Inside the Blog Profits Blueprint I talk about a key distinction, the difference between strategies and tactics when it comes to online marketing and building a blog-based business.
Here’s a relevant quote from the Blueprint:
Strategies are in place to educate your mind about why things happen. Strategy helps you understand outcomes and helps predict future outcomes as a result of particular actions.
Tactics are steps you take – actions – to achieve outcomes. Most of the tactics in this book are processes and techniques you implement through your blog that lead to making money, either directly or indirectly.
Source: The Blog Profits Blueprint
Many Internet marketers, especially those looking to make a quick buck, focus on tactics and forget about the strategy. They want to do something and then see the money come back, rather than understand the system and psychology that attracts a customer and converts a sale.
This kind of motivation results in very short term gains, if any, because there is no long term planning, no asset-creation, or customer retention strategies. There’s no sales funnel, or point of differentiation to separate the business from other offers. There really isn’t a business, just a collection of techniques that are haphazardly thrown out there.
I’m all for taking action quickly and testing ideas, but if you’re not thinking beyond that, even if you do succeed you won’t know what to do next. Success can turn to failure in a blink of an eye when you don’t understand why what you are doing is working and how to build upon it.
What Comes First?
In the article I published preceding this one – How To Develop A Crystal Clear Understanding Of Your Customer – I explained how critical it is that you understand, on many levels, what your customer wants, the emotions behind that desire and the real world tangible changes they want to experience as a result of fulfilling their need.
Once you know this, your next step is to figure out what outcomes you want – what do you want your business to do for your life and how can this happen? How much money do you want to make? What roles do you want to perform in the business? What strategy are you going to follow to make it happen? What is your vision for the future?
Clarity is critical. There is a hierarchy of deep understandings you need to break down as you build your business, and it begins before you do anything.
Here’s the structure you can follow. Note each element is derived from the previous element. You shouldn’t be afraid to change these things as you go along as they will need constant refinement as you learn more about yourself, your customer and your market.
- Vision: The vision is the big picture. It defines everything from the top down. It tells you why you are doing what you do every day in your business. It’s the destination on the roadmap to creating the business of your dreams.
- Strategies: Once you know what your customer wants, you formulate a strategy to fulfill that need. Strategies are processes based on proven concepts that you know work. A strategy is a map of how to get to your vision.
- Tactics: The tactics are the steps you take to implement the strategy. Its what you do every day in practical, real world actions, that lead to tangible results. Tactics are the steps you take to follow the map that leads to your destination.
Successfully implement tactics and you will execute your strategy. When all your strategies are complete, you will have reached your vision.
Lets Make This Tangible
To help make this tangible, let’s look at a basic example to help understand the interconnection between your customer psychology, your strategies and tactics.
Let’s say you’ve studied your customer and you know the one specific tangible result they want the most, which you plan to help them meet, is to give up smoking because they want to be able to play with their kids at the park without being out of breath.
You have a special process combining some NLP exercises people can do to stop the mental addiction and some natural herbs to reduce the impact of the physical addiction.
Your strategy is to create a blog and email list to specifically sell this process as a package that is sent in the mail in the form of educational DVDs and the natural herbs.
Here’s what we need to know.
1. How to sell to this customer group.
We need to know the language to use, what sort of offer to make, what specific information do people in this market look for and where do they currently find it.
The customer psychology tells us these things.
2. What strategy to implement to sell our product.
We know a blog and an email list can help us reach our target customer group, but before we can successful execute this strategy, we need to know exactly how it works and why it works. If you don’t know how all the pieces fit together, then you don’t understand the strategy.
In other words – do you understand how the blog gets traffic? Do you know how to get people on to the email list and what emails to send? Do you know how these tools can sell the product? …and countless other questions like this.
Most of these questions can be answered through research. My two courses cover much of this (Blog Mastermind and Membership Site Mastermind), however the answers are also buried in the archives of the blog you are reading now, and countless other blogs and internet marketing products and resources out there. You can also learn it through trial and error.
3. What tactics do we need to implement to realize the strategy.
Once we know the concept behind how a blog and email list can help us sell our product, we need to make it a reality by taking action steps.
Simply put, this is doing things like…
- buy domain name
- buy hosting
- set up wordpress
- buy an email autoresponder service like aweber
- set up your first email list and create opt-in form on your blog to collect subscribers
- plan a series of emails to send to your list, then start writing them
- plan a series of blog posts to publish and start writing them
- start testing marketing techniques (go to forums and leave content posts to attract people back to your blog)
…and so on.
A Lack Of Clarity Will Kill Your Business
In the article I wrote about customer psychology I took you through a basic questioning process you can ask about your customer in order to break down the core motivations behind their behavior, as it relates to their need your business fulfills.
The key word in the process is “why“.
Why is also the most important question to ask yourself when it comes to deciding on strategies and tactics for your business too.
If you don’t understand why you are doing what you are doing, then you’re missing pieces of the puzzle. When you have clarity behind why you are making the decisions you make, choosing certain strategies and executing the tactics to get you there, you understand what is supposed to happen.
This is incredibly powerful because it means you have the necessary awareness to adjust and respond based on the results you get. If you don’t know why you are doing something, then you don’t understand how it connects to the next step, or possibly even what the next step is. Then there’s the step after that, and the one after that, all leading to the outcome you desire.
The more ambiguous you are about what you are doing, the more mistakes you make, the longer it takes to get the outcome you want, and the harder everything is. Most people give up before they succeed because they don’t understand how what they are doing really works. Once you know the path and experience it, then your confidence sores and you don’t give up prematurely.
Doing is born from knowing, and although experience trumps everything – so you should always focus on action – if you’re actions aren’t coming from some form of knowledge based on your customer psychology, proven strategies and tested tactics, you’re going to walk into closed doors rather than through open ones.
Ask Yourself Why
Recently I’ve been helping my mother learn how to do basic things with WordPress and aWeber, so she can publish blog posts and send emails to her list (she runs a Brisbane counselling service).
She has been typing up her articles in the word processor in Open Office, then copy and pasting them into the WordPress editor, and then publishing them.
Many times she has had to learn new skills, like adding hyperlinks, or changing the format of text. Needless to say, my mother is not a tech person and isn’t what you call a natural computer user. She is capable of learning, it just takes some practice to get there (which requires some serious patience on my part!).
Watching my mother learn how to do these things is interesting for me because I could observe her struggles and how she overcame them.
My mother takes notes down, writing steps to repeat what she does in the future. I noticed by doing this that she didn’t learn nearly as quickly because it was more about rote memorization, rather than real skill acquisition. She was copying down what she did, then looking at her notes to repeat it when she needed to.
The problem with this method was that she never understood why she needed to do what she needed to do. Each time she faced a problem she has to find the notes that match that problem. This meant that she didn’t see the process from start to finish or how the tools worked to help her realize what she was trying to achieve.
To help her I told her to stop using the notes and instead, when she faced a problem – like needing to make a hyperlink in her article – she asked herself why she was doing what she was doing and how the tools can make it happen.
Simple things, like understanding the difference between a live blog post and the editing screen in the admin in WordPress, was challenging for her, as was understanding how to get the URL of the page she wants the hyperlink to point to.
With some practice came familiarity with the tools, giving her the necessary awareness to not rely on notes. Then, each time she was stuck, I asked her – why are you on the page you are on now?
After asking herself that question, she realized, slowly, that the editing page was for editing, the live window was for viewing and testing changes on the live blog, and that she needed to go to a browser window and find the URL of the page she wanted to link to.
She came to understand how the tools worked, and what the outcome was of doing things. Then, when facing a problem, she could ask herself why she wanted to do what she wanted to do, then determine which tools to use to make it happen.
This may seem like a basic example, but it’s representative of the importance of understanding why you are doing what you do, at all levels of your business.
Whenever you are making a decision or looking to realize a result, ask yourself why what you are doing or about to do is important. How does it fit into your strategy and vision? Do you even have them? Does the tactic you are applying make sense to apply right now given your objectives?
Why is a fantastic question to ask if you want clarity. A lack of clarity is possibly the most common cause of failure, so becoming comfortable with challenging yourself to know more about your customer and what you are doing is a smart idea. If you ever need help, grab a friend or colleague, show them what you are doing or explain what you are going to do, and have them ask you why. Tell them to keep asking you why until they understand.
Forcing yourself to explain what you do to other people is one of the best ways to gain clarity, or at least point out where you lack clarity. If you can’t explain it to other people, how are you going to understand what and why you are doing to the person who matters most – yourself.
There is so much to grasp from this post, but I just love the fact that your mum is starting to blog and build an email list – that is so cool!
My wife over the past couple of days has come to me and asked if I would help her start a blog – so it looks like I will be able to have the same experience that you have had, and gain some much needed clarity!
A very detailed, insightful and exceptional post yet with a very simple message:
Know why you are doing what you are doing!
I really learned some great things from this post, like questioning myself about why am I here in the first place and do I know why am I doing each step for my business.
Thanks for sharing your example of your mom. It was really helpful to get the message through this example.
I will be questioning myself more now, and gain some clarity!
Thanks a lot for making us realise the importance of reasoning, questioning and clarity.
A lot of (useful) information, indeed! It is important to understand first our customers and our market(s) in order to be effective… and BTW I have noticed more and more people attracted by the idea of starting a blog, like your mum!
Spot on about clarity and vision Yaro.
As always I like your stuff. This one is great too.
The major insight that I got from this is how well you internally tag your articles. These points got into my mind when I read the Blog Profit Blueprint. I see a nice way to link it back in this post and also elaborating the concepts to provide more clarity.
I am learning…
Best wishes. Hope your Mac Air is getting well…
Learning is the best part of everything. Now, as your mother is not a natrual computer user and you are watching her struggling. One day, she will learn new things herself and will give you some tips or she will tell you alternate ways of doing things… and you will be amazed.
In essence, your article is all about planning like what are the steps to take, the measures on how to execute those steps, and the strategy to apply. Yes Yaro, it’s all about having a good plan and a clear concept on what you want to happen.
“Why is a great question to ask if you want clarity” – so true!
In my company job I mainly work with defining, editing, rephrasing business rules, preparing them for programming. During a recent major reconversion of the rules, we’ve forced ourselves to ask “Why?” and that has led to some amazing insights, both why we should still do some of them, but also why some of them needed to be abolished or severely altered.
This is my first comment that I make on your blog, but now I simply need to say that your work is incredible.
This post gave me a lot to think about, like mostly all the others you write and your articles are just amazing.
To me this blog is definately the one that gives the information and inspiration that I need.
Keep up the good work and I will continue reading. Thanks a lot.
Actually I will go ahead and recommend your blog to my readers right now.
I like you YARO, hope the LIVING GOD will make you successful on whatever you are doing
Great article. I’m been lurking around your site for awhile now, but couldn’t resist commenting on this one. I’ll be happy to stand-in as mom #2 when you’ve finished teaching your real mom the how to’s. LOL
Hey Yaro, great to hear about your mom getting interested in blogging. My family members are still skeptical about this whole blogging thing but hopefully, they realize its potential also.
I face similar issues with family, and many of the people I work with definitely do. I believe skepticism is simply a form of not knowing. My family, for example, will share their opinion, without knowing all the facts! However, my dad, and father inlaw have come around, and know they are starting blogs themselves and starting to see the potential!
@Car Battery, there is a saying that goes like this.. “the proof is in the pudding” and that explains how you can go about convincing them. When I first started doing my online business the support from family members really wasn’t there, but as soon as they saw me making the money, they were very supportive of my efforts. As with any business you go threw your ups and downs… right after my earnings slid down from it’s peak, their support fell down with it. So.. what I am saying to you is that the proof is all in the pudding, meaning that, if you can convince and show by example to your family members where and how you are making the money, they will believe.
I do what I do to make money, simple.
My family mock me for blogging for money, the ystill thnk I sit on the PC playing on Facebook all day.
Start with the end in mind, then take the necessary steps in order to achieve your desired result!
In any business on should have proper goal. Just as you said we should have clarity in what/why you are doing. Most times you get distracted with negative influence surrounded by many factors then replacing your negative thoughts with more positive ones is the first thing you should do.
Maybe you can come and help my mother after you’re done helping yours! Haha in all honestly, my mom and I have a great time whenever I need to show her how to do something on the internet. The internet is still such a new concept to her generation so it’s great that I can learn something while teaching hers as well.
great use of examples and story to get your point across. I have been reading a lot about clarity the last few days, and it’s making me question absolutely everything I am currently doing in my business. It’s taking me double the time to get my strategy/business plan/products going but I know it is going to save me alot of time in the end.
I’m in Brisbane and know someone that could get a great deal from your mum’s site so I am going to pass it along
You should change name for Napoleon 🙂 he used a lot of tactics and strategies. I have a plan what to do in this day, week, month, and i make it.
Sometimes people too much thinking about stategies, plans, they install new programs to describe what do next. Sory, for me it`s to much…
Hey Yaro, another great post. I think you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head here. Especially when you talked about clarity. That is one thing that is usually missing in peoples plans.
While learning the new things, I think she must be enjoying the new challenges and type of work. IT is exciting.
“Why” is what keeps you going when the going gets tough and it helps you get back on your path.
It’s also the key to deciding what you will do and what you won’t, or what business you’re in, or what business you aren’t in. It truly sets the stage for your arena of results.
Just asking the question, “Why do you do what you do?” is a great place to start. I find a good cutting question is, “What do you want to accomplish?” … then check it against your “Why.” It’s way to easy to fall pray to “The How Trap” or mistake a means-goal for an ends-goal.
I think the most effective tool I’ve found for finding your “Why” is the Golden Circle. It’s a tool I know a lot of executives use to find their values and lead with their “Why.” It’s life changing. It tends to be life-changing because so many people hop on the treadmill of life, without stopping to ask where it’s going, checking whether they really want to get on that particular one, or asking somebody if there’s a smarter way to get there … and that’s how you spend your life climbing the ladder, only to find your ladder is up against the wrong wall.
It’s true — as you say — that clarity is critical.
Most people don’t realize the value of the content that you just gave for free. no matter what business you enter into, it takes hard work, focus and a willingness to succeed. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more…
Many people really do not understand the worth with the written content which you just gave for totally free. regardless of what business you enter into, it will take tough function, concentrate plus a willingness to succeed. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more…
I just finished reading the “Blog Profits Blueprint” for the third time for the purpose of Motivating Myself.
So, I decided to visit your blog and I was surprise that this post talks about the topic inside yaro’s ebook.
Thanks for sharing it…
– Blogging Access.com
This is my kind of post that gives me the combination of basic and detailed strategic ways in achieving business success. Clarity is really very important, and it must exist in business from planning to execution to follow up and support.
‘The Art of War’ (Chinese: 孫子兵法; pinyin: Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ) is a Chinese military treatise that was written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, during the Spring and Autumn period. Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time, and still one of the basic texts.
I’ve been applying your teachings on my blogs and I listen to your MP3 version of the blog profits blueprint over and over again and I still pick up some things that I never knew before. You really have to listen to what Yaro is saying in the podcast.
Really useful post. Its so easy to get caught up in tactics and wanting quick results. But it’s so, so important to keep the goal in mind and everything you do should help get you to that goal.
As a teacher myself, I can totally relate to the story about teaching your mum.
It sounds kinda crazy, but teaching something is possibly one of the best ways to really learn it! It’s because it forces you to think about the “why” and the reasons behind everything- which- in turn- helps make your own ideas clearer.
A great overview of what strategy and tactics is and why it’s important. The way you broke everything down and your examples made it very easy to follow along. 🙂
Awesome article, Yaro.
Talking about strategy vs. tactics is still pretty uncommon these days, even after the Internet has evolved so far. Rich Schefren seems to be the first one who put out the message en masse, and I know you were one of his students. Great job restating the message in your own words and through the lense of your own experience.
I hope your mom appreciates it just as much! 😉
What a great post! Newbies (me included) often prefer to execute short-term tactics over long-term strategies, because they promise instant success with a minimum amount of effort. Unfortunately, mere tactics don’t work if there isn’t any solid long-term strategy and what most newbies end up doing is hopping from one tactic to the next – and finally doing a lot of work without getting anywhere.
That’s interesting that you focus on “Why,” questions. My friend Vicki (@smartwoman) at Smartwomanguides.com doesn’t think Why questions have validity, that Why questions are basically Stalling.
I think that you both have a point. On one hand, asking yourself why you’re marketing to a particular group of people can be clarifying for you.
On the other hand, asking why CAN be stalling. I might instead ask someone, “WHAT do you do next?” And “HOW do you do it?”
I learnt lots of basic and essential guidelines which required for internet marketers from this post. Simply you explained entire topic with unforgettable examples. Thx for sharing this info and looking forward to know more from your blog.
I wrote about drilling down to a root problem by constantly asking yourself why. The more you ask, the better.. 5 times usually gets you to the point where you can really see clarity. I think its a fantastic technique.. and can be considered a strategy in itself.