While every business owner likely realizes the integral role marketing plays in a business's overall success, marketing for marketing's sake isn't going to get you anywhere -- there has to be a clear strategy and focus behind it.
In my 17+ years of online marketing, I've seen far too many businesses lose focus on the bottom line when it comes to their content strategies.
Fortunately, a healthy blend of marketing, sales, and customer success helps you maintain a "growth mindset", or a laser-sharp focus on your goals.
Essentially, a growth mindset is an experimental and data-driven approach to growing your business and leveraging all the marketing channels at your disposal.
By using a growth marketing mindset approach myself, I was able to help drive 8.2 million unique users to my clients' sites last year alone.
Here, I'm going to show you how you can achieve real growth by focusing on what's working for you -- and ditching the rest.
The 3 Vital Elements of Growth Marketing
1. Focus on the most important and relevant metrics for your business.
The sheer number of metrics that you could measure can be completely overwhelming. But data is only as good as the conclusions you draw from it. That's why it's essential to focus on the most important and relevant metrics for your business so you can address your weaknesses and grow.
So how can you identify the metrics you should be tracking? It can be helpful to start at the end and work backwards. For instance, start with your business goals. What are the mechanisms by which you'll generate revenue? This will incorporate a combination of product development goals and marketing goals.
Let's say, for instance, that one of your major marketing goals is to generate revenue via your website. Next, you'll want to identify your website goals -- which KPIs are most useful for tracking progress toward these goals? Think about what weaknesses you need to overcome, and -- once your strategy for doing so is in place -- identify the metrics needed to track the progress of your tactics. Look at the marketing channels that perform best for you, and the most relevant metrics to measure them.
Ultimately, the channels you use will significantly affect the metrics you should be measuring.
For example, marketers using paid social posts need to look at followers, likes, click-throughs, and engagement rates. Alternatively, if you're focused on email marketing, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates are king. Lastly, if you're interested in focusing on SEO, measure traffic growth, changes in keyword rankings, and the number of new backlinks.
Once you've identified your most valuable metrics, rip off the bandage and ditch the rest. I've found that if you can't count your metrics on one hand, that's generally too many to effectively monitor.
A good example of this is my email finder tool, Voila Norbert. We found that our best customers (highest LTV) were on a $49 or $99 subscription. We have higher-priced plans and annual plans, but our customers with the $49 and $99 plans stick around the longest.
As a result of this realization, we made it our goal to increase the number of customers on those two plans. It wasn't easy -- it changed pretty much all of our tactics.
For instance, we no longer needed salespeople (because those two plans are self-service), we changed our strategy to focus on traffic sources targeted at those customers, and we killed our partner program.
All of this helped us stay focused on a handful of marketing and sales activities that were driving the growth of those two plans. An added bonus?
We reduced our marketing and sales spend by 35% and our time by 50%, allowing us to double down on our efforts and grow the company faster.
2. Know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to marketing.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to both marketing and product. Ask yourself where the weaknesses are within your metrics. What tactics are clearly not working for you at the moment? On the flip side, what does your company have that others don't?
Over 65% of content marketers report having a clear, documented content marketing process. It's vital you create a strategy for leveraging your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses within that framework.
Alternatively, perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board to tweak your value proposition. Maybe you simply don't have good product-market fit, and a rethink is needed.
Common weaknesses that hinder growth include:
- A lack of traffic
- A low conversion rate
- Customer churn
From the very beginning at Mailshake, our strengths have been word-of-mouth and simplicity of product. That's the thing people love about us -- our competitors' weakness is that their tools are very complex, but we've built something incredibly simple.
To leverage your strengths, a robust framework is key.
The Bullseye Framework is my preferred model, because it's so target-driven. Within the framework, the outer ring contains what's possible for your business (your moonshots), the middle ring focuses on what's probable (potential big future performers), and the inner ring outlines what's working (your three most prominent channels).
If your main focuses (in the middle of the ring) don't align with the channels that are working for you once you've analyzed the data, it's time for a rethink. Focusing on proven top tactics is vital.
As billionaire PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel says -- "Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution -- not product -- is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don't nail one, you're finished. So it's worth thinking really hard about finding the single best distribution channel."
3. Get buy-in from teams throughout your business.
It's easy to build a product that customers don't want or don't know how to use, because the people building the product are typically the furthest from the customer. This is why it's essential to secure buy-in for your growth marketing strategy from teams throughout your organization.
The big win here is leveraging customer-facing teams. Of course you'll need buy-in from your management team and other departments, too, but I've found the most valuable departments to work with on growth marketing are:
The sales, business development, and support teams are already talking to customers, so it's critical you listen to the customer feedback they're getting. Meanwhile, the development and product teams can help you reduce a friction point, adjust the value proposition, or even build a new feature.
As Sophia Bernazzani writes in HubSpot's 10 Ways Marketing and Customer Service Can Work Together -- "The need for a symbiotic marketing and customer service relationship is only more important now, with consumers increasingly turning to social media as a way to communicate with businesses."
Once buy-in is achieved, leveraging these teams can involve:
- Getting marketing and/or the CEO talking to customers
- Listening to sales calls
- Concierge onboarding
Getting buy-in and leveraging the expertise of all our teams has been instrumental in making Mailshake a success. From the outset, we realized the product needed to be built around the customer. Our roadmap is driven by sales, customer success, and marketing teams, all of whom who are interfacing with our customers.
In practice, that means that sales, CS, and marketers are creating feature/bugs/feedback lists, and then the product and development teams set priorities and timelines. This puts the customer at the heart of the process, allowing them to drive the product roadmap.
With concierge onboarding, we use our customer success team to onboard customers, allowing us to customize the experience and minimize the friction, hurdles, and workload a customer must go through to get value from the product.
This helps to identify improvements that could be made to the on-boarding and sign-up processes, and the product itself. For example, we consistently found ourselves educating customers on their approach to email outreach. To improve the customer journey, we created videos covering this topic -- now, they're the first thing our customers see.
Using this approach for over four years has helped us grow 3X year-over-year for the last three years, simply through word-of-mouth -- our biggest channel, responsible for bringing in over 40% of our new customers.
Another way to generate word-of-mouth is to use referral and incentive programs. Rewarding people when they share your content, refer new leads, and interact with your brand allows you to speed up the rate at which your brand awareness spreads.
Ultimately, growth marketing focuses on what works, and discards the rest, allowing you to ramp up your efforts on proven performers and stop wasting time.
Additionally, it reduces the feedback loop, allowing real-time customer demand to shape products and the user journey.
And, most importantly, putting growth at the forefront of your marketing strategy gets your business where it wants to be, faster.