Have you ever wondered why some people are successful at marketing online, while others struggle just to make things click?

I’ve found there are three main things a successful online marketing plan has: A clear goal, a real plan, and market feedback.

So let’s break each one of those things down.

In today’s digital landscape it’s easy to get distracted, jumping from one thing to the next. we actually did a story on the Tech News You Shouldn’t Read. I argue there that the typical daily tech stories have no bearing on the success of you or your business. So why should you read them?

Information gathering, visiting blogs, learning the latest tips, tools, and strategies to engage social media without a clear focus seldom helps in marketing online (okay except visiting our site, I have to throw that one in).

I’ve come to the conclusion that most people already know enough (at least enough to start to see some success), but they fall into this loop of searching and seeking for the answer.

1. Lack of Clear Written and Tracked Goals

Without a written goal you have no idea how to measure your success or failure. It’s a simple step but something few of us do– that is write down the goals you want to achieve in your marketing efforts.

It happens a quite a bit, someone puts up a blog, creates some content,  share it in social media, and repeat. All this without having a clear WHY they are doing it. Then after a few weeks of this they lose focus and they are off to the next idea or strategy.

A content strategy without a clear objective is simply a hobby. It’s real tough to monetize a hobby.

Writing your objectives is the first thing you should do before you create a blog, website, or start to seriously engage social media.

Sounds simple and usually the keys to a foundation of success are.

To create goals for your efforts ask a  few questions:

  • What is the purpose of my current marketing efforts?
  • What am I hoping to achieve?
  • What are specific goals I am seeking in all my advertising efforts online?
  • How will this ultimately lead to me getting someone to do business with me, buy my product or enter one of my permission marketing channels?

I think on a small level everybody thinks about this stuff but the real test is do you have it written down somewhere? Most people I’ve met who are not having great success at marketing online have not written down their goals.

Creating and writing down your marketing goals is the first step to understanding how to achieve them.

First, it allows you to focus on what is important.

Second, it will start to get you thinking about the things you do on a daily basis to achieve these goals.

Third, it gives you a focus and a reason for all your efforts.

What type of goals should you define?

The goal I hear most often is…

I want more traffic to my website.

That is a good goal, but it’s really not the type of goal you should be defining.

A quick way to focus on the right goal is to answer the following question:

I need more traffic to my website because…

That really is the purpose of your efforts. That should be the focus of your goals.

Traffic and visitor goals are important, I’m just saying bring it to a higher purpose.

2. Failure to Realistically Plan

Now you have your goals so your speeding in the right direction. The next  step is to create a list of things that you can do to accomplish those goals.

This is were reality comes into play, you know have a measure of success and you’ll start seeing what types of tactics have to be employed to get there.

A common goal is to grow your email list. What are some ways you could start creating a plan to do this?

  • Create Strategy to Test Offers – The first step in building your email list is having a great offer. Without a dedication and a plan your chances for success go down drastically.
  • Write and promote a blog post X number of times a week – Creating blog posts gives reasons for people to visit your site, more visitors usually does translate into more people joining your email list.
  • Re-purpose content– Take content you have created for your blog and use it in other places. Such as niche social networks or create a Facebook note. 
  • Engage social media – You properly engage social media, where people want to learn more about you. Usually visiting your profile and visiting your website.
  • Comment on industry blog posts– You find the top blogs and influential bloggers in your industry and make comments. Very good strategy for targeted traffic to your website.
Once again, as you go about writing down and planning you’ll start to see just how much time and effort this will take. The next tip is where having a plan and goals ensure you don’t get off track…

3. Not Gaining Experience or Market Feedback

This is the most critical part and there are two reasons people fail in this critical spot.

First, they didn’t create goals and a plan.

Goals + Plan = Ability to Gain Market Intelligence.

When you operate without those first two critical elements the experience you gain never ties back to something concrete.

In effect, you have no way to relate your success or failure to anything meaningful to you or your business.

The second reason why many people fail to have real success in this area is they don’t create a evolving feedback plan.

What I like to do with projects I work on is a Release, Review, Modify schedule. There is one more peice we will talk about shortly.

Internet marketing online
Internet marketing online – Release, Review, Modify


You release a new type of doing something, new feature or a change. For instance, you change your call to action on your website.

You’ve been running the same one for the last 20 days, you have X amount of visitors, so you have a good idea of what the opt-in rate is.

You decide on the metrics you should be tracking to measure effectiveness and if you are getting traction. You craft this change and release it.


Now in the review phase you look at the results. These are the metrics you have already identified will be the basis of your success. Usually it’s pretty obvious whether or not your concept increased results. Sometimes it stays the same. That’s when you move onto step into the modify section.


You take what you’ve learned so far.

You might say to yourself… before when my opt-in offered a free report I got a 7% opt-in rate across all visitors. With this change it’s at 9%.

Tip: sometimes it’s smart to look at specific vertical market visitors, example; opt-in rate of Twitter or social media-vs-organic traffic. Organic traffic vs paid traffic.

Questions you might ask:

  • Is this rate acceptable and can it be improved?
  • Next, If it can, what changes are necessary and what are the metrics?
  • Does this fit within my goals and can I implement it?

This is something that is a continuous action in your marketing efforts.

If your success rate based on your goals is acceptable, that’s when you move to the next level.


Scaling is when you take what has worked and find ways to explode the activity.

Scaling internet marketing
Scaling your Internet marketing.

I’ll give you an example from our website.

Blog commenting gets a us pretty good traffic. This post here on Mashable where Brian commented on social media and ROI links right to our Social Media Silver Bullet Report.

The traffic from this comment has a very high opt-in rate for this report. It’s relevant to the topic so people that read Brian’s comment link over and already are interested in the topic of the special report.

So how do we scale this?

Two ways, you could use real time search tools to find other posts on social media and ROI, find blog posts and comment.

Set up a google alert for “social media and roi”, if you want quick results you set it up as it happens.

The key is not what we did but the process, it started with our goal.

Our goal:  Build a large permission email list where can can give tremendous value and people can learn more about what we do.

We created a special report and put it behind a opt-in form to increase this list. We then feature this on our website and drive specific traffic that is is likely interested in the report.

This is one scalability item. From there we test other options we have based on results we gather.

What Should Do Now To Effectively Market Online?

  • Step 1 – Create and write down your goals
  • Step 2 – Create a realistic plan to achieve your goals given your current capabilities
  • Step 3 – Gain, retain, and learn from your results
  • Step 4 – Release, Review, Modify, and Scale.

To your success.