12 Tactics to simplify your growth strategy, according to Shopify, UnBounce, Yoast and Monzo

Workflow20th September, 2019

12 Tactics to simplify your growth strategy

Marketing and Productivity tips from Shopify, UnBounce, Yoast and Monzo during Turing Fest 2019

We were in Scotland for Turing Fest, a cross-functional tech conference. It’s a melting pot of ideas, pioneers and industry leaders –  bringing together 3,000 great minds to facilitate building and scaling remarkable technology. Some of the speakers included growth leaders from Shopify, UnBounce, Yoast and Monzo, as well as Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag.  
They’re are some of the world’s leading technologists and marketers, and they had some insightful tips to share. From SEO to Ad blocker, remarketing, bug testing and a bunch more – here is what they had to say. 

  1. Utilize Rich Snippets
  2. Stop ignoring Ad Blocker
  3. Simplify your analytics
  4. Remarketing works
  5. Pop ups suck
  6. Videos are great
  7. We ate too many Cookies
  8. Invest in your team
  9. Understand your position
  10. Educate your people
  11. Bug testing
  12. Device walls

Utilize Rich Snippets

There has been a drastic change in user search behaviour in recent years. 
Over 50% of current Google results provide Rich Snippets, allowing users to access information without clicking through to the site. You can either go with the tide or drown trying to fight it.  Make sure your content is easily indexable so that your brand’s search results are shown to the people who matter, potential customers. Optimize your website with the likes of SEO tools such as Yoast and Google Sitekit (wordpress). Which brings up another point made by many leaders in the SEO world – WordPress is King. 14.7% of the world’s Top 100 Websites are WP-based.

Front-end builders like Wix and Squarespace are great, but WordPress is the far superior choice for customisation and SEO. 


Stop ignoring Ad Blocker 

A lot of people use Ad blocker, it’s a reality. It’s time to adapt.
Which means that you need to have alternate marketing strategies to reach the people that are important to you. Jono Alderson from Yoast made an important note about the use of Advertising blocking software. Adblocker has become a mainstream tool with 41% of UK internet users enjoying an Adfree internet. With the majority of Adblocker users aged between 16-35. This means digital marketers can no longer rely on the notion that they serve ads to their target audience across the internet. Doing this means a brand may miss out on over a third of its audience. Ads are also becoming more and more annoying – blocking content that your users want to read. People hate ads and they might associate your brand with something they hate. Ads can have a negative impact on your marketing strategy if you’re not careful. 

To overcome this 41% audience hole, experts recommend mixing up your digital marketing tactics with traditional methods of advertising and valuable content – using a pull approach.

Try a poster, talk at events, a TV ad or maybe drop-in flyer. Or swap some of your advertising budget with content creation – provide value and let your customers come to you instead of yelling at them. 

You don’t need that much data. Simplify your analytics. 

Google analytics is great but it can be quite overwhelming, you probably don’t need 75% of the data it provides. 
There are a lot of data-related acronyms thrown around these days and it’s quite overwhelming, even to the experts. Oli Gardner, Cofounder Unbounce recommends simplifying your customer data. 

Because you are only as good as the data you understand.

One tactic for digestible data is to manually control and understand your customer data. Whether you are growing a SaaS platform or an eCommerce store, once a month you should put your core metrics to a baseline in a spreadsheet like Google sheets or Databox. Using analytics tools like Google Analytics and SEMRush are great, even necessary. But they have so much data that it can become overwhelming and counter productive. Find the data that is most important to you and your business and focus on them. Set up goals, events and track your campaigns. Then you know your baseline standards and don’t need to rely on a ton of data sources. 

Remarketing works but don’t over-cook it. 

There’s a real need for brands to continue to drive conversions online, but they don’t need to be a prick about it.
 Unfortunately, marketing budgets aren’t always paired with creative budgets. Leaving us with a lot of unimaginative and spammy ads that just make us annoyed rather than inspired. However, there are some methods to creating high-converting ads without pissing-off your potential users. Remarketing campaigns are effective, purposeful and less annoying as they are only served to those who have already engaged with your brand – reminding them of their initial curiosity.  However, this could change (we will talk about that later in this post). I’m sure that as soon as you leave this blog post, you’ll be bombarded with Monday.com remarketing ads

Pop ups suck. Unless they don’t. 

If people are provided with value, they’re less likely to get mad. 
On the other hand, pop-ups with minimal incentives, autoplay videos with sounds and large sticky ads are driving everyone bonkers. To overcompensate for these downfalls it’s predicted that programmatic creative, where brands try out different creative elements of an ad to optimise for their audience, will see an increase. Which is good news for the little guys with smaller ad budgets.

Strive for authenticity and creativity.

Instead yelling into a megaphone from a rooftop and throwing business cards at people while they’re trying to enjoy their lunchbreak. 

Videos are great. There isn’t a secret formula.  

Short, long, animated, whatever, Just make it interesting.
Aiden Carroll from The Coloring in Department  says that Video marketing will see further growth with less emphasis on optimisation. The big ad firms have proven over the last few years of analysing the impact of video marketing that in reality, video content should have no optimisation limits in terms of length, screen size or schedule. Instead, marketers have to delve deep into the audience’s desires and create engaging narratives.

In simple terms, there is no perfect formula for videos.

They just have to be engaging for the target audience. 

We ate too many Cookies, now they might be gone forever. 

But it leaves more room for creative marketing strategies. 
Arianne Donoghue told of that dreaded emoji that can lead to tech giants tracking you online. As scary as the stalker emoji sounds there is good news for privacy on the horizon. Cookies are under threat with new e-privacy regulations set to launch across the EU and likely to become a global benchmark. Without cookies, data-driven marketing is missing the ability to follow the user – which will make remarketing almost impossible.

The future is looking slightly more unknown.

Unlike current digital marketing trends where users are tracked extensively, we’ll see a swap back to more traditional marketing data analysis where we only know our start and end points.  This new environment will further place the importance of creativity, authenticity, value and community for brands. Dead-brands can turn to culture-driven marketing channels such as influencer marketing. Getting to grips with today’s tribe mentality and internet facilitated sub-cultures will be key in a digital ecosystem powered by groups. 

Invest in your team 

Diversity and freedom make great work happen.
Meri Williams from Monzo spoke on improving workplaces by getting the most out of your differences. Amongst Meri’s practical ways to create inclusive workplaces was the importance of role models and a need to go beyond traditional mentorship programs. Instead, offer sponsorship where a superior in your organisation and/or team gets really, really involved in your success and vouches for it. Other methods Meri highlighted were auditing your job specifications and reviewing your brands general use of language. The ultimate question to answer when it comes to inclusivity is simple;

Does your team feel like they can be themselves and be successful here? 

By removing barriers and increasing inclusively, businesses can build a better team, and a better team means better business. 

Understand your position and who your brand is

If your whole team doesn’t understand who you are and what your product is, how will your customers? 
Hana Abaza, Director of Marketing at Shopify delved into the peculiarities of marketing premium-products. Unlike Shopify standard, the purchase decision for Shopify Plus involves multiple touch points and decision makers, creating a longer sales cycle than the average SAAS offering. Hana discovered that not everyone across Shopify understood exactly what marketing was. She emphasised the need for a whole organisation approach to understanding and value marketing, realising the function lives across planning, business operations, product development and sales. Marketing isn’t just a single strategy that you implement, everything your business does and communicates needs to be the same. 
April Dunford CEO of Ambient Strategy sums up marketing and positioning nicely;

“Marketing is about making it easy for people to find, evaluate and buy your products. Positioning is figuring out what your product is in the first place.”

Once your team understands what the hell marketing is (and what your offering), it’s best to tackle the foundational elements of positioning you’re your brand. These foundational elements include branding, messaging, segments and output assets like sales decks and your website. 

Educate your people and your team

Use relevant and simplified data to create your brand position. 
Use as much relevant data points as possible to inform your positioning, including, but not limited to, customers you won, website data, product usage, search data, campaign data, sales information, internal team FAQ’s.
Once you’ve gathered the information, answer the following 6 questions:

  • What is it?
  • Who is it for?
  • What category?
  • How are you different?
  • Why should I care?
  • Who are the alternatives?

Once you’ve nailed down positioning and the whole team understands the importance of marketing, you’ll be less likely to have sales teams making shit up and more likely to have growth.

Bug testing

Test your website, app and product. Users won’t complain, they will just leave. 
Bug hunting just got sexy. Craig Sullivan from Optimise or Die made the case for better device, and UX bug testing. What the industry as a whole has seen is that large corporations and highly funded tech companies are spending millions on digital marketing whilst often bug testing is but a blip in a project. 
Craig believes bug testing needs to be recognised as a fundamental way to optimise your conversion rate.

The first step is to understand that bugs are not just errors you are informed of.

Quite the opposite, actually. Customers, users, consumers are not likely to report a bug or a UX issue – they have no time to complain, instead they’ll just stop using your product or if you’re lucky, they’ll continue to do so begrudgingly. 
The solution? It’s really simple, businesses should focus on device performance and prove their product and service works. We should act like car manufacturers, Nissan did so well by focusing on product quality and reducing defects. So how do we do this? Delve into your site or app analytics and separate usage by device, screen size and browser. Look out for discrepancies, extra load times, increased exit rates and reduced time spent on page. Find the screen size where the button is hidden or the lazy load takes up half the screen and fix it. This goes for marketing websites too, which applies to every modern business out there. 

Device walls

Test with real devices. 
If you are the lucky owner of an app or your website is the sole revenue barer for your business, consider creating a device wall. Yes, you can use browserstack but it’s not quite the same as the real thing.

Buy a bunch of varied, old devices and stick them on the wall.

Every time you change/edit/add to your website or app check it works consistently across all devices. Rinse and repeat. Invest in bug-testing, increase your conversion rates, make more money, have happier customers. 
So that’s it folks. Our summary of Turing Fest highlights. If next year you find yourself near Edinburgh, Scotland we’d highly recommend attending,  if not the insights and networking, then do it for the whisky.