This is going to be more simple than you think. Asking yourself some key questions can lead to your strategy. You’ll want to make sure that after you determine the why, what, who and when, that you create a written plan and hold it accountable. Everyone starts out with good intentions. The ideas are created (what), the who’s are assigned, and the when tends to become the challenge. Your success will be directly determined by understanding what you want (WHY), what you are going to need to achieve to get there (WHAT/Goals), implementation of a plan (HOW), the talent and resources you bring in to help with the what (WHO), and the accountability of it’s progress and results (WHEN).
Question: Why do we do what we do?
Besides the traditional “WHY” or North Star often talked about in business, marketing, and goal setting, your company needs a why. Why do you exist? What is your mission? Does your company solve a problem, change the industry? The key is deciding what you want to accomplish and put it in writing. Make sure it’s a statement that you believe. It should FIRE you up, get you excited! And if you have a team, it should fire up the entire team.
Here’s an example of our mission statement at Ballen Brands:
“We EMPOWER the business owner to TAKE CONTROL of their marketing platform”
How did we come up with that? We had a brainstorming session one evening at dinner and everyone on the team expressed what their goal was in their role. Each one of us kept coming back to empowerment in the form of training, service and so forth. We wanted our clients to stop being at the mercy of buying leads from large corporations without every really knowing what they were paying for. We wanted them to at the very least, understand their marketing platform, tools, systems and processes, financial spend and ROI so that they understood where and how they were spending money and generating leads. If you ask any of us, we will be able to tell you exactly why our company exists. And we have a story to tell behind it. That’s important.
Question: What do we hope to achieve?
What are our financial goals? This is generally related to a specific annual sales dollar, unit, or profitability number. A proper business plan would identify one of these numbers and then it would be backed out to produce a quarterly, monthly, weekly, even daily plan. The how (next section) is then the activities that will lead to the what (goal number).
Example: We want to earn 10 Million in Sales. In order to achieve this we need to sell 100 units at $100,000 Each (or 100,000 units at $100 each) etc.
Example of a business with seasonality:
100,000 Units will break down into:
First Quarter: 10
Second Quarter: 30 Units
Third Quarter – 40 Unites
Fourth Quarter – 20 Units.
Enjoy this video focused on Real Estate Marketing.
Question: How are we going to achieve the goal? What activities will we choose to do get us there?
This should not be a “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” plan. Businesses are often guilty of sending their marketing directors, leaders, sales team and so forth to conventions that parade the best of the best in the industry who tell stories of “what worked” for them. Rarely do they really get into the investment dollars, how long it took, where they failed before they succeeded, and what their true ROI is. Everyone comes home with “shiny object” syndrome and wants to adopt every great thing they heard on the panel.
This is a mistake.
Decide in advance what 2-3 main lead generation (marketing) activities you as a business will plan and hold accountable for results. Decide annually how much budget you will spend on each of these items. Then you can leave a place for a 4th or 5th experimental addition based on these new ideas if you like. Whenever you adopt a new marketing idea, do the research. Interview other businesses like yours that have done the same thing. DIG for answers. Learn how much up front and ongoing costs you can expect. Investigate real ROI numbers, get proof wherever you can. People tend to throw numbers around without data to back it up. Find out how much time it will take and then how long before you can expect results. If it all adds up for your company, and you can afford the investment of money and time, and can be disciplined to see results, go for it. Just don’t “wing” it. My advice is to start small with shiny object items. If they work, add zero’s and expand once they are proven.
Here are some examples of Marketing Activities.
- Direct Mail: Postcards, Newspapers/Newsletters, Brochures, Recipes, Sports Schedules
- Pop By Items: Calendars, Batteries for the Smoke Detectors, Pumpkins and other seasonal treasures
- Blogging – Hyperlocal and Problem Solving / Informational industry blogs
- Email Marketing – Creating and Nurturing Lists
- Search Engine Optimization – Focusing on ranking high on the search engines for web pages
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing, Cost Per Click, or Pay Per Click Marketing on the search engines.
- Media – Radio, Television, Billboards, Magazines, Newspapers
- Sponsored Events
Questions: Who will I partner with to achieve the goal?
This is the most important section of all. Without the WHO, you don’t have a WHAT. In the beginning, your who’s might be partners in your industry. An example is, the real estate industry. An agent might partner with mortgage lenders, title companies, attorneys, home inspectors, home insurance and warranty companies and so forth to create marketing materials, hold events and so on.
You might user freelancers like Ghost Writers, or hire companies for your Website Development and Design. You might bring in virtual assistants from other countries, or hire interns from the local college. You have to start somewhere.
Later, you will bring on part time and then full time team members. This is where you life becomes less about sales and more about people. You must develop leadership skills and learn how to hire and retain talent. More than anything else, you have to learn how to find talent that believes in the same things you do, that cares about the mission, and that has high personal goals as well.
Once you identify WHO you will work with to achieve the goals, you decide as a team who will take on what activities. With great systems, so much of marketing can be automated, yet “set it and forget it” systems only work with some serious up front thought and process. And they will require a WHO to hold them accountable to results.
How Often will these activities be performed and when we can we expect results?
Be sure to determine up front, what MEASURES you will use to determine HOW a WHO is doing moving towards the WHAT. What milestones will you use to measure the results of the activities. Basically, how do you know if you are winning? This is important for everyone in the organization.
Hold your dollars accountable!
If you choose blogging, decide upfront, how often you will do it. Consider the investment of time and money, and be sure to remember quality is going to matter in your activities. Results will not be the same if you skimp on time or money. Don’t set a plan you can’t stick with.
Direct Mail is a tricky one. You’ll find it requires a large upfront investment and a discipline to the timed activities reaching a targeted audience with consistent branding over and over to see results. Don’t bite off more than you can chew here. I’m one that has personally made this mistake and it got away from me. I always did much better with small list over time that I could retain. When my vision was bigger than my pocketbook, I would tend to leap without measuring what it would really take to achieve the goals. I learned by failing foward. You don’t have to on this one. I did it for you, and so have many of us that have come before you.
Whatever activities you choose, play them out. Use a simple spreadsheet and do the math on what it’s really going to take and make your decisions based on that math. Do the investigative work up front so you know the probable numbers. This is much better than guessing. Use Evidence not Emotion when making business decisions. Data allows you to do just that.
Remember that marketing is a test and measure game. Start with proven models and experiment only once you have the proven methods in place and generating results.
If you need help with your online marketing, please give Ballen Brands a call at 702-9170-0755. Ballen Brands is your go to tech shop for blog content, web design, drip email campaigns, CRM set up and integration, tracking systems, training and coaching. At Ballen Brands, we Empower the Business Owner to Take Control of their marketing platform.