How many times have you come to the end of the day and thought, “umm, I’ve done a lot today, but I still don’t have anything to show for it?”
In other words, you’ve been busy, but your busyness hasn’t yielded any fruit. You put so much time into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and you’ve done just as instructed in that A1 product everyone is raving on about, but yet again, you’re not seeing any results.
Oh … I’ve been there too many times!
And like me, without realizing it, you may be compromising your online marketing strategy by busying yourself with tactics and wondering why you’re not getting the results you want.
It seems that almost every day, a newer, bigger and better product is created online to help you to attract more clients, get more traffic or make more money. Whether these are $30 or $3,000 products, most of them in my view focus on marketing tactics that end up keeping you busy, but at the same time, leading you away from the overall objective of why you’re in business.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with tactics, I think it’s important to discuss the fundamentals of why you need a marketing strategy and why tactics alone isn’t enough.
Before implementing an online business strategy, you have to define your goals
Back in 2000, whilst studying GE and Jack Welch for my Strategy Management MBA final, I learned some important aspects of business strategy that I hope will help explain the difference between your goal, strategy, and tactics.
As the new CEO of General Electrics (GE), Jack Welch’s original goal was for each business to become the #1 and #2 competitor in its industry. To achieve this goal, a number of strategies were implemented including closing or selling off businesses that couldn’t be fixed.
The specific actions GE took to sell, close or fix the businesses, all came down to tactics or, the specific actions that would be necessary to execute the strategy. Some of the specific tactics included de-staffing, restructuring, research, implementation of best practice initiatives and processes designed to elicit ideas from employees and get them to communicate better with their leaders.
Had Jack Welch started out with trying to implement tactics, with the best will in the world, he would have failed as CEO of GE. Why? Without a goal, strategies are hard to define and even the best tactics can’t compensate for a weak or non-existent strategy.
Some of the tactics online that I see mistaken for strategies include:
If you decide your goal is to become financially free in 5 years, that’s fine. But, your next question would have to be, “what do I need to do to become financially free in 5 years?”
Blogging by itself wouldn’t be the strategy and neither would social media, podcasting or getting to the #1 position in Google for your keyword term, since at this point you have no idea what you’re plan of action is.
This is where strategy comes in and for the sake of ease, let’s assume you already have an established consulting business offline but you want to increase your profit margin by 30%. Your strategy may well be to increase your online sales by 70% so as to reduce your other advertising costs. The tactics you would then implement would be to drive more traffic to your site via blogs, podcasts, articles, press releases etc.
Think of strategies as your plan of action to achieve your paticular goal and your tactics as the action or actions you need to make to execute the strategy.
Keep in mind that to become successful, you need both strategy and tactics working together to achieve your desired goal.
I hope you will spend some time before the end of 2010 putting together your goal for 2011, your marketing strategy for how you achieve your goal and then decide which tactics you’ll implement to execute the strategy.
Until next time,
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Trish Jones is a Speaker, Storytelling Coach and Author, who empowers and equips women to create a business and life that's in harmony with who they are from the inside out by bringing more of their personality, their voice and their message to the marketplace. Trish would love to connect with you on Facebook.