Ben Franklin said it first and it still holds true for every business. Planning anything you do in business is crucial and that includes your marketing!
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”Ben Franklin
It’s like taking a road trip – planning it out makes sense.
Back in February of 2005, I embarked on a cross-country road trip to relocate from Florida to Arizona. I loaded myself, my stuff and 2 cats into my Kia Rio Cinco hatchback and hit the road. 1st day – Palm Bay, FL to New Orleans, LA; 2nd leg: New Orleans to San Antonio, TX; 3rd leg: San Antonio to Las Cruces, NM; Last leg: Las Cruces to Phoenix. I had to plan it out so I could find pet-friendly hotels, motels or B&Bs.
My goal was to get to Phoenix in 4 days. It was a SMART goal. And I made it. Had I not planned ahead, I would have wasted a lot of time looking for motels that had vacancy and accepted animals.
Well, in Business, You Must have a Business Plan!
And it can’t be just in your head! Writing it down makes it real.
Sure you can get templates for a Business Plan at organizations like SCORE, and that’s a good place to start. But it’s actually hard to do it all by yourself. You’re too attached to your idea or business. Part of the Business Plan is the Marketing plan and the Social Media / Digital Marketing Strategic and Tactical Plans are part of the overall Marketing Plan. (Your marketing plan can include offline advertising and promotions.)
Sometimes it’s hard to see the bigger picture.
Especially the forecasting. If you’re looking to get funding from the SBA, a bank or an investor, you need a detailed plan. How are you going to sell your product or service? How are you going to make money? What are your start-up costs? How long before you are profitable?
If you’ve been in business for more a while, you should review and update your business plan every year. Business models change. You need to take into consideration…
- new product or service ideas.
- if you want to expand.
- if you need to hire more staff.
All that needs to be written down.
Even Planning Your Social Media Marketing.
Initially, if you start by placing Facebook ads, like many small business owners do, it probably won’t work. Today’s marketing is way more than just placing Facebook ads.
If you try to do it without a plan you’ll be lost and you’ll say, “social media doesn’t work!” It does work when you’ve got good strategic and tactical plans. And they need to be adjusted each month based on your data: analytics, insights, demographics, website statistics, etc. That will tell you what’s working and not working.
- Clearly define your target market(s).
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – What makes you different?
- Research your target(s), then create buyer personas. Check out your competition.
- Set SMART Goals. What do you want to accomplish? Be specific.
- Set up a well-branded website and social media profile pages optimized for search – branding should be consistent throughout your website and social profiles. Make sure it looks good — it’s your online image.
- Develop a strategic plan to meet those goals then, put together a tactical plan to implement the strategy
- Learn how content marketing, SEO & social media all work together. Now that you know what you NEED to do, you need to learn HOW to do it.
- Create and curate content, then build a following and relationships
- Have a clear call-to-action: a free download, coupon or offer, to generate quality leads — not everyone is ready to buy at first glance. Then, setup an email automation workflow to walk the leads to buy – keep in mind their buying journey.
- Monitor and measure – check your analytics and insights every month to see what’s working and not working. Then plan accordingly for the next month.
If you keep doing something that’s not working expecting different results — well, that’s definition of insanity.
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