How Marketing Is Like Super Mario
I have been doing online marketing for over 10 years and in those 10 years I have had numerous people ask me what is the greatest tip or piece of advice that I can provide them.My answer is always the same- learn from Super Mario Brothers. Now you are probably thinking “Tom, what can the Super Mario Bros possibly have to do with online marketing?” Let me tell you, growing up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, that video game was a fundamental part of my life as I am sure it was for many others of my generation. The common theme throughout the game series is that Mario and/or Luigi get from place to place via an intricate system of pipes. Sometimes they take you where they want to go and sometimes they don”t and this got me thinking later in professional life.
Super Mario Bros and Conversion Optimization
Many websites are like the tubes in Super Mario Brothers. The end goal is a conversion. This is the castle with the flag at the end of each level. This is what we want to achieve however few are able to make it that far. Many visitors enter the “pipeline” and for one reason or another they drop out. For me it”s because they always dropped Mario right into the water with that damn fish that ate me but for a website the reasons can be much more complex. Perhaps the user experience is poor or the design is outdated. Many sites DO NOT have an acquisition problem even though they might think so. They think need to spend more on PPC or SEO or whatever the latest marketing buzz word is but in reality most sites that I have seen already have a very healthy inflow of visitors. They just convert them poorly. In technical terms this is called conversion optimization. In the language of Tom Ford however, I refer to this as the “Super Mario Approach to Marketing.” We go in and find out why people are dropping out, why the pipes are leaking and then we fix them. Simple as that. I”ll give one example, I recently had a client who ran an online health business. They got suckered by another agency into thinking that they needed to spend thousands, actually tens of thousands of dollars on new acquisition strategies. When I and the team at MarketingModo looked at the site we immediately saw that this was not the case. The case had hundreds of people visiting every day which is great for the size of the business. The problem was that they only converted 0.5% of them. Looking through valuable tools such as Google Analytics, implementing heat maps and conducting user experience studies we quickly found exactly where the problem areas were and believe it or not, the fixes were quite simple. We reduced the checkout experience to three clicks, improved the site navigation so visitors to access deeper pages quicker and implemented a more modern design. With these changes, the conversion rate jumped to 5% and this was completely without touching anything from an acquisition standpoint.
Be Like Mario
Like Mario you must investigate each pipe and set of plumbing that makes up your site. Where are visitors coming in, where are they going and how do they get there. Pay attention to bounce rates as these will quickly give you an idea of some problem areas and poorer performing areas of your site. Conversion rate optimization is an incredibly important but sadly often overlooked tool to improve your site”s performance. If it is good enough for Mario and Luigi it is good enough for your site!