There are no silver bullets in marketing. What makes businesses successful are scaleable and repeatable processes. A solid approach to generating consumer interest and promoting your brand will go a long way in building a profitable and sustainable company.
Here, 11 of the world’s most talented marketers share their best secrets, strategies and tips for growing big businesses.
1. James Mahon: Discovering what people really want.
Your customers will consistently surprise you, but they are not the only people worth surveying.
James Mahon, an award-winning CBS affiliate TV reporter and media and marketing advisor, recommends, “Don't overlook those who you feel are not your traditional client base. They are the ones who can often teach you the most.” Companies consistently discover new opportunities when they expand the scope of their consumer research.
2. Peep Laja: Mastering conversion rate optimization.
Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, knows process is more important than any single tactic. “If you’re focusing on tactics (make the button bigger, etc.), you’re doing it wrong. Focus on mastering the CRO process.” This includes in-depth research and extensive testing.
Assumptions and hypotheses must be regularly challenged. Laja adds, “The most important thing in conversion optimization is the discovery of what matters. If you don’t know what specific elements on any page of your site might have an impact when you change/test them, you’re wasting everybody’s time.”
3. Noah Kagan: Converting email audiences to subscribers.
To deliver emails worth opening, include these five elements to boost your email marketing ROI:
Powerful subject lines.
Empathy toward customer intent.
Compelling calls to action.
4. Mike Allton: Circling the right people with Google+.
Social media can get a bit noisy. Filter out unwanted messages by only following users who are mindful with the content they share. Mike Allton, editor of The Social Media Hat, says, “My best advice for new (and existing) Google+ users is to be very particular about who you circle. [Give] careful consideration to how you intend to use the network.”
Unlike Facebook, use Google+ “to discover and connect with the people you don't know. This way, every time you log into Google+, instead of seeing random posts and discussions in your stream, it will be a rich dialogue that you'll be excited to jump into every day.”
5. Bryan Eisenberg: The importance of relationships to influencer marketing.
Instead of building a homegrown audience, clever marketers leverage others’ authority, influence and reach. Influencers with half a million fans on Facebook and two hundred thousand followers on Pinterest spend years cultivating large fan bases. They’ve done all the hard work and to get in front of their audience, all you need to do is develop a single key relationship -- with the influencer.
But remember that "influencer marketing is not a transactional deal but an ongoing relationship. Spend time understanding your influencer and their goals," says Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder and CMO of IdealSpot and New York Times Best Selling author.
6.Dharmesh Shah: Inbound marketing needs an early start with content.
Brands everywhere are in love with content, and rightfully so. Businesses looking to market their products and services throw absurd amounts of money on ads that never get seen. Instead, businesses should invest their marketing budgets intelligently and Dharmesh Shah, CTO of HubSpot and founder of Inbound.org, believes the first thing they should do is “start creating content and building reach the day you start building the product.”
Shah’s two arguments for prioritizing content include:
“First, marketing is not just about finding customers for the product you've built -- in the early days, it's also about better understanding the market you're building for.”
“Second, inbound marketing takes time. It's a long-term investment, and the sooner you start, the better.”
7. Alex Attinger: Native advertising focus is engagement over conversion.
By 2018, eMarketer estimates U.S. native advertising spending to be $8.8 billion dollars, up from $3.2 billion in 2014. To take full advantages of native advertising, Alex Attinger, Group MD of millennial advertising platform ContentClick, advises, “stop thinking about [yourself] and instead take the consumer down an engagement journey. Too many brands focus on what they’re going to offer (coupons, special offers, trials etc) without truly engaging and interacting with consumers in a two-way conversation.”
8. Arjun Dev Arora: Retargeting, segmentation and testing.
For powerful retargeting campaigns, Arjun Dev Arora, chairman of Retargeter and co-founder of Immediately, suggests brands “segment and target” their ads. The secret is creating “multiple campaigns based on and targeted from unique and defined places on your website.”
Every customer follows a different buyer journey. Avoid applying a mass-marketing approach to retargeting. Also, “make sure that you test a vast variety of creatives,” adds Arora.
9. Muray Newlands: Partner with likeminded publications.
What I love about the digital age is how accessible expert knowledge is. If I want to learn from Richard Branson, I read his column on Entrepreneur. Many brilliant professionals similarly contribute to leading publications to get in front of their target audience. When developing thought leadership content, co-founder of Due.com Murray Newlands suggests, “Find the publications which influence the market you want to connect with and contribute to those publications. Win with big ideas and great content that establishes you as a thought leader. Write about the whole industry not just your narrow interest.”
10. Alex Debelov: Procative video distribution.
Alex Debelov, CEO of programmatic video advertising platform Virool, tells entrepreneurs to, “Consider the video’s distribution as a proactive part of the process rather than a reaction to a lackluster view count. Once in front of the right viewers, they will do the work for you and the organic traffic will keep flowing.”
To be strategic about your video distribution efforts, Debelov shares, “One tip we like to tell our clients is to use your social audience to test content before distributing it. For example, post three thumbnails to Facebook and see which one gets the most likes. This is an easy, unpaid way to optimize your thumbnail and drive an increase in clicks.”
11. Georgiana Laudi: Thinking holistically about webinars.
“There's more to webinars, than the webinar,” says Georgiana Laudi, VP Marketing at Unbounce. “From the topic selection, choice of guest, registration landing page, to how you leverage the webinar recording. Every detail needs deliberate and strategic thinking behind it. It's not that the webinar itself isn't hugely important (of course it is), but too often it's the opportunities surrounding the webinar that are overlooked or under-estimated, and they make all the difference.”
For example, “The topic you choose for your webinar should be irresistibly useful, while inspiring attendees to take your desired action (purchase your product or service), without being the slightest bit pitchy. Your guest should bring not only expertise and credibility with them, but ideally a totally new audience to your brand too. Your email invitation and promos should encourage people to register even if they can't attend the live event (you can send them the recording). Your registration page should be free from distraction like navigation to the rest of your site or social share buttons (ask for that after they've registered).”
This ensures every webinar you produce is successful. At Unbounce, “It's these details (and plenty more) that helped turn webinars into our largest acquisition channel in only a few short months.”