I was watching the TV program “Friday Night Lights” the other night and the coach said, “Success is not a goal, it’s a by-product.” of course he was referring to the attitude of his players, the play calling, the execution of plays, etc. but my mind quickly jumped to the success of small business owners who are my customer base.

I know that every small business owner wants to be successful with their Internet marketing. I’m sure that’s a goal for many of them. But success is NOT a goal, success is a by-product of achieving goals.

The 3 questions every small business owner should ask are:

  1. What should my Internet marketing goals be?
  2. What strategies and tactics should be used to accomplish these goals?
  3. What activities are required for each tactic?

Here’s a very specific example of this success process:

SET A PRECISE GOAL– Develop a consistent flow of high quality visitors to our website with a low cost per visit. (Goals are best when they are very specific.)
IDENTIFY THE STRATEGY TO BE USED- Search Engine Optimization.
IDENTIFY THE SPECIFIC TACTIC– Optimize 100 “refined” (long tail) keywords.

  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 1- Identify the 100 best keywords.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 2- Cluster keywords into themes.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 3- Write optimized content for keyword or theme.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 4- Run a baseline Search Engine Ranking Report for each keyword.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 5- Add optimized navigation to the site.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 6- Add the optimized content to the site.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 7- Add “on page” tagging optimization to the new pages.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 8-Consistently monitor ranking results.
  • IDENTIFY ACTIVITY 9- Consistently update SEO as required by changes in algorithms and competitive factors.

Assuming your goal is well advised, and you have a sound strategy and tactics, success will be a result, a by-product, of the activities taken. An old management mantra was “manage the activities and the results will take care of themselves.”  It’s true.

With clarity and purpose comes focus, accountability and measurable results. There is no flitting from “latest new thing” to the next “latest new thing”. Success is the result of setting priorities and seeing them through to completion.

The problem is most small business owners can’t do all this all themselves, or in-house, they simply don’t have the expertise or time. Internet marketing has become much too important and changes occur way too frequently to rely on anyone who is not 100%, full-time, up-to-speed with the most effective Internet marketing strategies and tactics.

The solution becomes hiring an “Internet marketing services” company. Internet marketing companies work in a variety of ways. Some specialize in a tactic like SEO, or website conversion improvement. Others specialize in “niche markets” like Internet marketing for dentists or chiropractors or Realtors or auto dealers, etc. Still others specialize in local marketing, social networking or mobile marketing.

Specialization, while it might sound appealing, has some definite short comings. Often these “niche providers” have particular products that they are associated with and they can have a very myopic view of Internet marketing. They may be focused on a sliver, rather than the whole pie, making it easy to “pass the buck”.

Some Internet marketing service providers specialize in certain size companies, with services and prices geared toward the size of the businesses they are targeting.

Hiring an Internet marketing services company can be an excellent idea. Select a company that gives you the amount of personal attention you need at a price that you can comfortably afford. Look for time saving and factors like the use of private “membership” areas where you can post questions and receive answers at your convenience rather than during business hours. Ask if the company provides video instructions so you won’t need to spend as much time with them on the phone. Ask if they will show you how you can do as much of the marketing in-house as you want to do. Ask if you will have one person you will be working with.

Get the help you need but retain the control over everything. Internet marketing is way too important to “off load” and forget about.
You might find it beneficial to use an Internet marketing company that has clients in a wide variety of industries. By working with a wide variety of companies service providers  are exposed to many tactics and this “cross pollination” could prove very beneficial to you.

In the end, successful Internet marketing is a by-product of…

1. Establishing a goal hierarchy. (Knowing what to do first.)

2. Implementing effective strategies.

3. Implementing effective, up-to-date, tactics.

4. Clearly defining activities and getting them done.

5. Consistent monitoring and maintenance.

Ed Taylor is the owner of InternetMarketingGroup.com, an Internet marketing services company that has provided small businesses with marketing services and coaching since 1995.  Ed blogs at http://imgmembers.com/blog/