Credit: Joey Ganoza
As a follow-up to my previous post about the Just Do It Philosophy in Search Marketing, I will devote today's article on how I go about planning and executing on my SEO goals. By following a theory of GOPST, or Goals, Objectives, Plans, Strategies, and Tactics, I am able to have a clear path in my mind towards achieving my short term and long term goals. Let's begin my an overall look at this methodology:
Goals are the proverbial 'end of the road' situations that most people try to reach. In my view, goals are transient in nature, and only serve as significant milestones in planning and executing on even more expansive goals. But for the sake of simplicity, let's define our goal as something fairly simple. Let's say our goal was to be 'the most popular online retailer for video game systems' (something near and dear to every geek at heart ).
Now that we have a clear goal in mind we've got to go about setting objectives which, if met, will satisfy the condition of having met the goal. For this example we may consider 3 objectives that satisfy our goal :
- Establish top of mind presence for online video game shoppers
- Generate substantial traffic that is greater than competitors
- Maintain brand position to create a sustainable advantage
Great, now we have 3 objectives that would satisfy our goal if all three are successfully met. Next, its important to decide how to meet these objectives.
Plans comprise a series of strategies that are integrated with an element of time and also factor in available resources. These resources could include time, labour, capital and networks. In our scenario, plans may include concepts like
- Establishing brand awareness
- Driving sales
- Creating loyal customers
- Improving customer service
- Creating a favourable brand reputation
Of course, with the level of competition present in the marketplace, our objectives should also reflect addressing and surpassing competitors.
As you're probably observing, our lofty goal is being broken down into more actionable items that are far easier to execute on. Strategies are the next logical step in breaking down the path to achieving one's goals, and they include tactics. Tactics are the micro-series of actions that will help achieve your strategy. For example, we may various forms of advertising to meet the plans of 'generating brand awareness'. Hence our strategies may look like:
- Use multiple forms of advertising to generate awareness
- Establish better usability to drive sales
- Setup a dedicated customer support hotline to build customer loyalty
- Outsource an agency to handle brand reputation management .
We're on that last base and getting ready to hit the home run now. Tactics discuss the specifics of a strategy by spelling out the exact actions that must be executed to achieve them. It's almost like employing a reverse funnel approach towards your goals and working your way up from a micro to a macro level.
In the case of our video retailer, possible tactics may be:
- Use pay-per-click and banner ad placements to drive brand awareness through advertising
- Create W3C valid website designs that are easy to navigate and are cross-browser friendly
- Setup an email auto-responder to address customer service issues
- Use Google alerts to keep tabs on brand mentions across various web media.
So there you have it, a complete GOPST towards internet marketing success. I'm sure I may have missed a few points here and there, but feel free to use, modify, and add to this template. I guarantee that following a rational approach towards your business goals in this model will certainly put you on the right path to success, if not contribute greatly towards achieving it.