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When Campaigns Fail: Fixing the Impact Points

I wish sometimes that marketing was as easy as simple math where 1+1=2. Unfortunately, marketing is more like algebra where you’re solving for multiple variables at once. Just like solving a math problem or puzzle, I recommend starting with the easily solvable parts. Once you have those answers, you’ll have more information to solve the deeper, more complex issues.

A simple marketing campaign has three steps.

  1. The advertisement or lead generating activity
  2. The landing page where the prospect opts-in to your offer
  3. The follow up until the sales decision is made

When you have a campaign that’s failing, you want to start your analysis by looking at where the drop-off is occurring.

  • If no one is responding to your ad, then you need to look at your ad
  • If your advertising is driving a ton of traffic to your landing page, but no one is converting into a lead, then your landing page is the problem
  • If people are going to your landing page and converting into leads – but you’re not getting any sales, you have a problem with your sales funnel or follow up strategy

Now that we are looking in the right place, let’s drill into the next level, and focus on the 7 impact points that are the most likely culprits when a campaign fails.

Impact Point 1:

PROBLEM: You don't have a clear target 

SOLUTION: Start creating buyer personas

I see lots of companies who try to stretch their marketing dollar by making their message as broad as possible. The problem is that when you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. A better approach is to use buyer personas to clearly understand:

  • The right marketing messaging that speaks into the buyer’s needs
  • The right marketing channels so you know where your future buyers are hanging out, what they’re reading and which conferences they’re attending
  • The right tone / sensibility that will resonate with your market

With that information, you can create multiple ads that are super specific. Spend per ad will be less, but the overall impact will be greater. Knowing where your target market is spending their day will also help you focus on the right channels. Don’t spend a lot of time marketing on Facebook if your buyers prefer LinkedIn.

Impact Point 2:

PROBLEM: Your message is weak

SOLUTION: Focus on the headline

The three most important components of a compelling ad are the picture, the headline and the offer. The headline (or subject line) is the big attention grabber, so it’s where you should spend the majority of your creative energy. As the story thesis, your headline will shape the rest of your message.

In general, when you are creating an advertisement, remember that:

  • Negative outpulls positive
  • Specific outpulls general
  • Unusual outpulls normal
  • Boring gets passed right over

Make sure that your offer stands out visually. Use high-contrast colors and images. Be 100% clear on how the visitor can fulfill the offer. Use action verbs like “download, watch, attend.” Make sure your offer matches the right stage of the buyer’s journey. By that I mean someone who doesn’t know you at all isn’t going to be interested in a product demo or a free consultation. Start with an offer that requires less commitment.

Impact Point 3:

PROBLEM: You're invisible

SOLUTION: Spend more time, money & energy

A rocket uses most of its fuel at launch. At the beginning of your marketing campaign, it’s going to take quite a bit of energy to get off the ground. Sometimes the reason no one notices your ad is because it’s hiding in the corner. No one is clicking to page 10 in the search engines. Make the investment so that you have a functional website, marketing automation, reporting and alerts. Take time to build your list and nurture your followers. Marketing is expensive, but not marketing can be even more expensive – especially if you have talented consultants on the bench burning non-billable hours.

Impact Point 4:

PROBLEM: You're sending people to your home page

SOLUTION: Add landing pages with a thank you page for fulfillment

According to MarketingSherpa's Landing Page Handbook (2nd edition), 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the business' homepage, not a special landing page.

That’s a big mistake. Without a landing page, the visitor then has to remember why they clicked onto your website and hunt for the right content. Often, they’ll just leave without taking any action. There are lots of good, easy ways to create landing pages today. If your website is run on Wordpress, you can download a plugin like “Exclude Pages” that will remove pages from the main website navigation. There are also stand-alone landing page creators like LeadPages and Unbounce. For the more sophisticated marketers, you may want to consider HubSpot or ClickDimensions, which are marketing automation tools that include functionality to create landing pages.

The landing page should have:

  • A strong headline
  • A picture or video
  • Bullet points that tell the visitor what they’ll get from the offer
  • Social proof (testimonials or number of downloads)
  • A picture of the offer
  • The lead generation form

Often once the visitor submits the landing page form, they’ll immediately be taken to a thank you page. Don’t neglect this page! Use it as an opportunity to further boost your credibility and likeability. Lots of companies are starting to put videos on their thank you pages. You can add a second stage offer on this page. For example, if they opted-in to download a whitepaper, you could offer a recorded webinar on the same subject.

Impact Point 5:

PROBLEM: You're not sure what's holding you back

SOLUTION: Test everything you can

Before I launch a big campaign, I test every component I can on a small scale. By changing one (and only one!) variable in my ads at a time, I can test multiple headlines and images very affordably using Facebook Ads or Google Adwords. For example, I will test ads on Facebook and then use the results of that test to build a brochure or a print ad or a tradeshow teaser, using the headline and image that drove the best results.

You can also test your websites and landing pages by using tools like Crazy Egg, Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer. A client and I ran an A/B test of their landing page to see if a long page or short page would convert better. Sure enough, the heatmap (that shows where people look and click) showed us that virtually no one was scrolling down on the long page. In this case, the shorter version won by a big margin. But the test also showed us that people were clicking on images that didn’t go anywhere. We improved layout and as a result, were able to increase conversions.

Impact Point 7:

PROBLEM: Leads fall through the cracks

SOLUTION: Align your sales and marketing teams

It takes 5-12 touches to convert a visitor into a customer. How are you going to keep in front of your prospect once they’ve taken the first step? The first step is to map out the buyer’s journey for each persona. What are your top of the funnel offers? What are your middle of the funnel offers? What offers will you use to close the sale? Once you have the steps mapped out, sit down with your sales team to discuss when the hand-off from marketing to sales will happen. Will your sales team follow up on everyone who registered for the webinar? Or only those who have requested a demo after the webinar? By creating clarity in your communication, you will not only have a stronger sales pipeline, but you’ll have better morale and teamwork between sales and marketing.

Engineering Your Marketing Success

While it can be discouraging when your marketing doesn't work, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your company, products or services. It only means your  marketing needs improvement. Look at what other people are doing and reverse-engineer it. Identify your impact points. Fix. Test. Measure. Repeat. Don't give up too soon. Success takes time.

About Adrianne Machina

Through marketing training, consulting and copywriting, I help companies find their focus and harness their authentic power to create an extraordinary impact. 


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