The steady march of online technology is catching up to businesses that look great online but are less than impressive in real life. Customer reviews, shopping apps, and a plethora of feedback mechanisms are adjusting the virtual world to more closely align with what’s available.
This is happening whether businesses like it or not.
The single best response I can figure out is for businesses to hone in on what they do best, use the digital terrain to separate themselves from the pack, and trust that when they offer the marketplace something of real value, the marketplace will return the favor. Growth marketing is a key way to differentiate yourself and stay ahead of the competition.
In my experience, content is the key element to a successful growth marketing strategy. There are several trends with content to be aware of as you plan your growth strategy.
1. Aligning content strategies is vital.
I used to say that one key to growth marketing success is to kill as many birds with one stone as possible. I’ve said it so often that I finally decided that I don’t want to be known for killing birds so I changed it to “feeding as many birds as you can with one scone.”
True, it’s not rocket science, but the concept does hold the key to growth marketing ROI. To get started, look at each one of your marketing and communication strategies and see how it affects your content strategy.
If you look at Dave McClure’s Pirate Funnel and how it applies to growth marketing, you will see how it’s important to have content alignment across your funnel with awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral. All of these strategies are heavily influenced by content creation and distribution strategies so they must be aligned.
Considering the RACI Matrix
Before you spend time executing your plan, take a step back. Chart out how these areas affect each other. You could even download a RACI matrix and walk through the tasks your team is doing. This will help you see how it affects other areas of your company and other strategies.
The above visual is an example of how you can create a matrix with the tasks on the left side and the people/areas it affects on the top. To move faster than everybody else with your marketing, you need to have a system set up to maximize the ROI of your content efforts.
One piece of content could be put on the blog and left there to die. Or you can run it through a matrix of some sort. It could be sent to potential recruits to engage them to stay top of mind. It could be used as a sales asset if sent to the right person in sales.
I’ve studied a lot of the fastest-growing companies with effective strategies. They all do some variation of this content alignment. Content is consistently aligned with other aspects of their business and is used in multiple ways to maximize their ROI.
2. Niches matter more than ever.
SEO experts have published a wide array of content related to how the Google algorithm is getting increasingly intelligent such that details matter. Search results are moving toward displaying the best answer/resource and not just the resource with the highest domain authority.
Relevancy is becoming key. No matter what profession you are in, educate yourself on the content strategies that work in that specific niche.
For example, I come from a family of attorneys. When they asked me about niche marketing, the first thing I sent them was the book Law Firm SEO. I pointed them to this resource because I wanted them to understand the tactics used in their niche. They agreed it was a helpful read.
To be honest, in the past I might have sent them my own book or something from Joe Pulizzi or Ann Handley. I still might likely do that on occasion. However, there’s so much content out there these days that you have to hone in a bit more on your area.
I’ve designed content strategies for small startups and some of the largest brands in the world and I can tell you one thing without hesitation. If you produce content exactly like everybody else, you will not take the lead in growth marketing.
The reason why I also recommended the above book to my family of attorneys is that I want them to understand the content tactics that are being used in their industry. To me, that’s Step One toward arriving at a successful content growth strategy. Best practices for marketing in your specific industry are something to always keep in mind, of course, but then take the next step and aggressively highlight how you and/or your company do things differently.
Testing Organic Growth Strategies
For example, we recently A/B tested some organic growth strategies with Calendar, an online scheduling and calendar app. We were aware of what others in the calendaring and scheduling industry were doing, so we made a checklist:
- Do they have a user-friendly guide on their site?
- Do they have a group of linked blog posts?
- Is the underlying technology up to snuff?
We immediately noticed a specific gap. Yes, they were doing PR. However, they weren’t doing it in alignment with desired search terms or areas where they were seeking organic growth. Instead of going for things such as a calendar app in their PR strategy, they were going for article features on Calendar founders or just general PR to get the brand name out there.
These days, the Google algorithm is too smart to just look at best practices that experts say to follow. Instead, it wants to see you naturally own your industry. When content is too sporadic and all over the place, it’s hard for Google to know exactly where they should position you.
Redesigning Your Site
Another way we’ve seen niche marketing really matter is whenever a site is redesigned.
I recommend that as soon as you redesign a site, you have a targeted PR campaign for six months afterward. When you change everything around, Google tries to figure out where you should land. If you don’t help them understand the niche where you should be the best resource, it’s going to put you where the algorithm deems you “safe.”
I was at Content Marketing World last year and a woman I met had hired one of the best website companies. She was mad that her organic growth took a hit and started to think that she had been ripped off. However, her underlying assumption was that if she had an amazing website, that would be enough to increase organic growth.
Maybe, in the long run, that might be true.
However, we’ve conducted enough testing to know that if she would have followed up the relaunch with a six-month campaign, the keywords she had previously owned would have immediately ranked. She could easily have hit the ground running to gain more ground now that her site was amazing. Just that one simple tweak would have helped put her on a quicker path to industry leadership.
3. Have a system in place to collect data, then make your strategic decisions based on that data.
There are certain metrics that you must start tracking to make informed decisions on your growth strategies. Start tracking these common marketing data points ASAP. They include common marketing data such as unique visitors, time on site, social metrics, qualified leads, conversion rates, and opportunities. After that, grow from there once you have a reliable system in place.
Data collection will only get better as technology is advancing at an extremely fast pace. Once you have these systems down, you can use them to project advanced strategies.
For example, there are a lot of great SEO and marketing tools out there. These tools can tell you how difficult specific keywords are or how many links it will take to begin gaining credibility. Recently, I was using a newer version of MarketMuse. It not only showed me how difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword, but it also showed how specifically difficult it would be for me compared to others.
The MarketMuse tool took into consideration industry data, which is common. However, the extra element was taking into consideration how my company already had a certain amount of authority. This affected the data and allowed us to make a more informed decision on going after something more difficult. In this case, we were uniquely positioned to achieve it.
This is a good example of what I’ve hit on in previous tips. You can do things just like everyone else and use tools to look at general search traffic or how hard it is to get a keyword ranking. However, when you think more about your specific niche or how your company is uniquely positioned to own certain things, it can help you grow quicker in that area.
4. Your content strategy should reflect your growth.
One insightful test you can run to see where your content strategy stacks up is to ask a neutral third party to take a look at your company online.
Ask them what they think your revenue looks like, where it seems as though you stack up in the industry, what you are best at, etc. Make sure you give them the freedom to be completely transparent with their answers. If the report comes back and it doesn’t line up with where you are — or better — then you may have a problem.
For example, a friend of mine recently invited me to invest in a company called Tradefull. My initial assessment was, well…this company’s digital presence didn’t reflect what my friend was saying. However, after speaking to the owner/operator, I was ridiculously impressed with the numbers, progress, team, and pretty much everything else about the company.
I provide this example simply to point out that the online presence created a natural trust barrier. You don’t want this for your company, particularly if the online impression is not necessarily accurate. The more you remove these barriers, the more you can go full steam on the growth path you want. Today, Tradefull is on a path to reflecting that success with its content strategy.
It’s important to note that this is the most common thing I see with successful growth companies. Sometimes the digital landscape doesn’t represent the actual landscape.
Years ago, you could get away with this sort of thing, at least for a while. However, nowadays, technology has allowed your competitors to catch up. Differentiating yourself and staying ahead is vitally important. This means that your digital narrative should be realistically aligned with the actual narrative.
Overall, consider looking at it like this: You are putting in the hard work to help grow a company. As a result, at least a small percentage of that time should be making sure the story that people see aligns with that hard work. Perception of your brand can ultimately become reality.
Have a process in place at your board or leadership meeting to measure the perception of market share similar to how you would calculate your market share in sales. The test above can be helpful but also make sure you set actionable goals. Survey how competitors have a presence at conferences, conduct media monitoring, and track how much you are mentioned in industry conversations compared to competitors. You’ll find that you are now positioned to set goals to gain more market share of that conversation.
As you look at growth strategies for your company, take into consideration the ideas presented above as you decide where the budget should go. The tips above can help you not only get on a quicker growth path but also can help you get buy-in from leadership and other key players within your company.
Aligning content strategies can benefit other departments, niche ownership can excite leadership bent on industry domination, and looking at the data of your current competitive advantage can all lead to a better growth path. The result will be an accurate perception of your brand but also a catalyst to your company’s growth.