Marketing is a very idea-oriented business. Creative ideas and approaches are a big part of what pushes businesses forward and further, and we’re all for that.
But there’s a danger in throwing out ideas on how to change your company’s online marketing strategy without knowing what those ideas are meant to achieve. Why are you changing strategies? What hasn’t been working that you need to work better? Which numbers aren’t you hitting that are actually important for you to be hitting.
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Before you go into the specific components that make up your marketing plan, you need to formulate the goals of that marketing plan. You need some sort of structure, an idea of what you’re really seeking so that you don’t muddle your strategy with unsubstantial methods that sound good on paper, but don’t actually have an impact on your business. You need to know your top level goals from the get go so that your campaign isn’t wasted by pursuing the wrong things.
Marketing is populated by facts and figures, many of which won’t actually qualify how well your business is doing. A strong, focused strategy will ensure that you don’t get swept up in the wrong numbers.
When establishing goals, many business owners will make blanket statements that sound like they fit within the business realm. For example, we hear a lot of, “I want to generate more traffic to my site.” And that’s great…in theory. But it’s not enough just to throw out generic goals that might not have a real effect on your business.
Remember that not every business is the same. Your goals need to reflect the individual needs of your own business–not anyone else’s. It’s possible that you’re actually doing really well on the website traffic front, but those visitors aren’t converting into leads.
I use this example because it’s precisely what happened with a client of ours. He came to us wanting to increase traffic, with an emphasis on keywords–he wanted us to dominate certain keywords, and ensure that we’d have all the traffic relating to those phrases. But with a little research, it was clear that this wasn’t what he needed at all. He was already dominating those keywords, and ranked 1st and 2nd for a large majority. He was already getting the traffic from these terms. We explained that our focus should not be on keywords, since the impact he’d feel from those changes would be negligible, but instead should be on capturing that traffic, and turning them into engaged, quality leads.
We built out his marketing plan around that goal, ensured our specific efforts were in pursuit of that result, and 7 months later his business has seen a 70% increase in revenue.
Without a deep dive into how the data reflected his past efforts, time could have been wasted pursuing goals that simply didn’t apply.
So before taking any steps into the inbound world, you need to craft a strategy for your business, and set goals that are right for where you stand. Identify the hole in your business’s marketing-sales funnel–whether it be attracting visitors, capturing leads, closing customers, etc.–and build your plan around how to patch up that hole.
You need to establish measurable and meaningful campaign objectives that will impact your business in the right areas. Never lose sight of the fact that your ultimate goal is to grow your business; you just need to determine which of the smaller, more actionable goals will get you there.
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