Alice found herself in a strange and wonderful land where she met the Cheshire Cat. She asked for her way and learned a valuable lesson: It doesn’t matter which way she takes if she doesn’t know where she is going.
It is the same in marketing. Success rarely follows “spontaneity”. Instead, a plan is the surest way to be successful. Yet, many small businesses fail when it comes to marketing because they don’t have a clear idea of the end of the game. Maybe you are one of them. You know you should be on social media, so you’ve created a few profiles. You understand that a website is important, so you’ve thrown in a few pages. Or maybe you’ve spent money on Google AdSense without understanding how to make it most effective.
Congratulations. You took action! A lot of people get stuck in the learning process and never take action. But, without a clear marketing goal, it will take a stroke of luck to be successful.
Use OKRs to be successful
What is an OKR? Simply put, an OKR is a goal with a measurable outcome. OKR stands for objective and key results. OKRs will help you create a tangible, scalable goal, a way to measure it, and initiatives to achieve the goal. OKRs are not a to-do list. Rather, they are the driving force behind your daily activities. Let’s see how you can use OKRs to improve your marketing efforts.
1. Define your marketing goals.
List your goals and time-wasting activities. Suggest about 10. Those goals could be to drive more local traffic to your store or to rank # 1 for a particular keyword, such as “Boise Plumier.”
2. Resist the emergency trap.
Remove activities that are “fire extinguisher” goals – those used to put out a fire. Fire extinguishing targets are popular because many people are motivated by an emergency.
I first encountered this while working in a sales team. Each sales period had a cycle. Initially, the team was relaxed, building relationships and finding leads. But as the sale period neared its close, the urgency would increase. In the last few days, a scrambled effort ensued, which often included “cut back” services and flash sales. The last week of the sales period produced the highest sales of the entire period. Why? Because the urgency created the motivation for action. The monthly or quarterly objective created the urgency.
Unfortunately, in the long run, this strategy is worse for a business because flash sales create the appearance of desperation and discounted service. Instead, imagine what happens when motivation is kept high throughout the month and the focus is on long-term growth.
3. Focus on the goals that make your business grow.
Consider the 80/20 Principle and highlight the goals that help grow your business. Consider the two or three goals that would have the most impact on your marketing efforts. For example, you can aim to increase local traffic to your physical store or increase your customer return rate by 20%. Another goal could be to generate 10 leads per month from blog content.
4. Define how you can measure the goals.
It is the measurement of your goal that provides the key to achieving it. Pull the numbers. How many visitors does it take to your website to convert to sales? Should you be focusing on higher conversion or more visitors? Then decide what you are going to measure. Define how much you will grow your site with visitors. Define your new conversion number. How will you monitor the success of the goal?
If your goal is to increase your customer return, then you need to track your customers and know your return rate. If you want to increase traffic to your store locally, you need to know where your store appears online and how easy it is for a potential customer to find you. Your goal might be to rank # 1 for local search terms.
5. Define clear initiatives.
Your initiatives are how you will achieve the goal. For example, you can set up a plan to call customers at seven days to find out how their new purchase is going. You can then send a 14-day email campaign to offer additional services or a “loyalty” discount. At 30 days, you could introduce a “refer a friend” program for the client. These are initiatives aimed at achieving the goal of increasing the sales of returned customers by 20%.
If your goal was to increase local traffic to your store, you can set key results to rank # 1 on local search. Your initiatives would include activities such as optimizing your Google My Business listing, listing in 10 local directories, or getting at least 20 customer reviews over the next six months. These initiatives are then broken down into daily activities.
6. Stay focused on key activities.
By creating OKRs for your marketing plan, you can better focus on the activities that drive long-term success. Often times in marketing results can lag behind your activities. Indexing your content can be time consuming for Google and other search engines. It takes time to build trust online.
The temptation can be to give up. Yet like the gardener who plants seeds but sees nothing happening immediately, the change often occurs below ground level. Don’t give up until the plant grows through the soil.
7. Measure your progress.
As you measure the progress of your key results, it will provide you with little checks to show that your activities are paying off. As you see your business list grow for local search terms, you can measure the effectiveness of your business. When you see the first responses from your email campaign, it provides you with the data to stay consistent or make changes for increased efficiency.
OKRs are essential in creating a clear path for your marketing goals. They can make the difference when you strive to make your day-to-day operations efficient and your marketing team remains focused on the success and long-term goals of the business.