Growing your business can be an incredibly tricky and confusing endeavor.
Regardless of the size of your business, whether you are a tiny startup or a massive global corporation, one of the best things you can do is look at how other companies have effectively grown through marketing strategies.
We'll look closely at the successes of two industry leaders in their own rights, and what takeaways you can apply to your business.
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Moz: Rethink Your Strategies, but Commit to Them
Moz is a Seattle-based software development company, specializing in inbound marketing and marketing analytics.
Moz (then called SEOmoz) was founded in 2004 by Rand Fishkin and his mother, Gillian Muessig, as a consulting firm, and shifted gears toward software development in 2008.
Now, Moz stands as a leader in the inbound marketing industry, and has seen periods of immense growth, thanks largely to their marketing tactics.
Appearing recently on The Growth Hacking Podcast with Laura Moreno, Fishkin detailed how Moz was able to triple its revenue in a 12 month span by optimizing their landing pages and utilizing more effective email marketing.
Moz accomplished this by looking at several sets of users, current customers, past customers, and those who had never been a customer and what had kept them from ever using it.
The way Moz went about this, and the results they saw because of it, shows the importance of understanding what drives both your successes and failures. For Moz, it came down to improving their email marketing strategy and optimizing their landing pages. By taking a detailed and strategic approach to understanding where their business was coming from and where it had room to grow, Moz was able to find huge improvements through relatively small changes.
Another great lesson to learn from Moz is that just because one of your strategies is not working, that does not mean you should abandon it entirely. Instead, you should work to refine the idea and find ways to make it work more effectively for you.
One of Moz’s most successful forms of content has been their video series, Whiteboard Friday, where Fishkin and/or occasional guests talk about an SEO concept and illustrate it on a large whiteboard. This series is truly one of the best learning tools in the industry and receives large amounts of views every week, as well as discussion and interaction.
Whiteboard Friday did not start off as a success, however. During the podcast, Fishkin says that actually the series was initially one of Moz’s least successful forms of content when it started in 2007. By assessing what was working or not with Whiteboard Fridays, however, Moz was able to turn it into a success. According to Fishkin, this process was not immediate, and required being open to new ideas then making the changes and investments necessary.
“But over the next couple of years we iterated on that, we learned what was working and what wasn’t, got a better studio, we got better camera and equipment, we got smarter about how we posted it.”
If you want to grow your business through marketing, it is key that you continuously push yourself to do better utilize each individual strategy. Fishkin says that if you are quick to give up on something because it doesn’t immediately work for you, then you are ensuring your own failure.
“That’s a terrible attitude to have, you will always get beat by your competitors who invest in these forms of content and these channels as experiments, and when they’re going in they know that it’s going to take a long time, right? It’s not like advertising, where you spend a few dollars and you get a few dollars back, and you get your targeting a little better, and you improve the ROI. Content and organic channels are effort based. They rely on creativity, and they rely on sustained effort and the willingness not to give up.”
This is a great reminder that, just because something did not work for you immediately, the entire strategy isn’t to blame. If you don’t put the time in and make it work, then a competitor that does has an advantage over you.
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Apple: Don’t Let Success Stagnate New Ideas
Even massive corporations like Apple can still find ways to more effectively market themselves in order to attract a larger customer base. Since Tim Cook replaced Steve Jobs as the CEO of Apple in 2011 shortly before Jobs’ death, Apple has continued to grow, despite the loss of its iconic co-founder and public face of the company. This growth can largely be attributed to the differences between the management styles and philosophies of Jobs and Cook.
Under Cook, Apple made customers their primary focus through a couple changes in their business ideals and strategies. The biggest of these was overhauling the way they approached the company’s stock. This started in 2012 when they paid Apple’s investors their first cash dividends since 1995, and continued by their decision in 2014 to do a 7:1 split of their shares, making investing in Apple much more affordable and attractive for a larger range of people.
These steps conveyed that Apple cares about its customers and wants to be more interactive and collaborative with that community. This was a huge change from the public image the company gave off under Jobs, which felt far more exclusive.
While changing CEOs is likely a more drastic move than your company needs, there are still many things to be learned from Apple’s growth. You need to be willing to adapt as times change. One of the most important factors to keeping your company and its ideas fresh and in touch is to be open to a wide range of ideas and perspectives.
While Jobs’ singular vision for the direction of Apple was essential in establishing the company as a ubiquitous cultural force, his tight control over the company left many opportunities on the table, and turned off a portion of their potential customers.
By taking the image and brand identity established by Steve Jobs and tweaking certain aspects to show themselves as more friendly and welcoming to average consumers under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple has been able to continue their growth. Similarly, your business should take a variety of viewpoints and ideas and find ways to organically fuse them in order to appeal to a wider customer base.