It is easy to be pulled from SEO to Facebook (and then to Google+ or marketing automation) rather than developing a strategy, testing tactics and systematically growing your business.

The trick here is to identify the right ideas early and then test before taking your new strategy live. Then, once your idea is live, you need to create an ongoing process to support continued execution.

First, start evaluating new ideas by asking yourself the following questions.

1. Does this further my overall marketing strategy?

If you don’t have a strategy, start here. One idea is unlikely to help you build momentum in growing your business. You are far better off sitting down and sorting out a marketing strategy, which is really just a systematic approach to getting in front of people who would benefit from your product or service.

2. How likely is my marketing idea to succeed?

If you own a very small business, you will find it hard to rank nationally on Google for a competitive keyword or phrase. On the other hand, you have every chance of competing locally for moderately competitive keywords or nationally on less competitive keywords. Looking at another tactic, if you sell to consumers, you can likely build a funnel of steady leads through Facebook marketing.

3. How much work will this take?

Consider what this idea will require in terms of workload. First, how much time and resources will you need to invest to test this idea. Do you have the time now? If not then, do you have the resources to bring someone on to test your idea? Second, if the idea works, do you have the time and money to move forward with the campaign? If not, then you don’t have the right idea yet.

4. Can you see a connection with your ideal customer?

This should really be covered in your marketing strategy, but it is worth mentioning again. Tactics are fun and exciting, which is one reason they can pull you off of your mission to connect with the right people. I recently talked with a local business owner spent months working on Twitter before realizing that people were not looking for his products or services on Twitter. We developed a strategy and started marketing on Facebook. His results improved and he started getting a return on the time and money he was investing.

5. How can you test this idea with minimal time invested?

Even if it fits with your marketing strategy and targets your ideal customer, your idea might not work. Try to test before committing serious resources to a project. Remember, it is unlikely that you will see stellar results from a test. You want to gather some hard and soft data points to see if the idea is feasible. Soft data points are indications of interest. On Twitter, this might look like retweets or follows. You also might look at increased traffic on your website. Harder data points would be the number of conversions by people who are ideal clients.

If you go through these questions and the idea seems feasible, it’s probably time to start testing. As you move forward, continue to evaluate your results to see if you should continue investing time and/or money in this tactic. Let me know how it goes!

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