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Using quizzes in your marketing strategy is one of the most underrated marketing moves.
They are incredibly effective at generation leads, engaging your audience, and much more.
But, it isn’t enough for me to just convince you to implement quizzes in your marketing strategy, so I’m going to show you exactly how to create an effective quiz, how to distribute it, and how to follow it up with marketing automation.
At the end, we’ll cover several brands successfully using quizzes in their marketing strategy so you can walk away with a little more insight.
There’s more to a quiz than you might actually think. Did you know that six out of ten people only read a headline? That means we’re going to have to make a pretty good first impression, so let’s talk about the title first.
The very first step to creating a quiz would be coming up with the title for it. Once you’ve got that down, you’re going to want to figure out what type of quiz you want to make.
Here are a few of the most common quiz titles;
The quiz titles above will give you a few ideas of quiz types, but here’s a few more to consider:
Now that you’ve got a general idea of what kind of quiz you want to create along with a title to go with it, it’s time to bring it to life by filling it up with questions!
Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating your questions:
After coming up with the questions for your quiz, it’s time to create a lead capture form. The purpose of lead capture is to gather contact information so that you can grow an email list.
You can then follow these leads up through marketing automation, which we’ll get into later. For now, here are some helpful do’s and don’t’s you should follow when creating your lead capture:
Give your audience a reason to provide you with their contact information. Offer incentives like a free eBook or an entry to a free giveaway. Standard incentives include infrequent updates about your brand or a weekly newsletter. Find what works best to encourage your audience to join your mailing list.
What’s the point in asking your audience for their phone number if you aren’t going to call them? Make sure you only ask for information that your brand will use; the most basic being a first and last name, and an email address.
Otherwise, you risk annoying your audience and having them bounce from your quiz.
It won’t always be clear to your audience that after you get their contact information, you’ll be contacting them. It’s a good rule of thumb to let your audience know that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon, so don’t be all hush-hush about your marketing strategy.
Be honest with your audience. Give them a quick heads up about what’s to come, like this:
Now onto the results! This is the moment your audience has been waiting for. You want to make sure your results are something they’re going to like and share with others, so creating share-worthy results will be your priority.
Here are a couple of pointers that will help you create results worth sharing:
Now it’s time to put your quiz through the ultimate test by promoting it on social media. Your major outlets for social networks would be Facebook and Twitter, but if you wanted to take it a bit further, you can also use paid advertising on Facebook to give your quiz that extra boost.
When sharing your quiz on Facebook or Twitter, be sure you check off each of these to get the most out of promoting your quiz:
The process of promoting your quiz through Facebook via paid advertising can be a fairly lengthy operation, so to save you guys some time, we’ve truncated the whole process into a more time-friendly summary.
Here’s the fun part: following up on the leads you’ve collected. With the help of marketing automation, this may not take as much effort on your end as you might’ve thought.
We’re going to follow-up on your leads the very moment people opt-in, and in the course of two weeks, we’re going to show you how to nurture these leads until you can finally convert them into paying customers.
Here’s a four-step sequence that your marketing automation email follow-ups should live and die by:
Immediately after someone opts-in, send him or her an email that telling them “Thank you for taking our quiz!” This will remind your audience that they’ve opted-in, and it’ll also help assert your brand. It’ll give people a head’s up that you’ll be getting in touch with them soon.
After a couple of days, we’re going to pick up where your audience left off: their quiz results. Inform your audience about the other results they could have gotten. This may prompt your audience to retake your quiz, and maybe to even share their new results.
This is the perfect transition from your “thank you” email to sending out different content.
After a week, now would be a good time to build trust between you and your leads. Introduce testimonials or customer case studies to familiarize your audience with your brand and what other people think about it. This not only makes your brand look good, but it also lets your audience get more comfortable with who your brand is and what it stands for.
After two weeks, it’s time to convert those leads. Your audience should be familiar with your brand by now. Use incentives, like a webinar signup or coupons and discounts to encourage your leads to buy into your brand.
The rest is up to you and your expertise in converting leads into customers. These marketing automation follow-ups did most of the work for you, so it’s your turn to close the deal.
It’s time to take a quick look at several examples of brands from different industries and how they implemented quizzes in their marketing strategy. Seeing these examples should give you a solid foundation when it comes to considering the use of quizzes in your own marketing strategy.
Z Gallerie is known for its commitment to providing furnishings, art, and accessories to both professional and amateur interior designers alike. They created the quiz “What is your Z Gallerie Style Personality?” to provide a personalized experience for every potential and current customer.
Z Gallerie used a personality quiz as a way of bringing results that offered personalized product recommendations as a part of their marketing strategy. This method brought in a massive amount of leads per day which they followed-up with marketing automation.
It allowed Z Gallerie to continually recommend products tailored specifically to each person based on their individual quiz results. Now that’s online shopping done right.
Cloud Sherpas specialized in cloud advisory and technology services for the world’s leading brands. (They’ve since been acquired by Accenture.)
Cloud Sherpas used their quiz to gauge each individual’s level of maturity, which helped determine the more qualified leads for their marketing strategy. They also promoted their blog on Facebook with the quiz attached.
Cloud Sherpas’ quiz brings in 3-4 qualified leads a day. Nothing like quality over quantity, am I right?
The Foundation focuses on building businesses with entrepreneurs through the idea of building backward. It’s an incredibly interesting concept, and with it, they created the quiz “Do You Have An Entrepreneurial Mind?” based on an existing eBook they had which covered the basic types of business owners.
The Foundation used a quiz in its marketing strategy by pairing it with a Facebook ad campaign. This combination was able to cut their cost per lead from $6.00 to $3.80, and collected over 16,000 leads and millions in revenue. That’s quite the turnout if you ask us.
Pin Cancer’s call-to-action is the rallying of the US wrestling community to fight against, you guessed it: cancer. Their noble efforts have prompted the aid of their quiz “Which USA World Team Member Are You?” as a means of driving social traffic and raising awareness on cancer.
On a site that normally sees 200 visits per day, Pin Cancer had the best day ever when their quiz went up, driving social traffic up to 6,000 in a single day and bringing in 3,800 new email subscribers. Talk about turning the tables on cancer!
— Reece Humphrey (@ReeceHump60kg) August 25, 2015
Who knew implementing quizzes into your online marketing strategy could be so effective? We’ve just covered a lot of material, but hopefully, you got a lot out of it.
Just to recap, we went over the entire quiz creation process, so you should be familiar with how to create your own quiz by now. Distributing your quiz will really put it to the test, but as soon as you generate those leads, you know exactly how to nurture them until conversion.
Don’t let quizzes fly under your radar any longer; try using them in your marketing strategy to see just how far your brand can get.
Have you used quizzes in your marketing strategy? What were the results?
With over 4 million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered is one of the biggest issues facing mobile app publishers today. This is why understanding app store optimization is so crucial.
But what is app store optimization, and how can you make the most of it? Here’s what you need to know to help your app rank well.
App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers.
That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.
The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: download your app.
The ASO process also requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours.
When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will better understand your potential customers’ language so you can hone in on the best keywords to use.
Recently, at Google I/O, Ankit Jain reported that “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs.” Simply put, this means that:
If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.
With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the amazing reality is that most publishers are not investing in app store optimization.
So here’s my gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.
Much of what I’m about to explain is going to be SEO basics.
If you’re already familiar with these for web searches, there are still a few key differences within the App Store.
Let’s start by breaking down the various components that can affect your ASO:
Besides being the most important ASO factor, the title and keywords can be modified easily to optimize them regularly.
Here’s a complete breakdown of all the factors to keep in mind when optimizing your app for better rankings.
The title is our first impression online. It’s what drew you to read this post, and it’s what will draw users to your app.
Optimizing with a keyword in the title increases search ranking for that title by 10.3%!
Obviously, some limitations apply, as the App Store is very regulated.
You’re given only 30 characters for a title in iOS 11, and keyword stuffing is a surefire way to risk being banned.
Users are also wary of downloading shady-looking apps for privacy concerns.
Think about it — would you rather have “Evernote” or “Note Taking Note App for Notes” on your smartphone?
Be smart about how you optimize.
Pandora, for example, does everything right.
Its icon is sleek and simple, and with a short name, it was able to fit in three essential keywords.
When searching the App Store for “free,” “music,” or “radio,” you’ll find Pandora at or near the top.
Here’s where things get a bit murky. Technically the App Store algorithm ignores the description.
Users, however, are a different story.
Rather than optimizing for SEO, focus on explaining the features and benefits of your product.
And, while it seems like you have a lot of space to do this, you actually don’t.
Truncated snippets are shown on your product page, and a few readers will ever click “more” to read beyond what you see here.
You have 252 characters to make your pitch and convince someone you’re worth downloading.
There’s no room for fluff, and you may need to A/B test several iterations to find what works best.
iOS 11 provides you with 100 characters to enter keywords separated by commas.
These help your app get discovered through search and related content.
There’s no need to duplicate efforts here, so choose keywords you haven’t already used in the title.
Some in-depth keyword analysis can be done using Apple Search Ads.
This feature is only available to iOS app developers and is an essential tool for listing any project.
You can also use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find common key terms and test them.
You’re given a subtitle below the title in search results. This is also limited to 30 characters.
It gives you another chance to use more descriptive keywords.
TypeShift, for example, uses the space to input its SEO.
This is a cleaner look and can work well.
I would’ve still taken the opportunity to use some keywords in the title, but that’s out of my control.
Which is a great segue to my next topic.
Customer reviews and ratings are an important consideration for users, especially those unfamiliar with an app brand.
Apps with higher ratings also ranked higher. This raises a tricky dilemma: you want more ratings and reviews, but not if they are negative. So, you need a way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to the developer.
On the flip side, you want to guide happy customers to leave positive reviews for you.
The average rating of the top 100 free apps in the App Store is 4 stars!
Quality clearly matters.
The lower your rating, the fewer consumers who will be willing to consider downloading it.
Think about it. When was the last time you downloaded a one-star app?
You may have rated an app one star, but it was likely rated 3 or more stars when you downloaded it.
Ratings also affect conversions.
Maintaining a high rating is often easier than raising one from 2 to 4 stars.
That’s why it’s important to solicit reviews from customers within the app.
One time is all that’s necessary, and it needs to be done within the first 72 hours.
That’s how long 77% of users will use an app before never again turning it on.
It’s also important to wait until after the customer has a chance to use the app.
Instead of basing it on a timer, consider a push notification when the customer completes certain actions.
Examples of great times to do this are after the first level of a game or after a customer sends their first message through your encrypted messaging app.
Try not to be too spammy, though, and keep in mind your app’s performance can affect its rating.
Ultimately, you want a page full of glowing reviews.
And don’t be shy about replying to negative reviews.
It’s possible a bad customer experience happened due to an error or glitch that’s since been corrected.
Thank users for their reviews whenever possible, good or bad, and correct issues brought up. This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.
This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.
Ultimately it’s a download that matters.
An app preview video and screenshots help convert indecisive users.
Both the App and Google Play stores use the number of times an app has been downloaded to determine ranking.
More specifically, it’s the current download rate.
For example, while an app may have 1 million overall downloads, a newer app can beat it by getting more downloads this month.
The preview video and images can be a major factor in this.
The majority of top apps in the App Store use app previews to increase customer conversions.
Once you have a user, however, you’ll need to keep them.
It’s harder than it sounds, and Apple is paying attention.
What can you do to get more downloads for your app?
Improving your ASO is a great place to start. Beyond that, work on marketing your brand and app to improve recognition, awareness, and appeal, from app store description to images, ratings/reviews, and social media presence.
Retention rates are important for mobile device rankings, but the bar isn’t set very high.
The average app has only a 36% retention rate in the first month.
Further breaking things down, we can look at the retention rates by industry.
Media/Entertainment, Lifestyle/Travel, and eCommerce/Retail apps have the best three-month retention rates.
There are so many apps available in the App Store that users download plenty to never use them.
A study found Americans use an average of 30 apps each month out of the roughly 90 they have installed.
This means even if your app is downloaded, it’s unlikely it’ll ever be used beyond the first 72 hours.
How long your app stays installed and how many times it’s used while installed can help App Store search rankings.
Now that you understand how the search rankings work, it’s time to explore best practices for publishing an app to ensure it’s seen and downloaded.
This test was done by taking a random sampling of keywords and categorizing them by difficulty related to rankings.
An “easy” keyword results in fewer than 25 apps trying to rank for that keyword. “Medium” keywords are included in 25-100 apps, and “competitive” keywords are those in 100+ apps.
Based on this test, there is a clear trend showing that apps with higher ratings also rank higher for keyword difficulty.
Do apps with better ratings rank higher? Yes.
(But don’t beg for them; earn better ratings for your apps the right way.)
ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.
In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden, and the likelihood of discovery quite low.
To reap the rewards of ASO, you need to invest time and effort. If you do, you’ll have a consistent channel driving traffic to your app.
Being found is one of the most difficult challenges for mobile apps, but it is a problem you can actively solve with the tips above.
Have you found success with ASO? What has helped your app rank better?
Creating a customer journey map is enough to make even the best marketer freeze in their tracks and realize how little they really know about their prospects.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry.
Even if you’ve never created a buyer persona before, I’ll help you make sense of the process by giving you a sort of “map” to help you better understand who your customers are and what they want.
Let’s take a closer look.
A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates each step in the buyer journey, including who the customer is, what their needs are, and what objections they face.
This map makes it easier for sales, marketing, and executives to make more informed decisions and humanize your audience.
The very first step in a customer journey map is the core demographic information about your customers, such as:
You’ll likely find most of this data in your CRM. If not, a survey can give you a clear picture of who your audience is and what they do.
I also recommend “humanizing” the persona by giving them a name and image. This brings out more of our emotional, empathetic side, versus looking at the potential customer as a number to slot somewhere in a sales funnel like a puzzle piece.
Now that you have the basics let’s look at an example of a customer journey.
For our example here, we’ve chosen to work with Lucy, a marketing director in her late 40s.
Her job primarily entails lead generation, sales management, and gathering competitive intelligence.
She organizes and prioritizes campaigns. She’s a pro at gathering competitive intelligence and uses it wisely to reinforce the brand while cementing customer loyalty in a very competitive marketplace.
Because of the huge growth in social media, Lucy’s looking to streamline the interaction process on social media without losing the “personability” of the brand.
She’s in the market for a solution and wants to make a confident decision quickly.
So with this in mind, our persona map is going to look something like this so far:
To stick with the map concept, this is our starting point. Next, it’s time to look at the journey.
Our first stop along the map is the buyer’s needs.
She has the basic research to know what’s out there. If we were looking at this from a traditional sales funnel point of view, she’s at the “comparison shopping” stage.
She’ll be looking to make a decision soon.
Buyers are eager to tell you what they need. All you have to do is ask.
Basic lead follow-up and nurturing questions can reveal quite a bit. Simple polls and surveys can often reveal a great deal about where the buyer actually is in the process (and whether they have an urgent need for your product or service versus basic curiosity).
Even if we don’t know specifically what they need, we can make a few general statements that apply them to our persona.
What would someone in this job typically need from our solution?
For starters, the buyer likely needs the product to be well documented. She’ll be managing dozens, perhaps hundreds of staff members – some of whom (based on age) may be more technically savvy than she is.
Some of the staff may pick it up quickly; others may need more time. We’ll add the needs and the persona’s place in the decision-making process (one persona can have multiple roles in the decision process — they can be a user and initiator, for example)
There’s also the fact that whatever solution needs to be adaptive and flexible to accommodate existing platforms and tools.
The company likely has certain procedures and requirements that will be added to the mix, like cloud-based access and specific security protocols.
These factors can influence and even conflict with what the primary buyer wants. The committee often makes decisions like these, which lengthens the time needed and the requested features.
Like all maps, there will be roadblocks that prevent your customer from taking action. You’ll want to outline those in your customer journey map.
There are constraints and concerns, frustrations, and issues that will affect their decision. You can brainstorm these obstacles and add them to your customer journey map to ensure that sales know how to address the most common objections before becoming major pain points.
You also have to decide where this buyer falls on the scale of decision-making.
Will they be using the product? Influencing the decision-maker? Initiating contact with the company? A mix of all of these?
Make a note of these objections and the buyer persona’s place in the decision-making cycle on your map.
Following our example, we end up with something like this:
Here, we’ve managed to discover (and brainstorm) the buyer’s potential:
All the kinds of sales-propelling information needed to acknowledge objections, concerns, and frustrations while concentrating on needs, requirements, and urgency.
We’ve learned core demographics about our buyer and key information that may be preventing them from taking action or details that could move a sale into the next stage.
Our customer journey map is less of a neatly-organized, bulleted list, and more like a mind-map that’s always being adjusted and revised. It may not be as tidy, but our customer journey map is closer to the actual customer experience — and therefore far more useful.
Think about the last time your company made a major purchase. It’s seldom a “beginning to end” one-time shot, right?
There are many details to hammer out, presentations to sit through, and suggestions and sign-offs to gather.
It’s a big process, and a fancy list of bullets just doesn’t cut it anymore – not in today’s two-way communication world.
Now, you need to go through this entire process with every type of buyer your company encounters. Each type of customer will have a different buyer path, objections, and challenges.
For example, if retail, you’ve got suppliers, wholesalers, resellers, and a whole avalanche of personas out there. Each buyer you have must be addressed individually.
Don’t panic, prioritize. Focus on your most profitable customers first and find the unifying threads that tie them together, then build on that persona. Once you have those down, start working down the list until you have all your customer journies mapped.
And remember that buyers are multi-faceted human beings.
Sometimes they make decisions that go against the grain of even the most well-developed persona. It happens.
Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, and the easier you make that journey, the more receptive the buyer will be to taking the action you want them to take.
Are you planning to create a customer journey map? What is holding you back?
The post How to Create a Customer Journey Map (Even if You Have No Idea Who Your Customers Really Are) appeared first on Neil Patel.
There are two kinds of people.
The first group go out of their way in search of what they need.
Did you find this article after doing some research?
If so, you belong in the first group.
The second group waits on others to suggest what they should want.
Was this content piece forced on a feed you were scrolling via some form of paid advertising?
Then you belong in the second group.
So what does that tell you?
It means that the difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing boils down to getting your business in front of two different groups of people.
That is, those who go out of their way to find your product or service when they need it. Or, those who you must go out of your way to bring your business to their attention.
I’m not here to discuss ethical issues or tell you how inbound marketing is better than outbound marketing.
The truth of the matter is that both approaches, be it outbound or inbound marketing, works.
So what’s my goal with this article, you ask?
I’ll show you how they differ from each other and when to use one approach over another to achieve what I believe is most paramount – reach the right audience and grow your business.
Let’s start with the basics… their definitions.
Outbound marketing, also known as “push” or “interruption” marketing, is the use of marketing tactics to get your business (or its message) in front of people not necessarily searching for it.
Traditional outbound channels like TV, radio, print, radio, and billboards are there for all to see.
In this digital era, brands and marketers still use the outbound marketing approach to reach a wide audience of people via paid ads tactics.
Whether traditional or digital channels, the goal with outbound marketing is the same.
Marketers use it with the hope that a fraction of the broad audience they’re targeting would take interest in their offer or message and start the journey to becoming a customer.
Nobody asks for them.
Going by that negligible display ads’ CTR, most people seem to have thrown outbound marketing out of the window.
No reasonable person throws a baby out with the bathwater, so you shouldn’t.
In other words, outbound marketing still works.
The absence of a marketing strategy to determine when and how to use it, as well as to guide its execution is why most marketers and businesses fail with outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing prides itself as the most reasonable and ethical way to advertise a business. This approach has been in existence since 2006, about 15 years ago.
So why are people still listening even more today?
It’s because inbound marketing is a subtle, not-so-salesy way of attracting prospects; then, engaging them with relevant, helpful information until they become customers and advocates.
Remember the first group of people I mentioned, those who go out to find what they need?
Inbound marketers typically wait for this bunch with the right information in the form of content marketing, SEO, and social media to attract and pull them into their sales funnels.
Inbound marketing may be non-promotional and not “forced” on people like outbound.
But that’s not to say it’s easy or a stroll in the park when using it to attract prospects actively searching for the products or services your business offers.
Like outbound, without a solid strategy to guide its execution, inbound marketing is difficult to turn into a growth channel.
Because it takes time, upfront investment, and excellent content creation and promotional expertise to ensure your content gets found by prospects.
At my ad agency, Neil Patel Digital, here’s how we call this act of strategizing to create content that gets found:
From experience, I can say that the success or failure of outbound or inbound marketing hinges on this one thing: Creating content that matters for the people that matter.
Because when you create content that prospects really need, they’ll love to see it whether you force it on them (outbound) or they go out in search of it (inbound).
Hence, to grow your business depends on whether you have a great strategy to guide you on when to use one approach over the other.
I’ll talk about when to use outbound or inbound marketing.
Before that, let’s examine their differences.
The ultimate goal of inbound or outbound marketing is to reach prospects and get them to do business with you.
Although the end goal is the same, these are the three core areas they differ.
If you create helpful content that gets discovered by your ideal customers when they’re searching for it, you’ve successfully pulled them into discovering your business as they consume that content piece.
Now, that is inbound marketing in practice.
This approach demands that you create content to address topics or queries prospects are already searching for, which you can find via keywords research or community forums.
Outbound marketing is the opposite of that.
Here, you develop content with the assumption (sometimes based on trends) that it’ll capture your prospects’ interest. But since they aren’t searching for it or asked for it, you have to push it via advertising it to them.
It’s like taking a blind shot.
Maybe, just maybe your shot hits the target, reaching some people who’ll take interest in your “pushed” ad, discovering your business or message in the process.
Outbound marketing campaigns via mediums like TV, radio, billboards, and print ads tend to be more generic.
Because like you, just about anybody can watch a TV show or pass a street corner with a mounted billboard.
So to increase the chances of reaching a substantial fraction of people who may be interested in an ad, outbound campaigns tend to be more generic or try to appeal to the entire public.
For example, this ad by Ogilvy, although very creative, speaks to just about anyone that has teeth:
On the other hand, inbound marketing follows a more specific approach.
Inbound’s core principle involves creating educational or entertaining content pieces to address a problem faced by a specific audience.
In this case, even though everyone may have the problem, a company only concerns itself with an audience it is interested in or has experience serving.
The result of this is the creation of content such as blogs, social media posts, newsletters, or the use of SEO techniques to optimize for targeted queries aimed at a defined audience.
For example, see below how WebMD titled this content piece specific to fitness enthusiasts, looking to get fit at home:
This content may not appeal to the millions of people interested in fitness as an outbound approach would aim to.
But by creating content specific to people who want to get fit at home, WebMD still manages to drive about 4,000 visits to this content piece per month.
People use the search engines to find answers to their questions or solutions to their problems.
And each time your ideal customer does this, they’re simultaneously giving the search engine the permission to show them the most relevant answers to their queries.
Hence, this permission extends to you if you’ve created a search-engine-optimized content piece the search engine finds worthy enough to show among its search results.
On social media, prospects follow people and companies they trust.
Doing this gives those people and companies the permission to create content that shows up on their feeds.
This same pattern plays out with email newsletters.
When someone signs up for your newsletter, they’ve given you the permission to send them personalized emails.
The inbound methodology is how you create and distribute content prospects permit via their actions on search engines, social media, or email opt-ins.
This makes inbound a permissive marketing approach.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, takes an interruptive approach.
When listening to a radio program or watching your favorite TV documentary, do you ever pause and ask them to throw in an ad?
I don’t. You don’t. And nobody does.
But that’s exactly what you get – regular interruption of the show with advertising.
In this digital era, marketers still use this outbound approach of interrupting people to capture their attention online.
For example, when I scroll my social media feeds, or watch videos on YouTube, I get regular interruptions with advertising I didn’t ask for.
Most times, I skip past them.
Other times, an ad captures my attention, and I click through to learn more.
Again, that should remind you of what I said earlier.
When executed with the right strategy, both inbound marketing and outbound works.
With that, let’s see when it’s preferable to use one approach over another.
Have you ever clicked on a random ad while scrolling Facebook, LinkedIn, watching a YouTube video, or in the promotions tab of your Gmail account?
What about when outbound advertising campaigns come up during a TV/radio show, in print, or on a billboard, have you ever proceeded to research the brand behind the ad on Google?
I have done both at different times.
And in those cases, I wasn’t really aware of the companies or brands behind those ads until I discovered them via their outbound campaign and took interest.
Through those outbound campaigns, I became aware of those brands – something not possible if they waited for me to come search for them.
Hence, if you’re a new business or you just launched a new product and need to build awareness, it makes sense to use outbound marketing like TV, billboards, and others.
The use of outbound marketing doesn’t end in traditional marketing tactics. It extends to the online space, and there’s a reason for that.
Inbound marketing takes time.
Time to build a substantial following on social media.
Time to grow an email list.
And if you’re trying to rank your content on Google, expect to wait at least 100 days, despite massive upfront investments.
But with the help of an experienced marketing agency, you can intercept prospects even if they aren’t searching for you with digital outbound ads that resonate with their needs.
Doing this can bring immediate results instead of waiting so long for your content to rank through the inbound approach.
How can you do it, you ask?
By delving deep into analytics to identify your prospects’ interests based on their online behaviors and data touchpoints. And developing a proactive outbound marketing strategy that resonates with research-identified target audiences.
Both outbound and inbound marketing require upfront investments.
As I’ve shown you, outbound marketing, when executed with an excellent strategy, can drive results faster in the short-term than inbound marketing.
But outbound is a pay to play activity.
So immediately you stop fueling your outbound campaigns with cash, everything falls off the cliff.
For example, if you’re running an outbound PPC campaign for a target keyword, the moment you stop bidding, you won’t even make Google Ads’ auction.
These days, inbound marketing won’t bring you immediate results even if you’re in a niche that is less competitive.
And that’s because it takes time for the search engine to index, understand, and rank your content.
In the long-term, however, inbound marketing is 62% less expensive compared to outbound tactics. Once inbound sets into motion, you can drive evergreen organic traffic, pulling visitors, leads, and customers.
So inbound marketing is a preferred approach if you’re in business for the long-term and ready to be patient while you invest in consistent content creation.
However, nowadays, you can’t just create content here and there, fold your hand, and expect magic to happen.
To even stand a chance in the long-term with inbound marketing, you need a clearly-defined strategy.
This strategy must cover everything from audience research, competitive analysis, exceptional blog and social media content creation, promotion, link building, and technical stuff.
Building your business with inbound marketing isn’t a stroll in the park and cannot be left to chance.
You need a battle-tested program to develop a strategy that works:
I don’t agree that one is better than the other.
It all depends what’s best for a particular situation and on the strategy developed to execute each.
Why do I say so, you ask?
Because when you look at the sales funnel in relation to the steps inbound and outbound marketing takes to convert prospects into customers, they have similar structure.
So, instead of looking for which one is better than the other, it’s better to combine both.
Use outbound marketing to build awareness, reach prospects not necessarily searching for you (but may need your product/service, as identified from research) to get short-term results.
At the same time, activate your inbound marketing engines in preparation for the long-term, as you allow the algorithms to index, understand, and rank your content.
Again, it all boils down to having a great strategy.
And if you need help developing a one that combines outbound and inbound marketing to reach the right audience and drive business growth…
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with my ad agency, NP Digital.
Do you need a creative agency or a marketing agency?
Look at the most successful companies today, and you’ll see the magic of both agency types at play.
Take Apple for example.
Apple’s marketing believes that “design and utility are just two of the reasons behind Apple’s success and certainly give it a competitive advantage.”
But drill down to Apple and its individual products’ success in the market spaces they compete in, and you’ll see that design alone doesn’t do the magic.
Apple drives growth with a marketing mix that does an excellent job to create raving fans even before product launches. And the overall sales it commands from its products is a direct result of the company’s marketing strategies.
In other words, to drive and sustain its growth, Apple uses creative agencies. But before their product launches, they leverage the expertise of marketing agencies.
This is the difference between a creative agency and a marketing agency.
According to Column Five Media:
“A creative agency is a term for an agency that offers a variety of services that fall under the umbrella of marketing and advertising. Basically, if you need any type of creative strategy, work, or promotion, they can help you get it done.”
Column Five Media is a creative agency that has worked with Intuit, eBay, Google, Facebook, and dozens of other global brands.
Take a second to look at the definition of a creative agency by Column Five Media, a creative agency, and what does it reveal to you?
It clearly shows that even a wildly-experienced creative agency admits that its services, or any creative agency’s services, fall under the umbrella of marketing and advertising.
This definition should tell you something:
A creative agency helps to illuminate the advertising and marketing strategy execution of a company through appealing designs and other forms of creative work.
Like Column Five Media, my agency, Neil Patel Digital, has also worked with global brands such as Google, eBay, Intuit, Facebook, and dozens of others:
Here’s how I define a marketing agency:
“A marketing agency is a business that researches, strategizes, brands, and promotes a company’s products or services. Ultimately, marketing agencies partner with a company to develop, manage, and execute its marketing strategy to achieve defined business goals.”
As you saw in Apple’s example, design and utility (mostly brought to live by creative agencies) play an essential role in making products more appealing to users.
But the identification of those users, understanding what design choices will appeal to them, the messaging that’ll resonate with them, how, where, and when to reach them for the most impact comes first.
That’s why I say that marketing (mostly achieved with a marketing agency) is what engineers and sustains a company’s growth.
Hence, while creative agencies help to illuminate marketing ideas, marketing agencies strategize, create, and deliver the right content to the right people:
With their defining distinctions established, what are the various other differences between a creative agency and a marketing agency?
As I said at the beginning of this article, the difference between these agency types boil down to very fine details.
Yet the need to know them is paramount, as it helps you to avoid judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree.
To guide you, I’ll distinguish both by pairing the related services these agency types can help you with when looking to grow your business.
Market research is a core business function.
Through market research, you can validate a business opportunity, examine the economic forces at play by investigating key industry trends and the competition, and get an idea of your potential market size.
But the main goal of market research isn’t to give you a solid foundation of the above alone.
Most importantly, it is to relate the findings from the research to your business case, ensuring that you get a firm grasp of how and where to position your company for growth.
By using market research to determine “how” to position your business, an agency identifies measures to differentiate your brand from competitors. It also allows them to identify “where” that positioning should happen – something that comes from knowing your prospective customers’ demographics.
Marketing agencies excel more doing this type of high-level market research.
Not only are they the ones who usually have market analysts working in-house, they’re also the ones who go on to develop tools that enable this kind of market research.
For example, the need to conduct SEO research and help people understand their market and competition better is part of what led me to develop Ubersuggest:
However, although some marketing agencies have in-house user researchers, creative agencies shine the most in the area of user research.
Market research helps to determine the how and where of your brand.
But to know why people would care, you must appeal to their interests and address their pain points the moment they spot your brand collaterals, most times without saying a single word.
Achieving this feat boils down to creating user-focused visuals and design assets that appeal to people’s interests or address their pain points, otherwise called psychographics.
User-focused design is the core of creative agencies.
To excel at doing this, they always conduct user research to determine the psychographics of prospective customers, even after market research has identified their demographics.
This explains why you’ll find UX researchers and UI/UX designers leading the lines for creative agencies.
Have you noticed something about most global brands?
Yes, they may evolve into trendy visuals as most often do, but the brand fundamentals rarely change entirely.
Take Google, for example.
The reason for this is that branding, usually executed by creative agencies, takes a long-term approach. It involves creating design assets and visuals to depict what your company represents and to articulate your corporate identity even in the years to come.
But as you see with Google, as time goes by and new market opportunities emerge (mostly identified through market research and by marketing agencies), the need to evolve that identity may arise as you realize the need to appeal to specific audiences.
And this was the case with Google.
According to a report by The Verge, redesigning their logo to look good on small screens had a profound impact on why Google evolved its visual identity design in 2015.
In other words, Google, through continuous market research saw the need to appeal to the growing number of people using smartphones to access the internet.
Google’s example depicts an important difference between creative and marketing agencies.
Use creative agencies when you need to design and evolve your brand and corporate identity to reflect what your brand represents in the long-term and in changing times.
But creative agencies focus more on designs, and don’t get into the weeds of studying changing market trends on specific channels.
And that’s where marketing agencies differ.
Marketing agencies’ work revolve around seeking new avenues to market your business’ offering, reach specific audiences, and drive growth. Logically, this a necessary first step before embarking on design or involving a creative agency.
Marketing agencies and creative agencies also differ in the area of go-to-market strategy development and leading the creative direction of the strategy execution on various channels.
That’s another way to say that marketing agencies can help you to identify what channels to market your product or service. They can also help you to plan and decide what content types will drive the most impact.
But most lack design expertise even when they have in-house designers.
Creative agencies, therefore, are a better option if you know what channels and content types to create, especially when there’s a need for expert design of the final deliverable of such content.
For example, a marketing agency may find that your brand will drive more engagement and growth on social media. But they may lack the creativity required to produce appealing content for the social media channels your company uses to appeal to your target audiences on those platforms.
Creative agencies differ in this area.
They are the ones to turn to when you need expert design execution specific to a go-to-market strategy typically developed by a marketing agency.
Let’s pretend for a moment that there was some truth in that myth.
Because I consider it a good way to differentiate a marketing agency from a creative agency.
In that case, you can see marketing agencies as the left-brain analytical side because they crunch a lot of numbers in search of logical insights to justify things like marketing spend, marketing ROI, and many others.
On the other hand, creative agencies deal with the irrational aspects of a business by applying creative thinking and emotionally-driven design development to appeal to intangible human emotions not necessarily measured by numbers.
Although in business, everything, including efforts by both a marketing or creative agency, eventually gets measured in the long run to justify their investments.
However, let’s say you want to identify insights into how your advertising campaigns are performing or will perform in the future relative to your business goals.
Or, you need data insights such as traffic sources, channels driving the most impact for your business, what your sales funnel metrics is saying, marketing agencies are the ones to turn to because these tasks require analytical data crunching.
If the data crunching by marketing agencies reveals the need to improve your design or recreate them entirely to get them to become more appealing to specific audiences or channels, creative agencies shine better for doing this.
The truth is that both agency types bring excellent levels of creativity to whatever they do.
Hence, staying with the myth about the left-side analytical brain and right-side creative brain, you can’t do away with one side and expect the brain to perform at full capacity.
You need both to drive your business forward.
So instead of asking which one you should choose (because you’ll need one of the two at some point), the question should be when should I choose a marketing or creative agency?
When you want to develop or improve your branding or brand identity, go to a creative agency. Also, when you want to create or improve design assets to support your marketing campaigns or make your content more appealing, creative agencies can help in these areas.
However, before you seek creative design help, it’s essential to conduct market research, develop a go-to-market strategy to guide everything they design, and set up an air-tight analytics ecosystem to measure everything every step of the way.
If this is what you need right now, my ad agency, Neil Patel Digital, shines in this area.
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