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How to Help Your Business Prosper: 3 Questions to Ask

  |  September 2, 2010   |  Comments

Digital marketers have access to insights that can help their business weather tough economic times.

Anyone who follows economic and business cycles knows that autumn is the most perilous time of year. Even if you didn't know that, look back only two years ago - when investors return from vacation and survey the future's landscape.

The good news: If you are working in digital business, you have a leg up on this gnarley (a word we use in California frequently) cycle.


We have knowledge.

Knowledge of what paid ad campaign works and what does not.

Knowledge that more people are heading to the Web and making more purchases there every day.

Knowledge that folks are happy giving up their e-mail addresses and other info in exchange for obtaining good content.

Knowledge that digital businesses are only heading in one macro-direction. And that is up regardless of smaller economic cycles.

So what separates the jobless from those with thriving careers? What is the difference between the marketer in a rut of same old, same old and someone exploring new areas of social, real-time search, deep analytic segmentation, or marketing automation strategies? Simple: knowledge.

If you take it upon yourself to understand the possibilities of these new areas, you'll win. If you don't, you'll have a painful performance review this year with your boss.

It’s always easier to blame something else for your problems instead of seeking out solutions. So let’s take a stab at some solutions. Let's call them, "prosperity equalizers" to ensure you are growing your online efforts instead of explaining why your business or division is stagnating. Start by asking these three questions:

Analytics: What Does This Metric Mean to the CEO?

Consider each metric you track and ask yourself, "What does this mean to the CEO or my boss?"

Be sure to provide proper context.

For instance, take the conversion rate on an ad campaign landing page. If it's up 2 percent, translate what that means to the CEO, such as: “Our new campaign focusing on XYZ is improving week over week our impact on sales and providing ABC new potential customers.”

Search: What New Markets Can We Tap Using Search?

Search is an inexpensive research mechanism for business. Take a look at some of the strategic new markets your senior management outlined this year; use search to provide data on opportunities based on ads placed for such. New international markets, new vertical markets, or different customer segments can be understood using search.

Social: Why Are Facebook and Twitter Important to Our Business?

Using an analogy is a huge help when explaining to non-social folks. Let's say the last tradeshow your business attended had 10,000 folks visiting competitors and other vendors over two to three days. In contrast, consider Twitter and Facebook. Word usage research shows that your business would have 100,000 "attending" or connecting with our company every day on social networks – and everyone's a potential customers. Maximum investment in this "show" is 10 hours a week.

In summary, remember that autumn is the time of year when we all are setting budgets, evaluating success, and seeking new ideas and avenues to drive growth in this very sluggish economy. So, be the guy or gal who comes in with new ideas and answers based on data that align with company goals. Speak the language of business, not the language of online marketing.

Look forward to hearing how it goes this fall!


Aaron Kahlow

After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - an e-learning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.

Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.

Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his e-learning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.

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