Digital Profits Podcast – Episode 9: What To Do When Your Marketing Is Off Track

Do you feel like no matter how hard you work, your marketing strategies still aren’t making the impact you want? You’re not alone! Crafting an effective digital marketing strategy that drives results takes more than hard work and dedication. Fortunately, there are data-driven solutions to help take your efforts to the next level.

By uncovering key metrics, understanding your audience better, and leveraging the right strategies and tactics tailored to your business goals, you can get closer to optimizing your campaigns for success. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to do exactly that!

Understand Your Goals:

Take time to define the desired outcome of your marketing efforts before diving in.

When it comes to marketing, you want to be sure you’re not just throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks. That’s where defining your goals comes in. Take the time to really think about what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive sales? Build a loyal customer base?

Once you’ve defined your desired outcome, you can create a clear plan of action and measure your success along the way. Taking the time to understand your goals will pay off in the end and make all your hard work worth it.

Research and Analyze the Data:

Collecting all relevant data points, understanding trends, and utilizing predictive analytics can open up a world of possibilities for growing your business.

When it comes to growing your business, collecting and analyzing data is crucial. But it can seem overwhelming, with so many data points to consider. That’s why it’s important to take it step by step. Start by gathering all relevant data points. This could be anything from customer feedback to website traffic to sales data.

Once you have all of this information, you can start to see trends and patterns. And with the help of predictive analytics, you can even make informed predictions about future trends. Don’t be intimidated by the data. It’s your greatest ally in growing your business.

Identify Opportunities and Challenges:

Use data to uncover opportunities and threats in the marketplace and develop strategies to capitalize on them or mitigate their effects. 

As a savvy entrepreneur, you know that identifying opportunities and challenges is essential for staying ahead in a constantly evolving marketplace. Using data-driven insights can help you uncover new possibilities and potential threats. By analyzing trends, patterns, and customer behavior, you can develop effective strategies that will allow you to capitalize on opportunities or mitigate potential risks.

However, it’s important to remember that challenges will always be present, and how you approach them will determine your success. With a proactive mindset and a deep understanding of your industry, you can confidently navigate the ever-changing landscape and achieve your business goals.

Leverage Automation and AI:

Take advantage of technology-driven solutions that can help you reduce manual work, automate tasks, streamline processes, and identify key insights quicker and more accurately than ever before.

Looking to optimize your daily workload? Look no further than leveraging automation and AI solutions. You don’t have to be a tech wizard to take advantage of technology-driven solutions that can make your job easier and more efficient.

By automating tasks and streamlining processes, you can take on more challenging work that requires your creative problem-solving skills. Imagine being able to identify key insights quicker and more accurately than ever before. It’s possible with automation and AI. Embrace the future of work and let technology help you reach your goals.

Optimize Your Efforts Regularly:

Set goals, measure progress, analyze results, test hypotheses, adjust tactics as needed. It’s an ongoing cycle that will help you stay ahead of the competition and maximize ROI from all marketing investments.

In today’s fast-paced world, setting goals, measuring progress, analyzing results, testing hypotheses, and adjusting tactics is crucial. This ongoing cycle will keep you ahead of the competition and help you make the most of your marketing investments. Don’t get complacent; keep testing and tweaking until you achieve the results you desire. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so patience is key, but consistent optimization will help you be successful in the long run.

By adopting a data-driven approach to your marketing efforts, you can systematically identify and leverage insights for growth. Delve deep into all the available metrics and use predictive analytics to uncover potential opportunities. Leverage automation and AI where possible. Not only will this save time, but it will also allow you to pinpoint exactly what’s working and fine-tune your strategies.

Most importantly, don’t become complacent! Keep track of key performance indicators, optimize constantly, and stay ahead of the competition. That is how you will succeed in today’s crowded digital market! With these tips in mind, you are now well equipped to take on any marketing challenge that comes your way.

Tune in to our latest podcast episode and listen to the Profit Squad delve into the world of Data-Driven Marketing Solutions with expert insights and uncover key metrics, strategies, and tactics to overcome marketing challenges and optimize your efforts today!

Welcome to the digital Profits podcast, where you’ll learn how to grow your business faster using paid traffic and SEO. Each episode will feature a breakdown of digital marketing trends and answers to your burning questions that will provide actionable takeaways to make your marketing better. So join us Ben Page, Ray Sawwvel, and Blake John, as we guide you on your journey to higher profits. Remember to join the profit and get ready to profit in 3, 2, 1.

Ben Page: Hey, squad, welcome back. I’m joined today by our usual crew of Ray hello. And Blake.

Blake John: Hey, there.

Ben Page: And we’ve got a fun topic lined up for today. We’re going to talk about what to do when your marketing is off track, which is not an uncommon occurrence. So I thought it’d be fun if we kick it off with this question. What is the worst thing you can do when you realize your marketing isn’t working the way you expected it to?

Blake John: I think the worst thing that you can do, maybe not the absolute worst thing, but I’ve seen it, and it’s definitely not the direction you should go is get kind of reactionary and impulsive and move too quickly. If you’re kind of jumping the gun on poor performance or you’re like new flashing things and you move too fast, you can kind of dig yourself into a deep hole that can be hard to get out of, and it’s not a path you want to go down. You don’t want to be too impulsive. You kind of want to think things through and have some data and some insights, some conversations, the marketing team, whatever it might be, before you make some brash decisions.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, I agree with you, Blake. You definitely want to make sure that you’re not working on the wrong thing. However, I think you can get stuck in a sense of, like, let’s analyze. Let’s analyze and analyze and not execute. So I think it’s extremely important to have a game plan in place, execute on said game plan and measure those results to see if you’re moving the needle in the right direction. And we’ll kind of talk about, are we measuring the right things a little bit later? But I think it’s really important to not get stuck in just, like, analyze mode and ensure that you’re doing some type of execution and you’re moving the ball forward.

Ben Page: Oh, we got some healthy tension on the show today, but what I’m hearing is don’t let the feels take over, right. Don’t just start reacting on every thought or throw everything out and start with.

Ray Sawvell: A whole new strategy.

Ben Page: And we’re going to go all in on TikTok, and it’s going to be the answer. And Ray, I’m hearing you say don’t get stuck in paralysis by analysis. So our goal today is to share some thinking tools helping you to clarify the problem rapidly and then think about potential solutions and how you could test potential solutions. And so on. But first, let’s start with this. Why do you think you’re off track? I think there are different cases that would cause someone to think this right or say this like, hey, marketing isn’t working the way I expected. And for this episode, we’re assuming that you’ve had some sort of positive results before and those results are starting to dry up, right? Like the tap of leads or sales is starting to dry up. But why do you think you’re off track? Is there specific data you’re looking at that makes it clear? Have you set a goal for this year, this quarter, this month, and you’re just not on track to hit that goal? Or is it more intuition based? It feels like you should be doing better than you are. Any thoughts, guys, on some of these points and identifying why you think you’re off track?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, you kind of hit on the spin, but I think it’s important to understand where you’re off track. And we’ll kind of dive into this later, but is this based on projections that you have? Is it based on previous performance, gut feeling, intuition? So I think first it’s getting aligned with internally and then with many partners that you may be working with, but then also understanding where are you off track? Is it online? Is it offline conversions? Is it paid organic search? Like, where specifically are you feeling you’re off track? And then having those conversations with the responsible parties to try to right size that ship.

Ben Page: Yeah. So one of the notes I had for today was thinking through what level does this problem live at? Is it a total at a business level, we’re not getting enough revenue or profit? Or is it at a certain product level, channel level, certain campaign or tactic isn’t working or something else? I mean Blake, any other thoughts on.

Blake John: No, and I don’t know if I think the only thing that I would really add here is make sure the data that you’re looking at is really telling the full picture. Because sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics or things that aren’t really key business or key performance indicators. I suppose sometimes you’re kind of taking a look and you’re spending too much energy on things that ultimately don’t matter. Now, if you’re seeing like, revenue is down, I don’t know, 50% or something like that, you’re like, what is going on?

Ben Page: Yeah.

Blake John: And it’s like, okay, well, then you kind of have to dig deeper and say, okay, well, where are we falling off? Is it like, where’s the misalignment, essentially? But just make sure that the data you have is really giving you what you need and you’re tracking the right things, which Ray you mentioned, because again, you don’t want to make decisions on wrong data. That is what you want to avoid.

Ben Page: Yeah. And so if you’re an SEO company like us, you’ve got a scorecard and hopefully you have metrics on there for kind of the big picture of marketing. But then within your marketing department marketing team, you might have additional, more specific metrics like a level down that are looking at like channel performance. But in general with data, the way I’m thinking about it is you want to have metrics that reflect volume and efficiency and at different levels. Like we’re talking about total revenue and profit margin or whatever that something like that. Or MER, total spend and MER or clicks and click through rate conversions, conversion rate or contact to lead rate lead to close rate. Like thinking about the whole journey someone goes through from awareness all the way through to purchase and repeat and so on. Having that kind of data is extremely helpful because you might find if you look at that entire journey or that entire scorecard, it will become clear. Like where from a data standpoint where that lives, maybe your total number is off, but your efficiency numbers are on track and then that tells you, hey, we need to either add dollars, add activity, depending on the channel, so on.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, it might be helpful to unpack that idea of a scorecard a little bit more because we are on EOS and we do have a scorecard and we’re understanding week over week how we’re trending. But I guess I’m kind of making assumptions that the listeners do have some type of scorecard or thing that they’re tracking on a week to week basis. But I think it’s extremely important to have those metrics, be aware of them and then obviously track the metrics that matter the most. So, like step one, if you don’t have something like that today, ensure that you do because you need to make sure that you’re tracking the most vital pieces of your business. Like you’re saying Ben, whether it’s like CAC or profitability or profit margin, MER, whatever it might be. So just ensure that step is being done.

Ben Page: Yeah. And Blake, we were talking a little bit about expectations and this kind of ties back to the original point of like why are you off track? Or why do you think you’re off track? And so what is your goal and how was that goal established? You might go through this process or look at your data and maybe you’re doing better than you have previously, but you’re not hitting a goal which might have been somewhat arbitrarily set. I don’t know.

Blake John: I have a handful of examples where that’s happened, but one in particular, it was like a sister company for a large hotel supplier provider and they kind of kicked off this new brand that was a side thing. And they said in the first year their annual goal of revenue was a million dollars. And we were asking why, how are you getting to this number? And looking ahead, we were thinking it was impossible and it didn’t happen. It was nowhere near that because it was just completely, basically an arbitrary number that they took. But really, the story there is sometimes projections or goals that wasn’t really a projection. I feel like that was more of just a yeah. Gut feeling, I suppose, can kind of make you feel like you’re doing worse than you really are. I’ve had other examples where revenue is up 40%, but projections say we should be up 75%. It’s like, okay, well, how do we get to that number? Why is that our goal? We’re performing better year over year. Let’s break this down and figure out maybe there were some market demand, things we didn’t take into consideration, some economic shifts, whatever it might be. But projections can sometimes be a little misleading, I guess. And again, it’s all about getting aligned and making sure that everyone is sort of rowing in the right direction.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, that can be a frustrating conversation when all metrics are pointing you’re up 40% year over year, you’re doing better than you’ve ever done. But based on projections, we’re not where we want to be. So it’s like one is that a realistic and I see you smiling because we recently had a conversation like this. So I think it’s difficult because you may not be doing as well as you think you should be doing. But when you look where those projections, where they gotten, and I think just being aligned, like you said, Blake, is just crucial.

Ben Page: Yeah. I think related to this idea, it’s like taking a look at actions and activities versus results, like thinking of those as two separate buckets, which is important, I think, throughout this discussion. But, hey, we arrived at this revenue, or we got this result for year over year. But if you kind of back it down into what were the activities or actions that we did that led to that ultimate result? Especially if things are legitimately off track and like, hey, you had a reasonable goal, or you’re below the performance that you had previously, what changes maybe have happened in terms of the actual activities that we’re performing on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? That may contribute to that decline? But, yeah, I think going back to diagnosing the problems, we talked a little bit about what level does it live at? Volume or efficiency? I want to talk about a few thinking tools that could help cut through the noise, because it’s great. You’ve got analytics, you’ve got a scorecard, you’re tracking all kinds of metrics, and now you’ve got 815 25 KPIs that you’re looking at. And it can be overwhelming if there’s no clear smoking gun where it’s like, oh, well, yeah, conversion rate went down by 50%. Fix it month over month. Yeah, right. Like, super obvious. So how do you kind of clarify where the problem is? A few thoughts. One is 80 20 inversion. So it would sort of entail it’s. Like if you look at your channels, your campaigns, your creative and so on. Which ones are contributing the most to the bottom-line. But if you invert it, you kind of say like, what, 20% of campaigns, products, audiences, content, landing pages, whatever, like factors in the marketing universe, what 20% of those are contributing to 80% of the decline. So see how we kind of like flipped it there and that can help you that inversion, that 80 20 inversion can help you identify where things might be going wrong. Or another inversion tool that I like using, it’s like a sanity check thinking tool is like just general inversion. Right? So how would I fail epically at marketing? If you’re totally lost, you could just start there and say, well, what would I do? Well, I’d probably put out no content, I’d probably target the wrong people. I’d probably spend a bunch of money on advertising or I’d probably not have data or whatever. So you could maybe think through different silos of your marketing mix with that inversion tool. Any other thoughts on how you could quickly or more effectively diagnose where the problems live, guys?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, where I tend to think is from, like you said, Ben, like 80 20. That’s just where I’m trained to kind of diagnose things like where’s the biggest impact? You can do the inversion like you suggested. But Blake, I’m thinking to a conversation we had recently, it’s like, do we focus on the areas that are the largest revenue drivers for a business or do we focus on ones that we think could be the largest revenue drivers based on demand or forecast? So I think there’s again, It goes back to Alignment, where it’s like we can make a change in One Area that Might drive A 2% Total Growth Of Revenue, or we can make a Change somewhere else that is 30% of The Pie, make some changes there and really move the needle forward because it’s a larger chunk of revenue. So just, just thinking from an impact standpoint, are we making the changes that really matter?

Blake John: Yeah, I’ll just add that I don’t know. The 80 20 approach is going to be really valuable throughout all of this. My market isn’t working. What next, applying this? Because you could probably do this for every single channel. Like taking that 80 20 approach saying, okay, we know SEO, this works, email, this works, PPC, this works, let’s try to build off of that, let’s make more of that. And then again inverting it saying, we know this isn’t working. This 20% is like, we’re spending all this money and budget and we’re just losing dollars there, let’s cut it. Yeah, let’s kill it and just kind of going down that approach. But I also will say too, to.

Ray Sawvell: Add on to that Blake I guess so to add on to that thought, I think it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy too from like an 80 20 standpoint. So if you’re always optimizing the best or on the flip side, if you’re always cutting the waste from the worst, you’re not giving yourself a chance to improve that. So that’s where the inverse kind of comes in play, because it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, where it’s like, this never works. Kill the waste. It could become a negative if you go too far in that direction.

Ben Page: Interesting. Let’s think about this through the lens of let’s use a hypothetical scenario to help us think through this issue, right? Like, imagine you are the VP of Marketing at a company and it’s lead gen, right? And marketing is off track. You’re not getting, I don’t know, you’re not getting the number of conversions. Conversions have dropped 20% year over year. Or I guess our marketing is off track. Maybe you’d say you’re ultimately like, oh, closed, deals are closed, one is off track, and then you’d kind of trace it back, okay, well, the sales team is still closing at the same rate, and that part’s all good to go. So then we have to figure out what’s going on in marketing. What else could you do if you’re in that position to try and diagnose where the problem lives, I feel like.

Blake John: You need to really break it down by each individual action. Or we’re talking about inputs, basically, of your marketing. There’s sales, there’s each unique channel, there’s your service team, et cetera. You can break those things down and try to identify which part of this is where we’re dropping off, because that’s where we need to focus. That’s where we need to kind of rally and turn things around. Otherwise, it feels like ultimately you’re just I feel like this happens to us, actually. A lot of the pressure will kind of fall onto your marketing team, like your SEO guy, your PPC guy. But sometimes there’s some internal things, like, again, your sales team, potentially, maybe, or like a change in pricing, which we might talk about in a little bit. But those things have a huge impact on conversion rates and business growth, essentially, that sometimes don’t get brought up into the conversation because it’s just like, oh, well, this is a change that happens. We’ll make the most of it now. But those things have huge impacts on performance and ultimately business growth.

Ben Page: Yes, you want to look at you want to evaluate both internal and external factors. And internal factors could be things like sales and marketing aren’t aligned the way they were previously. It could be channels and marketing mix related. It could be creatives, some change there, some ad is fatiguing, a landing page is falling off in terms of visibility rankings, conversion rate, et cetera. Could be like products, but then externally, it could be competitor changes, competitor launches, new product changes, pricing changes, targeting changes, their creatives if their funnel changes and now they’re gobbling up, share, that’s interesting. User behavior changes, maybe preferences change and so on. Algorithm updates, compliance updates, different requirements being placed on email or social or whatever. But I think another helpful tool is Occam’s razor because if we look at this myriad of potential root causes and we’re trying to diagnose, first off, there are a number of things that we just can’t control, especially in the external bucket. So we want to focus on things we can control, we do influence. So when you do that though, we want to use Occam’s Razor, which is the problem solving principle. This is a definition from Wikipedia, the problem solving principle that recommends searching for explanations constructed with the smallest possible set of elements. So almost like a simplifying down. So it might be helpful to think about the stream of time leading up to when this metric is off track. Like in this hypothetical example, conversion rate has fallen on the website, the website visitor to contact form completion, conversion rate has fallen off 20%. Right. What changes have happened that led up to that point in the last week, month, quarter year, whatever, and then you want to kind of think about like maybe you list out there are three to five potential likely root causes. Is there one that stands out as the simplest possible explanation? Oh, we changed the form on the number one landing page on the site and now we added five fields on the form. Now there’s more friction, the conversion rate fell. Oh, okay, something like that. But that’s where I think right, because this goes back to your opener, Ray, about getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, and I think to add on to that too, I don’t know if this is like a mental model formally, but it’s like a line of thinking where it’s like failing fast. So it’s whatever you’re getting into and whatever you’re testing, putting enough data or firepower or spend or whatever behind it so you get enough significance as quick as you can. So then if it doesn’t work, you can move on to a different set of ideas, whether it’s a landing page test or a new campaign, new keyword, new creative, whatever, and just ensuring that you’re again, not to be reactionary, but moving quickly from test one to test two. And the occupants. Razor idea where you’re honing in on getting surgical about it, I guess, for lack of a better word.

Ben Page: Can I throw out one crazy one? Which is like, the Kiss method approach here, I think. It’s like, okay, there are all these things changing and right, like everything’s always in motion and evolving to some degree. Internal factors. External factors. Whatever. Have you checked and provided clear expectations and accountability for your marketing team? And this goes back to the earlier thing on actions versus results. Like what if your whole strategy, the whole plan, all of it is good? The only thing that’s different is that someone’s not showing up and if you’re not holding them accountable, they might not be following through with the actions that lead to the end result that’s desired. So if there’s been a change at that activity level and that’s why well, this isn’t an EOS podcast, but if you get to the point of everyone has a number, right? And then you’re looking at the your numbers reflect the actions, and they drive accountability. It’s like, maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the easy answer, is you just need to go and have conversations. Why didn’t you publish the two blog posts? Oh, great. Well, there you go. So I just want to throw that out there, too. But if we double click on one of our core disciplines like SEO or Paid, are there any other thoughts you guys have on doing diagnosis within SEO or within Paid that might help someone if they’ve gotten to the point where they’ve figured out, oh, my problem is an organic search problem or a paid traffic problem? Yeah.

Ray Sawvell: Run more ads. Blake. If there’s an SEO problem, always more ads.

Blake John: Always. I’m actually a pseudo Google rep. Yes, spend more Pmax. Turn it on. I’ll mention this as a specific business case, use case, because I’ve seen it so many times. But clients will come to us, we’ll start an engagement, and they’ll be like, conversions, traffic, it’s all down year over year. And we’re like, what happened? What happened? What happened? And then we find out, oh, they did a site redesign eight months ago, and they’ve been seeing this steady decline for the last six months, or whatever, and they go, what happened? Well, it started here, and that’s the month you had a redesign. And I think that’s a very specific case. But again, I’ve seen it so many times that I want to make mention of it because sometimes you just have to zoom out a little bit. It seems the Kiss framework. But zoom out to a three year picture of traffic or a five year picture of revenue or whatever it is, and say, okay, well, where did this start? We’re down 20%. But was it a one month blip in the radar? Or has this been like, a slowly deteriorating performance for the last eight months? Okay, well, what happened eight months ago? What could have changed then? Like, oh, the redesign, oh, pricing changed. You know what I mean? And kind of getting into the specifics, because those things get lost. It always surprises me how site redesigns, just how poorly they can go sometimes, and how they’re failed to mention during that discovery process. But, yeah, zoom out a little bit and kind of take a look, okay, when did this decline happen? Because usually you can pinpoint and go, oh, yeah, there was a pretty significant change. Maybe messaging changed, like, whatever it is, and then you can kind of take actions based on that. But the other things that I’ll say, too, from an SEO lens, because I think that was kind of like the initial question here was make sure you’re doing the basics. And I mentioned that because a lot of times, again, clients will come to us and like, well, you’re not doing the basics. First and foremost, your title tags aren’t optimized. That’s like the number one thing, like an SEO will look at like, well, of course you’re not doing great because these are all like default WordPress like title tags. You haven’t tried, you haven’t done the inputs. And I think this again, it can kind of go back. Everything is kind of connecting the dots here, but make sure you’re doing the basics right. And one specific opportunity and analysis that you can do from an SEO perspective is like a keyword gap analysis. So if you have a handful of competitors that you know are kind of a side or a pain in your side, take a look at those. Do a keyword gap analysis you can do that with. There’s a handful of tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, relatively straightforward, and just see, okay, well, all these topics, all these keywords, all these user needs, are we where we should be like, should we start developing more content? So there’s a lot there that I just discussed, but it’s zooming out a little bit, identifying where the problem originally started. It’s doing a keyword gap analysis, and it’s also just kind of making sure you’re hitting all the basics.

Ben Page: That’s cool. Before Ray, like, maybe you touch on paid diagnosis, but that almost hints at part of the solution potentially too. Or if you’re lost and you’re like, well, here’s a problem, and you’re like, here are possible solves for it. Maybe a good default might be, do I have 80 20 coverage within the core disciplines? Like, what’s the 80 20 of SEO, okay, title tags and quick site audit and H ones or something, and same and paid, like, okay, do I have the right data? But Ray Diagnosing PPC is off track.

Ray Sawvell: It’s a very similar answer to what Blake gave. Let’s first assume that our goals are on track. Everything that we just discussed before we’re aligned, we know what our target is. So let’s just kind of assume that’s all in place. But making sure you’re blocking and tackling the basics are done correctly are so important when thinking about paid. Is your search term to add copy to landing page? Is that connection all accurate? So if somebody’s searching for a problem, are you delivering that solution in copy? Are you delivering it on the landing page? And then are you making that path to conversion, whatever it may be, as simple as possible. So from my standpoint, that’s as basic as it gets. But if you’re not doing that correctly, that’s a really big issue. You’re not going to have successful paid campaigns if you don’t hammer that point correctly. The other areas where we tend to look are like, is your data correct? Are you sending over the proper conversion signals in your platforms. Are we attributing leads towards the top of the funnel? Are we optimizing for the bottom of the funnel? Like, what exactly are we optimizing for?

Ben Page: Tofu Bofu?

Ray Sawvell: Exactly. Top of funnel and bottom of funnel for those who don’t understand the acronyms.

Blake John: I didn’t I’d never heard that.

Ray Sawvell: That’s the first thought. Ben was like, rapping over there.

Blake John: I don’t know. I thought he was hungry for a vegan meal.

Ray Sawvell: Nice. But yeah, like, data, like targeting are you targeting the right people with the right message? Your creative, again, is your creative in line and then just your general structure. So from a paid standpoint, do you have structure in place to hit people in every part of the funnel tofu and bofu? Do you have them going everywhere that you want? So that was a lot to unpack there, but basics, and then looking at what we call our four principles. But data targeting, creative and structure is just so important.

Ben Page: Yeah. And so you’re like Blake, right? You’re sort of proposing run through each of these pillars or these foundations of this discipline of paid traffic and then kind of 80 20 to help diagnose. Okay. Is it a targeting problem? Is it a data problem? Is it a creative problem? Is it a campaign structure problem? Yeah. And then something you said, Blake, too. I wanted to kind of recap or touch on its. The idea, like, I went into this episode, like, mentally, just assuming there was an acute, all of a sudden the radar just started going off and conversion rates down 40%. Captain, what do we do? But no, you’re like, oh, but what if it’s a slow bleed, which we’ve seen so many times too, where it’s like, and every month, oh, we’re down 10% again, and the next month we’re down again. 10% month over month and 15%. And then it’s like, oh. And then six months later, you’re like, what’s happening? Why am I bleeding out here? And what am I going to do?

Ray Sawvell: Yeah, that awareness piece is so crucial, like, knowing where you are, right?

Ben Page: Yeah. And so I think even making that part of the diagnosis yeah, that’s super interesting.

Blake John: One thing I’ll add to Ray, you kind of touched on it from an SEO lens, and I think it definitely applies. It applies everywhere, actually. But really prioritize the user’s need and answer their questions, solve their problem. This is more of an SEO thing, but think about the intent of the search and the content that you’re providing. So if the intent is to compare products and your content is just like, my product is the best, and you’re never going to rank, it’s never going to work because they want to compare, and you’re only talking about one product, that’s a really basic example. But you really have to think about that at a really detailed level and take that into consideration, because if you’re not really offering the content or the. Message that matches with the intent or the need. It’s never going to work. You’re always going to fail there. And I think that applies cross channel and really probably all channels. Again, you get so close to your business, you kind of just don’t you see through it a little bit? But you have to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about, okay, what do they need? What’s going to help them ultimately become a customer and not just a potential lead?

Ben Page: Yeah, I mean, that’s the game. That’s what marketing is, man. And how many times too do you see that, Blake, when a client or a prospect, okay, organics down month over month, year over year, and you go in, you’re like, all right, cool. Well, rankings have dropped here. And you used to be top of page one, and now you’re like, bottom page one, or you’re off the face of the earth and you’re like, what happened? Oh, I see what happened. Your competitor came in and skyscraper you. You used to rank with your low hanging fruit page, talking about just your product on a query that was for comparison intent. And, oh, your competitor came in and wrote up a really sweet reviews blog and had, like, three products stacked side by side and the pros and cons and this, and it’s like, oh, well, there you go. That’s what it takes. And Ray, you had that example. You were using paid search query to paid search ad copy to landing page. But it’s the same in shopping, right? Like shopping query to I call it merchandising. It’s like, what SKU are you going to put forth? And then what image, what product title is going to appear in the search result for that shopping carousel unit? And then same thing, right? Like landing page. How well is your PDP speak to the user need or paid social on advertising. Right? It’s like targeting the right audience with the right message that speaks to their problem and then getting them to another destination. A landing page that outlines the benefits, the solution, and just having a really great flow that ultimately it’s like we’re just trying to reach the right people and tell a better story and suggest that what we have to offer might meet their needs. And that’s what I think good marketing looks like. So maybe you are auditing yourself and you’re like, am I doing this well? Am I meeting the needs of my user well, in these different areas, yeah.

Ray Sawvell: I think to kind of zoom in what Blake said for putting yourself in your user’s shoes, thinking like a marketer instead of a PPC SEO, like, getting more general about it and just becoming like a marketer. Like, what am I trying to solve for this specific intent? And then deliver that? It’s just basic marketing principles, like deliver the solution to their problem, get it in front of them, and make sure that you’re doing those types of reviewing the SERP, like, what does it look like? Really putting yourselves inside the user shoes needs to be done. And we’re just kind of making that assumption. But it’s a core principle of just like, marketing that just needs to be done.

Ben Page: Right. The importance of it can’t be overstated. One other thought I had too, and then we could maybe talk about solutions takeaways. But it’s like, what if you’re stuck so you’re internally? Maybe it just feels like super myopic you’re like, I don’t know, I’ve been here for twelve years and it’s like we looked in all the usual places and now nothing is really obvious. Or you’re like, I don’t know, it could be like five things, I guess. You know what you could do? You could just bring in an external expert to help you run an audit, if you at least know, like, oh, it’s an email marketing problem, or It’s a CRO conversion rate optimization problem, or it’s a brand positioning problem, because we’ve noticed competitors are coming in, they’re taking this angle on our market. Bring in a third party that can look at your situation a little more objectively and offer recommendations. I think that could be very valuable too.

Blake John:Yeah, and I’ll just add to that, like, you were naming all these channels. Oh, it’s a CRO problem, it’s an email problem. We’re doing well over here. One as like, a tip. And I think a third party would probably identify this. Like, well, you need to put like, okay, email is not working. Then do less email and do more paid search or do more SEO, or do more direct mail or you know what I mean? Like kind of thinking about your marketing mix. And again, I think a third party certainly would help. Take a look at that and kind of zooming out again, because you might think, oh, this is down, but maybe it just doesn’t work anymore. Maybe that channel just isn’t as effective and you need to reprioritize and restructure or whatever it is. Put your efforts elsewhere. Something to just keep in mind, right?

Ben Page: It’s like, why are we still posting on MySpace? It’s not working as well.

Ray Sawvell: Tom told me it would work, but.

Ben Page: Tom said he’s a sellout.

Blake John: He’s off in the Bahamas.

Ben Page: Oh, Tom’s chilling. He’s cool. You know what’s interesting? I was thinking about takeaways and solutions and what do you do differently moving forward? One way that might even flow into or like activities you can do that would add a ton of prevention instead of having to worry about cures all the time in the future or having these red alert moments when it’s all off track and your world is spinning, it’s like, all right, what can you do? It’s like make it a practice to be closer to your customers and to the market. And what I mean by that specifically is talking to your best customers, reading tickets from your support team, listening to the sales calls, understanding the needs, the language a little bit better for understanding being close to the market. Going out reading reviews of your product, of your competitors product, going on forums, going in groups, trying to understand how people are talking about this problem, this user need. I don’t know, like Reddit sometimes, right? Like going there. What are people saying, how are they making comparisons? And the better you can understand at the human level what those needs are, how they’re changing, how people are sort of perceiving different products in the market that are attempting to address this need. That’s gold for your marketing. And so if you make it a practice to be close to the market moving forward, you might be able to better anticipate a change that needs to be made to better serve them sooner rather than after the fact. When you’re feeling the pain, you could do it in anticipation of serving that person. Any other thoughts, guys, on potential solutions or takeaways?

Blake John: I think I just want to and you just talked about it really, but as a takeaway, I just want to say it’s so important to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think from their perspective. And it always amazes me how sometimes you position yourself so far away and you forget ultimately you’re serving and you have to put them first or your marketing is never going to work. So just keep that in mind. I think as a parting thought, just always remember to look at your business from your customers perspective and I think you’ll find some quick wins.

Ray Sawvell: Nice. I don’t have much more to add outside of what we’ve said already, outside of just really make sure to focus on those basics. Like Blake hit on a bunch, I hit on a bunch for paid. But if you’re not doing their basics for a reason, they’re taught first, typically from a specialist standpoint. So ensuring that you’re really serving those needs to people that are searching for problems, like focusing on basics is just crucial.

Ben Page: Yeah, and I think the last two takeaways that I’ll add, so it’s like, yes, be close to the customer, be close to the market, make sure you have the right data, you have this scorecard, in essence that you’re watching on a continuous basis. And then finally develop a culture of testing because ultimately you’re going to have one or possibly more than one possible solutions for this acute problem that you’re facing. But in general, you want to test different possibilities, but most importantly is creating an ongoing culture of testing, especially in this area. If you’ve identified, oh, it’s a landing page, it’s a content issue on that page, and it’s a CRO issue on that page. What can we do to just continuously raise the bar and improve our results? What activities could we be doing to improve our results in that area moving forward? So hope this was helpful. If you have questions, send them our way. And if you need an external audit, we’re here to help. See you, squad.

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