7 Simple Things You Can Do To Fix Your Marketing

fix your marketing

Have you ever felt that no matter how much time or money you dump into your marketing campaigns, things just aren’t working out? If you have, don’t worry: you’re not alone.

The solution to solving your marketing problems isn’t spending more money. Spending more money on something that isn’t working typically leads to losing more money.

So, what is the solution?

I wish I could answer that question in one sentence, but because each business has different marketing problems, it’s just not possible. Luckily for you, I’ve been able to narrow it down to 7 simple fixes. As long as you follow them, your marketing efforts will be much more successful.

Simple Fix #1: Explain your story

Your story doesn’t have to be a long novel. It can be expressed in a few paragraphs or even a few sentences.

The biggest marketing mistake businesses make is that they don’t explain what they do. If your visitors don’t get what you are offering, they won’t buy from you.

You can fix this through explainer videos or a block of text. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. You just need to be clear with your messaging.

For example, our Crazy Egg explainer video helps bring in an extra $21,000 in monthly income. And the video is almost three minutes long.

On the other hand, I use long blocks of text to tell my story on Quick Sprout. When I surveyed 119 of my customers, 37 of them said they decided to become customers after reading my story.

The medium in which you tell your story is up to you, but make sure you clearly explain what you do and have to offer. If you don’t, none of your marketing efforts will come to fruition because people won’t understand your story.

If you are struggling to come up with your story, survey a few of your customers and ask them:

How would you describe [insert your company name] to a friend or a business colleague?

That should help give you a few ideas. If you are still struggling, check out this article. It will teach you the three core elements of good story telling.

Simple Fix #2: Give people time to buy

What do you want to do when someone comes to your site? Sell them something, right? As business owners, we all want to sell to our visitors. What is important to learn, however, is when to sell to them.

There are three main groups of people that visit your website:

  1. Buyers – people who are interested in buying from you.
  2. Window shoppers – people who are looking and don’t intend to buy.
  3. Potential customers – people who want to learn more, but who are not ready to make a purchase just yet.

Dealing with the first group is easy because they already have their credit card out. But the majority of your visitors fall into the second and third group.

So, what should you do?

You need to start selling to people over time. The simplest way to do this is to start collecting emails and then get people to come back to your site when they are ready to buy. E-commerce companies do this by offering coupons in exchange for your email. B2B companies, like Hubspot, do this by offering you white papers and kits in exchange for your email.

The possibilities for you to collect emails are endless. Once you have them, you will need to create an email drip sequence through which you send people a series of emails until they convert into customers. If you are unsure how to create a drip sequence, follow the steps in this article.

Tip: Make sure you create at least 7 emails in your sequence because selling someone on your product or service in your very first email typically doesn’t convert as well as first building relationships with your visitors through a few emails and only then selling to them.

In addition to creating a drip email sequence, you should consider leveraging remarketing as it is a simple way to bring people back to your site. Remarketing means that when someone visits your website, you pixel them with a cookie. Then, when they browse the web, they will end up seeing ads of you or your company.

neil patel ad

You experience it after visiting Quick Sprout and then seeing ads of me all over Facebook.

Simple Fix #3: Don’t forget your calls to action

Although this is probably one of the simpler elements to a web page, it is something that most website owners mess up on. There are 11 things you need to test with your call-to-action buttons to maximize your conversion rate:

  1. Button copy – we increased our conversion rate at Crazy Egg by over 20% by switching our button copy to “show me my heatmap”.
  2. Button colors – SAP increased their conversion rate by over 32% by switching their call-to-action button to the color orange.
  3. Location – placing your button below the fold may convert better than above. You’ll have to test different locations.
  4. Design – placing credit card symbols, trust symbols or even your product around your calls to action may help boost conversion rates.
  5. Time – showing your calls to action right away may distract visitors from reading your story. You’ll have to test when to introduce it within your landing pages.
  6. Be creative – your calls to action can be anything… they don’t have to be buttons on a page. One of our most effective calls to action at KISSmetrics is a button at the end of a video.
  7. Use psychology – Ramit Sethi tested an interesting concept: he got people to click on his call to action by telling them “Don’t click”.
  8. Special effects – we’ve found that making your calls to action scroll with the reader, or even wiggle, can help increase conversions. You can easily do this with Hellobar.
  9. Exit calls to action – through software solutions like Bounce Exchange and WP Lead Magnet you can display a call-to-action button upon exit. This boosted conversion rates on NeilPatel.com by 46%.
  10. White space – although this one might sound dumb, placing more white space around your calls to action will help them stand out and potentially get more clicks.
  11. No calls to action – by removing all of your call-to-action buttons and telling people that you are sold out can increase the number of people wanting to buy from you. Timothy Sykes tested this out, and he got more potential customers emailing him than when he had a Buy button.

Simple Fix #4: Optimize for lifetime value, not in session ROI

Lifetime value is the dollar amount your customer is worth to your business throughout his/her whole life cycle. For example, if Amazon knows that a customer on average buys from them 30 times over the course of 3 years, they are willing to lose money on the first purchase because they know they will make it up in the future.

If you want to learn how to calculate your lifetime value, check out this infographic.

Marketing channels such as AdWords aren’t cheap, and their cost will continue to rise over time. Instead of optimizing for profitability right away, you should optimize for a profitable lifetime value. This will allow you to spend more on your marketing efforts and compete with the big boys.

It’s ok to lose money as long as you know that you will make it up on the back end.

Simple Fix #5: Optimize for conversions

As I mentioned above, costs will continually keep rising for popular marketing channels like AdWords. Yet marketers keep focusing the majority of their efforts on trying to fine-tune their campaigns and reduce their costs.

Although you should fine-tune your campaigns, it is a losing battle. In the end, ad providers like Google and Bing control the costs, and if they want them to go up, they will… no matter what you do.

So, instead of spending all of your time fine-tuning your marketing campaigns, spend 25% of your time optimizing your conversion rates. An increase in the conversion rate by 50% means that your cost to acquire a customer goes down by 50%. This is how you can combat the constantly increasing prices in ad buys.

If you are interested in conversion optimization, check out the following articles I have written on the subject:

Simple Fix #6: Stop looking for a silver bullet

One of the most common questions I get asked is:

What is the number one thing I need to do to grow my sales?

The answer always is, “there is no one thing”. “Why?” you may ask. There is no silver bullet in marketing. You’ll find out that each marketing channel will drive a percentage of your overall sales. That means that without leveraging multiple channels, you won’t get the numbers you are looking for.

If you happen to be one of those lucky people who finds a gold mine, you’d better milk it while you can because it won’t last very long. Sooner or later, other marketers will catch onto your tricks and tactics…it’s just a matter of time.

Focus your efforts on creating a process in which you start up a marketing initiative and then constantly tweak and test it to boost your profitability. You should always be measuring and learning from each of your findings so you can maximize your chance of succeeding.

So, do yourself a favor and stop looking for a silver bullet.

Simple Fix #7: Let your product market itself

Have you heard of the term growth hacking? It’s a new concept and a way to grow your business that entails leveraging your product to generate more customers for you.

It’s the model that companies like Facebook and Dropbox use to grow their user base.

How does it work? Well, you need to figure out the levers in your product that you can pull to encourage more signups.

For example, YouTube generates more views and traffic to its site by encouraging users to embed videos on their sites.

youtube growth hacking

Dropbox gives you more storage space when you invite more people.

dropbox growth hacking

Qualaroo grows its user base with its “Powered by Qualaroo” badge all over the web.

qualaroo growth hacking

All of the above examples are ways in which people modified their products to help them grow their user base. They didn’t spend money on marketing. Instead, they leveraged their product, which only required a front-end engineer.

If you want to learn more about growth hacking, check out this guide.

Conclusion

Don’t get frustrated if you’re unable to grow your user base or revenue. You need to focus on spotting your marketing problems. Chances are you are messing up on at least one, if not a few, of the above tactics. Once you identify your problem areas, start applying the fixes.

So, where do you think marketers are messing up the most?

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Comments

  1. Hi Neil,

    Somehow, your content is always so epic :-)

    You are right about everything and especially about “telling your story”. I also bought your Advance SEO course (although I am yet to use that 30 minute talk time with you) and the reason I bought it was very simple:

    I thought I knew you and I could relate to you because of your humble beginning, story of struggle and then the success you received through hard work and passion.

    Every other element is also critical and THANK YOU for adding tremendous value through this post once again.

    Regards,
    Kumar

    • Kumar, thanks for the kind words. I parse through tons of articles and read a tremendous amount of information on digital marketing daily so I can provide the community with relevant information. I think telling your story is critical for long term success. People love to hear the path one takes to getting to where they are. I am sure I will hear your story one day soon :)

  2. Absolutely agree with the points. I love the CrazyEgg video! Love the voice of the narrator and how effortlessly he explains what CrazyEgg is all about.

    I don’t know how long re-marketing has been in the business, but I’m definitely seeing some companies leveraging re-marketing on Facebook. It’s a great way to remind potential customers about your product when they’re probably browsing the web with an open mind (as they’re on Facebook, which got a personal touch to it).

    Awesome overall. I just LOVE the QuickSprout articles. :)

    • Rohit, glad yo find the articles helpful! I think video re-marketing is definitely an avenue that can drive tremendous traffic. I myself have experienced a new wave of companies utilizing video marketing. Thanks for reading and providing such great feedback :)

      • Hey Neil, I also take regular visit of crazyegg. As rohit said video are very good. I don’t know anybody tell you or not but you are a resourceful man Neil. Hats off to you :)

  3. Hi Neil,

    I love the ideas of Growth Hacking and Remarketing. I think that in certain circumstances, when done right, you can almost let those two tactic run on autopilot. Especially amongst a culture where everyone is sharing so much information about each other.

    Im sure that I have noticed large businesses remarketing for a while now but only recently has it really come out in the mass market.

    Really great post Neil, you always blow me away.

  4. Thank you Neil. I make it a point to create enough buzz that you will notice my story :-)

    Thank you for being a great example!

  5. Great, I feel that every person who is related to marketing should read this guide to fix their marketing. It was really interesting and helpful. Thanks Niel sir for sharing this wonderful write-up.

  6. Great Tips Neil.

    Soon I am going to publish my self-published eBook. All these tips will be helpful for me. I think Fix#3 is most important at this time for me to design sales page.

    Thanks for continuous inspiration and providing such online marketing tips.

  7. Conversion Optimization is always a profitable practice.

    I used to stress that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should be re-named as UEO (User Experience Optimization). It would solve the most of the problems of marketers.

    Growth Hacking is another wonderful term introduced & Your Growth hacking guide is explains is explicitly.

    Again anther prospective, enjoyed reading!!

    • Parmveer, thanks for reading. I agree, people really should focus on getting their site up to date and doing all the right things in terms of design before link building and creating large content pieces. Thanks for reading!

  8. Great post Neil. Thanks for sharing all this great info! super applicable as always.

  9. I really love reading your posts Neil, thanks for this very informative post, all techniques discussed here are superb and applicable.

  10. This is all very well condensed. I do not have much to add. Thank you one more time for your excellent insights.

  11. perhaps this is an outstanding way to promote my online business, it is very simple and inspiring … thank you

  12. Hey Neil!
    Yet again, pretty comprehensive article! I was an SEM specialist at Google before i jumped onto the start up boat, and let me tell you, only SEM was the answer to everything online marketing back then. In reality, SEM is a stage that may not always be viable to start off with, and I like how most of the above ‘To Do’s’ are introspective.
    Till the next post,
    Cheers!

    Samudra

    • Samudra, you come from a place of great knowledge. Sounds like you are well equipped to handle the startup world :). SEM is definitely that someone needs to work towards. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  13. Awesome post and love the examples in #7

    The Guide I have saved in GetPocket and have been reviewing a ton lately.

    Thanks for everything you Do! Mike Kawula

  14. Great post, Neil! Love the story telling part and it is something I need to fine tune myself.

    Look at Gary Vaynerchuk, he is a great story teller. Anyone that knows of him most likely knows he’s an immigrant from Belarus, the selling baseball cards as a kid story, started a wine “show” on YouTube and is now a best selling author/keynote speaker/social media “guru”. He weaves his story into everything.

    • Adam, people from the beginning of time have been captivating by story telling. Prior to the advent of modern academia knowledge was gauged by an individuals ability to story tell. Thanks for reading :)

  15. Shear Quality Content Neil!

  16. Great breakdown Neil. I definitely want to look more into remarketing.

  17. Great article Neil, love the simplicity. People tend to over think things!

  18. Good checklist are so powerful! They give us permission do what matters most right now without delay or excuses.

    Thank you, Sonia. You just gave me my action-list for this week and for regular check-ups.

  19. What’s the primary problem your audience wants to solve?

    Is it a business problem (how to get more customers for their fashion/beauty business), or a fashion problem (how to look good, how to stay on trend).

    Solve the problems that are bugging your audience.

    • Sagar, those are great questions to ask. You have to find out what your niche is most interested in before moving forward with any marketing campaign. Thanks for reading!

  20. Awesome article. I think marketers are messing up the most by

    A) not producing enough FAQ-based content that answers the top questions of their target audience and…

    b) not understanding how to put the “marketing” in content marketing by working to get their content in front of influencers and their audience.

    • Aaron, glad you enjoyed it. I think FAQ sections are very valuable because they allow users to calm their fears about purchasing. Your second point is also very true. PEople need to get back to the core function of marketing when creating content. It is primarily to disseminate knowledge and create a dialogue.

  21. Hi Neil, this is for the first time i am here on your Blog and its really awesome tips to learn from. I understand that the buyers need some extra time to buy products online but what wonders me is that people instead of using other multiple options and stick to Big sites like Amazon, Ebay etc…
    Should we also provide services there or continue struggling at same place?

    • Himanshu, that is a question many online stores face. In my experience I have seen people utilize both their own e-commerce platforms as well as amazon and other large sites. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any other questions.

  22. There is a percentage of the market that will always go to Amazon and eBay Himanshu. They go there to shop like a local supermarket. A lot of good ecommerce platforms like Magento allow for easy integration into these platforms. Build your store, your business, but use these extra marketplaces to get more sales.

  23. Growth hacking is almost half the battle for some sites. I hate the yearly buzz words but its been around for a while and it works, you just have to get creative.

    What are some good methods for getting that initial awareness going? Blog posts, forums, Adwords?

    - http://www.radiumcrm.com

  24. Your content is inspirational, I am not sure how your video works for crazy egg it looks like it has only had 25k views but that is fantastic! we are looking at such a video who do you use for your info graphs and animated videos?

  25. Great guide. Thanks for all the time you spend on these things!

  26. Neil this is an impressive blog post and should perhaps be titled the 7 Commandments of Digital Marketing ROI; however, I like your title because it gives a sense of utility.

    Many thought leaders in the Internet marketing industry: from the likes of Marketing Sherpa, Conversion Rate Experts, Marketing Experiments, Marketing Profs, Unbounce, and obviously, the best kept secret of them all: Neil Patel, etc. hone in on the fact that the value proposition is critical. The value proposition is like the earth’s magnetic core: everything revolves around it. If you apply that analogy to web marketing, all owned, earned, and paid media should resonate and reflect your core value proposition to each target audience in a way that is relevant to them. When you focus on the value proposition the design of the website, call to action buttons, triggers, social engagement channels, etc. snap into focus and become more meaningful to your current and potential market. The bottom line is to clarify what you uniquely offer the customer that your competitors don’t. Easier said than done! Bottom line: Simplify and Amplify!

    In business, the classic phrase is “Always be Closing” and I think we need to start asking…what’s your VP? (value proposition).

    • Rafic, I couldn’t agree more. People, more often than not, come out with products and services that don’t serve any community. If your product is not viable then more likely than not you won’t have a business with long term potential. People really need to focus, as a first step, on determining the utility of their product/service and then asking important questions like: who does my product serve? It’s vital to do a lot of research before jumping into any venture. Thanks for reading and providing such great feedback :)

  27. I agree with you Neil,if you’re not getting positive results in your marketing campaign,there is something wrong to it.It’s very important to spot the problem immediately and take the necessary actions to solve it.

    • Ava, it’s all about being adaptable to change. Whether it is external or internal. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you need any help with anything :)

  28. I am in the middle of making a marketing plan but it is very hard not to pull the plug pretty early if things aren’t going well. I try to give myself a set number of says and budget to try things out but sometimes you spot problems early on that you didn’t foresee. In any case as always…good stuff! :).

    • Colm, there are a ton of judgment calls that need to be made on an ongoing basis. It’s up to us as marketers, and more importantly business people, to know when to pull the plug or keep moving forward. It sounds like you are on the right track :)

  29. Interessting as always, Neil your the marketing man!

  30. #7 – Let your product market itself

    That’s exactly what my model is. Create great video and people would share your stuff if they feel like its awesome.

    This trick has worked for me big time. Didn’t try rest of the points much but #7 works big time if you have a media business.

    Thanks for the rest of the tips neil. You rock as always.

    • Vamsi, glad you found the article helpful. I think video and visual content is the way of the future for SEO . Content is being weighed on heavily so these two mediums are going to take off. THanks for reading!

  31. Hi Neil,
    Your blog posts are excellent and creative ideas mentioned in simple and stylish way.

    Say if your starting your first online business now from scratch? How would you be going about it? (in terms of marketing,client acquisition,revenue generation, Team building etc)

    looking for your reply.

    • Vikram, glad you enjoy the articles. To be honest that is a loaded question :) . I would suggest building out your site and finding out who your ideal customers are. Then you should focus on determining your product market fit to see if you have a viable business. Please let me know if you want to discuss this further. You can shoot me an email or check out the forum for more answers: http://www.quicksprout.com/forum/

  32. Great advice, Neil. I certainly haven’t done enough to tell my own story…

  33. Is there a balance between too many annoying pop-ups and opt-ins like hello bar and not having any at all? Is it possible to over do it?

    • Donnie, you can definitely overdo it. You have to look into your analytics and let them tell you the story. If you are getting great conversions with tons of pop-ups then so be it. On the other hand, if you are losing traffic then it should be scaled back :)

  34. I love it when you say the same things I’ve been teaching small business owners in a different way! There is no set of words that will reach all people; so, I post your newsletters on my Facebook page. It both gives my students a second crack at the information, and it puts the principles in a different set of words. Your sentence, “Stop looking for a silver bullet.” is my sentence, “There isn’t any magic fairy dust.”

    • Nora, great minds think alike ;) . I really think great marketing advice is very similar and can be told with the same familiarity with similar metaphors. Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  35. Ican only agree with Kumar.
    Neil, when I read your story I was amazed of how much you’ve achieved in life being at such a young age. I bet many of your customers admire of this.
    There are a lot of SEO trainings online, but I chose to buy from someone who’s honest, achieved a lot already and tried and tested all possible to build successful business.

    Keep up the good work.

    Regards,
    Rimantas Petrauskas

  36. They are simpler now that you have shared this awesome post :) carrying your hard learned lessons.

    Thanks for everything Neil!

  37. Thanks for helping me out to manage my email marketing. I also want to market my business on Social Media. I will be thankful to you if I can get some useful tips from you.

  38. Awesome article sir, I never knew about drip sequence. It was the first time i heard about it and also got the point that how important email list is.Thanks for being on earth.

  39. Great Points. Thats correct in the 4 the point that Optimiztion is really necessary. Thanks Niel for sharing great tips wit us.

  40. nice tips neil

    Thanks for sharing with us

  41. Hey Neil,
    this is a great article. Having read your articles for a while now, I have come to understand there is no silver bullet in marketing. I have just completed my website and no I am working on the products and funnels and its always work. Soon I will get back to a/b testing and split testing and I know the work will keep going on. But it is loads of fun.
    Thanks for sharing your excellent knowledge with us.

  42. Hi Neil (and all),

    I don’t generally have moments of – “oh this reminds me of…that I saw on…” when I read your posts because, well let’s face it, you’re the Fresh Price of content that people want and need, before they even know they want or need the information.

    This post, specifically ‘Simple Fix #1′, however, reminds me of Jayson DeMers’ AudienceBloom.com about page (which in fact I was referred to by you). Notwithstanding, the simplicity and straightforwardness, without having ever heard of him before this I became an immediate fan and was eager to learn more about his methods for driving traffic, and so forth. Reinforcing your first simple fix, it demonstrates just how persuasive and powerful ‘your story’ can be.

    • Pedro, I think that’s a great example as well. It’s all about being candid, concise and honest with your audience. If you do those three things people will put more weight into what you are saying and be obliged to buy into your ideas. Thanks for your great feedback. I look forward to hearing more from you :)

  43. “Explain your story” is the most overlooked aspect of marketing. So many companies have nothing but the generic sales pitch on their “about” page. Defining clearly who are you and how you end up doing what you are doing for a living can increase your sales without changing anything else on the website.

    • Asher, I completely agree. People should take more time explaining to others what it is they do and how they got there. That’s the most vital part of any marketing strategy. Thanks for your great feedback :)

  44. Thanks for these awesome Marketing tips , Neil..

    CrazyEgg looks like a great marketing heat map tool for analysis.

  45. Great Points. That’s correct in the 4 the point that Optimization is really necessary. Thanks Niel for sharing great tips for the beginners like me.

  46. Hey Neil,

    Another homerun here. Love your posts and learning a lot about digital marketing from you, which I have applied in my own enterprises. Keep them coming and really appreciate your insights.

  47. Completely agree about the buying process taking time. Collecting emails and following up is a great strategy but for some websites it can be difficult to add an email optin form without breaking the design of a page.

    What are your thoughts on this?

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