Much has been written about Internet marketing strategies and how marketers can leverage techniques to get the desire outcome. What isn’t discussed enough, at least from my perspective, is the need to go beyond techniques, tools and analysis to get a long-term sustainable ROI (return on investment).
To be success in Internet marketing, you need to have the ability to see the big picture strategically and zoom in to the details tactically with your execution.
It’s what Steven Schussler calls the “helicopter view,” so you gain enough mental altitude to see the overall objectives while still be able to descend, hover, and see the details, too.
Sustainable ROI goes back to the roots of direct marketing and direct marketing focuses on measuring, iterating and never stop testing.
But where do you start and how do you know what you’re doing is right?
Well, I’m going to share some tips that have guided me for years.
Understand Significance vs Success
The key to online marketing success isn’t just about getting the ROI, increase conversion rates or fascinating content that gets viral social media sharing.
It’s your ability to identify the significance and success of what you do.
Let’s get into more details here.
Significance: This is about making the most impact with what you can do. This is also an area where you select the weapon of your choice whether it’s SEO, email marketing, social media, paid search (PPC) or content marketing.
Think in terms of how to get the most value out of the tactics you choose with the least effort. This requires you to further question your objectives and dig deeper to ask the question why and how.
Success: This is about achieving your goals. Sustain high ROI in PPC, be on the first page of Google organically, receive thousands or retweets and Facebook likes and finally delivering the sales target for the month.
It’s the satisfying aspect of your marketing that keeps you going and bringing you money. It’s also a confidence booster to keep measuring and testing your hypothesis.
You know you’re doing something right to attract the audience you want and your strategy is working.
Not only does this give you more motivation to be even more successful, it also aids in elevating your credibility and authority as a marketer.
Find what’s significant
Many marketers and business owners are used to the way they approach their business that often they forget business is a living, breathing thing. It requires constant innovation to develop a business model that’s sustainable for the short-term.
I’d argue that the same applies to marketing strategies.
The point is that when you do marketing, you should keep questioning yourself on what’s important and why.
Perhaps you have a goal to increase traffic by 200% but how significant is that to the business?
Does more sales equates to more profits?
How do you gain top line profits?
Are repeat customers buying high volume, low margin items?
The point is that you need to translate the value of your marketing objectives to a long-term business value. It’s not just about translating web and social analytics to business data. It’s looking at for both short-term and long-term impact of your actions.
How does social media fit into my media acquisition strategy?
What does the number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, RSS subscribers mean to a brand?
How will it change in 3 years? 5 years?
Clarity matters but more importantly, it’s about developing a framework around the strategy you’ve developed to achieve business goals for the long run.
Define meaningful success
It’s true that you can get clients with a proven ROI, to the point that it becomes your marketing (reputation is marketing).
But ROI is really only half of the story.
The truth of the matter is, you can’t have really good ROI without really good data. And since businesses are using data as the top performance metric, it’s really important to know what to measure and how to measure success with data.
Why? Because there is an oversupply of data and there is a growing demand in manipulating and extracting meaning from large data sets. We simply don’t realize just how fast and how much data is being created that may help us make better business decisions.
Simply put, you need to define meaningful wins and back it up with data that supports your success.
In fact, I couldn’t agree more with the statement “data is the plastic of the 21st century” made by Om Malik of GigaOm said during the Structure Big Data Conference.
Business models evolve with human behaviors so why wouldn’t KPI (key performance indicators) evolve too?
This is especially true with disruptive technology that creates the perfect storm like the one we have now with social, search, mobile and cloud computing.
And to keep up with these changing landscape you need evidences to support your decisions.
The take away: If you find that your Internet marketing strategy isn’t delivering the result you want, maybe it’s time to go deeper to identify meaningful success and tie-ins that are significant.
Don’t be satisfy with the data you have on hand; simply look for new ways to access data that can help you define success once you understand what’s significant.
Check and see if the strategy fits the objective by examining the business from both high-level and granular-level to ensure your success is truly success
Although online marketing will depend on these two critical elements, it’s also important to know that this applies to our lives as well.
As Michael Josephson of Character Counts, also talked about the difference between success and significance.
Why is it that as they get older, highly accomplished people often feel a need to measure their lives more in terms of the impact they have rather than by what they have?
Management guru Peter Drucker called this the shift from success to significance. Success is achieving your goals; significance is having a lasting positive impact on the lives of others.
The irony is that living a life focused on the pursuit of significance is more personally gratifying than one devoted to climbing the ladder of success.
As author Stephen Covey warns, it’s no good climbing to the top of a ladder that’s leaning against the wrong wall. Not many people say on their deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”…
Success can produce pleasure, but only significance can generate fulfillment.
I encourage you to go deeper to define your win (beyond profits) on the meaning of success and significance for your online marketing strategy.