Planning is the cornerstone of many things in life such as birthdays and social occasions. If you forget to plan these things in detail, it’s not the end of the world.
The opposite is true when it comes to planning your marketing. You need a plan. If you don’t have one, then you won’t know whether you’re achieving your goals, and what did and didn’t work. Planning a whole year of marketing for your business is daunting. It’s a lot of white space to fill in one session. One approach is to chunk down your time into manageable blocks (a bit like good time management).
90 days is a large number, but that’s 3 months, 12 weeks, or one quarter of your year. That’s a smaller amount to deal with.
So, how do you start planning the next 90 days of your marketing? Let’s plan it together.
Step 1: Look at your current performance
Whether you’ve been trading a few years or you’re new, you need some baseline figures. Look at your website traffic, your social media stats, your turnover. Write these down and get familiar with your figures. Income and turnover are the key ones to look at, while stats such as re-tweets and engagements are ‘soft’ stats, which are useful to have but not 100% necessary.
My social media doesn’t look so good right now – I’ve not been very active on Twitter or LinkedIn. I view my social media as communication, education, then sales. I’m out to engage and educate my prospects (which is the next step – defining my goals.)
My Google Analytics shows my website hits are pretty low… but I know I can fix that with some new content and sharing out on social media! I don’t prioritise my website as an enquiry driver, more as a means of educating my prospects and showcasing my work and testimonials. Looking at my data now means I know what’s going on, and what I can do to try to improve my traffic and bring down bounce rates and bring in more traffic from different channels. This below was from the last 90 days.
Step 2: Think about your goals – what do you want to achieve?
Your goals aren’t written in stone, and neither should your marketing activity be – they need to be adaptable to certain events. But you can’t start marketing if you don’t know what you want to achieve.
A figure or target turnover is good. What’s the minimum monthly turnover you want to achieve? Do you have a new product you want to launch? Or do you have an event you want to promote?
You can have hard and soft goals. A hard goal would be to win a new consultancy client each week, or to improve your online presence through social media, or improve your click-through rates on your emails.
- Improve website traffic by 25% – (August 58 sessions – so around 80 sessions for September)
- Create a ‘lead magnet’ and create a landing page – set up analytics to track and measure
- Create a series of emails for lead magnet promoting my services
- Increase consultancy enquiries through networking and social media
Step 3: Think about the marketing channels you can/ want to use
There are a few main channels that will impact on how you carry out your marketing activity. Websites, social media, email marketing, advertising, PR, blogging, direct marketing, etc. are just a few to name. The below layout in a spreadsheet is a good way to visualise your main marketing channels and goals. A spreadsheet is a good way to visualise goals, manage projects, as well as hold data. You could have a dedicated marketing spreadsheet that you refer to on a daily basis to keep on top of your marketing activities and goals.
In each of the boxes, think about the activity you could do – such as creating graphics for your social media, or brainstorming some blogging ideas. You could do this in Week 1 – then draft content for the week or even month again. The key to planning your activity is to think of your end goal, then track back.
Take my example – I want to generate enquiries from a few businesses for consulting. I can look at creating blogs around the topic of consultancy and marketing advice, and this content can then become a weekly email or become part of my monthly newsletter.
For my website, I could conduct an SEO audit and use those findings to improve my website content – or I might need to add a new web page to support a new service or event I’ll be hosting.
Networking plays heavily into my marketing strategy, so I could make an action to research and attend two new networking events, then follow up the week after.
For emails – you can write in the topic you want to write about and who you’re going to email on your mailing list.
Step 4: Do it!
You’ve spent the time creating a plan – so you need to implement it to start seeing results. The good ole fashioned Gantt chart is a fantastic way to organise tasks and tick them off. Neil Patel has an awesome blog on how to use Google Sheets / Excel to organise your projects and customer data.
You can break the tasks down and assign them to yourself or a team member (especially useful if you outsource). There are other platforms such as Asana, Evernote, Basecamp, or Slack, which you can use to assign and track tasks in your business and for your marketing activities.
Step 5: Review and Improve
At the end of each month, review the activities and take note of the results. Put these in the spreadsheet, or compare all of this from the full 90 days. You can start to build a picture to see whether your first month of activity is having an impact, then you can go ahead and tweak the next two months.
Remember that your goals and activities aren’t, and shouldn’t be, set in stone. A little flexibility is good, but don’t give up after the first month if you’re not getting the results you want.
Marketing is an ever-changing and refining process, so you need to tweak and improve until you land on a great marketing mix.