Success with anything is a process;  It doesn’t happen overnight.

We all know this yet our brains trick us into skipping a few steps whenever we set off to accomplish a new goal. That often leads to frustration because we almost never hit a goal within the timeframe we initially set.

I’ll use golf as an example because it’s one of those sports that just about everyone has the ability to play, and to play really well. However, most of us, myself included, are not good at golf.  That’s because we fail to complete the process I’m going to outline in this article.

Of course, this is also the same process you need to follow if you want to have success with digital marketing.



Stage 1: The Dream

Everyone completes this first stage, which is the dream, or the goal.  We all set goals in our personal lives and our business lives. For example, I once had the dream to shoot a round of golf in the low 80s.  If you’re familiar with golf, then you know that’s a fairly respectable score. It’s good, but I’m not even talking about great here.

With digital marketing, some popular dreams are to rank #1 in Google, profitably advertise online, or build a website that actually sells your products and services.

Again, I’m sure no one reading this needs help with the dream stage.  We all do it daily.  It’s the later stages where things start to break down…


Stage 2: The Plan

The plan is where your dream meets reality.  It takes no effort to have that initial dream, but during the planning stage we need to put in some serious work.  What are the key steps required to hit that goal we set in stage 1?

Often this requires getting expert advice or talking to someone who has already accomplished your goal. For me, I talked to my father-in-law who is an avid golfer.  He has no trouble hitting in the 80s and is happy to explain the steps to me.

With your maketing, you’ll likely need to talk to a consultant to get a clear idea for what it will take to hit your goals and what is a realistic timeframe.  The end result of this stage is a marketing plan, or roadmap, that you’ll use to set off on your mission.

Just like the dream, a lot of us make it through this stage with few problems.  It’s the next two stages where we often stumble…


Stage 3: Action

Stage 3 is where we finally take action. With my quest for shooting a lower golf score, this meant I had to practice.  I had to put in the hours to practice my drive, my irons, and my putting both on the course and on the practice areas.

What do you think happened?

Well, I got better of course.  I went from shooting over 100, to finally getting into the 90s. I started to get pars and eliminated those awful holes where I was scoring 10s.

The same thing obviously will happen when you start to take action to improve your marketing.  You’ll see some initial success. This may come in the form of improved Google rankings, more leads and phone calls, and more sales.

But what inevitably happens next?

You hit some roadblocks!

Think of this like Newton’s 3rd law of motion – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. :)  You will always, without fail, run into some problems once you get further along into stage 3.  And this is where most of us fall down.

It’s easy to start executing our marketing plans, especially when things are going well intitially, but the most critical stage is how we react to the roadblocks.  That brings us to stage 4…


Stage 4: Reaction

The reaction stage ultimately determines whether or not we hit our goals.  For me with golf, I fell flat on my face here.  When I hit the plateau in my game and wasn’t seeing any more improvement, I reacted poorly and started to play less!  This is a natural reaction, but the better course of action would have been to seek some expert help to tune-up my swing.

The reality is that a small adjustment could have pushed me forward so that I was closer to my goal of shooting in the 80s. Instead, I accepted my mediocre golf play.

With marketing, you’re bound to hit plateaus and even launch campaigns that fail.  How you react will determine success or failure.  You can “play less” like I did with golf and pull back your marketing, or you can seek expert advice, change course and push through closer to your goals.

Remember, your choices during this critical stage will determine your marketing success.


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