Nicholas ScaliceTwitter bird social media iconNicholas Scalice is a digital marketing expert who focuses on growth marketing and landing page optimization.

What is growth marketing and how did you get involved in the industry?

Growth marketing has the objective of helping businesses grow their revenue and meet other specific growth goals using digital marketing strategies. I’ve been doing growth marketing for the last 11 years, first working for agencies and then working for myself for about the last five years.

I’ve seen the industry evolve along with the evolution of digital marketing. Most recently, I have focused even more narrowly on landing page optimization, which helps companies get more leads and conversions on their websites.

What is the most important thing a brand can do to market for growth?

If I had to pick just one thing, it would be to have something of value to offer your audience. Many of the difficulties brands have in getting their name out into the marketplace come from not defining their value proposition—not figuring out the problem or problems that their product is best suited to solve in the lives of their target customer base.

The better your value proposition and the more clearly you can describe the problem you seek to solve in people’s lives, the better your chances will be of convincing people to buy your product or service.

How does online reputation impact marketing efforts?

When a brand doesn’t have a logo or doesn’t want to put their brand and logo on their landing page—and this is a situation we run into all too often—I think it takes away all the trust they could have earned by promoting that brand. Your reputation is incredibly important, whether it is your personal reputation or your company or product or your brand. It goes back to everything you do.

These days, people are very skeptical online, and for good reason, with all the scams that are out there. A positive online reputation is necessary for your brand to overcome that skepticism and build trust so that consumers are willing to spend their very limited dollars on what you have to offer.

For example, my wife and I like to try new restaurants, but we will not go somewhere new without first looking at reviews to see if it sounds like a place that we will like. The strength of those reviews—the restaurant’s online reputation—has everything to do with whether we will give that restaurant our business.

Could brands use customer surveys as part of an overall growth marketing strategy? If so, how?

I’m very familiar with the Net Promoter Score, which measures customer loyalty and willingness to promote a business, as well as other survey tools. One rather underutilized aspect of customer surveys is to take out bits and pieces of those surveys and use them as testimonials for the brand’s landing page (with permission, of course). Social proof is very important in today’s digital marketing, and people want to see how others have benefited from the product or service.

Surveys can also help companies understand the true problems consumers are facing in their own words and give them better ways to communicate this to their target audience. The way we, as marketers, think of the problem and the solution is often not the same as how the customer thinks, so it’s valuable to be able to use customers’ own words in digital marketing.

Do you still work with social media marketing? What are some ways to use social media for marketing and reputation?

Social media is where I started, way back in my college days, actually. I had a social media marketing business where I would go to local businesses and offer to manage their social media pages, which most of them didn’t yet know how to do. It was a very lucrative service for the businesses and for me, and it gave me my start in digital marketing.

I don’t do that very much anymore because it’s become much more of a pay-to-play environment, where businesses need to invest in ads and run ad campaigns if they want to have a consistent and predictable presence. For some clients, I am involved in running campaigns to leverage the paid side of social media to the company’s best advantage.

Are there drawbacks to using social media for marketing? What are they and how can brands overcome them?

I’m thinking of the recent Peleton ad that was just torn apart on Twitter. It seems like they just didn’t think it through all the way, or at least enough to predict the reaction they would get on social media. Mistakes happen when brands don’t understand the culture and particulars of each platform and they treat every platform the same way.

You really have to respect each social platform and learn about what makes it unique so that you can market effectively to the platform’s specific audience. Doing research and listening first will help to preserve your reputation and stop you from making mistakes like Peleton did.

How can marketing efforts contribute to positive customer experience?

When we make landing pages, we do user interviews and user sessions to get feedback as users navigate the page. Of particular interest are the things they noticed and places they stumbled over information. With that knowledge, we can really optimize the page, using both what we noticed that they didn’t and also what they noticed that we didn’t.

Understanding the user experience is crucial, and these days there are many tools to help you do that, like remote testing, user surveys and more. If you don’t focus on the customer’s wants and needs, the bottom line is that nothing else really matters.

Having a landing page that is visually appealing, has a clear call to action and represents your brand accurately can make a big difference in customer experience. It’s the first place someone interacts, and you want that first experience to be a positive one. In 2020, you can have positive online reviews, you can get all your social channels right, you can have the right ads. But if you don’t have an optimized landing page or series of pages in your bag of tricks, there will be something missing.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

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brand champions - Q&A with Nicholas Scalice: Why Reputation Matters to Growth Marketing