Category

Lead Generation

To generate growth you must engage all parts of the sales funnel.

Is Your Sales Funnel Leaking?

By | Lead Generation, Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been in the business for any length of time, you’ve probably faced the scenario. An existing client referred a potential client to you.

The prospect is promising—it’s a mid-sized business that needs your services to help promote growth among their own clientele. You had a phone call and then a follow-up meeting to chat through the company’s goals and how your services align with them.

But since then, your lead has fallen off the radar…leaked out of the sales funnel, so to speak.

And that’s a problem. Whereas marketers were once tasked with only the top of the funnel, things like brand awareness and metrics, they’re now responsible for moving prospects through the entirety of the funnel.

Times have changed. Now, marketers who only focus on the top of the funnel risk their budget and their jobs.

Every CEO expects marketing to focus on growth, not just brand awareness. In fact, 70 percent of CEOs believe that CMOs should be leading revenue growth, and the majority name revenue as the primary mandate of marketing.

Moreover, companies are now facing challenges in the marketing field that can be overcome with growth marketing. Generating leads is the biggest challenge for many marketers, but just as important are challenges like proving the ROI of marketing activities.

Plugging the leaks in your sales funnel can mean better leads, better data, long-term customers, and the ability to prove ROI combined with retention.

Retention & the Sales Funnel

So, what’s the big deal about retention, anyway?

Well, it’s really the backbone of growth marketing. Successful marketing is not just about the top of the funnel and customer acquisition. It is also about acquiring customers who will stick around long-term.

Growth without retention is not really growth.

And you should be focused on growth now more than ever. In fact, the typical SaaS business loses 2–3 percent of their customers every month, so they have to grow by 27–43 percent annually in order to compensate for that loss and maintain the same level of revenue.

That’s just to keep things where they are—not to increase revenue.

That’s why retention is a critical make-or-break factor in many companies. With improved retention, losses are reduced and revenue grows.

On the flip side, the more customers you lose, the more new leads you have to generate.

The Fix for Your Sales Funnel

Start by identifying your top marketing channels.

Marketing strategies typically include multiple channels, which differ based on industry, audience, or business model. Rather than trying to maximize acquisition across all channels, determine your top three—then work to be a rockstar in those three.

Pull your efforts away from the less effective channels. Then, identify weaknesses.

Before you use growth marketing, you need to figure out where bottlenecks exist in your sales funnel. Determine where your funnel inhibits customer growth.

For most people, the common bottlenecks exist at awareness and conversion.

The widest part of the funnel might not seem like a bottleneck, but it is. Companies often fail to establish that much-needed initial trust. Creating and maintaining that trust is an essential part of proving your worth and value to a prospect.

The middle of the funnel is where you lose customers. This is all about relationship-building and nurturing, areas where marketers can struggle at times.

But taking the time to tighten up your sales funnel and patch up any leaks is key to moving prospects through the funnel and turning them into customers.

If you need help with your existing sales funnel, or would like to create one, schedule a free strategy session with our team.

SEO optimization

Why SEO Optimization Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

By | Content Development, Lead Generation, Marketing Strategy

SEO sounds so simple—make sure all your web content, blogs, and landing pages can be easily located and ranked high by search engines. But it’s not really simple—and it’s not just a one-time thing.

Just when you think your SEO efforts are in tip-top shape, Google rolls out another twist and you find yourself struggling to catch up to the pack.

Imagine an athlete training to compete as a sprinter only to be told at the last minute she was entered in the Boston Marathon. Whoa! The training is different, the skills you need are different, and you’ll need way more stamina if you’re running long distances.

SEO is a long-haul marathon process. Marketing managers and companies study the latest Google algorithms often to learn just what it takes to get to the top of search rankings. And yet, Google is always elusive, never quite divulging all its secrets.

So spend a few minutes stretching, grab your running shoes, and let’s focus on some key principles to help you prepare for the marathon of improving your web content SEO.

SEO Is Work

Just as training for and running a marathon is hard work, so is the ongoing task of preparing your web content for SEO. Like marathon training, it’s a long game. Each race demands its own level of training. For most marathon runners, after one race comes another.

Good SEO programs and services can provide you with data and guidance, but the work is up to you.

You must implement the changes (or authorize their implementation) on your website. Make the necessary adjustments to your design. Seek to understand recent keyword data and how it needs to be woven into your content.

Or, you can depend on an SEO-savvy team to get you there.

SEO Takes Discipline

If you want to get in the physical shape necessary to run a marathon, you should eat well, sleep well, and have a training plan. Improving your rankings on search engine results pages is similar—you need a plan.

SEO means making changes when they are necessary, even when it hurts. It means improving website design. It means quality keyword research and use practices. It means internal and external linking that builds value and boosts rankings.

SEO Takes the Right Equipment

It’s easier to train and run a marathon if you have the right equipment. If you want to run long distances, you need great running shoes for support. If you want to get on Google’s first result page, you need a few important resources to get there.

Clean web pages, seamless back-end structure, and a reputable SEO tool are some great suggestions. Also, it pays in the long run to invest in smart keyword research and SEO assistance.

SEO Requires Following the Rules

Like training for a marathon, there really are no shortcuts to effective SEO. A short-term gain can lead to sickness and destroying your body. You also cannot take shortcuts to get ahead of the competition.

To get quick SEO results, some companies consider spammy techniques that promise results. But Google is on to that. Any attempt at shortcutting the process can result in penalties or even being banned altogether.

At Wayward Kind, our SEO experts have trained for the long haul, and we can go the distance with your company’s SEO process. Done correctly, SEO produces results.

A client needed to increase leads and nurture those leads as they moved through the buying process. After working with our team to improve their content strategy and SEO, they celebrated the following results:

  • Increased the number of keywords ranking on page one of search results by 40%
  • Improved position of targeted keywords in search results by an average of 13
  • Increased time on site by 51%

Our team has experience in generating the best results for online marketing clients. Get in touch today to discover how we can ensure your online content is ranking well helping prospective clients find your products or services.

what to do when my digital marketing strategy isn't working

So, Your Digital Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working. Now What?

By | Lead Generation, Marketing Strategy

What do you do if you’ve spent a bunch of time and money creating a marketing strategy and it just doesn’t seem to work? Many of our clients come to us for this very reason. They’ve made a big investment in planning, and it’s not paying off.

We get it—feeling like you are constantly starting over with marketing is right up there with rubbing salt in your eyeballs. It’s something to avoid at all costs!

But the cost of ignoring a marketing strategy that isn’t working is too high. Eventually every business ends up right where you are now—trying to figure out what needs to change to hit your business goals.

As marketing changes, your digital marketing strategy should, too.

In business and marketing, updates come along pretty often. New technology, shifting trends, and updated government regulations are a few of usual suspects causing changes in digital marketing.

So, the best marketing strategy is a working plan that’s flexible. The kind of plan that always looks to see what’s working—and discards what isn’t.

Where to start

You begin by asking some hard questions. I know that isn’t fun. But, asking hard questions leads us to solid answers.

Begin first by looking internally.

What makes your brand compelling and memorable? Is it consistently recognized across different platforms? Do you solve a problem people actually have? Do people trust your brand to solve this problem? Why or why not?

Next, look externally.

Who is your best customer? How much do they know about their pain? Do they know you provide a solution to their challenge? Do they consider your services THE solution? Or just one of many options?

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Next, look past your customers to your competitors.

What is your competitor offering that you’re not? What does your competitor do well? Where do they struggle?

Your digital marketing plan shouldn’t be static.

Now for some good news. You never really have to start over with your digital marketing strategy, but you do have to constantly be iterating and refining the strategy.

The most effective approach has three steps: plan, measure, and improve. Most companies get the first part right—they create a well-thought-out digital marketing plan and start putting it in motion.

The problem is that very few companies spend time measuring results and using those results to improve upon the initial plan.

The companies that see the greatest results do not follow their marketing plan to the letter. They use the plan as a guide and are diligent about making make strategic changes along the way based on results. This approach allows you to capitalize on the things that are producing results and nix the pieces of the strategy that aren’t.

You never have to “start over” if you’re constantly tweaking and improving as you go.

Here’s an example of how the Plan Measure Improve approach works:

Plan

Recently, we worked with a law firm that wanted to book more consultations online with prospective clients.

  • We started by defining segments of the firm’s audience and identifying which segments were most likely to book appointments online.
  • Next, we created blog and landing page content that helped answer common questions that those specific segments of the audience often ask during their initial consultation.
  • After giving the prospective clients a few pieces of information we knew they’d need no matter what, we offered to help in a more concrete way through a free consultation.
  • Last, we drove traffic to the blog posts and landing pages through targeted social media content and Google Adwords campaigns.

Measure

Whew! That’s a lot of work. Next up is to see how it all worked so we know whether to keep going or make some changes.

  • We found that the social media campaigns were not as effective as we’d anticipated. This could be because people who are considering a divorce don’t want their friends and family on social media to know they’re interacting with a family law firm.
  • We discovered that the average visitor looked at three pages of content before booking a consultation online.
  • We saw that a handful of the ads were outperforming others—the subject of these ads was about getting custody of your kids during a divorce.

Improve

The data we uncovered was really useful. With that information, we shifted the digital marketing strategy after only 45 days in order to improve results. Here’s what we changed:

  • Knowing that the social media campaigns were not performing as planned, we just spent less time here. We still published social media content, but we didn’t expect it to produce results—not yet, anyway. The result of this change in the strategy was more time to devote to other things that were working.
  • Once we discovered that the average visitor needed to see multiple pieces of content before converting, we looked at the editorial calendar and found ways to create content to build upon previous content. Creating clearly linked pieces of related content delivered a really rapid uptick in conversions. Within a couple of weeks, we were already seeing positive results.
  • Lastly, knowing which ads were working and which were not, we dropped the duds and focused on the subjects that were driving traffic. Doing this allowed us to shift more of our client’s advertising budget to topics relating to child custody—and we saw immediate positive results from this shift.

The most effective digital marketing plan is a flexible one.

Having a digital marketing strategy in place is critical, but it’s not meant to be followed blindly.

If it’s been a while since someone has assessed whether your plan is working, schedule a free strategy review with our team.

Don’t feel like blogging? Create this kind of content instead.

By | Content Development, Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy

“If you don’t have something meaningful to say, don’t say anything at all.”

As a content strategist, I spend a lot of time working with clients to help them blog consistently. Blogging consistently produces results — there’s no question about it. It can help you grow your audience and become known as a thought leader in your industry. It also builds traffic to your website so you can convert more sales.

Important stuff.

But even more important is being smart about when you ask for your audience’s attention.

If you don’t have something meaningful or helpful to share, blogging just to blog doesn’t do anything to help your audience. And at the end of the day, your blog is about them, not you.

Think about it this way — if someone who’s never heard of you before lands on your website today and sees your latest post, are they likely to read anything else you’ve written?

Going on a Blogging Hiatus

Over the last few months, I took a little blogging siesta. This break started as most business breaks do — with total and complete burnout. I was trapped in Content Development Groundhog Day and when I thought about writing my weekly blog post, the first thing that came to mind was a series of listicles (a.k.a. the lazy girl’s blogging strategy). That’s when I knew it was time to take a week off.

Just one week, I promised myself.

Then one week became two.

And two became…well, you know the rest.

As a content strategist, I know the data behind consistent blogging. There’s no doubt that it works, but that didn’t change the fact that I just wasn’t feeling it. So, instead of pounding out content just to prove to myself I could be consistent, I decided to experiment with something new. A few somethings, in fact.

Here are the four pieces of content I created this summer during my blogging hiatus.

Making Personalized Introductions

Making an introduction for your clients and colleagues is one of the most useful and personal pieces of content you’ll ever create — whether that means making an introduction to people they want to collaborate with, sharing new resources or tools that can simplify their business, or telling them about articles you think they’ll find useful.

When people know you are always on their mind and you are thinking about their business and their success every day, they tend to reciprocate. This strategy may not build website traffic, but it builds deeper relationships, loyalty and a strong foundation for referrals.

Making these connections took a fraction of the time it would have taken me to blog all summer long. Instead of writing listicles, I spent more time listening to the people around me and hearing what they needed…then connecting them with one of my colleagues who was a good fit to help them solve their problem.

Quick Tip for Making Meaningful introductions

Personalize every single introduction you make (or don’t make one). If you’re going to connect two people you know with one another, add a personal note about each of them explaining how you met them, what you love about their work and why you’d recommend them.

Anyone can fire off an impersonal email introduction, but only you know what needs to be said to make a genuine connection between the two people you’re introducing.

Playing with Instagram Captions

I’m a total sucker for Instagram. Well, me and about 300 Million other people.

One huge trend in my business over the last 12 months has been an exponential increase in requests for help with Instagram. We are now creating content for both product-based businesses and clients in the service sector. I have an incredible social media team working with me, but it was high time I figured for myself out what works (and what doesn’t) on this platform.

So this summer, I played around with it.

I used it for business a little bit.

And family a lot a bit.

I tried short captions and long ones.

I got crazy with hashtags and went hashtag free (ok, I never actually went hashtag free, but I got close a couple of times).

I even tried story style and get-to-the-fricking-point style.

What did I learn? Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform (duh). People want pretty pictures. But what I found surprising is that people are more likely to like, comment and repost when the copy is brilliant, too.

Pretty copy + pretty pictures = SLAM DUNK, IG-style.

I stopped using my Facebook business page months ago because it wasn’t performing, so I wasn’t expecting to get much traction from Instagram. But after three months of experimenting, color me surprised (and grateful) to know that Instagram is a platform where I can connect with some pretty amazing new clients.

Quick Tip for Instagram Captions

There’s no better playground than your personal Instagram account. If you want to figure out what works for your business, do a little trial and error testing on your personal account so you’re polished and ready when you start integrating business posts.

Psst…you can do this on Facebook too. See what gets the most traction on your personal profile. The same type of language, pictures and stories will often work on your business page, too!

Being Relentlessly Helpful

Tim Grahl, one of my mentors, always says marketing is about being relentlessly helpful. As you’re creating content for your audience, ask yourself if it’s useful.

You don’t need to blog every single week to effectively sell your services. Creating relentlessly helpful content for your audience could be as simple as answering client questions, Periscoping about a useful book you recently read, or recording your screen as you walk through a process your ideal clients use everyday.

Quick Tip for Being Relentlessly Helpful

When you create content, make sure it’s making your audience’s life better or making their businesses run more smoothly. Helpful content is the kind of thing people thank you for and remember.

Using Meaningful Words

The words you use on your website and in your blog are definitely considered content. But so are the inside words that you use with your team. For instance, I think we can all agree that no one wants to feel like they are just a number on a list. Yet many entrepreneurs refer to their email subscribers as their “list”.

Ick.

I spent some time over the last few months redefining my “inside voice”. The words I use internally with my team matter just as much as the words I use with clients. In fact, they matter more.

And since I work intimately with a small number of clients, we know a lot about each other. I know my clients’ kids names, where they’re headed on their big vacation for the year and what they’re struggling with in their business. When you work with people this closely, “lists” don’t matter.

People matter. The results they’re achieving matter. And they way they feel about your word choice — that matters, too.

Quick Tip for Choosing Meaningful Words

Content Marketing is about creating a sense of belonging. Choose words that make people feel like an important part of what you’re doing and make sure everyone on your team is on board.

Now it’s your turn

What kind of unconventional content have you been working on lately? Share a link in the comments to the most useful piece of content you’ve created (or read) recently so we can learn from you!