Abandon Vanity Tactics to Focus on Lean Strategy that Delivers Results

How much money have you wasted on vanity tactics this year? You take your business and its bottom line seriously, right? So you’d never just waste marketing dollars, right?!

If you’ve spent a single dime with the end-goal of racking up Facebook likes for your business’ Facebook page or increasing your Twitter followers, sorry bud, you’re in that camp.

What are “vanity tactics”?

What’s considered a vanity tactic varies slightly with the industry, but we can generally include stats like pageviews, website traffic, email open rate, number of followers, number of ebook downloads, number of “likes”, and other inconsequential statistics and numbers.

Google analytics chart of site-wide page views in the last month for one of our marketing clients

Vanity tactics produce vanity metrics, which are sometimes reported on either because they make your marketing agency (or department) look good or because the people reporting don’t know how to gather meaningful data.

Vanity metrics are dangerous because they pull focus away from the metrics and tactics that will actually impact your bottom line. Making business decisions or building strategy based on vanity metrics will hurt your business.

Our position on vanity tactics:

Because our job is to produce qualified leads from the internet for our clients, we start by focusing only on tactics that get results – the “low-hanging fruit” – and add on secondary tactics with longer conversion cycles as support once we’re in the groove.

“But my Great-Aunt Barb won’t see my business’ post wishing her a Spooky Halloween on Facebook!” you fret. Look… unless Great-Aunt Barb is your sole customer, your business exists only to keep her happy, and she bases her buying decisions on whether you wished her a “Spooky Halloween”, we don’t care (nothing personal, Barb)… and you shouldn’t, either.

So what metrics should you be watching?

While quality metrics will vary for each business depending on your goals and your industry, meaningful metrics that generally apply to everyone include:

  • Number of leads
  • Revenue
  • Customers
  • Conversion rates
  • A/B test results

Where SMBs should put their money first:

Where should small and medium sized businesses put their money, then, to get off the ground quickly?

Here’s how to capitalize on low-hanging fruit for quick tactical wins:

  1. Smart social targeting with great landing pages that convert. You must market relevant content to your most valuable buyer personas to make this cost-effective.
  2. Lean paid search (PPC) advertising with great landing pages that convert. This is especially useful if you have little or no existing website traffic. Focus on long-tail keywords to get the most relevant traffic at the lowest cost per click (just make sure there’s search volume there so ads will be shown). Pro tip: Don’t forget to buy your own brand terms.
  3. Retargeting through social media and display. It’s practically free, and you’ve already paid for the traffic once – don’t throw it away just because they weren’t ready to convert the first time.
  4. Email marketing to people who have signed up for it or have purchased from you previously. These people are usually your most qualified prospects for another sale. Pro tip: Present contextually-relevant offers custom-built for your buyer personas to build your email list faster.
  5. Set up (or update) your listings! Google your competitors and see where they have listings, then get those listings too. Start with Google My Business, then move onto other major industry-specific or local directories. Pro tip: Never list your business on spammy sites or link farms.

This strategy is not right for everyone, and it’s really just scraping the surface of what’s possible, but for the vast majority of the businesses who come to us looking for help, this is a lean strategy that when executed skillfully will produce action (leads/sales/etc) quickly.

This is just the kickoff, though. The next step is to connect with more qualified buyers and nurture leads with inbound marketing. RUNNER’s Inbound Marketing strategies make the most of your money today, but also to build organic reach throughout the web for years to come through smart targeted content and conversion tactics personalized for your specific buyers.

Lacy Judd

Lacy Judd

Co-founder & Creative Director

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