If you own a small business lending company and are looking to gain more customers with marketing, identifying the current problems you have preventing you from gaining new customers is the best place to start. Begin by auditing your existing marketing strategy to map out everything you are currently doing to generate new traffic, leads, and sales. You can use a mind map tool, a whiteboard, or just break out some old fashion pen and paper.
Once you get everything mapped, you want to begin analyzing what you're currently doing to quickly identify what's working, and not working. A great way to do this is by taking 3x5 index cards, or sticky notes, and writing down each marketing channel as
This sorting exercise can quickly help you identify what's bringing you the best results that you should focus more time and money on, as well as showing you the least effective methods that require further investigation to determine whether there a problems that exist causing low performance, or it those methods aren't a good fit for your industry/ solution in the first place.
You can use scientific research and tools like Spyfu to quickly identify competitors and reverse engineer their marketing strategy. Simply pop in your website URL, and Spyfu will gather data on your company and the system will grab your competitors to see how your online presence compares. Don't expect this to be 100% accurate all the time, because sometimes it pulls companies that aren't necessarily direct competitors, but rather compete for similar keywords on Google.
Here's an example for Fundera:
* Helpful Tip: Spyfu automatically grabs competitors based on keywords searches. Sometimes, you may need to manually enter competitors you already are aware of that you're looking to gain a competitive edge on so you get more accurate and relevant results. You can also search Google for keywords related to your industry that your customers would enter to find more competitors to pop into Spyfu.
Pulling these reports will allow you to see competitors organic SEO traffic, paid traffic from Google Adwords, see ads your competitors purchased, keywords they are targeting and backlink sources you can take advantage of. You will also want to optin to their email list, and check them out on social media to see their content marketing strategy.
It's never a good idea to completely copy your competitors, but you can use ideas from some of their methods to develop a strategy that works well for you. Using the data you pulled from the previous step, you will begin to notice patterns that you can use to develop a hypothesis that you can later test on a small scale to validate your assumptions to avoid wasting money on things that don't work.
Hypothesis Example: We visited our competitors website, and after we left, we started seeing their ads on Linkedin's B2B platform and youtube for a downloadable whitepaper. Our hypothesis is that if we retarget visitors of our website with a whitepaper on Linkedin and a video testimonial / customer story on youtube, we will be able to increase our signup rate by X %.
After developing your hypothesis for each problem, prioritize them in order of most important to least important and begin preparing for experimentation. Decide how much you need to budget for each scientific advertising experiment to gather a sufficient amount of data in order to gather a large enough sample size to get an accurate assessment. Then set goals for what you're looking to achieve in each experiment, and begin running the experiments strategically.
Helpful Tip: Sometimes, it's useful to do some Google research to gather data on industry specifics related to metrics such as traffic, click through rate, conversion rate with loan application forms, etc. This can help you establish benchmarks to compare your results to so you know if you're making good progress or not.
After applying the treatment, and running your experiments for a given amount of time, you should have data you can analyze to determine which experiments were a success. You will likely find that some experiments are a huge success, and others need improvement. Successful experiments can then move to production then further tested and optimized. Failed experiments should be sent back to the drawing board to determine why they failed, and if a new hypothesis needs developed and tested. Be sure to closely monitor the correlation between time and money spent on digital advertising vs how much revenue you generated from those efforts. You can break this down by with Google Analytics event tracking to measure conversion rates, and categorize the results by marketing channel and marketing tactic for each channel like you did in step 1.
The digital marketing process for small business lending companies never really ends due to the changing market, customer behaviors, and the innovation of technology that enables commercial lenders to acquire more customers at a lower cost. Once you have your marketing campaigns validated, and running, there are still plenty of opportunities for A/B testing, optimization, and improving performance. Now that you know what works, and what doesn't work, you can begin to pull together an integrated marketing strategy that acts as a revenue generating machine for your business.
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