I’ve tried hard to implement a bold and experimental culture when it comes to marketing at Mailshake. I don’t see failure as a bad thing; it’s fear of venturing into the unknown that I want to discourage.
Basically, my philosophy is this: Try it. If it doesn’t work, change your approach or do something different. Fail fast.
We tried a lot of different marketing tactics in 2018. Most failed, a few worked well, and a few more were home runs.
That’s usually the reality of marketing. It’s also why I decided I needed to branch out and ask some of the best marketers I know to share some of their home runs in 2018.
Here’s the advice they gave me. I’m sharing it here so that you can implement these tactics for yourself in 2019.
1. Building relationships with tools in our space
Content is synonymous with digital marketing, to the point that nearly everyone is investing in it to some extent. This means standing out and getting results from content has never been harder. You need creativity, skill, and, perhaps most importantly, strategy. I learned this firsthand at Mailshake:
At the beginning of the year, we didn’t have a lot of traction in our marketing efforts, specifically around content marketing. Rather than fight that uphill battle alone, the first thing we did was make a list of all the tools in our space (SaaS for salespeople), organize them by categories (CRMs, proposal software, prospecting, etc.), and write an article featuring them. This gave us an excuse to reach out with some flattery and with a link to their site, which opened the door to other co-marketing opportunities, like guest posting, webinars, and even product partnerships. It really became the bedrock of our marketing efforts in 2018 and was a good reminder that marketing is all about relationships, both with your customers and with other marketers in your space.
You can implement something similar by strategizing and utilizing your content on multiple levels. Don’t just write an article targeting one head term and hit “publish.”
Decide who will read and benefit from the content. Include influencers, and leverage them to help distribute your content, build relationships, and open doors to other marketing opportunities.
2. Updating old content
It’s harder than ever to stand out from the competition when it comes to content, but that doesn’t mean we always have to keep creating new, better content. Sometimes we can actually get great results by revisiting and updating old content.
“One marketing tactic that we saw the biggest results from was simply giving lift to older content. We connected Google Analytics and Screaming Frog, and after crawling the website, we were able to organize the spreadsheet and drill down on blog posts that haven’t been viewed in 3+ years. Then, we sorted them by topic and after reviewing each blog post we’d decide whether it was best to just trash it, merge it with another post or update it with new content, imagery and a fresh title. This strategy is something we work on a little bit each month, because it does take time. However, this allows you to focus more on the evergreen content vs. sharing short-lived blog posts. For example, we’ve updated this blog post on duplicate content checkers over the years, and it continues to be a top performer for us!” – Amber Ooley, Thrive Agency
Want to implement the same? Grab a list of all your content using a website crawler that can be connected to Google Analytics so you can also gather traffic data, like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.
Check each URL (by hand), and then decide whether the content should be:
- Combined with another post (advisable when you have multiple similar posts that are potentially competing with each other)
- Optimized and updated
- Ditched altogether
Bear in mind that if you’ve got a long history of content creation, this process won’t be easy, and it will be time-consuming. Be prepared to spread it out over many months if necessary.
3. Using SMS Chat
In many cases, live chat is the platform of choice for customers looking to communicate with a company they do (or are considering doing) business with.
Specifically, 30% of customers expect websites to offer a live chat option. For customers on mobile devices, that percentage climbs as high as 62%.
It’s clear that live chat is an asset, but some companies have seen even better results by taking their chat offline.
“Our best acquisition tactic was actually using our own tool. This past year we created an SMS Chat widget. On desktop, it looks like a live chat. The difference is that messages come in as texts and replies go as texts to the user’s cell phone. This way prospects don’t have to stay on our website to continue the conversation. We have several channels for bringing in traffic, and they all produce leads, but SMS Chat has boosted our sales conversions significantly. We get a lead, we text them back ASAP, and they love it.SMS Chat works on mobile sites, too. Viewers just click a button to start a text.” – Kenneth Burke, Director of Marketing Text Request
Implementing this yourself is relatively simple. Add an upgraded live chat service to your website that encourages visitors to input their phone number and asks their permission for you to text them.
Once the conversation has moved away from your website, you’re in a stronger position to keep it flowing, follow up, and convert more leads into sales.
4. Forming linkbuilding partnerships
There’s so much to be gained from looking at the search results, but most of us aren’t paying them nearly enough attention. Do some digging. You’ll learn who your true competitors are and get new ideas that will help you outrank them and gain more of the clickshare.
Depending on the keywords you search for, you can also discover valuable potential link partners, which can land you a position in the top 10 for high-traffic terms that are too competitive for your own site to claim.
“For us at LiveAgent, the best marketing tactic was to look for top money keywords via an SEO tool, in our case words like “Live Chat Software,” and look for all the variants and who was included in first top 10 results. Then, we pitched all the portals and tried to get a link or partnership going. Whether it was a review portal, blog, or magazine, the exposure led to both traffic increase and improvement in rankings.” – Matej Kukucka, Senior Growth Marketer, Live Agent
To implement this in your marketing strategy for 2019, pick your top money keywords, and, using either a tool or manual search, look at which sites and what content ranks in the top 10 for those terms.
Where appropriate (i.e., when the site isn’t a competitor), approach them with the goal of getting some of your own content onto those sites. If you succeed, you can still appear in the top 10 via a third-party site (even when your own site can’t break onto page one of Google for your top money keywords).
5. Hosting highly-focused webinars
Depending on the topic (and their quality), webinars can be an invaluable onboarding tool for new customers. They can also help with customer acquisition and retention.
“We really invested in webinars in 2018, and as a result they became one of our biggest lead drivers. One of the things that we’ve really noticed is that the more focused a webinar, the better turnout we have. We work with dental practices so topics such as HIPAA, PPOs, and proper phone skills really get a great response. Viewers are engaged during these presentations and stick around for the full hour so they can take part in a Q&A. They finally have somebody at their disposal to answer complex questions that affect their day-to-day!” – Jonathan Bass, Content Marketing Manager, RevenueWell
Thinking about leveraging webinars for the first time in 2019? To start you’ll need a platform to host them on.
You’ll also need to learn how to host a webinar that engages viewers and achieves its aims. And last but not least, you’ll need to promote your webinar so the right people know about it, and actually turn up when you want them to.