When you hear someone mention the phrase online marketing, what’s the first thing that pops in your mind?  Probably SEO right?  Or maybe social media?  Or search engine advertising?

In one of my mastermind meetings the other week, I realized something interesting as other business owners talked about their experiences with online marketing.  I noticed there are two distinct mindsets around this topic.

    1. One mindset is tactic-oriented.  The thought of online marketing conjures up tactics like SEO, social media, and search engine advertising.
    2. The other mindset is goal-oriented.  Instead of picturing individual tactics, the goal-oriented mindset thinks in terms of marketing goals like more traffic, more leads, more sales, more repeat purchases, and more profits.


The business owners in the room with tactic-oriented mindsets did not understand why my company, Main Street ROI, does not provide marketing services like the ones I listed above.  They believe online marketing is simply about implementing tactics.  If you want to rank in Google, then you hire an SEO company, or if you want a social media presence, then you hire a social media manager, etc.

It’s important to note that Pete and I founded Main Street ROI by providing those types of services.  However, we quickly realized that is NOT what businesses really need.  We found that tactics alone rarely lead to any meaningful results.  Sure, an SEO company can get you ranked #1, but that may not be your best opportunity to drive prospects to your website.  Plus, if you do not have a system to convert those website visitors to leads and the leads to customers, then what’s the point of ranking #1?

What we found early on, is that a lot of small businesses hire marketing service providers BEFORE they understand how the tactics are going to help them achieve their big picture marketing goals.  In other words, many businesses unfortunately lack a clear and effective online marketing plan.  And that’s why we shifted our own business to provide marketing strategy over tactical services.

For example, three of our private clients first approached us to “do their SEO,” but after probing a bit in the initial meetings, we found that SEO was not even close to where they should focus their resources.  One client was much better off focusing on search engine advertising and website conversion optimization.  Another would get more ROI from a display advertising campaign.  And the third one was sitting on a customer database goldmine of over 25,000 previous customers they hadn’t contacted in years.  Could we have gotten their websites ranking higher in Google?  Yup.  But was that really their best opportunity at the time? Nope.

That’s why success with online marketing all starts with your goals and your plan.  It never starts with tactics.

Free Webinar: How to Create An Effective Marketing Plan

I’m hosting a free webinar on Thursday, June 20th, designed to help you create an effective online marketing plan… in just 60 minutes. Attendance is limited to 100, so I recommend you register right now before we fill up!

Click here to register for the webinar