A website without marketing goals is a website that is static. The crux of marketing, especially online, is to set goals and create a workflow to meet those goals. And, marketing is a loaded term. For example, online entrepreneur Heidi Cohen published a post outlining 72 definitions for marketing.
Marketing is a broad topic. I like to talk about marketing quite often, but the truth of the matter is that marketing is a very big picture.
Topics under the umbrella of marketing include inbound marketing, affiliate marketing, online marketing (or digital marketing), content marketing, traditional marketing (or offline marketing), and social media marketing. This scarcely covers the gamut of all marketing.
Wikipedia barely helps with its definition:
Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that Marketing is one of the premier components of Business Management – the other being innovation.
It just sounds like corporate speak to me. Ultimately, I think Cohen summed it up best when she said,
While the definitions of marketing vary based on perspective, they generally refer to engaging a target market of consumers or other users to ultimately sell a product and hopefully to maintain a relationship beyond the purchase.
And so it goes. There are so many elements involved in marketing including having a target audience, your product or service, your positioning statement, and an ongoing relationship we usually refer to as customer service.
Working with websites, we understand how marketing works online. A reader visits the site, she reads your content, chooses to download a lead magnet and join your list, fills out the contact form, and begins a relationship with you via marketing emails.
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When creating marketing reports for customers, we run into a bit of a problem. What kind of report do we give them? What kind of metrics do we use? What is the most important thing to monitor? How do we create reports?
These are all pressing issues, and to be sure, there are dozens of metrics we could use (see here).
Rethinking Marketing Assets
Peep Laja, the founder of CXL (conversionXL.com) sets three goals worth pursuing.
Laja talks about building marketing assets, a term he says comes from Seth Godin. Godin differentiates between an expense and an asset.
First, Godin starts with a definition,
For a marketer, an asset is a tool or a platform, something you can use over and over without using it up. In fact, it’s something that gets better the more you invest.
Assets, as Godin calls them, is the difference in digital assets versus physical assets.
Buying a trade show booth is an expense. Having a permission marketing list of people who want to get anticipated, personal and relevant emails from you is an asset. Seth Godin
Using this understanding, Laja gives three marketing goals and objectives for your website,
- building your reputation and brand,
- building your (permission based) mailing list and building the relationship with the people on that list,
- building your blog / Twitter / Facebook / etc audience, both in quality and quantity.
This is he says, is a key to determine your objectives. You are taking action based on if it helps build your marketing asset.
Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. I do know this, if you don’t set a goal and take action, nothing will happen.
If you set goals that build marketing assets, something that can be over and over without expiration, then you can see that building an email list is a top priority. Conversion is a big priority as well.
Creating a Marketing Funnel
When you look at your website, you might consider it as a marketing funnel. When you do this, it helps to think you are trying to get a reader from the beginning of the Stages of Awareness to, ultimately, the bottom of the funnel where they have been converted into a paying customer.
In sum, a funnel, as Money Journal puts it, includes “Creating awareness + generating leads + qualifying leads + converting leads = sales.”
Thus, with the right setup, your website can become a well-oiled lead generation machine.
It can take time to get leads coming in, but once you do, you have leads in an email list that you can sell a product or service to at any time.
In order to run your website marketing funnel, you will need to engage in content marketing, social media marketing, conversion marketing, and email marketing. So it isn’t one single skill, but it does all work together.
Getting people to take action and contact you is your primary goal number one. It might be to contact you via the contact form, schedule an appointment or estimate, fill out a landing page for a lead magnet, or some other combination.
This doesn’t happen by accident. You have to lead your website visitor to take this action.
Getting your visitors to sign up for your email list is important, especially if they are not ready for a purchase. This gives you a chance to woo them by showing them your expertise, giving them value, and showing up regularly.
They might skip past all of that and say, “I’m ready to give you money!” If so, make it convenient to contact you. Don’t make it easy, but make it convenient. The contact form is a great place to qualify your leads. For example, if someone wants a for a price below your starting point, this gives you a chance to qualify your chances of working with them.
E-commerce sites are an even different type of animal. Your main goal is to get them to purchase your item, but you also want them to sign up for your email list. Many e-commerce companies offer a coupon to get people to make a purchase or sign up for the email list.
Even though your site may not be an e-commerce site, ultimately, our goal is for someone to purchase our product or service.
What is the goal of your website? What is the goal of our client’s website?
Not having goals puts the proverbial “cart before the horse.” We do well to ask our clients their goals and press them until they become more specific.
There is a balance between getting a website live and knowing your goals. Certainly, everything doesn’t have to be perfect from a marketing standpoint to get started. However, not considering the what you hope to accomplish is short-sighted.
The second habit in Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the end in mind.” This applies to our websites too.