The best way to come up with new marketing ideas is by talking with your customers and getting insights directly from them.
In the last post, I shared how we interpreted our user research to better understand our customers.
In this post, I’m going to share how to turn the insights from our customers into actionable marketing ideas.
This process below can work even if you don’t have a large customer base, even if your survey wasn’t filled out by a ton of people, and even if you don’t have “statistically significant” results.
The key is to first ask qualitative questions, then look through the responses and find things that strike you as surprising or validate an assumption – then brainstorm with your team how you can leverage this information.
Below we’ll share the marketing ideas that came from this exercise so you can see what we mean.
Marketing Idea 1 – Acquisition
When we asked our customers where they found out about us, the two answers that surprised us were:
- A high number of people saying they found out about us through another site
- A good amount of people found about us through a friend
People finding us from another site leads us to think that the more exposure we get on other industry sites, the more traffic we’ll get. This could be spending some of our time guest posting on other well respected blogs, contributing to round up posts, being guests on Podcasts, and more.
As of now, we haven’t been too focused on this.
To date, we’ve relied heavily on a few key communities. Having a presence on other sites would help us tap more “communities” and therefore get in front of more of our target market (marketers inside established multi-person businesses).
People finding us through a friend makes us ask ourselves the question: “How do we get more people to share our content with friends or colleagues?” Is there some sort of referral program we can create? Can we get people to share our emails with others? Is there a CTA we can put at the bottom of our post to get people to share with a friend?
The last couple ideas could be implemented very simply. For example, a simple “Forward to a Friend” link could be inserted into our usual emails.
We could also try links in emails or articles that word the same concept as “Send this to your team”. If someone clicks that link, we could tag them, knowing there is a much higher chance that they fit squarely in our target audience bucket — they have a team, and perhaps even manage it, and by the nature of our articles, this team is interested in content marketing.
Marketing Idea 2 – Product Improvement (Adding KPIs To Our Training Program)
When we asked about biggest challenges, 3 people said that metrics and measuring success were really important to them. We had been going back and forth on whether to create a robust section in our Customers From Content Training Program on how to measure KPIs so that marketers can better report back to the CEO, Board, etc. on success metrics. This insight, coupled with the same feedback over the phone with one of our Beta program customers, leads us to believe this is essential for the full course.
An Aside: Although this idea is about “Product improvement” this KPI trend in the answers also helps us with content strategy on the blog. We could do a series of posts on how to set up tracking from traffic through conversion.
Marketing Idea 3 – Acquisition (Messaging Improvement)
When we asked the question about the main benefit of Grow and Convert, one response really stuck out to us:
“Actionable, no fluff content marketing insights for real companies (not bloggers)”
We thought the way the person described what we do is better than what we ever could’ve come up with ourself. Many times companies over complicate their messaging around “what we do” or just don’t describe it well.
Devesh and I have been trying to come up with new messaging for our site for a while now, and when both of us read this, it instantly resonated us.
So we’ll test the new messaging when we redo our homepage shortly.
Marketing Idea 4 – Retention (Improving Email Strategy)
One thing that we know we’ve needed improvement on for a while now is our email strategy.
We’ve been taking the lazy way out and just sending email updates when we launch a new post. From the responses when asked how we were different, the common themes seemed to be: authenticity, transparency, and actionable.
So we brainstormed on this and thought how we could incorporate that theme into our email strategy. We decided that we needed to start sending exclusive content to our email list and that each of these “G&C Exclusive Insights” would help our audience work through a common pain point and be actionable.
So the format going forward we share a challenge that is common to our readers, we explain how we think through this challenge in regards to our own business, and then give people an actionable takeaway that’s a “go do” so people get immediate value from our emails.
Now our email program incorporates all three themes that our readers said they love about our blog.
Here’s part of the first email we sent to our list:
And we had 36.2% of people open our email and more importantly 10 people respond to the email saying how much it helped them. The goal of this idea was to help increase retention of our list. This was the first test of this strategy but early indicators are positive.
Marketing Idea 5 – Acquisition (Guest Posting, Influencer Outreach)
When we asked the about different marketing blogs that our audience reads, it gave us a ton of ideas for places that we should be contributing content for guest posts or sharing our posts to see if our content would fit in with these blogs’ newsletter.
We’ll likely be doing outreach to some of these blogs over the coming months to see if we can use the information gained to get in front of more people that fit within our target audience.
Marketing Idea 6 – Acquisition (Test New Promotion Channels)
When we asked the question about communities that our audience frequented, we learned that at least some of our audience spends time on Reddit and participating in Twitter Live Chats.
These are two channels that we’re currently not doing anything in, so we could start testing to see if we can gain some traction there.
We also had some responses that included other communities we have zero participation in but that very likely are full of our target audience: moz community, hubspot community.
Finally, quite a few people mentioned they are active in slack marketing groups. We’re in a couple private ones ourselves (they’re great) but we should explore more.
Marketing Idea 7 – Acquisition (Experimenting with different content formats)
The last question that we had asked on our survey was open ended feedback for us. And someone gave us an interesting response.
“Question and answer topics would be great”
With the rise of channels like Facebook live, Periscope, and other live video channels, an idea for us to test would be for us to see if we could use these channels in a Q&A format to drive higher traffic and engagement.
The rise of any new channel or platform, creates new opportunities for marketers. I’ve been seeing friends get over 1000 views on videos in just a day or two of being live. Imagine how much attention you could garner if you thought through how to leverage these channels for your company.
How You Can Come Up With Testable Marketing Ideas By Getting Insights From Your Customers
Start talking to your customers to find insights!
You can come up with a ton of testable marketing ideas by developing feedback loops with your customers. We do it through surveying, phone calls and through our welcome email.
You can also use feedback loops via cold outreach, in-product or meet with people in person.
To come up with testable ideas for your company, I’d recommend (in order):
- Developing feedback mechanisms – whether that’s surveying your customers, setting up appointments with your customers, meeting with customers in person to discuss your product/service, or a combination of all of them (recommended).
- Compiling your responses from your customers and looking for “surprising” answers or answers “that validate an assumption” you have.
- Running a brainstorm session with your team members looking at the answers and seeing what ideas pop out at you.
- Organizing the ideas using GrowthHackers Beta Projects Tool or Trello. And prioritizing them based on ideas that are easiest to execute and have the highest impact for your company.
- Test your growth ideas so you can gain learnings.
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