These days, everyone is interested in on-line marketing. Unfortunately, few business owners know how to go about it. This is the first in a five-part series on the topic, and will focus on key aspects of any on-line marketing campaign. Future posts will go into more detail on SEO vs. SEM, email advertising, banner ads, and social media/social networking. While everything in this post in slightly more conceptual in nature than one is used to seeing in blogs, I think the basics are important. The is less about “how to” than it is about “what to do”. While many blogs talk about, for example, changing round your default title setting when using WordPress, I find that few if any explain the why, and I think that it’s important to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing before you embark on any marketing undertaking. This series is designed to provide the first-order answers to “why” when it comes to many on-line marketing efforts. In this post in particular, the topics I’m going to cover are
- Deciding on goals for your on-line campaign
- The time advantage you get with on-line marketing
- Things to consider before launching your campaign
- Key metrics
- Basic measuring sticks
- Planning to measure everything
Deciding on A Goal
When you kick-off an on-line marketing campaign, you should have a definite, measurable goal in mind. If you’re an e-tailer, then the goal could be very straight forward: have the customer buy something on-line. However, most businesses are not e-tailers, and if you’re not you should really spend some time thinking about what you want from your customers. Certainly, the goal could be something as simple as driving more traffic to your site. That meets the requirements of a goal, in that it is directly measurable; however, as goals go, it doesn’t get you very far. Better goals are those that see the potential customer taking a specific action. Examples of these include “click on this link to get your 10% discount code”, or “click here to download our latest white paper”. The best goals are those that involve the customer taking a specific action and giving you enough information to follow up with him. For example, “sign up for our free newsletter,” or “click here to have an account manager call you”.
As you get more comfortable with on-line marketing, there’s absolutely no reason not to have more than one campaign with multiple goals. Maybe “all of the above” would be great goals for your company. But for now, try to pick just one — and try to think carefully about which one would have the most impact on your business. That said, don’t get too hung up on this. One of the beautiful things about on-line marketing is the speed with which you can adapt.