For years, successful marketing has been the backbone of business growth.
It is what drives new customers to a purchase from a company while helping to build brand loyalty that keeps customers coming back.
It is, all in all, what truly drives the short and long term revenue of a company.
With this in mind, finding a way to optimize the growth of your business comes down to understanding how to develop ways to succeed in marketing quickly.
As the old business saying goes:
“You are either getting better or getting worse, there is no in between.”
The reason continuous improvement is necessary, as Forbes contributor Paul Brown states, is that things are always changing.
Brown points out that this can be for a variety of reasons:
- The strength of the economy or your particular industry changes frequently
- New competitors enter the industry and existing competitors get better
- The needs and wants of your customers evolve
With these many changes, you have to be at the top of your game on a daily basis through constant improvement if you want to make your mark on the industry.
The purpose of this guide is to show you how you can continually improve, thereby building a business that is optimized for growth.
Let’s get started.
Step #1 – Find Efficient Ways to Test Marketing Methods
One of the most difficult things to do in the marketing world is finding ways to effectively test different marketing methods.
Marketing analyst Jerry Thomas says:
“Marketing is a tricky business. It’s almost impossible to measure the effects of advertising, packaging, distribution channels, media expenditures, sales organization, etc., on brand share or sales revenue.”
Thomas goes on to say that, because of this challenge, many marketers tend to rely on things that have nothing to do with business growth in order to polish up their resume.
When little to no testing is done on a regular basis, this puts businesses at the mercy of their intuition to determine which marketing methods are most effective.
One of the biggest benefits that came about with the rise of digital marketing has been the ability to test in a much more efficient and effective manner.
Free tools like Google Analytics make it incredibly easy for marketers to get a ton of real-time feedback about what is and is not working.
In addition, the running of A/B tests has also made digital marketing a much better way for businesses to optimize their potential growth.
A/B testing is very effective for growth optimization. In fact, Veggie Tales, a popular animated children’s TV series, used it to increase their revenue per visitor by 38%.
At the end of the day, if you are not finding ways to efficiently test your marketing methods, there is no way to ensure constant growth.
Using tools like Google Analytics and running constant A/B tests help ensure that you are working towards improvement at all times.
If you are unsure, as many are, about how to get started with A/B testing, you would be wise to check out the comprehensive guide that Gainbits’ put together for doing so.
Step #2 – Utilize Marketing Automation
A trend that started several years ago is the use of marketing automation tools and software.
While there are many reasons for this trend’s ongoing popularity, the main one is due to the efficiency and effectiveness that it offers as a marketing solution for businesses.
As the team at Act-On said in one of their e-books:
“Marketing automation forms the backbone for configuring nurture marketing campaigns across channels and managing communications based on prospect engagement. It’s also one of the only ways marketers can actually start to attribute marketing spend to closed sales.”
Among most of the top companies, there is very little debate over just how valuable marketing automation can be.
In fact, 79% of the top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for more than 2 years.
As far as the people who use it, 78% of them cite marketing automation systems as most responsible for improving their revenue contribution.
With those statistics in mind, it is becoming clear that avoiding marketing automation is no longer possible if you want to expedite the growth of your business.
But how exactly do you use marketing automation and what marketing strategies can it be used for?
Well, for one, using marketing automation with content marketing strategies is one of the best known ways to grow you email list and increase subscriber engagement.
As Duct Tape Marketing contributor Kala Linck says:
“The key to this strategy is to create campaigns that use if/then logic to deliver personalized content for the interests of each prospect.”
In most cases, this if/then logic tactic is used to connect with individuals through email marketing.
It can also be used to deliver content through social media.
Linck stated that doing this allows you to build rapport and trust between your company and your audience, while also helping to move prospects through the sales funnel.
This makes for an incredibly efficient way to constantly stay in front of your audience and provides much more time to focus on creating great content than the actual content distribution.
While there are many different ways that you can use marketing automation to improve your marketing efforts, the important part is that you start using it.
If the growth of your company is something that you are striving for, then setting up different ways to use automation software is vital.
As Quicksprout founder Neil Patel stated:
“Eventually, your company’s marketing program will get so big that you can’t – possible – manage everything via Outlook, Word, and Excel spreadsheets.”
Therefore, other than hiring a team of marketing specialists, marketing automation is the only way to handle this process efficiently and effectively.
If you are unfamiliar with the subject and would like to know more about getting started, check out The Definite Guide to Marketing Automation that Patel and Ritika Puri put together.
Step #3 – Utilize Email Marketing
There was a time when many marketers thought that the use of email for marketing was a thing of the past.
Interestingly enough, email marketing has continued to be a popular and successful marketing strategy in today’s business world, defying those who claimed it was dying out.
In fact, among B2B marketers, 88% of them feel that email marketing is their most effective lead generation tactic.
While email marketing clearly has several perks to it, there are some difficulties and challenges involved.
The biggest challenge for many marketers is the fact that there are so many other emails to compete with.
According to research from the Forrester, there were over 838 billion marketing messages sent in 2013.
While you certainly do not have to compete with billions of messages, there is little doubt that you will have to compete with at least a few dozen.
Therefore, competing with these several other emails means that you need to minimize potential mistakes.
Impact contributor Carly Stec says that there are six major mistakes that many email marketers make.
- Rushing emails or sending too many
- Writing content for everyone
- Assuming subscribers know you
- Not optimizing your subject line
- Not thinking about mobile
- Mishandling unsubscribes
As Stec goes on to point out, avoiding these mistakes is the key to ensuring success with email marketing tactics.
For email marketing to succeed, you need to be continually working to grow your email list.
While this can be a difficult process, there are several different ways that you can do this.
The team over at Gleam put together a list of 20 Effective Email List Growth Tactics that you would be wise to check out.
While the list is for businesses in the e-commerce space, most of the tips that you will find there are relevant tactics for any type of business.
If you really want to excel at growth optimization through email marketing, combining email marketing, content marketing, and marketing automation is key.
It will difficult to grow and maintain a list without the ability to deliver relevant information and content to your users on a regular basis; which is why content marketing is important.
As far as marketing automation, it can be used to help deliver that content to your subscribers and even social media followers without the need to manually do so yourself.
In addition, you can have autoresponders in your email that provide new subscribers with a string of relevant material that leads them through the sales funnel.
At the end of the day, marketers that are looking to grow quickly need to make sure that email marketing is a part of their plans.
Step #4 – Develop a Plan to Ensure Customer Loyalty
One of the biggest mistakes that marketers and business owners make in their growth efforts is to stop focusing on the customers that are already buying from them.
According to Heidi Miller from the Spoken Blog:
“A new customer costs 6-7x more to acquire than an existing one does to retain.”
Miller produced a useful infographic showing the value of an existing customer and also provided some useful steps for increasing profit and saving on existing customers.
With this in mind, it is neither smart nor cost-efficient to focus most of your efforts on acquiring new customers.
Instead, developing ways to ensure that your customers are coming back while also looking into ways to increase the amount that they spend can be incredibly effective.
While there are tons of resources available for helping you build customer loyalty, The Art of Customer Loyalty by the team at Help Scout seems to be the best.
There are several alarming statistics within the extensive guide that show just how important developing customer loyalty is. Consumer Reports surveys have shown that nearly 91 percent of customers will not do business with you a second time if you botch the first encounter.
“News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience,” according to the White House of Consumer Affairs.
These numbers are both astonishing and surprising. Even if growth is your main goal, do not forget about what your current customers offer in terms of your revenue stream.
Have a plan in place to ensure that you are delivering great customer service at all times and reap the endless benefits that come with customer loyalty.
Step #5 – Focus on Mobile
According to statistics provided by Smart Insights, mobile media time is now greater than any other type of media.
At over 51% of total media time for all devices, this number is 39% higher than it was in 2008.
This shows that mobile usage is growing at an incredible pace. For that reason, marketing efforts need to be focused on mobile marketing, if growth optimization is the goal.
For many marketers, marketing to a mobile audience can be a difficult process. One of the main reasons for this is because, as Simon Berg of Ceros points out:
“People ingest content on mobile in an entirely different way. As brands start to think about the user experience, they will realize that they need to customize content for each device. That’s the only way they’ll delight the user in the right way.”
Marketers that do not have the resources to create separate types of content for mobile users tend to see this as a major issue.
Not only that, but developing an understanding of how mobile users actually interact with content and how it should be customized is also difficult.
As content marketer Karen McGrane points out:
“The choices you make about which subset of content you want to deliver probably aren’t backed up by good data. They might not be backed up by any research at all, just a gut feeling about which options you imagine will be most important to the mythical on-the-go user.”
McGrane is making a good point that allows for some optimism when it comes to how marketers are currently in a confused state about how to deliver content to users.
The point being made is that nobody really currently knows how mobile users are using their devices to view content, and it is an evolving study.
Even still, there are some things that marketers already do know about mobile user behavior.
Some of the more obvious behaviors that Learning Solutions Mag contributors Michelle Lentz and Brandon Carson came up with include:
- Mobile users generally engage in short activity bursts
- One in three mobile regularly multi-task with their devices
- Mobile users move between several different devices quickly
While there is still much more to find out about mobile user behavior, the important thing for your business is that you are on top of how you can use new information to your advantage.
With the incredible growth rate that is being seen with mobile users, you would be doing yourself a major disservice by not committing to improving the mobile experience you deliver to customers.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, growth optimization happens in a variety of different ways. All five steps listed in this guide offer important insight into the things that you need to be doing to expedite the growth of your business. As was mentioned previously, you are either getting better or getting worse, there is no in between.
Following through with the five steps listed in this guide should help ensure that you are getting better and not being left behind.