Having been a marketeer and business strategist for 30 years I’ve learnt which activities lead to a growing customer base and a healthy profit line.
For me the cornerstone of a successful marketing campaign (and let’s talk digital campaign because that’s where traditional marketing activities are played out today), is the Strategic Plan.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. You could be a self published author, a hotel or restaurant owner, a professional coach, a builder, a freelance artist, or a shop owner, if you want to be successful at selling your work or services, you need a Strategic Plan.
If you don’t have a plan and you’re bringing in the cash day in day out, then the chances are you’re probably selling a very unique product or service with little competition.
If, however, you don’t fall into the above category and you face wide competition, you will have a competitive advantage by creating and implementing a marketing plan.
Underpinning the Plan are your company or brand objectives which most likely fall into the following categories:
- 1Brand Awareness
- 2List Building & Lead Generation
Depending on where you are on your own business journey, your main focus will be on delivering one of these key objectives.
Success, depends on whether or not you have a plan in place, to deliver these.
If you’re shooting from the hip and publishing to social media once a week, or believe that sharing a blog post one a month will get you clients, you’ll be wasting your time, I’m afraid. Gone are the days that a little here and there gets you noticed.
I know this because I’ve gone from corporate marketing to marketing my own businesses and I was guilty of doing that.
My client’s come to me, having done / doing the same. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
We were all guilty of not having any kind of marketing plan. I thought I make my plan in my head, after all, I’m an experienced marketer right! The digital world of marketing has become very competitive and I’ve come to learn, there are many moving parts to stay in control of. The only way to succeed is to take a strategic approach and write the game plan down. Believe me, it works! It’s transformational!
When questioned, many clients claim, they don’t have a plan, because they don’t have the time to sit down and write one! The ironic thing is, without a plan, it’s going to take twice as long to achieve your goals.
If you can afford to hire your own marketing or social media manager to write your plan, all you have to do is implement it. Happy days. However, not everyone can afford a social media marketing manager. The good news is, it’s not difficult to sit down for a day and write one. So here’s how you do it.
What’s In The Plan?
Essentially it should include all the business activities that help you achieve your goals and objectives.
In most cases, your plan will involve many activities – we call it a multi media plan.
Let’s look at an example.
Let’s suggest your main business goal is to increase brand awareness.
The first thing you’ll want to do is turn this goal into a series of SMART Marketing Objectives. These will help you measure when you’ve achieved each goal. So these could be:
- 1To reach 4000 followers on Instagram by end April 2019.
- 2To grow my email list by 1000 within 3 months.
- 3To increase the number of sales leads / enquiries by 20% within 3 months.
Once you’ve identified your SMART Objectives, you can create a strategic game plan to deliver these. It’s simple right!
So what does plan look like?
That depends on your objective and which marketing activities you’ve chosen for your business. There is no right or wrong answer here. Marketing is logical and simple!
Marketing is logical and simple!
Creating your plan, isn’t difficult. I know I’ve been doing it for some years, but start by writing out all the the things you need to do in oder to achieve your objectives. Then schedule it into a plan. That’s it! These are the elements I include for my plans and my clients…
Contents Of A Digital Marketing Plan
Your plan needs to have the following:
- A Calendar – usually depicted across the top so you can see at a glance what need to be achieved each week.
- Accountability – clear lines of responsibility and accountability if there are more than one of you in the organisation.
- Timeline v Snapshot – you can choose to either timeline each activity so it has a start and end point or show a snap shot of what activity is being delivered each day.
- Top-line Business Activities – Your plan should plot out the top-line strategic business and marketing activities that you need to deliver. The detail underneath each activity is usually mapped out on a detailed tracker such as a daily social media planner and your content planner.
My Top-line Marketing Planner – everything is scheduled so I don’t miss anything
If the thought of putting together your plan, fills you with fear, follow these tips:
- Write down your business objectives for the next quarter (see above).
- Start aligning your business and marketing activities to your objectives – what will you do to deliver the objective? E.g. a new product launch, host an in store / online event; host a webinar or live training etc. Jot them down on a piece of paper.
- Write down how these activities fix your client’s problem. This is really important.
- Consider all your marketing channels and platforms. I want you to write down how you could share and promote the activity across these. Remember in your communications, highlight the customer benefit i.e. why should someone attend your event, watch, read, consume, visit etc. Make it easy for them to “get” the message.
- What is the CTA (call to action)? What do you want them to do as a result of reading / consuming / watching. This should lead back to your objective. Include the CTA in everything you communicate.
- Finally, plot all your activities onto your calendar (you can create your own on a spreadsheet, use Google calendar or ical). Set reminders and you will make everything happen!
Does this help? Feel free to let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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Are you looking for continuous digital marketing support? Within the Sally Social Community you get access to all our digital marketing and social media trainings, Inside you get instant access to our learning library showing you how to create a solid digital marketing strategy from the foundations up in order grow your profits quickly. Plus you get access to all our coaching and mentoring as you build your strategic plan. We’d love to meet you!