Setting Goals To Achieve Online Success
Many of my small business clients have asked me to help them with a social media plan or an SEO plan. They want to dive in right away to all the “sexy” online things, and drive lots of traffic to their Website, or grow awareness of their business fast. The problem with all of this is, without the right foundation being set prior to working on an SEO or social media plan, the plan simply won’t be successful. Before any strategic plan is put into place for anything online–whether it is your Website, your social media channels, or what content is written–you need to first set goals. What are you trying to achieve online?
Guy Clapperton, author of This is Social Media, says
“Set yourself a target.
Is it about mindshare?
Is it about what you must have in a business plan and expected business outcome?”
A good online consultant or freelancer will not even begin work until they understand your goals and YOU should not either. You should not write, blog, post, or sell anything online until you know your goals. And if you are paying for ads or search traffic without goals—stop doing that right now. We need to take a step back. First, define what you want to achieve online, and prioritize your goals.
What are the actions people would take that would make you happy, and help grow your business? First you have to figure out what you are looking for, and then drive a strategy around it. Are you an established business looking to increase your revenue? Or are you new and looking for clients? In general, most locally-based businesses, such as yoga studios, salons, and skincare facilities, rely on a steady foundation of loyal customers. Increasing loyalty for those customers is key–and a good goal to set online. Other goals might be setting your business apart from the crowd. If there is a lot of competition in your city or town for services that you also provide, you’ll want to differentiate yourself so that clients know why they should come to you.
3 Suggested Goals For Small, Local Businesses
1. Get Appointments: Find new customers who will book an appointment with you, and increase the number of appointments booked with current customers. A sub-set of this might be to fill last-minute cancellations.
2. Differentiate Your Business: Knowing your special sauce and understanding what makes you different is key to developing your content, your branding, and the services you offer.
3. Increase Loyalty: It’s hard to always be searching for new clients, and one of the best ways health and wellness businesses can grow their business is to focus on current customers coming in more often. Encouraging those clients to also recommend you to friends and family (referrals tend to be loyal clients as well) is an achievable goal online—in fact its one of the best things about social media.
I have found that in general, these are some good online goals for small, locally-based businesses, particularly health, wellness, and beauty businesses. Once you’ve set your goals, you’ll start making a plan to achieve those goals, and you’ll want to look into your online branding, and how and where to reach your ideal audience online.
In December 2013, the B2 Small Business Boost online tutorials will be launching with in-depth training on precisely how to establish a solid online brand, and reach your target audience online. In the meantime, take this time to write down and prioritize your goals for online.