No matter what marketing systems and strategies you use, you should be able to see results within a fair amount of time. If you aren’t seeing results, don’t throw in the towel too soon. You probably didn’t set a definable goal in the beginning, and you’re looking in the wrong place for results.
Set specific goals for every marketing strategy
Every marketing strategy works best when you’ve set specific goals, especially for search engine optimization. SEO results are difficult to quantify because they take time to become visible, and your efforts can’t be directly measured. Google has never revealed how their top-secret algorithm works, and nobody knows exactly how they measure search signals. In other words, there’s no perfect formula for achieving high rankings.
The only aspect of SEO that you can measure early on is traffic. When you launch an SEO campaign to generate traffic through link building, PPC ads, or content marketing, the results will show up immediately. You’ll either get traffic, or you won’t.
Measuring traffic goals is easy. ClickFirst suggests looking at your traffic trends for a steady increase of average numbers, and visitors from a variety of different sources. Taking this one step further, looking at your referral traffic will verify where your link building efforts are a success.
As for other marketing strategies, you need to set similar goals that can be measured. Then, you need to lay the technical foundation to track them. For example, find out if your email marketing campaign is working by tracking sales that originate from email clicks. Then, segment all subscribers who make a purchase and tag them as having bought something. This will give you a narrow market to send targeted promotions to later on. All of this tracking should be easy to setup within your email marketing program. Don’t skip this step!
The impact of not setting specific goals
If you don’t know precisely what your goals are, you won’t know when you’ve reached them, and you’ll be unaware when you’re off track. Having a specific goal is like using GPS – it guides you toward your destination, and it’s easy to recalculate your route if you get off course.
Undefined goals are discouraging. When you leave goals undefined, you’re more likely to believe you’re not making progress even when you are. For example, say you launch a new blog, and the content is edgy and controversial. Say you don’t set any specific goals, but have a general sense of wanting success. As you publish articles, you’re going to get comments that aren’t nice. If the comments are overwhelming, you may feel like you’ve failed. However, unless your goal is to please everyone, you haven’t failed.
Without a goal to focus on, your attention will automatically move to the negative, and that will overshadow your positive progress. There’s science to back this up.
In 2001, Roy F. Baumeister, professor of social psychology at Florida State University, co-authored a journal article titled Bad Is Stronger Than Good. The article says, “Bad emotions, bad parents and bad feedback have more impact than good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones.”
Discussing this article, the New York Times summarizes that receiving criticism will have a greater impact than receiving praise. This applies to your personal life as well as your marketing efforts. If you don’t have specific goals, a lack of engagement is going to make you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.
On the other hand, if you had set specific goals – like generating 200 subscribers in two months – an increasing subscriber base would indicate success. Negative comments might still bother you, but they wouldn’t overshadow your accomplishments. You may need to work on getting more engagement, but at least you won’t be blind to other achievements.
Don’t get lost in the world of traffic greed
Traffic is great, but it’s not the answer to everything. In fact, if you’ve already got traffic coming to your website but your conversion rates are low, then traffic isn’t your problem. Perhaps your conversion tactics aren’t working, your traffic isn’t targeted, or there’s something about your sales funnel that isn’t convincing.
Don’t make traffic your end goal for any marketing strategy. Be more specific. Set goals in terms of conversions, sales, and anything else you can measure that will directly reflect your efforts.