Ever hit a per­for­mance plateau? Con­trib­u­tor Eliz­a­beth Laird looks at three ways to jump­start your mar­ket­ing efforts when you’re stuck and spin­ning your wheels.

One of the joys of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is the abil­i­ty to quick­ly see the results of an imple­ment­ed strat­e­gy. With a lot of real-time data and the abil­i­ty to accu­rate­ly attribute suc­cess back to effort, it is instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion at its finest.

But often after con­tin­ued suc­cess, mar­keters face the dread­ed per­for­mance plateau. Here are three go-to strate­gies to try when you find you are stuck with wheels spin­ning in neu­tral.

Never underestimate the importance of UX testing

Even a small boost in con­ver­sion rate can make an enor­mous dif­fer­ence in results for a pro­gram. Not only does it have poten­tial to boost top line rev­enue, but it can have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on bot­tom line results.

Most mar­ket­ing lead­ers find mak­ing the busi­ness case for user expe­ri­ence (UX) improve­ment work a slam dunk as min­i­mal gains result in sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased rev­enue. How­ev­er, it is often eas­i­er to preach the impor­tance of test­ing and focus­ing on the user than to actu­al­ly prac­tice this belief.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to make the most of your UX opti­miza­tion efforts.

  • Get a fresh set of eyes. Whether it be an agency, a con­sul­tant, or a new team mem­ber, often a new per­spec­tive is need­ed to iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties and cre­ate impact­ful tests. Inter­nal stake­hold­ers can be blind­ed by per­son­al attach­ment to work they have done. They can be biased by past results or be too close to the busi­ness to be able to view things through the lens of a prospect. Get­ting an impar­tial voice in the mix can help lim­it these pit­falls and ensure you are test­ing the right things to move toward suc­cess.
  • Ensure you have the right resource man­ag­ing your UX strat­e­gy. UX requires a unique skill set. Not only does some­one need to be ana­lyt­i­cal­ly mind­ed, they must be a cre­ative prob­lem solver. Addi­tion­al­ly, this per­son needs to be high­ly sci­en­tif­ic when it comes to test­ing and not let their own per­son­al bias and opin­ions col­or their think­ing. That’s one tall order! While admit­ted­ly not an easy com­bi­na­tion of skills to find in one per­son or agency, it is essen­tial for your UX strat­e­gy to work. Tak­ing the time to ensure the right resource is in place is crit­i­cal.
  • Ensure the right and left hand are talk­ing. In the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing world, it seems every­thing is auto­mat­ed. It makes life eas­i­er and ensures seam­less process­es. When it comes to UX, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that the expe­ri­ence your poten­tial cus­tomer has does not begin the moment they hit your site. It begins pre-click. The ads your prospects see, the sites on which your ads are served, your social pres­ence, etc. – all of these touch­points are part of the expe­ri­ence poten­tial cus­tomers have with your brand and influ­ence their like­li­hood of con­vert­ing once on your site. Cross-chan­nel learn­ings are often quan­tifi­able and auto­mat­ed report­ing helps to ensure all par­ties have access to the data and are opti­miz­ing accord­ing­ly. How­ev­er, many of the insights need­ed are qual­i­ta­tive which means all par­ties need to be talk­ing. For true UX suc­cess, ensure there is an envi­ron­ment that fos­ters col­lab­o­ra­tion, the shar­ing of insights, and avoids a siloed chan­nel approach.

Rethink past approaches

With a con­stant­ly chang­ing mar­ket­place, evolv­ing online behav­ior, and ever improv­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy, a tac­tic test­ed in the past may per­form very dif­fer­ent­ly today. Here are some sug­gest­ed plans of attack:

  • Revis­it failed search cam­paigns. With improved audi­ence tar­get­ing avail­able for search cam­paigns, gen­er­al cam­paigns that were not fruit­ful in the past can achieve prof­itabil­i­ty. Remar­ket­ing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) and Cus­tomer Match are fan­tas­tic ways to accom­plish this. Addi­tion­al­ly, improve­ments are con­tin­u­al­ly being made to bid strate­gies and ad rota­tion set­tings that can make a sig­nif­i­cant impact on a search cam­paign to hit and exceed goals.
  • Rethink attri­bu­tion. The major­i­ty of dig­i­tal mar­keters still oper­ate on a last-click basis. This approach is easy to under­stand and mea­sure, but often over-empha­sizes chan­nels (while under­stat­ing oth­ers), which could leave poten­tial rev­enue on the table. Using Google Ana­lyt­ics report­ing and AdWords Attri­bu­tion, I sug­gest mar­keters re-assess the data. Eval­u­ate the impact of Assist­ed Con­ver­sions, the flow of user paths, and com­pare per­for­mance when tog­gling between attri­bu­tion mod­el­ing types (first click, last click, time decay, etc.). Often, there are gems to be found that can help you to refo­cus your efforts and jump­start growth.
  • Con­sid­er offline con­ver­sions. Not all con­ver­sions hap­pen online. Even if most of yours do, if you are not bring­ing offline con­ver­sions into AdWords, you are miss­ing out on the full pic­ture of your pro­gram effi­ca­cy. Bring­ing in offline con­ver­sions allows you to uti­lize auto­mat­ed bid­ding and ad opti­miza­tion fea­tures to the fullest. Fur­ther, you can cre­ate Sim­i­lar Audi­ence lists based on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of all your con­vert­ers, not just online con­vert­ers.

Keep marketing after the sale

Focus­ing on cus­tomer Life­time Val­ue (LTV) and reten­tion, rather than lim­it­ing your view to just the ini­tial sale, opens up sub­stan­tial prof­itabil­i­ty for your exist­ing acqui­si­tion efforts. This extends across mul­ti­ple mar­ket­ing chan­nels.

  • Uti­lize social. Social media chan­nels can be a great vehi­cle for cus­tomer ser­vice, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and brand rein­force­ment. It gives your brand a per­son­al­i­ty and a dig­i­tal con­nec­tion with your exist­ing cus­tomer base.
  • Change the mes­sag­ing. Social and dis­play adver­tis­ing is a fan­tas­tic way to stay in front of cur­rent cus­tomers. Now that these indi­vid­u­als have been acquired, your ad mes­sag­ing will need to change. Ensure mes­sag­ing speaks to new offer­ings, awards/industry recog­ni­tion, and how your com­pa­ny can address addi­tion­al prob­lems or needs they may have. This is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to not just keep your cus­tomers engaged with your brand, but to cross-sell them on addi­tion­al offer­ings.
  • Cre­ate rel­e­vant con­tent. Often the focus of site con­tent is to attract and con­vert a new audi­ence. Ensure your site also speaks to your exist­ing cus­tomer base. Uti­lize your cus­tomer ser­vice team to under­stand the needs, con­cerns, and ques­tions voiced by your cus­tomers. Use these insights to cre­ate com­pelling and rel­e­vant con­tent that speaks to both prospec­tive and cur­rent cus­tomers.


Per­for­mance plateaus hap­pen to the best of mar­keters, but they don’t need to stick around for long. Get cre­ative and think out­side of the box. Dou­ble-down on con­ver­sion opti­miza­tion, rethink and refine pre­vi­ous mar­ket­ing tac­tics, and mar­ket for max­i­mum LTV.

These sug­ges­tions should help you move beyond cur­rent results and take your dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing per­for­mance to the next lev­el, allow­ing you to increase rev­enue, expand your reach, and improve your prof­itabil­i­ty.