Imagine getting on a flight without the destination set. It takes off anyway. One passenger stands up and says he has a meeting in New York, so the pilot heads for JFK. Another passenger argues “actually I need to get to London.” The plane turns around.

What’s the outcome? The plane flies in circles until it burns up all of its fuel.

It lands in Pittsburgh. Everyone loses.

Getting Clear

If there was one major outcome that would change everything for the better in your business – and most likely, as a result, in your life – what would it be?

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the fronts you need to keep up with – Google ranking, what to post on Facebook, why your email is suddenly landing in spam (side note: it’s DMARC and your shared hosting isn’t keeping up. Get G Suite and save yourself the headache).

Getting clear on the major outcome you’re after is a step toward seeing better results from your website and online marketing.

You don’t have to know how just yet. Start with the outcome. Then you’ll piece together the steps in between.

Maybe it’s something obvious, like realizing the “get an estimate” form is hiding in a sub-section where people aren’t engaging. Moving it to the home page “above the fold” could be a step toward the major outcome of getting more leads.

Maybe it’s less obvious, like discovering customers use different phrases to search for your product or service instead of industry terms that feel natural to you.

Digging With Spoons in a Gold Rush

Between the goldmine of demographic and psychographic data on social media just waiting to be used in focused and cost-effective advertising; and the sophisticated tools available for email marketing automation and ecommerce; the potential to grow and succeed online is mind-blowing.

Yet most businesses severely underutilize this potential.

The barrier to entry isn’t cost. It’s understanding what’s possible.

Forget the Five Year Plan

Let’s make it even easier. Give it a 3 month limit. What’s the biggest single positive outcome you could achieve in the next 90 days to feel like you’re on the right track (or remove a major pain point)?

Your goal could be:

  • to increase online sales
  • to spread awareness for an important issue
  • to reduce the burden on our staff through automation
  • to get more customers to eat here

Try spending a little time getting clearer on what you hope to accomplish. Details are key.


“Our online store isn’t getting much traffic.”

This is vague and lacks direction.


“We’re aiming for a 25% increase in online sales by May 1, 2020.”

This is a clear goal that can be turned into actionable steps. Progress can be tracked and your approach can be adjusted based on performance.

Staying Clear

No matter which part of the process you’re in, make sure your actions tie back to your major outcome. Set a reminder to check in weekly and make sure you’re moving in the right direction.

Feeling out of your depth, or unsure how to proceed? Ask. There’s usually someone around who’s done what you’re trying to do.

Humans are curious and resilient creatures, but it’s amazing how long we can choose to stay stuck because we’ve invested enough time into a project. Myself included.

Don’t burn up all your fuel flying in circles.

Continued in Part 3.

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Don’t just
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No spam, just quality content on getting the most out of your web presence – and maybe an occasional mention of something cool in Portland, or a book / podcast mention if we’re impressed and think you’d get genuine value from checking it out.