Today, people lead fast-paced lives. The social and political landscape is also ever-evolving, and many beliefs and practices today weren’t widespread only decades ago. On top of that, we are contending with the effects of a global health crisis. It’s a cliché, but true—the only constant thing is change. What worked in business last year might not work in the present; everything develops quickly, and what worked last month might be outdated today!
If you’re in the middle of a tumultuous period, it is counterproductive to carry on with planning as you would in calmer economic times. One thing you can do at the moment is to benchmark. See what competitors and other businesses in your industry are doing and test your practices against theirs. Here are things that can help you make lemonade out of lemons and maximize your marketing strategy’s ROI through optimization.
Keep Learning and Testing
Businesses should always learn from each other—read blogs and social media updates, attend webinars, and watch videos by other owners or creators in your field. Don’t limit yourself to direct competitors, either. After all, the most beneficial strategies can come from combining ideas you get from very distinct sources.
You should also have a more structured learning plan, like conducting a competitive analysis. Looking at other websites’ copy, advertising messaging, and content creation will give you clues as to what your competitors value, what they want clients or customers to notice, and what they are downplaying.
Staying on top of trends involves testing. All businesses in all industries are vulnerable—we aren’t out of the forest yet, and circumstances can change drastically in ways we cannot anticipate. Knowing what is working, figuring out how to translate that into your context, and making necessary adjustments, will undoubtedly help.
Know What to Analyze and Test
Testing and continuous improvement are ideals, and it’s easier said than done to keep changing for the better. Maximizing your return, especially during times of economic uncertainty, requires courage. You can’t get new customers by being timid about your business. However, you can’t just re-launch your strategy based on whatever your competitors are doing. Here are things to keep in mind about each aspect of digital marketing.
Sometimes, you need to reframe your idea of conversion. Although driving sales should be your primary concern, you might need to nurture other parts of your marketing funnel. Maybe you need to have more email subscribers, get more sign-ups for your webinars, or have more people get on a trial subscription. These do not bring direct conversions, but they build long-term relationships, which do result in sales.
If people aren’t submitting lead forms like before, maybe you need to remind them why they should choose you. Writing a free guide, driving traffic to a blog post or white paper, or conducting a free webinar creates value and goodwill now, which could build in the future.
Even in uncertain economic times, you need to test your strategies and ensure that they are as scientific and statistically significant as possible. Before you draw conclusions and change anything about how you do things, you need data to support your claims. Also, don’t panic, especially if the tests show results that don’t favor your business. This is precisely what you should want since you can use this data to change your practices. Then, define success before you start, and know what you are trying to get with your tests. All the stakeholders involved should have the same expectations and goals.
Testing advertisements during tough times involves deciding between two things. Do you prioritize sales volume at the expense of profit margins or maintain your profitability even if you don’t get the number of sales you’d like? Paid campaigns must focus on one or the other, and you can use past ad performance and CRM data to help you decide. You can also use A/B testing on ad copy headlines to see which one draws more people to your articles. Use results from ad tests to inform your strategy for on-page elements like title tags.
Conversion rate optimization, which you can do for on-site content, is a reliable way of gauging the impact of your SEO tactics. When you want to test your on-site content, you must run separate A/B tests for everything—the copy, imagery, CTAs, title tags, and more. You can start small with CRO, especially since it encompasses so many things. However, you cannot skip it, especially if you want to maximize your returns.
What Tools to Use
If you’re modifying your marketing strategy, you do not have to do everything the long way. There is a wealth of tools and software available today for any situation you could encounter. For keyword research, there is Moz Pro, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Google Keyword Planner. If you want to monitor which areas of your website catch people’s attention, you can use a heatmap; Hotjar, CrazyEgg, and Lucky Orange have those.
HubSpot, MailChimp, and Constant Contact can help you with your email marketing campaigns, and if you need a CRO tool, there is Google Optimize and Optimizely. Having tools allows you to make the most of your workday and concentrate on the high-level decision-making you need to create a marketing strategy.
It is inevitable for businesses to face rough patches. Even when there wasn’t a global pandemic, and even if the economy is robust, companies can go through tough times. When these challenges come, do not give up. Research and agility will take you far; knowing your business’ pain points will help you shift your focus to more productive endeavors. Finally, incorporate testing in your business’ strategic planning cycles. Testing gives you the data you need to support strategies you want to implement. Testing has a twofold purpose; it validates your previous strategies and creates a road map for your next one.
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