Growth Marketing Checklist
A 4-Step Growth Marketing Checklist to Prepare You for Traction.
It happened again…
Someone asked me if I could run Facebook ads for them.
Great, totally down!
Then I take a look at their website…
It has terrible copy… no lead magnets… no tracking… no analytics… and really no reason for anyone to hang out there, trust them, give them their e-mail, or buy anything from them.
You don’t need Facebook ads.
You need to prepare your website and prepare your blog for traction!
I’d like to share with you our Growth Marketing Checklist so that you can be sure you are ready to scale:
Download and share this completely free Growth Marketing Checklist, and read the article below for instructions.
Embed Growth Marketing Checklist on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below
Phase One: Setup:
1. Buyer Persona
Know who you are talking to!
Noble concept, right?
We’ve already gone into detail on how to create a deeper understanding of your audience by using a Buyer Persona Template.
So make sure and download your buyer persona template and fill it out if you haven’t already.
Your key areas of interest are:
Demographics – Age/Sex/Location, the usual.
Watering Holes – Where do they hang out? Online? In real life? What celebrities do they follow? What magazines do they read? Etc.
Pain Points – What specific problems keep them up at night surrounding your product / service / industry? Identify the real problems they have on an ongoing basis and you will know how to catch their attention.
Their Lingo – understand their terminology. The words they use that might be specific to your niche. We all know that surfers sound a lot different than doctors… Relate to your audience when you talk to them.
Your Voice – While you want to relate to them, you still need to keep it you. Are you funny? Serious? Smart? Helpful? Maybe you’re playing that whole chauvinistic asshole thing.
Whoever you are, be that voice. But also try to align it with your business objectives, the audience, and make sure you put your own tilt on it. Try to play the role of your company’s voice while remaining yourself.
Sound hard or impossible?
It is! That’s why so many websites have terrible copy!
Neil Patel says visualize and write for a single person, and we agree!
Technically, you should try and create your buyer persona, or buyer avatar, with as much customer data as you have. Really try and take a deep dive into the minds of current customers and build your avatar around your findings.
But if you don’t have a lot of data just yet and you have to resort to guesswork, it’s not the end of the world. Plenty of businesses create buyer personas based on assumptions in the beginning. The only problem is when you create buyer personas based on assumptions and then don’t go back and adjust them when you’ve finally got hard data. Don’t forget to go back and re-align your personas after data starts becoming available.
Need your own download of this checklist here:
2. Content Marketing Strategy
Having a written content marketing strategy can increase your chances of content marketing success by 400%, according to Joe Pullizi in a recent study.
Go to episode 4 of his podcast – Content Inc – to listen to a great understanding on how to start your documented strategy.
So… is your strategy written down?
I hope so.
When tackling your content marketing strategy, you need to focus on these 5 factors:
What problems can you solve with content?
How can you address issues, entice readers, and convert them to buyers?
You need to address the pain points you wrote about in your buyer persona template and uncover what people might be searching, or wondering, when they are thinking about products or services in your industry.
Stemming from the categories you deem the most important, you need to sit down with Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and even the old simple Google Search to start getting a baseline on what terms are actually being searched.
This also gives you insight into your customer pain points from the previous section.
If you are having a hard time figuring out what to write about, it may help to study your competitors. Here are 3 great free research tools for that:
These are the posts that talk about problems within your industry (via Marcus Sheridan, my content marketing idol). You have to be talking about these 5 topics, and it’s the same across every industry:
Cost questions – how does cost break down for your product or service? Why does it cost the price it does? Describe your price in detail, especially when “it depends.” Because that’s when they really want to know.
Problems in the industry – take a minute to think about 10 problems that customers keep asking over and over again, or 10 issues you see when you execute your job on a daily basis. What are people talking about in your industry that you can solve with a blog post?
Comparison Questions -this versus that, usually related to your industry, but not you versus them.
Best of – think of the best types of X that fit your industry and write about them.
Reviews of – review related products, complementary products, intro level products to your advanced product, whatever it is.
Across all of these post types, there is one extremely important and fundamental concept that you must make sure you do your best to accomplish:
Take an unbiased approach.
Yes, you may sell better widgets than the other guy, but if you come off as putting down your competitor, or upselling your own product too much, no one will believe you. Stating as plainly as you can what you suck at is just as important as telling people what you are great at. Be as unbiased as possible and it will lead to a better received post, as well as possibly give you some additional insight into your own business.
Some of these may be industry posts, but it also goes beyond that. What are people searching for when they are just starting to realize that they have a problem you might be able to solve?
The goal of awareness posts is to get a lot of reach and introduce yourself to a prospective customer. There should be very little mentioning of your business or product on these posts. This is crucial to gaining maximum reach, because studies show that sales-oriented posts will be shared up to 66% less than completely educational posts.
These are not necessarily sales-oriented, but might be. These posts are awareness pieces meant to convert people into interest level users. They are designed to push your prospect down the marketing funnel, whether that is to entering an e-mail address, calling you on the phone, buying a product online, or something else.
Quick example: Imagine you own a Home Remodeling Company
Industry type posts – “Granite vs Marble.”
Do you think people getting a kitchen remodel might want to know whether they should install granite over marble and what the benefits of each one are?
This post serves as both an awareness post and an industry post because it’s addressing a question almost every person thinking about a kitchen remodel might ask. But at the same time, many people will read this post, not just our immediate prospects.
Some of the people reading this may already have another contractor booked, live outside of the company’s service area, or even be a competitor. So we need a separate post to reel in the potential customers.
Pillar Post – “5 key factors to consider when looking for a home remodeling company”
This might be a post you write that shows what makes a company great at home remodeling.
If someone is reading this post, they are looking to buy.
Remember, the key is to be unbiased, and simply talk about what you see going on in the industry.
I’m not going to go call out a specific competitor and say they suck, and I’m not going to just completely toot my own horn either, although I will mention that I, of course, meet my own criteria.
Just don’t try and oversell yourself. Give them the facts and mention that you happen to be a home remodeling company, and give them a way to contact you at the end. That’s a simple sales-oriented blog post that can turn a prospect into a customer.
3. Email Collection Strategy
So you’ve got a strategy for producing quality, relatable, unbiased content…
Now we need to make sure you are getting as many people as possible to stay in contact with you throughout your marketing process.
The best way to do this, aside from Facebook remarketing, is to build and offer a lead magnet.
You need to give some additional value away for free.
This could be a catalog of your products, a special hack, template or cheat sheet, a to-do list or checklist, or simply a “gated” blog post – gated meaning you can only view it after you’ve entered your email address.
3 rules about building a lead magnet:
1. Be VERY Specific. Offer a specific solution to a specific problem. Just one, we don’t need to solve everything for everyone with this lead magnet.
2. Make it a shortcut. It needs to be a way to save time, not cost time. We’ve made this mistake ourselves (and probably still don’t follow this advice at times). You simply must provide value, and the best way to do that is to give people a shortcut.
3. Make it consumable in 10 minutes or less. Meaning, don’t give away your 12 part mini-course, or an e-mail series that takes weeks to resolve.
Give your prospects something that they can consume in the next 15 minutes that will save them time on a specific task.
This is usually where the lead magnet will be “sold.” It’s called a squeeze page because there’s really only two options for any person on the page: bounce or convert.
We want our squeeze page to portray the value of our free offer, which means it needs to address the specific problem, be a shortcut, and be easily consumable (10 minutes or less).
We also want to pull from the pain points in section one and address those in our copy.
Most likely, it will help to remind people that there is a person on the other side of the webpage.
Humanize your copy when possible and let people know that you want to do what is best for them and that you stand by your lead magnet, product, business, etc.
If possible, show any social proof that your lead magnet works.
Or that you’re an awesome and trustworthy company.
Pictures of real customers, especially ones with you in them, can really change someone’s mind about giving you their email.
Please never make up social proof.
If you don’t have any yet, then find a famous quote that may be related to your industry, or throw in something humorous.
You don’t need to lie to have social proof, but you should try to incorporate something.
Tell Them Exactly What They Get
Finally, you need to tell people exactly what they will get when providing their email.
“You will get a copy of this PDF sent straight to your email inbox. On top of that you will receive e-mails from us that will further help you do XYZ.”
Personally, I’m a big fan of being honest about it up front (although you may want to test for it).
Tell them that you will give them a PDF, a series of emails, and an easy way to unsubscribe if they find it isn’t as helpful as they wanted it to be. You need to squash all possible objections to downloading your “free goodie.”
After the lead magnet is live, you will want to create a drip email campaign. More specifically, you will likely want an indoctrination campaign.
This should be 4 or 5 emails that hit your prospect in a relatively short period of time that help them get to know you better.
Here is a very simple drip campaign that you can set up in Mail Chimp, or whichever email service provider you are using:
- Welcome and let them know to expect a series of emails from you. Possibly also confirm email address.
- What you are all about. Close with a link and description about your best blog post.
- Video or audio – Send them to another type of media that you or your company may have made. Give them another way to consume information from you and possibly gain another layer of connection.
- Social follow. Ask them to follow you on Facebook, or wherever your company likes to hang out (LinkedIn, Instagram, wherever). Usually it should only be 1 or 2 social channels max, and make sure you give them a good reason to follow you there.
- Ask them a question – Ask them something that you would like to know that will make you better at your job, but simultaneously is a big problem they might be having. Either have them respond to your email directly, or answer on Twitter or in a Facebook group.
Send out these 5 emails to every e-mail sign up and you will have a much higher chance of having them remember you, visit you again, and most importantly, buy from you in the future.
So we’ve talked about our pricing, built our lead magnets, and have a few pieces of on-site blog content ready to roll. Now, let’s make sure that people can flow through the website and accomplish what we want them to without too many hurdles.
Note: This is not about SEO or UI/UX, which are separate topics altogether.
The main thing to remember here is that your about page is about them (your audience), not you. Make it a conversation that humanizes your brand.
According to Google Analytics, the About page is one of the highest-trafficked pages on most business websites, so making sure that yours is awesome, trustworthy and interesting is pretty important.
For a deeper look into the dos and don’ts of creating a killer about page see what Shana had to say about it on LinkedIn.
You’re talking about price, right?
We already know it’s one of the most common questions across the internet when people are searching for something to buy, so I hope you’re saying something.
I’m seriously to the point where I don’t even do business with a company unless they are displaying their pricing on their website. In fact, it’s one of the first things I look for if I am knee-deep in the buying process. If you won’t show me your prices, I’ll look for someone who will. And guess what? You lose.
Unless you’re trying to cheat people, there is no reason not to show your pricing.
3 Pricing page tips:
Price your packages from HIGHEST to LOWEST. You heard me right, put the largest ticket item on the left and highlight your best seller (usually not the highest one).
Try to limit the page or each section of the page to 3 products/options. Sure you may have thousands of products, but if you can give them 3 categories, or 3 choices of whatever, you stand a better chance of getting them to take action and segment themselves. People have a hard time focusing on more than 3 choices, and overchoice (the choice paradox) is a real psychological issue that occurs when too many similar choices are available.
Squash all objections. Take all of those pain points, blog posts, and industry problems and sum them up into a few sentences that squash all objections. Try to imagine yourself in the position of the customer and answer the questions they are about to ask.
Address the core problems, questions about the success of your product, reassure them that it works by putting your own money where your mouth is (if your product sucks, I can’t help you… plz go make a better product), show them visually what you do, and show them more social proof.
We want to identify some core opportunities for converting visitors into prospective customers.
This could be when they view the contact us page, click to call a phone number, or simply when they fill out an annoying pop-up.
You need to devise your own strategy on how you will get people to these key pages or stages of their journey, and how you will set them up best for conversion.
My favorite strategies are (and I’m sorry to say that you have probably already been hit with them):
The sidebar lead magnet
The in-page lead magnet
The exit intent pop up
Copywriting is one of those things that will always need updating, tweaking and optimizing as your company (and audience) grows and changes. We’ve spent many hours working on our website copy, trying to find that perfect audience-message fit.
If you’re having a hard time making your copy relate to your customer, you should spend some additional time thinking about your ideal, lowest-hanging fruit customer and what their ultimate goals are.
Speak directly to them about the benefits (not features) of your business.
Try to tell a unique and interesting brand story. Mimic their voice.
These are hard tactics to learn right away, but they will help you speak to your audience better if you think about copywriting in this way.
Or, if this is all beyond you, you may even want to hire a copywriter.
Most people think they can write website copy simply because they know how to write… but there is a strategy to writing good copy that you may not be able to conquer on your own.
Assess the quality of your copy. Don’t ask friends, ask strangers. A great way to do this is by using the 5 second test at usabilityhub.com.
Determine what needs to be improved and if you need a copywriter.
Always be thinking about how you can best improve your on-site copy and keep testing various messages using a site like Optimizely.
Now, you’ve got a solid baseline on how to prepare your website for serious traction.
With all of the pieces in place, you should have a solid “bottom of your funnel” setup to convert visitors into leads, and possibly even customers.
In the next phase of the Growth Marketing Checklist, we will discuss in-depth, how to turn on the faucet and start pumping new site visitors into your website.
And from there we will begin to monitor and optimize your on-site strategies, as well as your off-site strategies.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about these 4 stages of setting up your website for traction? Is there anything else you would like to add? What step do you think is the most important?