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When you're a marketer, especially in today's digital age, you have to have a growth mindset. A lot of people, especially traditional brand marketers, aren’t improving their digital marketing skills, and that’s a big mistake. So I want to talk about how we go about improving as marketers.
Talk to the High Performers
I really like talking to great marketers all the time. There's a concept called deliberate practice (read this book called Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson). Basically, you should always be talking to, working for, and learning from the people in your field who are really high performers.
When I first started doing marketing, I would seek out and chat up a lot of different people who were already successful. Today, a lot of these people are my friends and so I just talk to them. Neil Patel‘s one of them, Noah Kagan is another, Pat Flynn is another good example. There are a lot of great marketers out there and they're always trying new things. So you want to be talking to them.
Ask them questions like, “Hey, what's going well for you right now? What's not working? What are you struggling with?” Then you can start to come up with new ideas, especially when you're helping them.
Read Case Studies
The one thing that I like doing is learning through reading. I'll look for case studies specifically.
Source: Single Grain case studies
There are a lot of blogs that break down marketing case studies so I read them and try to learn from them. And they do this for many different industries. There are case studies on how someone collected more emails, or doubled their search traffic, or doubled their conversions.
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Then once you have that information, you need to be practicing it on your own website. If you implement what you're learning, you'll find that a lot of those case studies can be applied to your own site as well, although you may not get the same result. Let’s say someone used a tactic that tripled their emails. If you use that tactic on your site, you may not get triple the emails—but even if you get 30% more, that's still a huge win.
Just keep in mind that in fast-paced industries like marketing where there’s lot of change year to year, you want to look at case studies that aren’t too old. Any case studies that are five years or older probably have outdated tactics. Typically, when you implement that stuff on your site, you won't see similar results to what they saw.
Where to Find Marketing Case Studies
A great place to find marketing case studies is Land-Book. It shows you different landing pages out there that can help inspire new ideas. Those aren't cases studies per say, but that's a good place to start looking for landing page inspiration.
Another place to find case studies is Swiped.co. This is where you can find sales copy from around the web from great copy writers such as Frank Kern or Ryan Deiss. You can see their copy and analyze it to learn what's working well for these people and what you can take for yourself.
Then there’s Growth Hackers, which has a section just for case studies. They talk about how Etsy grew, about how Yelp grew, about how Uber grew. These are really in-depth case studies that I really like.
Finally, there’s Which Test Won, which shows you whether the A or B version of an A/B test performed better, and What Runs Where, which shows you who’s running what types of ads. Both are great sites that break down amazing marketing.
Pay Attention to New, Innovative Strategies
Since marketing changes rapidly all the time, another tactic is to just look for innovative stuff that gets a ton of social shares. For example, infographics have been around for ages but how many people have been creating animated infographics, or gifographics? Slim to none. Same with 3-D infographics. Again, almost no one is doing it.
An example of a great animated infographic would be How a Car Engine Works. It shows the pistons moving and the oil being injected into the engine – it's really cool. I hit the guy up and and asked how it was working out for him. He's like, “Oh, I got over a million visitors.” This was despite the fact that he had no social media following and no real website!
One important takeaway (aside from the fact that animated infographics are ridiculously engaging) is that social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are some of the best places to see marketing innovation happening in real time.
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You Have to Be Persistent
This isn’t unique to marketing, but you have to be persistent. You have to be willing to admit when you’re wrong or when you don’t know enough. That’s how you learn more. But on the flip side, you have to be really pig headed and stubborn to build your business. It takes both to be a good marketer.
For example, we tried a live chat on our website. We were using a tool called Olark and we were averaging one chat per day, if we were lucky. Then we switched to another chat platform and we saw an increase to around five chats per day. And we thought: this is basically the same thing. This isn’t moving the needle.
Then, a few months later, we saw Intercom pop up. A lot of people are using it so we decided to be persistent and give it one more try. We went ahead with Intercom. Now we're getting about 20 chats per day. And we’re getting some really great leads from it.
So don't give up on things too quickly. You have to be willing to continue to try things out. And if it doesn't work out, come back to it. You know what they say: if at first you don’t succeed…
Always Look at Your Data
It goes without saying that any decent digital marketer worth his or her salt is constantly obsessed with data and metrics. If you already have a website or you work for a company that has a website, look at the analytics and figure out what's wrong with the site.
You should also be surveying people and getting real, human objections. What's the hurdle to your conversions? Why didn't a customer finish a purchase? You can use tools like Qualaroo that are time based. If someone is at your checkout page and they're there for three minutes, a question could pop up saying, “Is there a reason that you're not proceeding?”
If you understand why people aren't completing purchases or you're looking at the analytics and figuring out where people are dropping off on your funnels, this will help you understand where you need to improve and what parts of the site you should be focusing on first.
Data's really important as a marketer. You can’t just make decisions based on your gut. You're going to get a ton of failures. You're going to be spinning your wheels and wasting time. But if you start making decisions based off your data, both quantitative and qualitative, you'll become a much better marketer because you’re greatly increasing your likelihood for success.
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A great resource for marketing experiments
Google Brian Balfour and how to run a growth experiment. It basically will lay out the entire process of how you can run a growth experiment for your company.
You start with a simple spreadsheet. Just label all your experiments and hypotheses: what date you started, when it ended, etc. More often than not, you're going to be wrong, but at least you have a documented process and you're working with your team. This is an easy way to get everyone involved, so they can come up with different ideas.
This post was adapted from Marketing School, a 10-minute daily podcast in which Neil Patel and Eric Siu teach you real-life marketing strategies and tactics from their own experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. Listen to the podcast version of this post below: