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Tim Peter

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February 21, 2012

5 online marketing goals that make (dollars and) sense

February 21, 2012 | By | No Comments

Online marketing goals that make senseGetting your customers, employees and messages lined up sometimes feels like herding… things that are hard to herd (I hate cliché). But why is it so hard? Often the problem isn’t your customers or your employees or your messages.

What is it then?

Your goals.

The right goals can captivate customers, engage employees and multiply your messages’ effectiveness. Getting your goals right may make more of a difference than anything you do in marketing, and is the focus of my latest post for Mike Moran’s Biznology blog, “5 Online Marketing Goals That Make (Dollars and) Sense.”


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Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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February 24, 2010

4 unconventional tips to improve your online business strategy

February 24, 2010 | By | No Comments

Compass for online strategy image courtesy of Matt Biddulph on FlickrHaving the right online business strategy is the difference between doing things right and actually doing the right things. Sure, you could be as efficient as possible. Or you could offer the most beautiful website in your market. But, if your efficiency is costing you customers or nobody comes to that pretty site, your business is just as dead in the long run.

Here are four unconventional tips to help you consider whether you’re doing the right things with your online business:

  1. Many online businesses put a significant portion of their advertising into paid search. I think that most businesses can benefit from well-executed PPC marketing. But, you can easily spend too much money for too little return. Then why is it that the folks at Rimm-Kaufman suggest maximizing your marketing budget’s ROI bad for you? I’ll give you a hint: your ROI probably isn’t the problem. It’s how you budget.
  2. Everyone knows you should spend more time on improving your business from existing customers. Well, everyone except for Kevin Hillstom, who says you should “focus a disproportionate amount of time and energy on finding new customers.” He’s even got math to back it up.
  3. “Best practices?” We don’t need no stinkin’ “best practices.” Seriously. GrokDotCom has a great write-up of why you should ignore best practices. Me? I’m a fan of the benefit of worst practices, too.
  4. Finally, Steve Rubel commits heresy by looking at when should you build someone else’s website instead of your own.

Obviously, part of doing the right things for your business online is making sure that each of these suggestions fits your business. Don’t do ‘em just because I say so (Or George. Or Kevin. And so on). These 4 tips challenge us all to reconsider whether we’re following the wisdom of the crowd or are just following the other lemmings off the cliff.

Look at your business. Look at your goals. Line up your measures and your standards with those goals. And give your team the tools to get there. And that’s the best tip I can ever recommend.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Image credit: Matt Biddulph via Flickr using Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

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Tim Peter

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November 18, 2009

Google Analytics gets intelligent

November 18, 2009 | By | No Comments

Do you check your analytics dashboard every day? Yeah, me neither. We all mean to do it. We know it’s important. But, real life – helping customers, dealing with employees, what-have-you – sometimes takes priority. That’s what makes Google’s new “Analytics Intelligence” and Analytics Alerts so handy.

Basically, the new features within Google Analytics allow you to define events – a big jump in traffic, or worse, a big decline – and receive alerts when those events occur. Here’s what they say about it on the Google Analytics blog:

  • Analytics Intelligence: We’re launching the initial phase of an algorithmic driven Intelligence engine to Google Analytics. Analytics Intelligence will provide automatic alerts of significant changes in the data patterns of your site metrics and dimensions over daily, weekly and monthly periods. For instance, Intelligence could call out a 300% surge in visits from YouTube referrals last Tuesday or let you know bounce rates of visitors from Virginia dropped by 70% two weeks ago. Instead of you having to monitor reports and comb through data, Analytics Intelligence alerts you to the most significant information to pay attention to, saving you time and surfacing traffic insights that could affect your business. Now, you can spend your time actually taking action, instead of trying to figure out what needs to be done.
  • Custom Alerts make it possible for you to tell Google Analytics what to watch for. You can set daily, weekly, and monthly triggers on different dimensions & metrics, and be notified by email or right in the user interface when the changes actually occur

And here’s Google’s video that explains how to use them:

What do you think? Will Intelligence and Analytics Alerts help your business? Tell us about it in the comments.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Tim Peter

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March 17, 2009

Luck of the Irish

March 17, 2009 | By | No Comments

Luck of the Irish

lucky-in-business.jpgMy mother loved St. Patrick’s Day. It was her favorite holiday. Why? Because it was a day to celebrate our heritage, the heritage of a resilient people.

Sure, the Irish often get credit for being lucky, but luck – whether or not you’re Irish (and who isn’t Irish on St. Patrick’s Day?) – comes from how you react to what happens to you. When you consider the history of Ireland, it’s tough to say that the Irish were alway lucky. But the image persists, likely because of how they responded.

So much of what we consider luck boils down to 2 things:

  1. Goals. You’ve got to know where you want to end up. The most successful people, the ones we all consider lucky, are those who get to do what they love. What could be more lucky than that? Do you know what that is for you? Where you plan to be down the road? History is made by those who choose to make it.
  2. Persistence. As one of my greatest teachers used to say, “90% of life is just showing up.” Once you know your goals, you’ve got to work towards them every day, without fail. It isn’t always easy. But giving up guarantees failure. At least when you work at it, you have a shot at getting lucky.

No one in business is just “lucky.” Sure, trying to survive – let alone thrive – in tough economic conditions isn’t as easy as it was when times were good. And you certainly can’t control everything that happens to you along the way. So, I guess you could consider what’s going on now bad luck. But, you can always control how you react to it and whether you choose to keep trying to accomplish your goals. The luckiest people in the world tend to be those who don’t give up on their goals. Or on themselves.

Do you think you’re lucky? Have you found a way to succeed in this market? Tell us about it in the comments.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

Image credit: cygnus921 via Flickr using Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Tim Peter

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December 15, 2008

Why you must set goals for your business blog

December 15, 2008 | By | No Comments

Aim high when setting goals - Courtesy of Steve9567 on FlickrMarketing your small business takes work. Too many messages struggle to cut through the clutter your customers confront every day. Maintaining a blog on your business’ web site is a great way to ensure your customers can find you and to ensure you can find customers.

Last time, we took a look the first part of a BLOG strategy: how to set up a blog for your business. In case you don’t remember the BLOG strategy outline, it looks like this:

  1. Basics
  2. List your goals
  3. Originate content
  4. Grow your traffic

Today, we’ll look at Listing Your Goals.

Why are goals important? Aren’t you just going to start writing and suddenly have huge numbers of people following your every word? Um… no. Not likely, anyway. And certainly not if you don’t plan to have that happen. As the adage goes, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Better to hit something you meant to, no?

So, how do you know where to aim?

As with any goal-setting exercise, we’re big fans of defining SMART goals. There are many places to read about SMART goals on the web, but as a quick refresher, just remember that making your goals SMART means your goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable (though, personally, I prefer to say Actionable)
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Why Actionable instead of Attainable? One, I’ve always thought that Attainable and Realistic are redundant and Two, your goals should focus on what you’re going to do, what actions you’re going to take. So, why not have that as part of the goal definition?

To that point, good goals focus on what you do, not what happens outside your control. For instance, you’re better off saying:

I will keep customers up to date about our business events by writing an events post every week

than:

I will make sure my customers read my weekly events post

The first is well inside your control. The second, not so much. Put the focus on your performance, not the outcome. Goals provide you a direction, not a destination.

What kind of goals should you set? Here are some examples:

  • I will keep customers informed by writing at least one post a week
  • I will ensure my posts use appropriate keywords in titles and message to help grow our search engine traffic (Note: More on this when we look at Originating Content)
  • I will read and respond to any new comments on the blog daily
  • I will engage with my customers weekly through visiting and commenting on blogs related to my topic
  • I will focus each post on solving a customers’ problems or questions (or, alternately, if you’re looking to humanize your business a bit more) I will focus one post per week on activities outside the scope of our business, on things I’m passionate about

The point isn’t necessarily to become a blogging superstar, like Seth Godin. In fact, he recently said, “what matters is…thinking about what you’re going to say…to force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something.”

And that’s really the biggest key. Your goals ultimately should describe how you will improve as a communicator, a messenger for your business, a resource your customers look to. As Terri Lonier of WorkingSolo.com says, “…goals are the substance that gives flight to our ideas.” Are you ready for takeoff?

Enjoy this post? Then read the whole small business blogging series here.


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