Strategy and online marketing

Marketers today have certain a luxury available to them called data. As long as you can identify where your business needs to go, you can track which tactics are getting you there and which aren’t. And when you can do that, you have the opportunity to replicate your successes and correct your failures. In other words, no more shooting from the hip.

Set goals

Identify clear business objectives. Zero in on a target audience and decide what you want from them. Make sure your goals are specific and realistic. I’m talking about things like more inquiry phone calls, more awareness within a specific audience segment or more sales of a key product or service you offer.

Make a plan

Choose the marketing tactics that make the most sense for your goals. Understand where you can reach your audience, whether that’s in Google searches, at trade shows, via email, on LinkedIn or elsewhere. Construct an integrated campaign that not only helps you go get them, but also helps them discover you.

Try things

In the wild west “trying things” meant paying for 10,000 direct mailers to be designed, printed and distributed and sending 5 sales guys to 10 trade shows. Today it means a series of targeted, keyword-rich business blog posts that will populate Google searches, a white paper showcasing your company’s expertise and email / social media campaigns to promote those things. It also means a thorough and instantly available portfolio of data to determine the value of those tactics.

Analyze the results

Some tactics will work and some won’t. Every audience is different and consumes marketing messages in unique ways. Immerse yourself in the data. Most of it is free. Understand it and learn from it.

Replicate what worked

Which blog posts resulted in heavy traffic from Google searches to your most important product or service pages? Write more posts similar to those ones. Which links in your email blasts drove the most click-thoughs to your website? Develop more content around those topics. Which trade publications are picking up your news and blog posts in the social media channels and sharing with their audiences? Keep conversing with them. Good marketers look at positive results and replicate the decisions that got them there.

Correct the miscues

A marketing email every week may be bothering your audience and leading to unsubscribes. Try cutting back on the frequency. Facebook might be a ghost town in your market. Try focusing on LinkedIn and Twitter. Certain blog topics might not be reaching the right audience. Try refocusing your topics around keywords they’re more likely to search for in Google. Good marketers understand that it takes failures to identify new opportunities for success.

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