[How To] Revise, adapt and grow

Uncertainty is all around us these days.

Marketing is in kind of freefall, campaigns are being paused, companies and agencies are restructuring and unfortunately letting people go, budgets and priorities are shifting by the day.

This post, however, is meant to inspire and hopefully give you concrete steps you can take today so you have a better chance of growth in the future.

Embrace it, revise your efforts in order to adapt and lay the groundwork for growth when the time comes.

Make no mistake about it - things will get better.

It won’t be the same, back to “normal”. What we consider normal is changing and will continue to evolve in the weeks and months to come.

However, what you do now, today and in the near term feature will set your business trajectory.

Before we dive in, a bit of background on where these suggestions and steps are coming from…

My name is Hristian and I’m the founder slash chief conversion craftsman at revise.agency

A small-ish agency that specializes in conversion rate optimization for growing businesses and enterprise teams.
We were fortunate enough to be a fully remote team before it was the new normal.
At the same time, most of our clients are based in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. Some of the worst-hit countries and areas by the current pandemic.

Yes, some of the brands we work with are still growing while others are getting slaughtered.
We’ve lost clients but we are also adding new ones and fresh opportunities to our pipeline.

It is what it is.

I’m really optimistic about the future.

We are in great shape to tackle the current challenges and provide solutions, advice, and expertise to current clients and all of you here in the Unbounce community.

The plan, steps, and opportunities I’m presenting here are based on actual things we are doing for our own clients.

How we are adapting alongside them in order to set them up for a quicker recovery and also make sure we can continue growing our own services.

Last but not least, I’m fully aware that not all of the suggestions below would work for you but hopefully you can adapt them to fit your particular circumstances.

Some of you are facing harsher realities at the moment and hopefully, your government and local businesses can support you through these times.

Unbounce has put together a nice list of initiatives and government stimulus packages that you might be able to take advantage of.

After all the post’s title is “revise, adapt and grow”.

Onward…

It’s been about a month now of stay-at-home orders and full or partial lockdowns, depending on where you are located.

Things are starting to shake out. You have a more clear picture of how your business was impacted and what you can expect in the near or mid-term future.

You’ve probably made some hard decisions and now it’s time to make some more.

Embrace it.

After all, you can fail but at least you’ll know you’ve tried.

Hopefully, you’ll pick up some skills and experience along the way.

Personal Growth

  1. Netflix - Binge-watching was all the rage just a couple of months back. The hot new show, the blockbuster movie, the never-ending slew of content. Hopefully, you have it out of your system by now. I know I do. Stop watching and wasting your time on content that’s meant to be forgotten in a day, week or a month. Here are a few suggestions to invest in your own personal growth and deliver a great ROI for years to come:
  • CXL Institute - They are currently running a great deal on their full-access pass. Discounted by more than 60% for an annual pass. If you must watch something - learn from it. There are no better marketing courses out there right now. If you are looking to learn more about landing pages, I would also highly recommend @Nicholas own course that just opened up for registration.

  • TEDTalks - When you had enough learning for a day, rewind with a bit of smart, insightful presenters. Last night we saw the excellent Ruairi Robertson and his Food for thought: How your belly controls your brain. What do you know - what you eat can actually make you healthier and help you weather viruses more easily.

  • Technical skills - Whether you are a manager or a marketing employee, technical skills are essential these days. Things you should at least be aware of and have some knowledge about: R, SQL, JavaScript and if you are really feeling adventurous start learning some Python or Node.js

  • Books - Since most of the above things require you to sit in front of a computer or a TV, change it up a bit by picking up a real book. Better yet, support your local bookstores and order from them. I’m currently reading Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things.

  1. Family - There is a high chance that you’ve got a few little yous running around the house or apartment right now. I know I do. Things are let’s say challenging. Zoom calls interrupted by an impromptu appearance of one kind or another. Managing homework assignments for the older ones while keeping the really young ones entertained. But it’s really a blessing. When was the last time, you had so much time to spend with your family? Embrace it. Here are a few of the recent hits in our household:
  • Trampoline - The backyard has been transformed into a kid’s heaven. The trampoline was a relatively small investment that so far has yield hours of joy, smiles and pure fun for them.

  • Legos - Building things, breaking things and basically letting your kid’s imagination take shape and form. The boxes full of lego pieces are out now and once again being enjoyed to their fullest potential.

  • Scavenger hunts - Write clues, hide small objects and let your kids go look for them around the house.

  • Experiments - A couple of experiment kits later, the kids are hooked on scientific experiments. Volcanoes out of baking soda, looking at the world through a microscope or planting in the garden - done. As a data-driven marketer, I’m really proud of where things are headed for my kids :slight_smile:

  • Read - read to your kids, let them read to you if they are old enough to, maybe teach them to read. Open up that window for them and enjoy seeing them discover the wonders of the world.

  1. Disconnect - Stop constantly watching TV and the news. It’s just the same old stories by now. Stay informed but pick and limit your news intake. 15min a day of news is plenty.
  • Separate work - This is by far the hardest thing to do when you work, sleep and live in the same confined space. However, it’s up to you to set boundaries and limits. Close those work tabs, set time for your family and just be present. Work can wait.

  • Limit social networks - It’s been over 18 months since, I’ve deleted Facebook from my phone. The world hasn’t stopped yet. Now, you make your own choices but my point here is to stop aimlessly scrolling through social feeds.

  • Work with your hands - It’s been quite nice to work in the backyard doing some cleaning up for the above-mentioned trampoline. Plant things, do yard work, clean up, paint, do woodwork - whatever you fancy as long as it lets you disconnect.

  • Sport & Exercise - just because you are locked-in, it doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. There are millions of trainers and coaches doing training sessions online. I know. My wife is one of them. Pick one and spend 30min a day working out and exercising.

  • Cook - maybe you like to cook, maybe you are a terrible cook or simply you never tried. What better time to experiment with cooking something healthy and delicious. What you eat can directly impact how you feel and your energy levels.

The above is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it’s what we are doing in my family and what we’ve seen work well.

Feel free to add your own suggestions below.

Your personal growth, sanity, and family will directly affect your performance in the next part of this post:

Business Growth

The world is out of sync to what we were used to but maybe that’s for the better.

It gives us time to stop, revise, adapt and set ourselves for future growth.

Kind of unique, once in a lifetime event.

Businesses are still spending money but as customers, managers and business owners ourselves, it’s up to us to evaluate the risk, create a path forward and execute on it.

Personally, I find predictions of the future to be based on too many variables and wishful thinking.
I’ll personally admit that I don’t know what we’ll happen in 6 months or a year from now. There are simply too many moving parts right now.

However, past recessions and economic turmoils have already thought us that businesses can be generally divided into two camps:

Those who acted and revised their efforts. Invested in their business when times were uncertain. Evaluated the risk as much as possible but still took steps forward. Drafting a path and adapting their messaging, product and even the business as a whole.

On the other hand, are businesses that cut for the sake of cutting, no clear strategy and basically hit the breaks hard.

Both camps we’ll have winners and losers, but the difference is that those that invest in their businesses are much better suited to take advantage of the upside - whenever it happens to come.

Start putting the pieces together now so you can bounce back quicker.

  1. Fat - Trim the fat but add muscle. It’s a great time to evaluate the tools you are using and make a decision on what to keep, what to cut and what to actually add to your tech stack. That’s right. SaaS companies are doing great sales, discounts, and promotions. It’s like CyberMonday but in April.
  • Switch to annual pricing if budget permits, because most tools will cut you a good discount for doing so. We’ve already started doing this in January of this year for other reasons and have just a few more tools to transition to annual billing.

  • Essential tools (for us) - Unbounce, Zapier, Supermetrics, Slack, G Suite, MailChimp, Zoom, various design tools (Sketch and Photoshop mostly), PipeDrive, Harvest, Toggl, DigitalOcean, and a few others.

  • Your list: Just pull up your credit card statement from February and go through it. Put everything in 3 columns: Essential, Nice to have, Cut. After that, you’ll know what to do.

  1. Analytics - it’s one of those things that most managers consider a “nice to have” or they are under the impression that their analytics is “perfect”. The hard truth - it’s not. As an agency that runs a data-driven approach to everything we do, I can confidently say that most analytics setups are broken or inefficient. Often giving you half-truths and even worse - misleading you.
  • Audit your analytics - There are plenty of resources online on how to approach this if you are the DIY kind of a guy/gal. Annielytics Analytics Audit is a great place to start if you are using Google Analytics.

  • Implementation - An audit is a great first step but you’ll have to follow through with implementation. Now, here things can get a bit murky. A lot of edge cases and issues that are business-specific. You can try to fix them yourself or you can outsource it. It really depends on your business and budget.

  • Reporting - Once you have the audit and implementation squared away, it’s time to put it to work. You need a clear picture of how your business is performing at any given time, channel and/or acquisition source. This is where good dashboards come into play. Google Data Studio and Supermetrics are your best friends.

  1. Design - Another great opportunity here. Design can really make or break your landing pages and business as a whole. I won’t go into detail why that is other than the fact that we as humans make split-second decisions about a business. What we based that decision on - visual stimulus. That’s right. Design.
  • Freshen up your online identity. Invest in brand refresh if you feel like your brand identity hasn’t seen much love lately. This is exactly what we did with our logo this past month.

  • Audit your landing pages - Go through your landing pages and web assets. Make sure they follow your brand guidelines. Often times, in the rush to get a new page up or campaign launched compromises are made.

  • New designs - Although due to the current circumstances, A/B testing new designs is highly discouraged, that doesn’t mean you can’t start putting new campaigns in the pipeline. A good, well-thought-out campaign takes months to put together properly. You don’t want to rush it through once things start to feel a bit calmer.

  1. Technical Audit - Your landing pages might have a lot of technical debt gathered over the years. It’s a great time to do a bit of spring cleaning.
  • Check speed - Unbounce has done a lot of under the hood improvements to the platform over the last year or so. Take advantage by republishing your pages if you haven’t done so in a while. Use SVGs where appropriate. Use CDNs for assets being loaded outside of Unbounce.

  • Evaluate scripts - Speed is often impacted by 3rd party scripts on your page. Go through the list of external scripts being loaded on your landing pages and make sure you really need them. The same goes for scripts you’ve applied directly to your landing page. Optimize them if and where possible.

  • GTM - If you are using GTM or another tag manager, you are probably loading a lot of external scripts through it as well. Audit your tag manager or as part of your analytics health check listed above.

  1. Qualitative Research - What better time to learn from your customers than when they are somewhat confined and looking for human connection outside of their “normal” daily routine. Reach out to your customers and simply talk to them. Learn how your service or product fits into their daily lives. What you can improve or how you can help them weather the current downturn.
  • This is exactly what we are doing for our own agency. We’ve put together a new landing page, which we’ll post here in the Unbounce community in the coming days looking for feedback.

  • Evaluate or hopefully re-evaluate customer segments. Your landing pages don’t live in a vacuum. They are there to serve and engage specific segments of your customers.

  • Adjust your copywriting and messaging. Everyone is affected by the current state of affairs one way or another.

  • Please don’t start blasting your email lists. I can’t count the amount of SPAM, I’m currently getting just because businesses I haven’t interacted in years thought it would be a good idea to let me know how they are handling the pandemic. No one cares.

Hopefully, the above points we’ll let you know that most of us are going through the same turbulent ride as you are.

So if you are healthy and safe, start planning and doing today.

The steps you take now, we’ll define how your business survives this.

This is getting rather long and I wanted to list a few campaign examples that I think are excellent examples of brands and companies revising, adapting and setting themselves up for growth.

Maybe next week…

In the meantime, feel free to share your thought below and how you personally and business-wise deal with all of this.

21 Likes

WOW! This is such valuable content @Hristian thank you SO MUCH for putting this list together and being so candid about the situation. I have a few follow-up questions:

How do you make the call of what to keep and what to pause/cancel? You’d mentioned essential/nice-to-have/cut lower down on the list but I’m wondering how to decide what goes into each column?

I love that you mention design as this is often one of those items that doesn’t get as much TLC as it deserves in landing pages. What are some design resources you’d recommend for agencies who are looking to refresh their look?

Same question goes for adjusting copy/messaging - are there any brands that are handling this really well who others can look to for inspiration?

Again, thank you. I could go on with the questions but I’ll leave it at that for now. This is amazing!

-Jess

3 Likes

Wow, this is incredible, @Hristian! I agree with pretty much everything you outlined. I too have been cutting back and going through subscriptions, and also refreshing parts of our online identity. It’s like you read my mind.

Great advice all around. I appreciate the time you took to put this together.

And thank you for the shoutout about my masterclass! :raised_hands:

3 Likes

Wow, @Hristian :star_struck:

Super impressed by all the thought you’ve put into this - and so thankful that you have put all the work in to share this with us! Thank you!

3 Likes