Retail sales were up 0.2% in June, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. economy is booming. First off, the bump was lower than projected. Secondly, some categories—including gas, books and garden equipment—went against the grain. Retail sales in these sectors declined, reinforcing the reality that consumers aren’t overly eager to spend.
It’s not surprising, given the Fed keeps announcing interest rate hikes to slow inflation. However, sluggish sales create a gloomy environment for businesses looking to make it through to sunnier skies. The old hat marketing and sales techniques may no longer work as well with hesitant buyers.
Fortunately, marketing methods that focus on sustaining long-term growth and building brand loyalty can. Here’s how to use growth marketing to give your sales a boost.
Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Traditional marketing can be good at raising awareness. You see a rotation of ads, perhaps too many times. Now you know a brand exists, what it stands for and what it sells. But so what?
You might find the ads’ messages annoying or confusing. Just because you’re aware of something doesn’t mean you’re convinced you need to buy it. And maybe you’ve tried the product before but aren’t sure why you should use it now.
A shortcoming of traditional marketing is that it doesn’t focus on the entire buyer’s journey. It’s also impersonal, as the goal is often to reach as many people as possible with a generic message. A growth marketing strategy takes a different approach. It strives to nurture and convert at every stage, including targeting current customers who might be thinking of abandoning the brand.
Companies can implement growth strategies by creating content for each step in the buyer’s journey. These steps go beyond awareness to acquisition, activation, revenue, retention and referral. Using distinct content to target leads and customers at these various stages makes the messages more relevant. You can also split-test content to see which messages increase sales. You’ll generate demand and improve customer retention at the same time.
Optimize Online Content for Search Engines
A good chunk of your online content will probably be aimed at generating, nurturing and converting leads. Your content needs to be visible to do this effectively. Potential leads won’t find you if your pages aren’t ranking well in the search engine results.
While you may have heard of search engine optimization, it involves more than sprinkling in a few target keywords. Mastering SEO requires aligning your market and keyword research. It also means keeping up to date with search engine algorithm changes, implementing impactful linking strategies and fine-tuning each page’s technical aspects.
Say you’ve devoted a portion of your website to a blog to generate leads. Your posts discuss pain points your market research shows your audience cares about. In addition, each post’s subject matter matches your brand’s voice and identity. However, the blog’s organic traffic volume is below target.
Because of the lower search engine visibility, lead gen numbers are down. An audit reveals that you need to fix several broken links and incorporate more long-tail keywords. After you make the changes, you notice the posts are starting to rank higher. Now you’re getting more organic traffic, which translates to a larger number of prospects you can nurture. Additional leads mean a potential boost in sales as they move to the activation and revenue stages.
Sync Efforts Across Different Channels
Since growth marketing strategies focus on the entire customer experience, more than one channel is involved. Yes, your website’s blog generates leads. But your business also reaches its target audience through social media, email, surveys and online customer service chats. In addition, your strategies rely on paid traffic from pay-per-click ads and amplified social posts.
Syncing your messages across different channels can create a seamless, personalized experience for leads and customers. When communication is well-coordinated, it helps establish authority. Would you be responsive to an email from your bank encouraging you to sign up for a product you already have? You’d probably wonder why you received the message, and the brand would lose credibility.
In this case, the bank should know you don’t need a mortgage given that you’ve been paying on one for years. But what if the bank emailed you about upgrading your checking account instead? Based on the data, the company noticed you’re a good candidate for a higher tier with more valuable incentives. It’s a better-targeted offer and more likely to motivate you to increase your business with them.
Growth marketers realize audiences interact with multiple touchpoints across various channels. And they know people are paying attention and will notice inconsistencies. Integrated cross-channel campaigns improve your company’s chances of generating incremental sales, whether they’re from new or existing customers. The trust sales require comes from consistent relevance.
Growth Marketing’s Role in Increasing Sales
People won’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re there. Still, there’s more to sales than awareness. People also won’t buy if they perceive your offer as untrustworthy or irrelevant.
Growth marketing strategies recognize that awareness, trust and relevance are factors throughout the buyer’s journey—and that current clients are likely to generate more revenue. After all, data shows they outspend new customers by 31%. By leveraging growth marketing techniques such as the creation and distribution of targeted, optimized and relevant content, your company can keep its long-term sales on track.