Traditional marketing isn’t working anymore. Paid advertising is too expensive. You’ve got a website, but is it helping? Maybe you’re using Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, but feel like it’s a waste of time. Sound familiar?

If you want to attract, engage, and retain customers, you need a strategy. You need an effective, scalable system for generating leads and converting those leads in to sales.

Before you create another social media profile, send another newsletter, or redesign your website, work through these seven steps.

1. Choose your cookie. When people get online, they’re looking for something. What can you give that they want and that will keep them engaged? Expert advice? A remarkable experience? Free insights or tools?

2. Define your audience. Who’s going to buy from you? What do they need? Who are they? What do they value? Create a written profile and focus on speaking directly to that ideal customer when you write.

3. Locate your customers. Where do your potential customers spend their time, online and offline? Don’t make them come to you. Find them and go where they are.

4. Understand your marketing funnel. How does your customer move through the following steps: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer? What touch points are responsible for each step in your marketing funnel? 

5. Combine your touch points with your marketing funnel. What’s the purpose of your website, newsletter, blog, Facebook, or Twitter? How do phone calls and networking fit in? Make sure your strategy covers each and every aspect of the customer life cycle.

6. Create a schedule. What good is a strategy if you don’t execute? If you decide to blog, send an email newsletter, and use LinkedIn, schedule time each day, week, or month for each. If you don’t block out time on your calendar, it won’t get done.

7. Measure. How will you know if you’re succeeding? How many people visited your website? Signed up for your newsletter? Opened your newsletter? Clicked back to your website? When you measure, you can improve.

These seven steps aren’t easy. They’re not a quick fix. But they work. What’s the alternative? Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best?

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*The above information was shared at the August 29 Chamber U presented by David Mooring, MBA. David  is an online marketing consultant, entrepreneur, and speaker with over 16 years experience in management, marketing, and customer service. He’s Founder and President of BurlapSky, Inc., a Triangle-based online marketing firm. David is recognized as one of the region’s foremost thought leaders on small business marketing, and regularly teaches seminars and workshops at community colleges, chambers of commerce, and other professional organizations. A native of North Carolina, David earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and his MBA from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA.