Marketing and Advertising

Creating clear marketing goals for action, success and more money!

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Business owners often know what they want in their businesses, but they don’t have clear goals on how to get what they want. They just know they want to be successful. They know they want to make more money. They know they want to do the thing that their business does.

Here’s the thing though: having clear and specific goals makes it easier to do everything else. Having clear goals even creates more time in your business because you’re not spending time on things that won’t move you forward. Clear business goals also help you define clear marketing goals which will ensure your attention and messaging is focused on what will have an impact on your business. And good marketing turns into more leads, which turns into more sales!


Spend time thinking about your business goals, specifically about what you're hoping to achieve through your marketing. It's probably (though not necessarily) a given that one of your goals is to make more money, but we want to get more specific than that today. Your goals may include things, such as:

  • Being known as an expert at something

  • Being seen as a resource on a certain topic

  • Expanding your audience geographically or demographically

  • Getting more engagement online and building community

  • Increasing sales in a certain part of your business

  • Getting other people to talk about you to their communities

  • Filling a certain program

  • Increasing sales online instead of in person

Because it always helps to see specific examples, I'll share some of mine and create some fictional examples:

  • Be seen as an expert in explaining social media for small business

  • Be seen as an expert in nutrition and wellness

  • Expand audience beyond the Ottawa-area

  • Expand audience to new moms 

  • Increase sales in one-on-one coaching and speaking (or sign two new clients per month)

  • Create content that is linked to by other bloggers and media outlets

  • Be more findable in search

You can be even more precise and create goals that are channel-specific:

  • Increase Facebook likes by 300 people

  • Establish a presence on YouTube and get 1000 video views

  • Get retweeted and tagged by industry experts on Twitter

  • Get three media hits per month


The more you work to figure out these goals and why you're setting them, the more likely you will work them into your plan efficiently. Take a few minutes and write down an explanation of what you mean by each one and why they're important to you. For example:

  • I really enjoy helping small business owners figure out how to use social media for their business in a one-on-one setting. I get energized and excited when having personalized calls with business owners and hearing them figure out what they could be doing. Their lightbulb moments make my day, and their wins and increased revenue are my wins too. I want to do more of that so I need to make it clear that this is something that I do, like to do and I am good at.

  • I feel that it's time to expand beyond my local market. I like to spend time in Toronto and Boston and want to start by growing my audience in those specific cities. To do that, I need to start to grow an audience in those cities, so there is already a start of a customer base in those cities when I arrive to hold an event or launch a product. I need to figure out where my audience is spending their time (online and off) in those cities so I can create a custom plan.

  • I want to grow my online sales. I know that if I focus more of my attention on driving people to my online store and the products I sell there, I can increase that revenue stream. That may mean decreasing what I make in person while I focus on online or working extra hours to carry me through the gap.


I challenge you to spend 10 minutes right now coming up with three or four marketing goals for the next six months. Really think about what you like to do, what you want to be doing and why you want to be doing it and give yourself some real explanations on why those are important and meaningful goals for you and your business and your marketing right now. Then leave a comment and share some of those ideas here!


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New Year, New Challenges, New Goals

I feel like I missed the New Year's post bandwagon now that we're on day five, but I'm going to ignore that and post anyway. I recently passed the four-month mark for The Media Mesh and I'm really proud of the consistency I've been able to achieve in that time. It's not easy with all the other things I have going on, but this blog is just one step among many on the path to a larger goal.

I've had a certain vision for 2012 a for quite a while now, but I realized recently that my vision isn't going to come to fruition. That's the way life goes sometimes and that's okay. I've been scrambling (mentally) to re-evaluate and re-assess what I want to do this year and how I can do it without compromising various areas of my life. This realization is so recent that I'm not there yet, and that leads perfectly into my first of three words that will define 2012 for me.

We all have busy lives and when life throws a curve ball at you that busyness can suddenly seem incredibly overwhelming. That's exactly what happened to me. So that means that I have to give myself more time to achieve the things I want to do. It also means I need to use my time more wisely. It's a precious commodity, so I don't want to waste a moment. That doesn't mean curtailing downtime. It simply means I don't have the option of not focusing on the task or activity at hand - whether that's writing a blog, spending time with my family or spending time relaxing.

I'm stealing this one from Lara, because I have similar challenges. As new and amazing opportunities come my way, I am often tempted to jump right in without first asking myself whether I'm being realistic about time constraints or if the opportunity is helpful to my long-term goals. I recently made the decision not to pursue a potentially lucrative opportunity because I knew I couldn't devote the time and effort to it that was required. Additionally, it was pretty far off the path I'm on and I wasn't willing to compromise on that. I feel absolutely no regret about this decision.

2012 may not shape up quite the way I thought it would, but that doesn't mean I can't continue to move in the direction I want to go. There are so many things I can work on this year that may help me six months, a year from now or whenever I'm able to focus more concentrated time on the long-term plan. Being proactive with laying that foundation should make the progress faster when I finally start to move forward.

I can't help but feel excitement about 2012. Something about this new year has me feeling optimistic and motivated more so than in previous years. Part of the excitement is around seeing what's going to happen in social media. I'm looking forward to discussing the state of social media in July when we do our second annual Social Capital Conference in Ottawa. In the meantime, I hope I'll continue to provide opportunities for great discussion here at The Media Mesh.

There are dozens of post ideas floating around in my brain and in Evernote, but I'm going to ask all of you out there to tell me what you're interested in learning about social media. Is there a particular tool you want to know more about? Do you have questions about best practices? Tell me what you want to know - anything at all - and I'll try to cover it to the best of my ability. This blog is only useful if the content is useful to the readers, so I welcome your input.

To all of you who have been with me for the last four months, I thank you and hope you stick around for a long time to come!

Happy New Year!

Engagement isn't just something you do online - 5 tips for brands at conferences

In my professional life, engagement has been a buzz word for years for various reasons depending on the industry. Right now, I do a great deal of work in social media both personally and professionally and everybody talks about the importance of engagement. Not everyone understands how to do it well, though. This lack of understanding is particularly troublesome when you take the context of engagement "offline".

Source: CL Buchanan Photography

This past weekend, I attended Blissdom Canada, a writing and business conference that focuses on social media, marketing, public relations and blogging. Blissdom is geared toward females in this realm and, as such, attracts sponsors who gear their products toward females. Primarily food, travel, family vehicles, children's toys and household products. While I would personally love to see more tech industry brands represented, I recognize that there's a great divide between female-oriented conferences that always seem to be geared to the "mommy blogger" and other conferences that have a general audience. That's a discussion I could get into here, but I'll refrain for now. I have a few things I'd like to say to brands at conferences based on my first-hand experiences and second-hand stories (from a variety of conferences, not just Blissdom Canada).

1) Know what your goals are and why you're at the conference. When I walk up to you and say hello, I'd love to hear something from you. I'm not just walking by your booth to take what I can get. Now, if you had a stack of iPads, I might be tempted to grab and run but most of you don't have said iPads so get my attention another way. I happen to be a blogger who hasn't worked with brands very much and I don't seek out that relationship. So, why should I talk to you, try your product or potentially write about it? Having an awkward 20 seconds as I pass by on my way to the next booth means I'm going to forget about you even though you handed me a bag with your logo on it.

2) If you want to give away "swag", make it meaningful, useful and audience appropriate. There were several food companies at Blissdom Canada this year. Every last one of them showed and gave away products that are or can be controversial to various segments of the population, but most particularly among health-conscious mothers. Other brands handed a pile of paper or promotional items to visitors. All of this in the name of getting their name out there. To get noticed. To get exposure. I wonder how many of my fellow conference attendees made a generous addition to their recycling bin and the landfill today with these things they can't really use or don't want. (I vow here and now that the first brand I feel comfortable giving an endorsement and who does an eco-friendly promotion at a conference is getting a blog post from me - no strings attached to it.)

3) The Golden Rule is the best practice for booth staffing. I heard from countless people about a staffperson who was repeatedly rude or short with visitors. While I understand that a crowd around your booth can be overwhelming and your booth activity might be keeping you far busier than expected, staff should always be courteous to visitors and not treat them poorly. Here's why: I may not know that staffperson's name, but I know your brand name.

4) Social media conference engagement starts and ends online - before, during and after. Yes, you have a physical presence at the conference. Of course you're busy talking to the stream of people flooding your booth at all times of the day. Don't forget to check your twitter and facebook accounts. Attendees will interact with you during sessions and overnight when they have questions and comments. Be sure you have resources to stay just as engaged online as you are face-to-face.

5) Don't let the connection you made die: Follow-up. I've been the brand at conferences before. I know how busy it is when you get back to the office and work piled up while you're gone, in addition to all the new work generated by all the conversations you had at the conference. If you don't follow-up within the first two days after the conference, the adrenaline rush is going to fizzle out and your opportunity to engage potential influencers will vanish. When visitors finally get your email a week, two weeks, six months later it won't generate nearly the enthusiastic response you'd get if you sent it within the first two days to a week.

Reaching out to bloggers is an effective and efficient way to reach a targeted market with information about your product and services. As the marketing world catches on to just how valuable a relationship with bloggers can be, the brands who do that interaction right will stay ahead of the game in terms of their reach. The ones who don't will continue to rack up missed opportunities that will make them question the value of social media. The key to doing this right is to engage, engage, engage. It isn't about selling to your connections. It's about developing a relationship online and off.

3 Steps to Recovering from Social Media Backlash

Controversial content can lead to huge pageviews and shares. When innocuous content goes viral, there are generally few worries about negative feedback. The story can be very different for content that goes viral merely because of a controversy that surrounds it.

How many companies - large and small - have posted content that led to a social media backlash? We can probably all think of several examples. It's easier than ever before to take individuals and entities to task for objectionable material. Therefore, it's important for social media content to be carefully considered before hitting the submit button. And if you're not prepared for the possibility of a negative reaction, then it maybe wisest to change course and go in a different direction.

What should you do when you've (inadvertently) stepped over the line?

1) Assess the situation.
How widespread is the negative feedback? Is it gaining momentum that will hurt you? Can it be dealt with on an individual basis or does it warrant a wider public response? The answers to these questions should help determine the appropriate steps to rectify the situation.

2) Respond genuinely and promptly in all forums.
If it's appropriate to modify or take the content down, then it's probably appropriate to issue an apology as well. Even if the intention of the piece was not to offend, make that clear and give an apology that addresses the concerns that have been expressed. Insincerity, defensiveness or avoidance of the real issue will be exposed and create a bigger backlash.

3) Turn it around to something good.
Want to show your followers that you mean what you say? Back it up with action. Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to donate time, money and/or resources to raising awareness about the related issue.

Edgy, attention-grabbing content is the goal of every individual and entity active in social media today. But efforts to create a unique campaign that spreads can backfire easily if the content strikes the wrong chord with your audience. And if you've had fallout from a campaign once, the last thing you want is to repeat it in the future.

What are some examples of social media backlash? How was it handled? Was the response appropriate and effective?