One of the reasons that businesses fail to make a success of their online marketing is that they don’t have a clear idea of what they are trying to achieve. The most important factor in online marketing success is to decide your goals before you start. In other words, to think ahead to what you want to achieve.
How to Fail
A typical route to failure, one I have seen many times with prospective clients, is to start by deciding that they want a website without any thought about the implications.
They then decide, often after the fact, that the site need to be found on search engines, and ask their web developer to oblige with some search engine optimization, as if SEO is a bolt-on that can be added after a site has gone live.
Social media usually comes next because they’ve heard that this is the way to get noticed. So they ask for social media links to be added.
Blogs are another thing. They’ve heard that having a blog can be beneficial to the site, but they don’t really understand why. But they ask for one to be added to the site anyway.
Once they got a blog, they haven’t clue what to post on it. Some post blatant adverts for their products and services, ans also special offers and promotions. Some post news about their company and staff, most of which is irrelevant to marketing their business. After a while, the blog falls into disuse.
Pan to Succeed
Before doing anything else, you must spend time thinking about your goals and planning how to achieve them.
What are you’re trying to achieve? More often than not, the answer will be that you want to increase business (revenue/profit). Occasionally though, there could be other goals. Fore example, you want to provide a support function for existing customers: or you want to provide a discussion platform for existing customers, and so on.
What’s the best way to achieve that? A website might be the answer. It might not. You may be able to achieve your goals by using social media without a website. A good web developer should tell you if he thinks a website may not benefit your business.
How are you going to promote the website and make potential customers aware of your company? This is a potential minefield. Do you use search engines? Do you use blogs? Do you use social media? Should you promote offline by advertising etc? And how do all these things fit together to work as part of a system?
The word system is key here. It’s no good simply using search engines, social media, and blogs, if all those channels don’t work together as an effective system. The aim is to reach out to potential customers, make them aware of you’re company’s offerings, and stimulate their interest enough to turn them into leads.
How must do you want to spend? This is important because, if your budget is too small, you may have to go back and scale back your goals or strategy.
None of these questions are straightforward so it is important that you take advice from someone who understands online marketing and promotion. Approach a company by all means and ask for advice. Any web developer or marketing who is worth his salt will be happy to give you advice.
Avoid anyone who will simply take your request for a website, ask you a few questions about colours or layout, give you a quote and then go ahead and develop what you requested. That is a sure fire recipe for failure.
Remember, at the end of the day, success is about what you did at the beginning of the day.
Set goals, decide the best way to achieve them, plan to do it, and then do it.