31: Marketing Artifacts and the website of doom
Sometimes, marketing can look a lot like archaeology. Unearthing ancient artifacts, reverse engineering them, and trying to understand how they were used by your ancestors. As marketers, we need to be experts at carefully extracting these artifacts, evaluating their worth, and deciding whether to revitalize them or put them in a museum.
Sometimes, marketing can look a lot like archaeology. Unearthing ancient relics, reverse engineering them, and trying to understand how they were used by your ancestors. Like an ape discovering a tool for the first time, you look at them with a mix of bewilderment and awe. I didn’t know we were so advanced back in --- 2011.
You’ve discovered a marketing artifact, and the internet is full of them. Form submits that go to legacy email automation systems, blog posts written before the last ice age, and strategies for a trend that went extinct long ago.
As marketers, we need to be experts at carefully extracting these artifacts, evaluating their worth, and deciding whether to revitalize them or put them in a museum.
Honestly, you’ll encounter this more in your career than you’d probably like, so we’re going to chat about how to work with marketing artifacts
In the world of tech startups, a lot of marketers only last a 12-18 months before they move on to their next position. They make a bunch of content, then move on, someone comes in to fill their role. This type of inheritance is super common in all areas of marketing. Why is this a problem?
- No one joining a marketing company wants to inherit someone else’s mess. It’s like renting an AirBnB and finding the dishwasher is still full of dirty dishes.
- At least, that’s the perception.
- The problem is that marketers love to create net new content. We’ve been programmed to think content is king -- and have responded by creating mountains and mountains of content.
- Most of us in marketing come from some form of content creation background -- it’s literally our instinct.
- Yea very often. Senior leaders come in with the tools they are familiar with and demand a migration in the next year haha
- I’ve had the experience of building on a fresh underutilized instance of Pardot
- Configuring and managing the Marketo beast you gave me the keys for at Klipfolio. Funny enough, now that you’re back at Klipfolio, you were stuck uncovering some of the webs I tangled.
- I’ve also had the migration side of this as well, while I was migrating out of Hubspot, you were migrating to Hubspot.
In marketing automation especially, you get players like Marketo / HubSpot that have so many features available out of the box. These features sometimes, however, aren’t as powerful as you can get from other tools. I noticed this with web personalization and forms.
- Hubspot has a blog CMS, they have email automation, they have forms, they have a CRM… they have something for everyone… That’s a really great way to make a mediocre tool. Everything is average to please the average user.
- We use 4 tools instead of Hubspot and they all give us features and powers that hubspot alone cannot.
- We moved our blog to Ghost which has a beautiful UX and writing experience for my content team and they were pumped to get out of the clunky HS CMS
- We moved email automation to Customer.io, honestly my favorite email workflow building tool. Super intuitive and fast.
- I’m a huge fan of convertflow for forms, DriftRock a UK startup is also doing cool things with forms. No one wants to use a crappy tool.
- And obviously we use Close for our CRM.
- These 4 tools cost us less than hubspot alone cost us.
Totally. Also, we all like shiny objects:
- I think the key is to identify areas where you want to bring in a new tool. Check your toolset out, and see if they have a version of that feature.
- Run a test or experiment, and validate your approach.
Speaking of forms, what about the web form that submits to nowhere?
- When I migrated out of hubspot forms, Close had like 200+ ebook and gated content forms that I needed to re-create and map to a download link and a resource.
- Lots of companies don’t manage this well.
- This happens so often -- it’s not even funny
- It’s actually really hard to find things like form embeds on a website.
- I use a tool called screaming frog which has a custom extraction tool which allows you to specify different selectors to crawl your website
- The other way to do this is to look at forms within your system and pull them out that way -- only works if you know all the systems at play
- JT, I know you spend a lot of time in SEO land -- from talking with you I know you’re really big on updating existing content instead of just creating new content. Walk us through the advantages of that.
- SEO is like gardening. You don’t just toss a bunch of seeds in the ground and expect them to grow. You need to tend them and nurture them in order for them to grow
What about when the garden is overrun with weeds and the last gardener has skipped town?
- As an SEO, you need to get good at determining which pieces of content are distractions and which pieces of content are really valuable
- Use search console’s GA plug-in to see conversion rates and traffic
What types of problems do you see when trying to clear out the garden?
- Outdated messaging, positioning
- Trends that have died
- Heck yes it’s easier to start from scratch. I resist that temptation all the time -- it’s hard to look at a web page that is ranking on second page, figure out why it ranks, and how to preserve it’s ranking.
- There is a ton of value in this, however. I’ve seen first-hand how often a simple update can yield a big result. It’s way easier to improve the performance of a 2nd page asset than get a new asset all the way to 2nd page.
In other words, get good at sifting through marketing artifacts.
Intro music by Wowa via Unminus