As online marketers and entrepreneurs we are often faced with challenging roadblocks that can impact our marketing performance and halt progress. Common roadblocks come in many forms and demand creative solutions, required in a tight timeframe. Whether these challenges can be corrected in house, or require intervention with the team, they each present exciting opportunities for creative solutions to be developed.
Every marketer knows that there is value in learning from mistakes or overcoming tough obstacles that impact your ability to move the dial. The testament to the achievement isn’t only in the end result, but also how we succeeded when the odds were stacked against us. Through overcoming these problems, we establish the template to measure our own achievements effectively.
Since this is the bastion of every good marketer’s success story, I set off to ask the experts about their common roadblocks and the creative strategies they used to overcome them.
SEO Value & Delayed Project Deliverables
Neil Patel is a Seattle, United States-based entrepreneur, angel investor, and analytics expert. He is best known for his work in digital marketing, and as the co-founder of the analytics companies KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg.
As a marketing consultant the biggest problem I faced was that companies didn’t always implement the recommendations. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to, it was more so that engineering was backed up. The way I got around this was to get to know the engineers with the company and take them out for beers.
The engineers loved this as very few people took care of them in a generous way, such as how business development or sales people get taken care of.
Writer, Copywriter, & Conversion Specialist @ NeilPatel.com
Another roadblock that I continually faced was that companies didn’t understand the ROI of SEO. In order to solve this I wouldn’t take on a client unless they had conversion tracking setup. Once it was up and running I was then able to show them the ROI of SEO. This was great as well because it made me accountable.
CEO & Founder @ Studiothink.com
Campaign Budgets Spread Too Thin
An entrepreneur with a passion for marketing, branding, business development, and wine. Marketing Director & founder of Studiothink
There are often roadblocks when it comes to effective marketing, but these are the three I come across most often and how you can overcome them.
The first, is no money. If you have a limited budget, the most important thing to do is to pick a niche market and focus all your budget on one niche at a time.
A second problem I see are companies who spread their budget across too many marketing channels. For example, running an ad here and there, once a year is not going to help you build awareness. You’re better off to pick one publication and commit to an ongoing campaign that will deliver enough frequency to elevate a decent level of awareness.
The third, and final, top marketing roadblock happens when companies try to be everything to everyone. Marketing a ‘generalist’ is virtually impossible, especially on a limited budget. Use the 80/20 rule to determine who your top customers are and then tweak your marketing message and activities to zero in on attracting more of those top customers.
Traffic Isn’t Converting
Omri Yacubovich is the Head of Marketing at Commerce Sciences, website personalization platform. He is an experienced behavioral marketer specializing in e-commerce conversion rate optimization (CRO) and growth hacking.
Marketing involves many aspects all the way from branding to generating demand. Each aspect involves its own difficulties. I think that the main issue many online marketer’s experiences relate at the end of the day to their site’s conversion rate. Whether it’s an online sale or lead generation.
In order to improve CommerceSciences.com conversion rate we tackled it in 2 levels:
Founding Member, Head of Marketing & Biz Dev @ CommerceSciences.com
1. The quality of traffic we are driving to our site. 2. Increasing the landing page’s efficiency. In order to increase the quality of the traffic not only we had narrowed the target audience, but also added qualification phrases to the ads themselves. E.g. Online Retailer? or E-Commerce Manager? and only after such a head line we had placed our unique value proposition.
2. Secondly, in order to increase our landing page’s efficiency we started running A/B testing of the Main Title (H1) and the second title (H2). Not only that we tracked the results but also used hit maps (like Crazy Egg and Click Tale) to see online videos of real-shoppers. That taught us a lot about the way they navigate the page and also possible pitfalls avoiding them to convert. That helped us increasing our landing page conversion rate by over 200%.
Venchito J. Tampon Jr.
Co-Founder & Marketing Director @ DigitalPhilippines.net
Building Relationships, Not Competitors
Co-Founder and Marketing Director at LinkCore Media, Link Building Manager at Integrity Digital & Author of DigitalPhilippines.net
One of the common yet crucial problems of many marketing directors/managers including me is the lack of knowledge in building alliances and partnerships with like-minded individuals and brands in the industry.
Since we know that the new marketing is all about relationships, our brand has decided to take part in establishing strong connections with businesses where we can get great value and benefits.
Part of our regular activities is blogging. We blog about everything we’ve learned in our business’ processes, strategies we’ve tested that get results to our existing clients and future plans that our brand would like to execute in the future.
Another way to increase our brand popularity and strongly connected with colleagues is through offline branding. Simply attending marketing seminars and speaking at college workshops and conferences are great techniques to brand ourselves in the local and international community and build alliances with SEO and link building companies.
Breakdown In Marketing Department Communication
Juan is the Design, Marketing, & SEO specialist at Do it Wiser LLC, a company that creates opportunities for small businesses looking to save resources while projecting the environment. He also holds graduate degrees in Graphic Design, Marketing & Advertising, with a E-Business Masters Degree from Univsersidad de Palermo in Argentina.
Marketing managers understand that marketing can often be a gamble. They rework their website, issue a press release, design ads, and hope that their target market responds as your marketing strategy expected them to respond. Yet, without a comprehensive reporting methodology, those results can go unseen and not communicated.
Graphic Design, Advertising, E-Business Expert
Without a comprehensive, sure-fire method to gather, organize, and interpret campaign data, the marketing manager is unable to effectively disseminate results reports that will help their team improve their marketing strategy for the next time around. When there is an insufficient reporting system, or no reporting system, a breakdown in communication begins to develop.
The marketing department simply will simply not have the information they need to keep their strategy together and make changes based on informed results. What Should an Inbound Marketing Report Include? One of the most effective organizational processes for reporting is to determine success in three key areas and solve any marketing problems that may be occurring: Driving traffic – Did we generate more traffic with the new strategy endeavors? Generating Leads – Did the traffic that we generated turn into leads? Sales Results – Did the leads generated turn into customers that actually made a purchase decision?
At the end of the day, having data in front of you that communicates your campaign’s effectiveness makes all the difference in the world, and that is where an inbound marketing agency can turn the gibberish data into a results-based report. Furthermore, you can take that comprehensive report to your particular powers that be and inform your executives of your team’s success and your plans for the next marketing strategy iteration.
Head of Product @ WMEGroup.com.au
Tools Don’t Always Age Well…
Matt Antonino is the Head of Product for WME Group and POP Digital in Melbourne Australia. He’s been a marketing manager for the last 5 years, as senior manager for his start ups and has helped grow the businesses.
The biggest problem we’ve faced as we’ve expanded from a couple clients to a couple hundred and up to a couple thousand marketing clients is that everything is constantly in flux. It’s incredibly difficult to find a marketing tool now that was also a successful marketing tool even 3 years ago. APIs change, products go out of business despite your business completely relying on them. Where we once used TweetDeck & Google Reader we now have Hootsuite & Feedly.
To be the most productive we often build in-house tools that use these services. When the services goes defunct, we’re back at the start. We then need to spend more money & time developing a new in-house way of doing those same tasks.
We tend to use bigger (company) more expensive tools now to choose more stable companies but this increases costs and can be harder to find than simple, quick tools that we can integrate into our work quickly.
I think that’s the biggest problem I currently face. We use a lot of 3rd party tools to get the job done, collect data, etc. Finding the right tools can save you thousands of hours a year but if you’re constantly tweaking & changing the tools you can lose that time back very quickly.
Stay Humble & Confident In Loom of Rejection
Since 1963 Jim has offered and provided businesses nationwide with action principles for Better Sales, Accelerating Cash Flow, and Ways for individuals to overcome Fear of Failure and Rejection.
A selling deterrent has been the individual’s misunderstanding the effect of rejection expectation when selling face-to-face. Not unusual is the substitute of socially acceptable non-productive activities. A manager, recognizing this possibility is well served by providing his/her sales team with ‘ways’ to overcome fear of failure and rejection, thus promoting more time in front of a prospect.
“You are judged not on the basis of what you do when things are going right, but on what you do right when things are going wrong.”
CEO @ Perceptive Selling Initiative, Inc.
Sensing rejection, is a threat to one’s ego. Learning how to creatively respond when challenged serves to enable performance beyond the individuals level of ego comfort. This can be taught, . . . and learned.
Communications Manager @ FloatLearning.com
Social Media Isn’t Converting
Adam Bockler is the communications manager for Float Mobile Learning, and he’s a contributing author to Float’s latest book, ‘Mastering Mobile Learning’. Adam is also a recognized martial arts authority and a member of the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
The idea of selling through social media is a hot topic in marketing. However, I’ve not been able to find luck with it.
We would prepare social media campaigns around our blog posts and the events we attended, and we would see a slight bump in followers, and our website traffic would increase a bit before settling back down.
Recently, I analyzed how many contacts and customers were generated from social media through our closed-loop reporting software, and the answer turned out to be quite lower than we’d all thought.
As a result, we have significantly scaled back our social media efforts and are putting resources toward channels that generate the most contacts and the most customers for us. Each company and each industry will be different, and knowing how your customers find you and engage with you is a crucial component for how successful each of your channels will be.
Brought In Too Late Into Active Projects
Rick is a Senior Web Copywriter and Content Strategist at Webcopyplus, which helps designers and businesses boost online traffic, leads and sales with optimized web content. His clients range from independent retailers to some of the world’s largest service providers, including AT&T, Bell Mobile, Tim Hortons and Scotia Bank. He advocates clear, concise and objective website content that promotes readability and usability, and conducts web content studies with organizations in Europe and the U.S., including Yale University. Rick speaks frequently at Web-related forums and seminars, and serves as a Web program committee advisor with various organizations.
One of the biggest challenges as a web copywriter is being brought into the project late, once the design is approved by the client. It leads to a ‘fill in the blanks’ scenario, which can drastically compromise the client’s success if the important elements were not carefully considered and mapped out. People go to websites for content, not design. Content is the reason a site exists; it’s the core of communication. Content informs and, together with good design, helps people complete tasks.
Senior Web Copywriter & Content Strategist, @ WebCopyPlus.com
So I suggest getting a content writer involved in a project before the design process starts, or at least approach them simultaneously. When you start with design, you’re forming how things are communicated before determining what needs to be communicated. A skilled web copywriter will conduct research, identify and prioritize messages, which naturally forms the information architecture, sitemap, call to action, and other critical elements. Designers and content writers need to collaborate closely to ensure messages shape design.
Marketing Department Manager @ Caminois.com
Sarah McMullin runs the marketing department under the Business Development wing of Camino Information Services in Houston, Texas. She holds a JD from University of Houston and a BS in Business Management.
The most common problem I face in marketing is finding a solid ROI to prove to management. For me, I have found the simplest indicator is “Are we keeping the sales team busy?” If they are busy with leads generated from marketing, I am doing my job. There are many tools and applications that help track ROI precisely, and I am sure that as we grow we will need them, but for our size, the simplest question is the most important. “Are we growing?”
The other common problem I deal with in marketing is the age-old challenge: quality lead creation. Finding the right customer for us, targeting that customer properly, and generating interest in our services is more of an art than a science, especially in a highly competitive market like IT services and custom software development. Social media and creative advertising help us address the challenge, but the old problem seems to be best addressed by the old solution: lots of contact. Whether through a trade show or cold calling, our greatest success comes from simply getting our name and face in front of potential clients and channel partners.
Can’t Viably Test All Marketing Opportunities
Zach Heller is a marketing professional with years of experience digital marketing, direct response, branding, and marketing communications. Zach owns and operates Zach Heller Marketing.
One common problem I face is not having enough budget to test multiple advertising channels at once.
Digital advertising options, such as paid search marketing, Facebook ads, retargeting, etc. require that you dedicate enough time and money to prove that the channel works for your product or audience. But with budget limitations which are common in small businesses, it can take more time to test new channels. Therefore you grow slower than you otherwise might have had you been able to find out what works faster.
CEO & Founder @ ZachHellerMarketing.com
Founder & Managing Partner @ Markitors.com
Organic Social Media Presence Is Fading
Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Markitors, an online marketing company that manages the social media presence for forward thinking small to medium sized businesses.
Marketing managers today are looked upon to use social media as a way to generate revenue and new customers. The problem is it’s no longer enough just to have a presence by making regular postings. Postings are cut short by algorithms and our attention spans.
In order to generate revenue and new customers through social media, marketing managers have to experiment with paid methods like ads, email remarketing and content sponsorships to effectively reach their target audience.
Common roadblocks can be encountered throughout the natural progression of your marketing campaigns. Ensuring you are prepared and feeling inspired to creatively overcome these challenges efficiently helps nurture growth. This is a valuable skill that is learned and earned over time by carefully measuring your progress and analysing your successful strategies. For this reason alone, how marketers conduct the journey is often as interesting as the final destination.
So what are common marketing roadblocks you’ve faced that demanded the implementation of creative “out-of-the-box” solutions? We want to hear your story in the comments below!