“There will always be a few things that matter more than the rest, and out of those, one will matter most.” – Gary Keller
A lot of marketers realize too late that they don't have the time or resources to do everything.
The best lesson you'll ever learn in your marketing journey is the F word. Yes, focus.
Focus is the answer to constructing an efficient marketing strategy. You can’t achieve a successful marketing tactic by simply boosting your money or time resource bank but by cutting down on needs.
Here's another quote by Gary from his bestseller One Thing to brood on:
In marketing lingua, here's what Gary's saying: “What one aspect of my marketing strategy do I focus on that makes every other thing unnecessary?”
This piece will help you answer that question.
Efficient marketing has the best ROI, which means your strategy should focus on what's yielding the most.
Focus is what makes your strategy efficient.
I'll explain by telling you about Leo Wiedrich.
Who Is Leo Wiedrich?
Leo Widrich is the co-founder of the popular social media app Buffer, which allows its customers to space out their social media updates.
At the start of Buffer, the brand sought for a marketing strategy and stuck on the One Thing and Focus principle.
Here's it in Leo's words:
Using the bullseye strategy as seen below, the Buffer team grew its customer base from 0 to 100,000 users within the first nine months of launch, solely from guest blogging.
Leo got guest posting opportunities on platforms like BloggerLinkUp and MyBlogGuest. As Buffer grew, they went for reaching out to authority sites directly, by locating the contributions editor and leaving them a message.
Here's an example of a message Leo sent contributions editors:
The strategy was simple. Focus Buffer app’s promotion strategy on content marketing via guest blogging. With this approach, Leo avoided spreading his time and resources on many tactics that may or may not produce positive ROI.
Leo put his strengths on efficient marketing, and the results were phenomenal for Buffer.
Think about it. When you hear about an app gaining 100,000 customers in just nine months of launch, your go-to thought is that they used some crazy marketing formula or paid for social media, Google ads, Facebook ads, Quora ad placements, etc.
But that's where most marketers miss it. Efficient marketing is promoting with a focus. And Leo proves this with his focus on content marketing. By sticking to the tactic that garners the best results, you eliminate your weaknesses.
How did the bullseye approach affect Buffer in its entirety?
In just over five years of its inception, Buffer broke some insane barriers – $10 million in yearly recurring revenue and over three million registered customers.
To find what singular marketing channel to focus on, the Buffer team wrote down all marketing channels available to them. Then they chose three channels where they could run affordable tests quickly, with each test not exceeding a few weeks.
At the end of the exercise, they chose content marketing to double down on, after finding it to be the most effective.
So here's what to learn from Buffer:
- Maintain focus. Pick one traffic source you've run thorough tests on and then scale it.
- You don’t have to come up with unheard concepts with your posts. Search for posts that pull traffic and identify major aspects you believe engineer the success of that article.
- Personalize every partnership or outreach request.
- The more you gain ground with your guest posts, the stronger your outreach.
The ROI of Buffer's Personalized Marketing Approach
It's hard to imagine how a brand could pull in 100,000 customers with no ads or a multifaceted marketing system. But Buffer's ROI puts a stamp on the possibility.
Content marketing, though it may seem irrelevant to a few who know little about marketing, is powerful. As a startup, you need to get out there and start facilitating your brand’s awareness. And in content marketing, that means writing tons and tons of posts.
But Leo's and Buffer's strategy in its entirety involved more than penning a lot of posts. Why would their audience believe their opinion? They're a new brand, and in the eyes of consumers in that niche, they can't be trusted yet.
So to gain their trust, Buffer adopted the data-driven approach. By writing articles, where each opinion was solidified with facts from credible sources, Buffer was able to gain the trust of their audience.
What Were The Results?
The benefits were twofold: a substantial boost in Buffer’s organic traffic, and increased brand awareness.
Residual Organic Traffic
Did you know that 90% of pages get no organic traffic from Google? That's crazy!
This is why it is crucial to have a solid content marketing tactic in place for long-term traffic.
Buffer, for instance, pulls in approximately 1.3 million visitors monthly organically. And before you think they achieved this with myriads of writers, they had just two content creators in the seven years this massive growth occurred.
To hammer on the importance of residual organic traffic, here are screenshots showing the traffic outcome of social media vs. organic traffic for Buffer.
For social media channels, you can see a decline over a long period, which implies short term ROI. Organic traffic, on the other hand, rises with time.
That's the power of residual organic traffic—long-term ROI.
Data shows that 93% of all digital and online experiences start with an organic search, and 95% of people click on one link on the first search engine result page (SERP). This means that organic traffic places you where your audience will most likely be looking for you online (search engines).
Garnering brand awareness doesn't get easier than that.
For instance, the Buffer blog post with the traffic results in the screenshot example above got over 2 million views in just three years! Imagine if a startup brand had to run an ad for that number of views or length of time. The cost would be unbearable.
That's why content marketing is crucial—continuous brand awareness without the need to spend on it. Every time you get a mention of your website or product, you're gaining a long-term source of brand awareness.
Guest posts generate backlinks as well, which, when crafted naturally, affects your ranking. And a high rank in the SERPs means more visibility. Everyone who is searching for your solution will see your brand via your ranked content or guest post.
In crafting an efficient marketing strategy, you need to keep in mind that the deciding factor is your ROI. The best tactic is the one that yields the best results. Asides from that, the bullseye approach is the most effective. When you find what works, stick to it.
Leo put his focus on content marketing via guest blogging, and the result was a successful SaaS company with annual recurring revenue of over $10 million.
Refusing to spread thin, Buffer chose the targeted approach. You can do the exact same thing. Find out what marketing system yields the highest return of investment by running short tests and then scale it. Most importantly, stay with it.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee.