Develop an Effective Online Marketing Campaign by Asking ‘Why’ Not ‘What’

We hear it again and again: “I want a widget”, “we need to be on facebook”. A development team will say “ok”. A good online partner will ask “why”.

Some companies just want the development team, they will drive their own initiatives. But if you want to develop a strong online campaign with demonstrable success, you need to focus on “why”, not “what”.

I spent close to a decade as a Web developer, and I will be the first to tell people that they can make the greatest website in the world, but it’s useless if no one is aware of it. To ensure success of the campaign, you need to determine the focus of your efforts. Traditional marketing may speak of the stages of awareness, interest, trial and repeat. In an online world, we may talk about attraction, interaction and growth.

A widget can help with growth: a site visitor places the widget elsewhere online. By doing so, he is indicating his support to his online connections. This trust and reputation can help affirm the value of the resource. Great, we have a plan! There are only a few questions I have:

  1. how did that initial site visitor find your site?
  2. what does he get out of sharing the widget?

It can be hard to believe that not everyone is as passionate about your organization as you are. But the reason why there are so many reports about brand applications failing on Facebook is because they’re developed with the brand, and not the user, in mind.

For many people, social media is a land of opportunity: millions of bloggers out there just waiting to advertise your product or service. But bloggers are people too, and they need to have some incentive to spread your message. Again, we’re back to the “why” question.

Why should people subscribe to your news feed? If you don’t have a good answer, perhaps a news feed isn’t what you need. Why would people join your Facebook group? Why do you want to be on Twitter?

These aren’t easy questions, because they force an organization to understand the merits of these different tactics. So what if you focused on your desired outcome, and let others be concerned with how to get there? Ultimately, you wouldn’t say “our campaign was successful because we built a website”, you would want to demonstrate the value thereof. A partner knowledgeable in the application of social media tools can help you identify your objectives, determine how success will be measured, and then figure out how to get there for you.

The only question left is “why not?”