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Plan Ahead by Asking "Now What?"

You create a great-looking email, craft a compelling subject line and achieve a 20 percent open rate. Now what?

You invest time and energy posting interesting and entertaining items on Facebook. Hundreds of people like your post. Now what?

You spend a chunk of change on search engine marketing and drive a flood of traffic to your website. Now what?

We live in the age of marketing metrics. We measure more than ever before, and we celebrate or mourn the “good” or “bad” numbers. But we can’t take those numbers to the bank. The Email Fairy doesn’t slip a dollar under our pillow when someone opens our message. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t tip us when someone likes our post. Our website does not magically extract money from every person who visits.
That’s why “Now what?” is such an important question.

Now that they have opened your email, is there a call to action that compels them to take the next step? Do you have plans to target the people who like your posts? Does your website give prospects a way to raise their hands and say, “Tell me more”?

Last year I met a small-business man who was spending $500 per month on search engine marketing that, he said, was not working. Sure enough, the business achieved zero sales growth over the year he invested in search marketing. But when I examined his website data, I saw a flood of new traffic in the months after he launched the marketing campaign.

He drove thousands of new visitors to his website, but as did so, he never asked, “Now what?”

A deeper examination of the data revealed that visitors arrived at his website, stayed briefly and bolted without ever moving past the front page. As he later conceded, his site “stunk.”

So he paused the search marketing campaign and focused on what should happen when a visitor arrives at his site. To capture leads, he added an email sign-up form and compelling content giveaways. To engage those leads and drive sales, he created automated emails with requests to meet and special offers for buyers who acted soon.

People who opened his emails but didn’t act further automatically received a follow-up email. Those who clicked but didn’t buy received a different follow-up.

To drive even more traffic to his site and capture more leads, he promoted his content giveaways on Facebook.

After he implemented these changes and restarted his search marketing campaign, website visits translated to new leads. New leads became warm prospects. Warm prospects became new customers.

The moral of this story: Metrics matter, but only in the context of a clear marketing plan. Celebrate website traffic if you have a plan to turn that traffic into leads. Celebrate email opens if your emails engage prospects and drive more sales.

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