“Cheshire Puss…Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where--” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go. Even a cat knows that!
As with everything in marketing, it’s all about objectives. You have to know what you’re trying to achieve before you start.
Here are some example SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound) goals that will impact the bottom line:
- Increase total number of customers by 10% by January
- Increase average order value by 10% by next month
- Increase order frequency by 10% by this time next year
When you know where you are going, you can work out the best way to get there.
Make a plan
You have to make a plan if you are pitching for funding. It’s also wise to write down your plan for a better chance of success.
You may have heard about the Yale 1953 or Harvard 1979 study that claimed 3% of graduates who wrote down their goals achieved ten times more in the next 20 years than the other 97% combined? Although widely quoted, it appears to be a myth.
However, a Dominican University study of 149 people found that those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t. What’s more, making a public commitment and publishing progress reports were also found to have a positive influence on goal achievement*.
So, when you know where you’re going, you have to write it down.
Despite that, 64% of small-business owners don’t have a written marketing plan, according to a recent study by digital marketing agency, Engineered Marketing**.
Keep on track
Some may say:
- It doesn’t matter where your site appears on search engine results
- It doesn’t matter how many hits or visitors you get
- What matters is how many of them convert into customers
I had a client who asked me to write email newsletters for them. Their only measure of success was sales on the bottom line. Trouble is, they also needed to monitor the steps on the way to get there:
- The subject line of the email affects whether or not it gets opened
- The quality of the email content affects whether the mailing list grows (with signups and forwards) or shrinks (with unsubscribes)
- The call to action within the email affects whether people click through to the web page or not
- The content and call to action on the web page affects whether or not people buy the product
You have to measure the right things to know whether you’re on the right path – all of them.
So here are my top tips: Decide where you’re going, write a plan, keep checking your progress and make adjustments if necessary, then celebrate your arrival. Do this, and you might just find the Cheshire Cat smiling down on you.
Photo credit: shallowend via photopin cc