There are many intermediate goals along the way to your desired result. These intermediate steps are not, however, the end goal, but too often they get treated as if they are.
- Just because someone follows your tweets, it doesn’t mean they pay attention to anything you say.
- Just because someone clicks a link to your site, it doesn’t mean they have any interest in what you’re offering.
- Just because someone subscribed to your blog, it doesn’t mean they ever read your posts.
More people visiting your site probably means more sales, but it doesn’t have to. A sale does not automatically follow from a visit. In order to become a sale or a lead a visitor needs to go through a variety of intermediate steps. All those steps are important, but they aren’t the end goal.
Crossroads are not the Final Destination
You need to understand the difference between your end goal and the intermediate points along the path. Those points are like crossroads and people arriving at them have several options to choose.
If you treat intermediate goals as end goals you allow people to go whichever way they want. If you see them as crossroads you can build signs to lead people further down your path.
- Ranking #1 for a query is meaningless unless the query is one that people actually type into a search engine and those people are potentially going to be interested in your site.
- Submitting content to a social voting site is meaningless unless the community of the site is likely to be interested in the content.
- Placing an ad in a magazine is meaningless unless your market reads that magazine.
Understand what you are trying to achieve and understand how every step in the process contributes to your end goals. Focus your efforts on what leads people down the path you want them to take instead of focusing on intermediate points that allow people to leave your path altogether.