The problem with digital marketing is always calculating its ROI. An even greater challenge is the timing you’re usually given to prove it’s a worthwhile investment. For a lot of business leaders, their ROI period is within a month or even a quarter.
As you already know, the results you make in digital marketing can come 6 months to a year before you see significant results.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no way for marketers like you to prove the return on investment in that short window.
You just have to use the Pincer Method.
Take a look at this Google Analytics account.
I’m sure you noticed the sudden spike. But I want to direct your eyes to the start of the graphic first. You’ll see there’s little traffic at the beginning—hovering around 2k/month. Then, there’s that spike reaching views of 30k a month.
This gradually goes down to more stable levels averaging 10k views. But what I wanted to highlight is this “new normal” traffic levels is 5x higher than the original traffic.
This is the Pincer Method in action.
Curious? Let’s dive right in.
Here’s What You’ll Learn in This Guide
- What is the Pincer Method
- Examples of the Pincer Method in Action
- How to Use the Pincer Method in Digital Marketing
As marketers, our jobs is not just to do the activity we’re told to do. We should not just write a blog post. We should not just post and share them on social.
It’s our responsibility to deliver results.
And the first and easiest and most tangible results in digital marketing is driving more traffic to your website. That’s what you’ll learn here.
Pincer Method: What the Heck Is That? Is That the Claw of a Lobster?
I’m sure you already have an image in mind when you read about the Pincer Method. You either thought of the big, delicious “claw” of crab or lobster, or that piece of metal that helps you get a “grip” on something.
While coming from that name, the Pincer Method resembles the movement made by a pincer, rather than the tool (or food) itself.
Here are two definitions of a pincer movement according to Merriam-Webster :
The pincer movement, or double envelopment, is a military maneuver in which forces simultaneously attack both flanks of an enemy formation.
The pincer movement typically occurs when opposing forces advance towards the center of an army that responds by moving its outside forces to the enemy’s flanks to surround it.
The Pincer Method is a two-pronged attack that helps you get results in the short-run while investing in mid- to long-term growth.
What is the Pincer Method in Marketing
The Pincer Method is a two-pronged attack that helps you get results in the short-run while investing in mid- to long-term growth. Normally, digital marketing takes a while before you see significant results, but if you use the Pincer Method, you can gain quick wins to prove its worthiness to your boss, client, or yourself. These early small wins help you lay the ground properly for mid- to long-term growth.
This solves the biggest problems for marketers to prove the return on investment in activities like content marketing, SEO, website development, etc.
Using the Pincer Method, you achieve quick wins to prove the investment is working.
Examples of Pincer Method: What It Looks Like
Let’s take a look at another Google Analytics account to understand how the Pincer Method works.
Let me describe what you’re looking
- This Google Analytics screenshot covers a 12-month period from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.
- On the Y-Axis, you have the number of users. Google Analytics defines this as the number of people who visited the site. Learn more about users here.
- On the X-Axis, you have the individual months in the specified timeframe
- Blue colored line represents traffic from all channels
- Orange colored line represents traffic from organic traffic
Here’s a little more background
This website utilizes social media and email to achieve quick wins while slowly building its organic traffic. If you look at the orange line, it’s slowly growing over time. Around October-November, growth picks up faster than the previous months. This growth spiked in February.
Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the site got affected negatively in March.
If you look at the blue line, you’ll notice that it has provided a significant lift in the beginning.
Here’s a separate graph showing you the percentage contribution of organic traffic in relation to total traffic. I used the same colors above to avoid confusion.
- Orange represents organic traffic
- Blue represents all other traffic combined
Now, here’s another graph. It’s the same one above but I wanted to highlight the growth of organic traffic over time. I greyed out the rest so the share of organic traffic pops up.
As you can see, the Pincer Method allows you to achieve results now so you can prove to your bosses (managers and clients) what you’re doing is a worthwhile investment. You are laying the foundation for future growth—in this case, we’re looking at the most sought-after traffic which is organic traffic.
How to Use the Pincer Method
As mentioned earlier, the Pincer Method allows you to achieve quick wins while you lay the groundwork for future results. The only way for this to work is to start creating content that people will enjoy reading.
So, while you’re building the foundation, you can perform any one (or all) of these examples so you achieve results quickly.
Example 1: Complete Control Over Digital Marketing
If you have complete control over digital marketing, you can pursue ads to generate leads while writing high-quality content. This gives your organic traffic the runway it needs before it can have significant impact.
What’s the best way to generate leads? You create a marketing offer—more popularly known as a lead magnet. Here’s how you do it.
- Step 1: Brainstorm a simple lead magnet or offer
- Step 2: Create the lead magnet
- Step 3: Setup the lead generation process
- Step 4: Promote your lead magnet
- Step 5: Analyze
Lead magnets allow you to generate leads faster and better than relying on newsletter subscriptions alone. I’m pretty sure you already have a bunch of offers on your site. Newsletter subscriptions, free trial, and promo codes are all examples of lead magnets.
But they aren’t informative and only speak to the people who are closer to buying the product. That effectively reduces the amount of leads you can get. Or put it in another way, if you only rely on those bottom-of-the-funnel offers, you’re alienating a lot of people and missing out on opportunities.
What do you do instead? Create lead magnets that are educational in nature. Help your audience solve a problem.
Here’s a very easy way to create a lead magnet using a tool called Attract. Watch this quick video to show you how I made this lead magnet in a matter of minutes.
Here’s the example in the video (👈 Click me)
In fact, if you scroll over to the next section, you’ll find that the contents of this lead magnet is the same as the example below. If you don’t want the video, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a lead magnet in a few minutes.
Example 2: Content Marketing
If, however, you only have “permission” to handle content marketing alone, there’s still a lot you can do to get results now while building on your organic traffic.
Before that, the first thing you’d want to do if you want to improve results from content marketing is to determine how solid your foundation is. You do that by first checking your website speed first.
Improving your site speed can be simple or complicated depending on your business. But it’s important to find quick wins there because your content will live on your website. If it doesn’t load fast, statistics say a lot of people won’t even get to view your content.
Since you’re looking for prove the ROI of your content, every little bit of help counts.
Once you’re done with that, here’s what you do to get quick wins with content:
Here’s how you can use the Pincer Method to increase your organic traffic by 76% in 3 months using this Google Search Console hack—no ad spend required.
Time to complete per article: 10 minutes
Login to Google Search Console
If you haven’t already, create an account, verify it, then come back to this after a few weeks so that it starts gathering data first. If you already have an account, proceed to the next step.
Find the pages you want to improve
Go to the Performance section (1) and click on the Pages tab (2). Scroll down and you will see all the pages in your site that have received clicks and impressions. Sort and add filters to find pages you want to improve their rankings on Google. You’d want to start with pages that bring you revenues or conversions. Click on one of them.
Look for keywords/phrases your audience is already searching for
After choosing the page you want to improve (1), click the Queries tab (3). This will show you which keywords/phrases people are searching for and when this particular page is showing up—including its position and CTR. Make sure you also click on the Average CTR and Average Position metrics at the top (2). Scroll down to find which keywords you’re showing up for (high impressions), but aren’t getting clicks (low CTR).
Improve your content by adding the keywords/phrases naturally
The most important places to add them are in your titles and meta descriptions. Then you’ll want to see if you can add them to your headers. You’ll also want to add them throughout the entire article. The key point to remember is to add them naturally.
Re-submit your URL to Search Console after you’re done updating
While not necessarily required, it might help your newly updated page get updated in Google’s index faster—which means it can reach more people and help you get more views and clicks.
Repeat these steps starting with your best-performing articles and you’ll see its effects in a few weeks.
Aim to expand and improve at least 3 of your existing content every week.
Using the Pincer Method this way gives you the time to create new content while getting the traffic boost you need to show that content marketing is working.
Let’s say you have 100 existing articles and you start updating them. Apart from this, you also create new content and publish once a week.
In a span of 3 months, you would have 12 new articles and 36 freshly updated articles. Again, depending on your niche and industry, you should already start seeing improvements to your traffic, especially the existing ones—assuming you picked the right ones to update.
Take a look at this article’s performance on Search Console. For the first 3 months in the graph, you’ll find it has very low traffic and impressions on SERPs. In October, that article was already ~5 months old.
But after updating the article in early January, numbers started coming in. And since it was also updated, it became more relevant. The company started re-promoting it again on social.
All those factors combined produced at least 3x results in total traffic (clicks).
And this doesn’t include the other updated articles and the new ones that were published during this period. Results will vary of course. The example above was the biggest gainer. But while the others were only incremental by itself, combine them together and you’d get results like this below.
There’s one thing I didn’t mention here.
If you want to successfully use the Pincer Method, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Have an awesome product/service
- Obsessed about your customers
The Pincer Method allows you to achieve quick wins while laying the ground for organic and sustainable growth. If you’re product/service sucks, people will realize that and you won’t get the growth you’re expecting.
If you don’t care about your customers and only want their money, you won’t get far. Remember that revenues and profits are only a byproduct of the value you provide to others.
Have you used the Pincer Method in your company? What were the results? I’d love to know. Let’s talk about it below.