It happens all the time in sports, from high school to the professional level: one team is outperforming the other when the coach calls a timeout or halftime begins. Soon after, the under-performing team mounts a comeback, the game becomes more competitive, and someone takes the victory.
During these breaks, coaches analyze performance metrics and statistics for what’s working and what isn’t compared to the game plan. Based on this information, they make vital decisions and adjustments that can affect the outcome of the game. At the very least, these in-game and halftime adjustments are designed to improve the performance of the players and team.
Like a good coach, marketers can turn underperforming or broken marketing campaigns around by analyzing metrics and other statistics to guide in-game adjustments to improve a campaign’s performance and success.
Turning Around An Under-Performing Marketing Campaign
At some point in time, you’re bound to have a marketing campaign that fails to deliver as expected, and how you choose to deal with the situation will determine the ultimate success of the campaign.
There are several reasons why a marketing campaign may fail. One of the most common missteps is not allowing a campaign ample time to succeed. Understandably, after the long hours of work and planning that go into a campaign launch, you’re probably hoping for instant success. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. Instead of immediately scrapping a campaign that isn’t performing as expected, consider testing the campaign to find out what specifically isn’t working, and then make necessary adjustments. In many cases, just a few minor changes are all that’s needed to turn around an under-performing marketing campaign.
4 Questions to Ask to Analyze Your Marketing Campaign
Answering these questions will help you evaluate your marketing campaign and identify the possible reasons why it is underperforming.
1. Are You Targeting the Right Audience?
If the core of your marketing campaign comes from an email list, you need to ensure that you are targeting the right people or personas, with the right frequency and with the proper delivery method. Perhaps you should have focused on the role of your target persona rather than the title, or vice versa. Perhaps your list needs greater (or less) segmentation.
2. Are You Offering Something the Buyer Actually Wants?
This may seem like a silly question, but does the buyer fully understand the offer you’re presenting? Does your marketing campaign offer something the buyer actually wants? Or is it something that you think they need? Make sure it is clear that your offer addresses a pain point rather than a data point (we need more sales of product XYZ).
3. Are You Looking at the Creative from the Buyer’s Perspective?
It’s easy to grow enamored with your work, but unless you step back and view the campaign material through the eyes of your target persona, your message can miss the mark or be ignored. Is the imagery consistent with the offer as well as compliant with your brand standards? Is it cluttered and confusing? Or is it boring and drab?
4. Are You Tracking the Right Success Metrics?
I suspect that all marketing campaigns will have a set of proper success metrics in place for tracking. However, have you pre-set your success expectations by only focusing on a particular set of KPIs when other metrics might show where you had success? A simplified example of this is focusing only on a 30-day window rather than including 60- and 90-day views as well.
5 Marketing Campaign Elements to A/B Test
After answering the evaluation questions above, you should test specific elements of the marketing campaign. Testing can be vital to exposing potential problems that can be improved, which is vital to turning around an under-performing campaign. If you’re unsure where to start, below are some elements you should consider A/B testing that may help you to pinpoint areas that require adjustments.
1. Color Scheme
Colors set a tone and have been shown to invoke certain emotions in people, so it is important to consider the effects of your color when designing the visual elements of your marketing campaign, including website, landing page, call to action, etc. While you’re playing around with the colors, don’t forget that they still need to follow your branding standards or corporate identity.
2. Landing Page Layout
Your landing page should be designed with a single goal: Getting the user to take a desired action. If conversion rates are low, take a look at the design of your landing page before addressing the specifics of the call to action (see number 3 below). Test the effectiveness of your landing page by creating two different variations and see which one performs best. Do lower-converting designs feature unnecessary distractions like sidebars or widgets? A seemingly simple design feature, such as the placement or size of a hero image, can greatly impact the performance. Test, then retest, and test some more.
3. Call to Action
Remember, your call to action (CTA) needs to draw the consumer’s attention and lead him or her to take action. Everything about the CTA matters, from its color, to its shape, to its size, to its location on the page. If your landing page, website, or email isn’t delivering the results you were expecting, consider re-evaluating the CTA.
See related post: Click Here! The Psychology Behind An Effective Call to Action
There is no one perfect call to action, which is why you use A/B testing to try various options so that you notice patterns and arrive at a conclusion about which CTA is most successful.
4. Landing Page Headline or Email Subject Line
The job of the landing page headline is to get your visitors excited about what you have to offer and to keep them on the page. The job of the email subject line is the get readers excited about your offer and get them to open the email. If they fail, you’re losing leads, conversions, and sales. Headline and subject line writing is hard. You simply cannot pick one that you like the best and assume it works. Write multiple headlines and A/B test them against each other to find the most productive.
5. The Words
Returning to the idea of viewing the campaign from the buyer’s perspective, do the words you use resonate with the buyer or please your Comparative Literature degree sensibilities? Is the copy skimmable subheaders, bold copy, and bullet points, or dense? Make sure the copy explicitly, but clearly, states the offer or quickly describes how the product/content offering benefits the reader and addresses pain points. Remember, the body copy should complement the goal of the CTA, which is to get the buyer or reader to take and action, not bore them.
These are five common elements that you should A/B test to reinvigorate a sluggish marketing campaign and is by no means a comprehensive list. Start with these and if you don’t see any measurable results, research additional elements to test.
Make Sure Your Marketing Campaign Stays in the Game
If you’re faced with an under-performing marketing campaign, you probably don’t need to overhaul the whole thing. Every detail of your marketing campaign counts, so you should be constantly evaluating the performance of your campaign and making necessary adjustments. Just like the coaches who refuse to admit defeat just because their team is underperforming, you can make the proper in-game adjustments to turn around your marketing campaign.
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Written by: Michael Cunningham