New clients often approach me for a website with one question in mind – how much? I'll gladly answer of course because I like bringing in business as much as the next person, but what I'd love to answer instead, is "how will having a website support my business? And how should it function to give me the greatest return on investment?" OH HECK YEAH I WANT TO ANSWER THAT. There's nothing better than thinking through how to start marketing projects with clear goals. Here's why.
Imagine if you got a job interview to be a corporate lawyer at your dream company. You decide to go to the hair salon and you walk in having no idea what you want to do to your hair, but you just knew you needed to do something with it. You say to the stylist, "you're the professional, you know what will look best on me! Do whatever you want!"
At this point your stylist might be seeing red flags, and would try to figure out what you actually want to look like. They would ask you what direction you'd like to go in, perhaps find out if you have any big events coming up that you need to look exceptional for, and they'd work with you to find an appropriate style.
But you insist (without providing any insight into the very important goal you have), "No no, I trust you, you know what you're doing."
So they just start cutting. Shorter… and shorter… and suddenly your hair is partially pink and perhaps they start shaving your head right down the middle – because you asked them to do whatever they wanted to your head.
And you could look super trendy and cool and everything, but it's not doing anything for who you are and the person you want to present to the world. You're not going to land that corporate lawyer job with a landing strip down the middle of your head.
This analogy is crazy, but I mean, it's true. Amiright?
Marketing, like hair, is a big vast world made up of so many tiny nuanced tactics, each with variables more complex today than they were yesterday. Facebook and Google LOVE to change their algorithms on what seems like a whim, just to mess with us marketers. Too bad for them we like a challenge.
Because there are so many elements to consider, it is ridiculously important to start your marketing project with a goal. Any marketing project. Even a Twitter chat or a live video.
Why do I need to go to all of that trouble? I know what my long-term business goals are!
That's a great start! If you already know what your business goals are then you should be pretty attuned to the types of tactics that will help you achieve those goals.
The point of creating supporting marketing goals is to direct your tactical efforts accordingly so that you can achieve your business goals. This way, when you start putting a crapload of effort into marketing, you already know how to start marketing.
Here's how to start marketing with a clear goal in mind.
For example: Suds Launderette (a favourite client of mine) has a goal to rapidly expand by doubling its wash 'n' fold services over the next six months.
Strategically, we're going to work to change the perception of coin laundry and create a positive sentiment around the service, and provide customers with a simple to navigate solution. Meaning, we're going to make it dead simple to get from point A (discovery) to point B (conversion) across all marketing channels.
Next, we set up objectives to increase brand recognition and loyalty across all marketing channels, and plan to increase online conversions through social and paid ads.
Here's where the tactics (projects) come in and this is why your tactics need to support your marketing goals and vice versa.
Our first step will be to build out a brand new website. If we decided to go ahead and build a website without even discussing what the business goals were, we'd have a very low converting marketing channel.
Common pitfalls that many new sites succumb to are:
- No call-to-action
- No consistent branding across the site
- Difficulty navigating to find products and services
- Way too much text on a page
- Using images that completely misrepresent the company
- Creating a website from a template that everyone already uses
- AND MORE!
Each tiny decision we make, from the design to the technical elements needs to support the marketing goals, which in turn supports the business goals.
If our aim is to change the perception of coin laundry, we're going to move toward a design that showcases a clean, friendly, home-like atmosphere. If we want to encourage more people to use the wash 'n' fold service, we're going to create a big button in the menu, and call-to-action throughout the site to encourage people to try the service by scheduling a pickup.
By the way, if you're thinking "These guys will pick up and drop off my laundry for me?" YES. THEY WILL. IT IS AMAZING. YOU NEED THIS.
And another sidebar, if you're interested in watching the transformation of what an awesome marketing strategy can do, check back with Suds in a few months when we've launched their new site and materials!
In any case, you can see even from the small seeds of the design ideas, we're already aiming to implement tactics that support our goals. This also helps to demystify how to start marketing, and gives you a clear picture of what you need to do.
Don't leave marketing up to chance or intuition.
You might be very close to your customers and you might think you know exactly what they want and need. And that may be true, for your existing clientele. But let me ask you this, are you planning to grow your business?
If you answered yes, then you can't just guess at new marketing tactics you assume will land well with your audience. You're going to need to investigate what resonates with a particular audience and why, and how to start marketing directly to them in a way that supports your business goals.
Want to talk more about how to create a total marketing strategy? Leave a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! Let's talk!