Micro-Optimization: the Biggest Opportunity in Marketing

Marketers love to make miracles. We’re addicted to launching viral campaigns, creating heavy-hitting sales promotions, and building high-converting landing pages. The best of us are always tinkering, learning, and running tests to uncover new market opportunities. With our attention devoted to ‘the big picture,’ it’s easy to overlook the smoking gun in front of us: micro-moments.

Research from Think With Google
reminds us that buyers interact with brands at many touchpoints. These are:

“Want-to-know moments. Want-to-go moments. Want-to-do moments. Want-to-buy moments”

They reflect a trend in browsing and buying behavior, in which audience attention spans are fleeting, spread thin, and stretched for time. Humans want to maximize the information that they’re absorbing, per unit of time.

Micro-moments have created a new market opportunity for businesses. We can reach our audiences in unexpected moments, with valuable information and engaging resource. We can spark delight. Here are some tips and examples to help you achieve this goal:

(1) Pair action with inspiration

The simplest example of this idea is a ‘click-to-tweet’ button.

When I write blog posts, I look for ways to delight, educate, and inspire my readers. I write for readers and scanners and ensure that both personalities can read my content quickly. I also know that there are moments, through my writing, in which people are likely to see an idea that they like and want to share. I plan what these moments are likely to be and pair them with ‘click-to-tweet’ buttons that make it easy for readers to share information, in the moment.

Here’s my best possible example of this idea: a blog post for Clarity.fm, in which I interviewed 23 entrepreneurs about their best lessons learned.

clarity tweet thisI collected a series of tips and packaged them with bite-sized tips. We promoted this blog post through email channels and social media, which were typical for all of our content. This particular post, however, outperformed others by 10x and continues to generate incoming traffic. The reason why is simple: each quote strikes an emotional chord as a small bit of inspiration. The approach incentivizes sharing.

(2) Optimize transactional messages

Sales journeys are complex and span multiple social media platforms and devices. With people asking questions, signing up for offers, subscribing to mailing lists, and making purchases, there is one thing that connects these interactions: email.

Triggered by buying behaviors, transactional messages can help generate repeat sales and deepen customer engagement. Research from Experian points out that revenue per email from transactional messages dwarf bulk emails by more than double. Open and transaction rates for messages are also higher, since shoppers want to know when their orders will arrive. The point behind these trends?

Transactional emails create context for highly engaged audiences. There’s a strong opportunity to optimize these messages with links to your blog, infographics, and other valuable marketing opportunities. In addition to sending an order status update, for instance, you can share a link to an interesting piece of content or related product to cross-sell. As an example, check out this example from ModCloth:

modclothThe company uses its shipment notification to promote its apps, content, and social media profiles.

(3) Assemble your content distribution strategy in pieces

Your audiences are spread across the entire Internet. Your content strategy should be too. You can stretch the value of your content by publishing and re-publishing your content in multiple places. For reference, take a look at this blog post that I wrote for the Dun and Bradstreet Connectors Blog.

First, the Dun and Bradstreet team ran it on their blog.

dun & bradstreetAfter seeing some traction, I re-ran the post on LinkedIn, where the post generated a few thousand additional visits.

LinkedInI then syndicated the post on The Next Web, which gave the post an additional push with almost 3,000 shares to date.


All of these steps took place over the period of six months, extending the lifespan and reach of the article. Different audiences (and influencers) picked up the article on different channels.

Some tips to follow if you’re interested in syndication:

  • Consider tweaking your headline, but keep the body of your article intact.
  • Always cite back to the original source saying where the post originally appeared (this will keep your SEO performance intact).
  • Include internal links throughout the body of your syndicated article.
  • Add a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your posts.

These micro-optimizations will help you make the most out of your syndication opportunity, to generate traffic back to your website. More importantly, you’ll add value to your syndication partner, with content that has already performed well on your own site.

(4) Interview your audience to optimize your messaging

Are you struggling to communicate your company’s value prop?

Instead of taking guesses, just talk to your customers. Get them on the phone, and ask them to describe your product back to you. Ask them what topics they’re interested in learning about as inspiration for potential blog posts. Pay attention to the language that they’re using, and repurpose this information in your own messaging. Here are the steps that I typically follow:

  • I reach out to customers. Sometimes, I offer a consulting fee or Amazon gift card as a thank you. At the very least, I always provide some kind of offer or ‘thank you’ for a person’s time and valuable input.
  • I schedule a 30 minute call with this person.
  • I create an interview guide and ask others to weigh in with their own questions. This process ensures that i’m answering as many company questions as possible.
  • I conduct the interview over the phone or video call. I record it.
  • I get that recording transcribed and look at the word choices that people are using.

From there, I come up with ideas for marketing copy, blog posts, and A/B tests to messaging. It’s a way to keep all content as close to my target audience as possible.

Final thoughts

When it comes to micro-moments, you’re doing two things: maximizing value and communicating that value in the tiniest possible interaction. Make a big impact in less time by giving your audiences something to care about. Micro-moments are that simple.