One of my favourite sayings is; “start with the end in mind.” In other words, make sure you know what your outcome is, before you decide to take action.
I was thinking about this earlier, when I received an email from a reader, who had just realised that the time and money she had been investing in marketing her website and blog over the past 18 months, had been pretty much a total waste of time!
Yes, she had seen ‘traffic’ into them increase from zero to around two thousand unique visitors a day – but it hadn’t generated anything tangible for her or her business. In fact, it had actually hurt her business; because her time spent blogging, online networking and doing SEO had limited the amount of chargeable work she could do for her clients.
This lady’s original marketing goal for her website and blog, was to showcase her skills as a business finance expert to a new audience and then convert some of these readers into paying clients. However, she became so focused on producing regularly updated content and getting her Search Engine Optimisation ‘just right’ that she was using these numbers to track her success – rather than the actual number of new clients and enquiries she was getting.
This is a common scenario, when someone gets so involved in the mechanics of a marketing activity, that the activity itself becomes their goal – rather than a tool to help them reach their goal.
I am not talking about hits, metrics, comments or subscriber numbers – I’m talking about actual, business results, what your accountant would call your ROI (return on investment).
Here are some examples of questions we all need to ask ourselves, if we invest our time and/or money on a website or blog:
- If your site/blog is there to generate enquiries for your business – how many is it generating each day and what quality are they?
- If your site/blog is supposed to be generating advertising revenue, how much money is it making for you each week?
- If your site/blog is supposed to be positioning you as an authority in your area of expertise, how many more calls are you getting from newspapers, trade publications and the media – wanting your opinions?
It does us all good from time to time, to take stock of where we are and to ensure that everything we are investing our time, money and energy in is actually taking us toward our business goals. Otherwise, we run the risk of rowing our boat REALLY hard in the wrong direction and suddenly wondering why we are in the wrong place after all that hard work.