A few words about goals, before we start the Conversation Marketing process: You need to know what you’re trying to accomplish, and you need to ask yourself whether your goals are realistic in light of your budget and other constraints.
Think hard — what will it take for you to say that your web site is a “success”? Does it need to reduce the cost of doing business? Help you sell more stuff? Help you grow a distribution channel? Access a new audience for you?
I encourage my clients to start by asking four basic questions:
Hold on, you say. How can I define goals when I haven’t defined audience, or anything else, yet?
You’re right. Your goals will change while you plan, and even after you launch, your internet marketing campaign. But Conversation Marketing is very flexible, and meant to adapt, if you get started. You have to establish some basic criteria for success, and make sure that those criteria are reasonable, or you’ll never get your project off the ground.
“More traffic” is not a well-defined goal. If you said that, go give yourself a time-out.
Morgan’s Custom Bikes is starting its Conversation Marketing campaign. Morgan sits down to plan, and of course starts with a pretty simple goal: Sell more bikes. But that doesn’t seem terribly enlightening, so she tries to narrow things a bit. What can her web site do that’ll help her sell more?
As she ponders, she realizes her business goals are a little more defined:
Sometimes knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important. While she has a pretty long list of goals, they’re complementary, and by ruling out e-commerce and business process changes, she’s set some boundaries for her project.
Morgan knows her budget and thinks that she can at least begin working toward all of her goals from the get-go. Now she’s ready to start her Conversation Marketing campaign by making sure she knows the room.