In Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, the King of Hearts gives Alice some sage advice:
On the surface, this makes sense. But determining the right way to start anything -- whether you're working on a new business, a new hobby, or a new marketing strategy -- can be deceptively difficult. How do you know for sure you're focusing on the right tasks? How do you know that you're beginning at the actual beginning, not the messy middle?
You know you're on the right track when you begin your strategy by defining and knowing your goals and your customers. In a future post we'll talk about knowing your customers. Today, we'll talk about your marketing goals.
Define your marketing goals.
Your marketing goals are like a great wide ocean, and all your marketing activities should be like the rivers that lead to them. Map out your goals and set sail towards them.
The more specific you can make your goals, the better. I try avoid goals like "increase your Likes on Facebook" or "increase the number of times we're retweeted each week." These measurements have their place, but they shouldn't comprise your primary goal. In most cases, you should focus on goals that make you money. Unless you can draw a direct line between increasing your likes and retweets and increasing your revenue, keep asking questions about your situation until you get to the core problem that you want your marketing to solve.
So how do you know which problem to focus on? That depends on the unique situation of your business. You may want to start by thinking about Ohad Hecht's suggested strategic marketing goals. These goals address key problems that affect most businesses:
Convert leads into buying customers
Increase the lifetime value of your customers
Win back inactive and lost customers
You may discover your own priorities in the process imagining how meeting these goals would impact your business.
What are your goals? What problems or areas of confusion do you face when you make them? Let me know in a comment or tweet, and I'll do my best to help.