The Birdies & Bogies of Online Marketing

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The Masters wrapped up recently with everybody’s favorite lefty (Phil Mickelson) taking home his 2nd green jacket. And at the same time, warm weather is starting to break here in the Midwest. Time to think about pulling the sticks out of the garage and loosening up the ole’ back for a Sunday stroll. However, it’s more like a lost stagger, weaving from fairway to rough to out-of-bounds back to fairway, than it is a stroll. Yes, it’s the time of year when all of us average Joe Weekend golfers suddenly think we should be shooting par when we haven’t picked up a club in 6 months.

In order to be at the top of your game, whether it is a sport, or your business, takes commitment, the ability to see the big picture, and the willingness to work on all the mechanics that make up the big picture.

Phil Mickelson didn’t win the Masters by luck and Tiger Woods is not the top rated golfer in the world after simply dusting off the old clubs and jumping into the ’06 PGA season. These guys are the best at what they do and at the top of their game because they are committed to hitting balls and practicing everyday. They understand what their swing (the big picture, if you will) should look like in order for consistent ball striking. They understand that in order to perfect that swing, they need to work on all of the mechanics that are involved. From set-up, through the backswing, to follow through, there are a number of variables that need attention.

How does this have anything to do with online marketing? It’s simple – commitment, the big picture, and the mechanics that make up the big picture.

Businesses can’t expect to simply jump into the online marketing field because they have a website, by throwing together some Google AdWords, optimizing some title tags, paying for inclusion, running a couple of banner ads, and exchanging some links.

Businesses first need to understand the big picture before diving into the mechanics. What is my online marketing goal? Maybe it’s to increase sales, perhaps it’s a branding initiative, or it could be to attract new leads. Who are my competitors, where are my competitors, and what are my competitors doing? The same questions need to be asked about the target market, and the products or services being offered.

Once these types of questions are answered, then the mechanics can be addressed. And just like a golf swing, they all need attention in order for the marketing campaign to work. Mechanics may include website usability, targeted media buys, search engine optimization, carefully thought pay per click campaigns, email blasts, newsletters, blogs, podcasts, useful analytics, and PR. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. This is not easy! Just as hitting a golf ball off the tee 350 yards with a gallery of thousands, a TV audience of millions, and large sums of money on the line is not easy either.

My point is this – Don’t expect results just because you’re dabbling with online marketing and because you have a website. I shouldn’t expect to shoot par just because I’m out golfing and I have a nice set of Ping irons.

It takes understanding the big picture, identifying the mechanics involved, and being able and willing to make the commitment.

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