Ever found yourself with your head bent in your hands out of sheer frustration? Maybe you’ve been trying to increase your open rates for months without luck. Maybe you’ve been trying to figure out why traffic is declining but can’t find a cause.

In such a state, it is easy to feel dejected and assume the problem lies with you.

The good news? You’re not the problem, and you’re not alone.

That’s why we wrote this post, we want to show you that even the pros, the best-of-the-best are humans just like us and have the same marketing problems we face.

We wrote this post to give you an insight into the challenges digital marketing experts face and how they tackle them, to inspire you and hopefully give a fresh approach to your marketing efforts.

Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO is all about the analytics and user feedback to get you the best results for your campaigns. In this section, digital marketing pros in fields ranging from email marketing to influencer marketing show how they keep on top of conversion related challenges.

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Naser Alubaidi

Naser is a growth marketer at Venngage. He is a tech enthusiast with a B.A in Financial & Business Economics and a background in marketing. Naser is passionate about product marketing, strategy, and growth. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Website

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

Venngage used to cater specifically to marketers/consultants as an infographic maker. However, in 2018, we started scaling our platform to offer a variety of templates like resumes, social media posts, and reports. As a result, we started getting a ton of users who were students, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, etc… Around the same time, we started noticing a significant drop in our email marketing conversions since our emails were specifically targeting our original target audience (marketers).

How did you approach this challenge?

In Q2 of 2018, we started actively tackling this issue by personalizing our emails to cater to our user’s specific role & needs. We started by segmenting our users based on their roles, as well as their design needs. We didn’t want to assume what their goals are. Instead, we spoke to our users and understood exactly what their main struggles and needs are.

We used this information to create different email campaigns, each catering to a specific user segment. The first email we sent our users after signing up listed a few common challenges that users face in their role and asked them to choose the challenges they’re looking to tackle with Venngage. Based on their answer, we enrolled the user in an ultra-personalized campaign that provides them with relevant blog posts, template recommendations and general support that aims to solve their unique challenges.

What’s your main takeaway from this campaign?

The main takeaway from this experience is that users today expect (and demand) a personalized experience. Having one landing page, one onboarding journey or one email drip campaign isn’t going to be enough if you’re looking to scale in 2019.

Another key takeaway is that you should never assume what your user’s challenges are. Instead, speak to customers directly because these calls help you actually understand how and why users use your tool. We attribute a lot of the success we had in the last few years to the user calls we did since they helped us understand who our users are, what they are looking to get from the tool and what features we need to push out to help them get the most value out of Venngage.


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Giles Thomas

Giles is the CEO of Shopify growth agency Whole Design Studios and writer at AcquireConvert. He is the head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad accelerator and a member of the Google Expert program.

Website | Twitter

Your Biggest Challenge?

Declining open and click-through rates on cart abandonment emails

How’d you resolve it?

We blended typical emails with Facebook messenger abandonment messages

What did you learn along the way?

Timing and messaging style should differ across channels for omnichannel cart abandonment


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Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on digital transformation. He consults and trains businesses on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives.

In addition to helping clients implement ROI-driven marketing programs as president of the social media agency, PDCA Social. Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University and the Irish Management Institute in Ireland. Neal is the author of three social media books, including Maximize Your Social, and his upcoming book, The Business of Influence, covers how businesses can leverage the potential of influencer marketing.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

The biggest challenge I faced was figuring out how to help my clients and attendees better understand influencer marketing. I focus my work on the challenges and questions of my clients, and influencer marketing has become the number one challenge according to the feedback I received.

Neal shaped this challenge into three questions he could address:

Can my company use influencer marketing? How to use influencer marketing? How to generate ROI from influencer marketing? Etc.

How did you tackle this challenge?

I tackled the challenge by literally writing a book on influencer marketing, which is called The Business of Influence and will publish later this year.

In order to write the book, I immersed myself in the industry both as an influencer and an influence marketer, and I also interviewed dozens of influencer marketing tools, agencies, brands and influencers about their experiences and case studies.

What lessons did you take from this experience?

I realized that influencer marketing can and should be used by any company in any industry for a wide variety of reasons and potential objectives. I also realized that influence is all around us and you don’t have to work with celebrities in order to be successful.

I also realized that most marketers, as was I, have been miseducated about influencer marketing so there is a huge need to re-educate the industry, a challenge which keeps me energized in 2019!


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Louis Grenier

Louis Grenier is the Content Lead at Hotjar.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

The challenge we faced at Hotjar is one relatable to millions of web analytics users. Traditional web analytics tools show the hard numbers about digital experiences (traffic and user events) but people tend to get lost in data, struggle to empathize with their users, and don’t know for sure why users do what they do on their website.

How did you approach this challenge?

The approach we advocate to solve this challenge is to rely on user behavior and feedback tools to complement traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics.

What did you learn as a result?

Without a tool to see what people actually do on your website (using heatmaps and session recordings) and to gather their thoughts (using website feedback widgets), it’s becoming difficult to improve their experience and increase conversions.

Traffic

Everyone agrees they can always use more website traffic. But have you thought about what that actually means for your marketing?

These pros show us that change in traffic can be a goal but can also serve as a starting point for further understanding your audience and your marketing efforts.


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Devesh Khanal

Devesh is the founder of Growth Rock, a CRO agency exclusively focused on e-commerce sites. They run hundreds of AB tests per year and do deep analysis of the best UX for increasing conversion rates for ecommerce. He’s also a co-founder of Grow and Convert, a content marketing agency.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

There is an interesting challenge of getting conversions from eCommerce content. Many brands have built up serious traffic to their blogs, but when they look in analytics, the actual sales attributable to blog traffic is tiny.

How did you approach this challenge?

We AB tested several approaches. What seems to work best is a combination of two things: 1) intent behind the article. If the article is top of the funnel, i.e. only loosely related to the product, then it won’t convert well to sales regardless of what you do, so in this case, probably best to capture their email (2) But for the article topics that are very closely related to the product, you should put contextually appropriate links right in the body of the article mentioning the product. For these articles, it seems you cannot be too salesy, they want product recommendations and you should provide them.

What did you learn from the experience?

Make sure you analyze data well. Make sure you segment by multiple factors (in this case high intent articles vs. top of the funnel articles). Make sure you test different approaches and measure the data. Don’t just guess.


Daniel's photo on a podium

Daniel Scocco

Daniel is a digital entrepreneur and marketer with 12+ years in the trenches.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

The traffic on some of our websites started to decrease, mostly because our competition was producing better content and outranking us on Google.

How did you approach this challenge?

We increased our effort to publish high-quality and relevant content. Practically speaking we reduced the number of new posts per week so that each post could be more researched and therefore deliver more value to our audience.

What advice can you give our audience?

It takes hard work to get there, but harder to stay there. If you sit back and relax the competition will eat your lunch. Second, if creating value for your customers becomes a secondary thought for you, they will go elsewhere.


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Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel is Right Inbox’s co-founder with 14 years marketing experience.

Website | Twitter

What was you challenge for 2018?

Ranking on the 2nd and 3rd page for keywords we were actively going after.

How did you go about this goal?

We sat down at the start of 2018 as a team and set a clear plan in place to get onto the first page for the keywords we were targeting. We wrote some high-quality blog posts around the keywords. We also A/B tested different Title and Meta Descriptions for our product pages.

What were your results?

Thankfully we saw a steady increase on our rankings. The key takeaway was to see the bigger picture when it comes to SEO. It’s a long term play and while you may not see the results you want week on week you should ensure you’ve implemented something every week that will help your rankings in the long run.

Content

The struggle for creating great content is shared by even the best of the best.

These experts show us that quality content takes persistence, determination, and a willingness to give your best.

Let’s have a look at how they create, manage and strategise content for marketing.


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Mary Fernandez

Mary Fernandez is the founder of Persuasion Nation, a busy mom of 4, and the creator of Persuasion Education– a system used by entrepreneurs in all different niches to build highly persuasive online education businesses.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

Honestly, I really struggled to just get stuff done. Having done content marketing, search engine marketing, etc. for other companies, I knew all of these things that I needed to be doing in my own business… but it was just so hard to stay focused and DO them! Instead, I found myself constantly distracted by one thing or another, and never really moving the needle in my business. It was really discouraging.

How did you approach this challenge?

Instead of trying to make everything perfect before putting it out there, I decided to adopt a “work in progress” mindset. So that helped me to publish things–whether that’s blog content, website copy, or digital products–that otherwise would have sat around collecting “digital dust” before they ever saw the light of day. I also decided to get help. So instead of trying to get everything done myself, I worked out bartering deals with other people to get them to help me without actually having to hire a bunch of team members. For example, I asked people to write guest posts in exchange for a link back to their website. The result was that I was able to grow very, very quickly, both in terms of traffic and revenue!

What did you learn from the experience?

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this experience is that I really just have to stop procrastinating and get stuff done right as soon as I think of it. If I wait too long on an idea, then it will never happen. But if I just try and put something out there–however flawed it is at first–then this wonderful momentum happens, and it allows me to keep pushing forward more and more. You just have to get the ball rolling! It’s as simple as that.


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Josh Barney

Josh is the Director of Content at Einstein Marketer, previously working as a content manager and freelancer. He writes, edits, proofs and strategises content for Einstein Marketer’s agency and their clients, sharing the most successful tactics and strategies on their blog.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

In January 2018, we decided to start a blog for our agency. Having a lot of experience in this field, I knew it would be tough to build. We began from zero and had high expectations. Without a doubt, building the blog/website was the biggest challenge of 2018.  

How did you approach this challenge?

My priority was always to produce better content than anyone else and use this to gain links, grow our following and ultimately, drive more organic traffic. Everything on the blog was optimised to help solve our audience’s biggest pain points, rank for our chosen keywords and drive repeat visitors.

Google’s continued movement towards websites that provide quality over quantity directed our strategy and has taken our website from 0 to over 10,000 organic visitors a month in a year, in addition to huge growth in referrals, social, email and direct traffic.

What was your take away from this experience?

I already knew that consistency, quality and value would create winning results. My greatest takeaway has been how much I have learnt about my audience. Everything I do (and continue to do) tests their likes, dislikes and stickability.


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Justyna Polaczyk

Justyna worked as a business analyst and a journalist before she found her true calling. Now, as a LiveChat content writer, she shares her knowledge about customer service, business psychology, and eCommerce.
She believes that good writing should be like a good teaching: based on data, beautified with good storytelling, and seasoned with a sense of humor.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

I had this one project: we were introducing a new product, and it had to be done in a technical, to-the-point way. I had to create a couple of informative pages that had to describe the business benefits of technical solutions we were offering. That was a hell of a job since I’m not a technical copywriter. Couple of months into the project, it was thrown to the bin.

How did you come back from that?

I spent a lot of time studying other websites offering this product and trying to take the best of it. Now, I’ve created a new version of these pages, and it looks like I made it: was able to combine technical language with business benefits, while still keeping the style creative and easy to read.

In the end, it looks like my biggest challenge last year was to grow as a copywriter 😉

Any lessons you want to share with us?

Think about problems as they were opportunities to grow and don’t be afraid to ask for help!


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Lana Miro

Lana Miro falls in love with beautiful web design. She likes to share her experience and explore something interesting in UX&UI design, affiliate marketing, eCommerce trends etc.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

Low conversion from articles

How did you approach this challenge?

Changing our content strategy: from promotional one to informational and useful. The content should be honest, visually attractive, with clear call-to-actions.

What results did you achieve?

Increase of content conversion rate from 0.10 to 0.25 percent. I think it’s a good result given the wide range of content and the complexities involved in conversion optimization.


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Darren Foong

Darren works on Growth at ReferralCandy. He spends too much time reading fiction, performing improv, and doing things that don’t scale. One day he hopes to be quite interesting.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

Many companies have twigged about the potential for growth of SEO and content marketing; unfortunately, this means everybody is investing into aggressively blogging, guest-posting and creating gated ebooks. The internet has become flooded by a large amount of content, most of it low-effort, formulaic or copycat. Capturing the audience’s attention and standing out from the crowd has become more complicated.

How did you approach this challenge?

We’re still working on it! One approach has been to refine our content research. We spend more time investigating and researching what would be most relevant and readable in a two-pronged approach. We now research search intent (bleeding over into keyword research) as well as strike up more conversations with customers (bleeding over into customer success) in order to develop content.

What did you learn from the experience?

Without a deep understanding of the customer, content efforts go nowhere. Everything else aside from customer sign-ups and retention are indirect or vanity metrics (traffic, keywords, domain authority, pageviews, etc). So it’s important to keep sight of the main metric and not get lost in the smaller details.

Email

Good ‘ol email marketing.

The best digital marketers know that email marketing is the backbone for any successful lead generation or conversion campaign. The pros in this section show us how they use email to achieve their marketing goals.


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Donna Moritz

Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, featured in Forbes as one of “5 Social Media Blogs You Need to Know about in 2019”. She’s a sought-after speaker in the marketing and tourism industries and is obsessed with visual storytelling.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

As social media shares and referrals from social platforms like Facebook drop more and more every week, in 2018 it was necessary to look at where I could better reach my ideal audience. Then I could pivot towards strategies that would help me do just that, taking the pressure off needing to be everywhere on social.

How did you approach this challenge?

I did a number of things to tackle this in 2018 and into 2019 with my team – We surveyed my audience in a number of ways to find out what challenges they faced and how I could potentially solve those challenges with content. I shifted my focus more to Pinterest where I was getting the most social referrals through visuals.

We also prioritized SEO and search marketing more by optimizing blog posts (and writing new content) for what people were actually searching for (still focused on visual storytelling and content strategy). And I focused back in on human connections in places like my Facebook Group.

The results were that my blog traffic increased by 100% from search, Pinterest increased to 100% more referral traffic than Facebook and higher engagement where I really needed it on Facebook – in my Facebook Group.

What did you learn from the experience?

Automation is not necessarily the way forward. Connections are – so don’t forget the value of connecting with your audience, talking to them, surveying them and just flat-out helping them. Pivoting back to serving vs just sharing content can be very valuable. And it’s also important to look at what is actually working and not be afraid to ditch what isn’t or at least change your focus to what is.

If you can really focus in on what the challenge is of your ideal customer and help them solve that challenge, then your content, social interactions, and marketing focus will be much better positioned to help them – and maybe produce a few raving, referring, repeat customers in the process.


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Amy Hall

Amy Hall is a recognized MailChimp expert in USA, advising agencies and small businesses on effective Email marketing practices.
She also builds WordPress websites with over 7,500 hours logged in the backend of WordPress. She and her team have built over 300 WordPress websites, created over 550 MailChimp newsletter templates and 1000’s of newsletters.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

The problem I see my clients, that are service providers, having time after time is converting leads to sales with emails.

How did you approach this challenge?

We created an educational drip campaign that addressed the questions that people who had previously purchased had. We spread the educational series over 7 “touches” and were able to convert 15% of the subscribers to sales.

What lessons can you share with us?

Always, always, always have a follow-up drip campaign when you have a free opt-in offer. Always educate about your industry or product. When people see you know your stuff they trust you. People buy from businesses they trust.


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Mor Mester

Mor Mester is the Head of Marketing at Automizy, an email marketing automation platform designed to help email marketers achieve the highest open rate possible.

Website | Twitter

What was your biggest challenge in 2018?

Our onboarding emails. We had sophisticated email automation set up. It was designed to help our news users get value from the platform in the quickest way possible. The problem was that we sent too many emails. Also, because we didn’t have enough behavioral data about our users prior to that, it was hard to pinpoint the exact actions which would result in the users upgrading to a paid plan.

How did you approach this challenge?

We started collecting more behavioral data to compare differences between how trial users and paying users interacted with the product, and used the information to select the key actions which would result in the user upgrading to a paid plan.

Based on this data, we could refine our onboarding communication to create a higher converting funnel.

What was your take away from this experience?

Data-driven is the name of the game and less is Mor. 😉

 

Rukham Khan
Author

Rukham is a writer and a budding content marketer. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications.