Growth Metric or Vanity Metric?

How to Tailor Your Marketing to the Right Questions

by AJ Agrawal on Startup Grind

Marketing is a complex industry — and it’s not getting any simpler. Take, for example, content marketing: $50 billion is being wasted by B2B content marketing plays for the creation of content that goes totally unused, according to a report by eConsultancy. The biggest problem: most of these business don’t even realize the hole they’re burning.

A popular saying bets, “The quality of your life is proportional to the quality of your questions,” and in marketing, there are a lot of questions to ask — many good, but some downright terrible. The hardest part of the industry, then, is to know which is which. In an effort to make sure that your priorities are in the right place, this guide is going to show you some of the questions that you should be asking — and some of the questions you shouldn’t let guide you.

How Many Visitors Do I Have? Wrong!

The biggest transgressors tend to have a long history in marketing and SEO. The success of any online marketing campaign used to be about how many people you could attract to your website. The reality: this doesn’t matter in the slightest. Nobody cares how many people came to your website unless you’re selling CPM ad units.

Visitors don’t mean anything when it comes to your bottom line. It’s impossible to pay your rent with visitors, so why would this vanity metric mean anything?

How Many Visitors are Converting? Right!

While it doesn’t matter how many visitors you have, it matters hugely how many of them are converting. Refocusing your mind will help you to save money for your startup. The definition of a conversion can differ depending on what sort of marketing campaign you are running — whether it be captured emails, tickets sold, or product signups. But regardless of the type of signal being used as your conversion metric, this metric is indeed the sole indicator of success.

Conversions are customers who have entered your funnel and emerged from the other end, producing some sort of tangible value for your business. Anything short of this is a failure — or a work in progress.

Do I Really Need to Spend This Much Time on Social Media? Wrong!

At first glance, how much time you should spend on social media is a valid question for a marketer. But a second glance, from someone who knows the marketing industry, reveals it to be what it is: confused and misguided.

For a start, social media is the single biggest gathering point of people on the planet. There are very few people without at least one social media account. Furthermore, Google considers social media popularity to be a high-value signal of your credibility. So yes, you do need to be on social media — but what you do there is much more important.

Where is My Target Audience and What is the Best Way to Reach Them? Right!

Now that we have dug into the fact that what you do is more important than how much time you spend on social media, it’s time to ask where your audience lives — and in the end, this might pull you to sales or content marketing rather than social media.

As you learn about your buyers, you’ll also learn how to reach them through a great customer experience. Not every social media network will be beneficial for your business: some are designed for businesses in specific industries, and others are simply in a format not compatible with the way you normally deliver content.

You need to choose the right social media networks, and come up with a plan. And when you do, make sure you have a way of avoiding the social media mistakes that could hurt your business.

Is it Necessary to Update My Website? Wrong!

Asking if you need to update your website is like asking whether you need to open the door of your shop every single day. Your website is the one platform you control. This is something that should receive as much thought and energy investment as you can muster. Though it needn’t be on the cutting edge of design, it must serve your users, or your marketing efforts are going to fall flat.

The quality of your website alone is a marketing tool. Without a great website, you are automatically undermining your marketing efforts.

Is My Website Meeting the Needs of My Customers? Right!

A website is ultimately all about fulfilling certain needs. If you are unable to meet the needs of your customers, you are failing.

For example, you need to understand how customers view things like philanthropy, mobile design, and the added features expected of you, such as free shipping.

The first issue you have to address is whether your site is optimized for mobile devices. If not, you are turning away at least 50% of people who use mobile devices exclusively to browse the web. You are also risking the wrath of Google, as they are actively penalizing websites that are unable to meet their standards.

You should also set up a focus group to find out what customers really think of your site. Without public feedback, you are essentially going in blind.

This is a question that you should be asking yourself on a regular basis.

Asking the Right Questions

Whenever you think of a marketing question, you shouldn’t be thinking about cutting corners. You should be measuring your success and think about whether you are effectively meeting the needs of your target market. That should be more important than anything else.

Are you asking these marketing questions?

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