"You Get What You Pay For"
If you're a believer of this philosophy, be sure you apply it to your Internet marketing strategy.
No matter if you provide a service or sell a product, you probably understand by now that online marketing has grown into a significant priority and if growth is important to your plans, you MUST have a strategy to compete. Sure you can experience success by using more traditional methods of marketing but even the most "old school" business owners know and are at least trying to pay attention to this reality.
So, as an inbound marketing agency that has grown with this reality since the year 2000, I think this insight and experience will help others that are getting started, in the middle of launching a strategy and even those that feel they have already discovered the best solutions. I wrote this article to help other small businesses with their overall understanding and approach. Yes, there are many details, technology and a very high skill set required to be a true competitor online but this post was written in more general terms in an effort to share something I feel is critical to success and has proven to be somewhat of a bottleneck for many small businesses.
Read the headline of this post once more. By the way, this headline, "You Get What You Pay For" is an H1 tag and an important component of what we call "on-page' SEO. I point this out because this H1 tag is one small element and part of a mountain of inbound marketing (Internet marketing) requirements. Some of you understand this and some of you don't. This is the point of this blog post. Unless you are a certified, educated, trained and experienced online marketing professional, you probably don't know "everything" that makes up a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. But thats okay, thats normal and the way most business evolution works. If you developed the world's best widget, your expertise is in widget development. If you are an architect, you spent years learning your trade and developing your talents. Do you really think you can or should become an inbound marketing expert in order to grow your business? Of course not.
This is a trap I see many business owners, business professionals and other decision makers fall into. If it makes you feel any better, this trap was set up while you weren't looking. When the Internet started using language and applying technology that connected businesses with customers, the technological requirements to ride this band wagon were relatively simple. Those that had the vision of this connection were able to implement a few basic components and successfully reach a target market. There was not nearly the level of competition for Internet space or search engine placement as there is today. That might be the understatement of the decade. Then, internet exposure was an experiment and anything gained was just gravy. Today, you have the ability to compete online or you invite serious challenges and many times failure across the board.
For most of you, this isn't exactly news. However, what I do think might be considered news is how I am strongly suggesting you approach this reality.
You must dump the project based thinking. Researching and hiring an "SEO" company for example is not a strategy that has a backbone. Writing a blog post on a schedule is not a solution that will let you compete at the highest level. Social media posts either automated or manual is not the answer. Creating an email campaign to your contact list or a purchased list will not gain you any traction. All of these examples are projects that usually come from some realization that you need to do more, catch up, compete online, apply a new technology. Although you might experience some success and improve some level of visibility, none of these approaches will equate to a successful, long term solution.
It is time to start crunching the numbers and using todays most advanced technology to solve this challenge. Projects normally include guesswork where a goal oriented and value based strategy allow you to pinpoint actual goals and determine the inbound marketing "workflows" that will bring you these essential elements:
- Specific Goals
- Measurable Goals
- Attainable Goals
- Relevant Goals
- Timely Goals
When you spend the time and partner with inbound experts that know how to develop a plan that includes these goals, you can then fit in the data you already have like average sale amount, percentage of repeat customers, current marketing expenditures and cost of customer acquisition (COCA). Once you connect all of this data, then you can begin to discuss and construct the inbound marketing blueprint that supports your established goals and projections.
This is the new reality of inbound marketing, online marketing, Internet marketing or any other term you like to use. When you start with a details plan that is based around value and measuring ROI, you end any guesswork and know where to look when its time to analyze, evaluate and modify your plans.
I hope these thoughts contribute to a better understanding of how to build a smarter approach to your inbound marketing plan. The competition for online real estate is approaching similar levels as we all have discussed when referring to traditional marketing over the years and that means spending the time, effort and partnering with experts are required. Today's technology can tell us what we need to spend, where we need to spend it and what we can expect as a result.
As a start, use this simple traffic calculator to help determine how much traffic you need to meet specific revenue goals. I am also including a free guide to analytics that will at the very least, give you insight into what healthy analytics might look like for your company.