There’s a great saying that if “you don’t plan to succeed, you plan to fail”, and certainly, if you don’t plan at all, you aren’t striving for the best possible results. In its simplest form, your marketing strategy can be broken up into 3 steps:
Step #1 – planning – is what you have begun just by reading this article! But in a better sense, true planning should be accompanies by the setting of goals, and our goals should be:
Goals should be realistic, yet challenging – don’t choose something you can complete in a day (although that may be a step in your goal), nor something that is absolutely impossible to achieve
Goals should be specific and quantifiable – not simply “I want to make more money”, but exactly how much more, and what does that require in the amount of new business generated
Goals should be time specific – there should be an actual “target date” which you will strive to meet
Step #2 – execution/implementation – actually doing the work to carry out your plans. Whether you are a consummate list maker or work best with a chart with stars for a task completed, your plans should be broken into manageable steps. Remember, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step!
Step #3 – evaluation – is the step that so many people skip entirely to their eventual detriment. If we never look back to see if our methods, strategies, and even original goals were attained, we will continue to pour time and money into areas which are not destined to work out. So many times I have met with a client and asked “So, I see you are advertising ______ which is costing you ______ – how much new business have you gotten as a direct result of that?”, and the person has no idea. Whether in business or in life, self evaluation is a critical step to making sure that you remain on the right track.
Similarly, your overall marketing methods can be broken into 3 general methods, or channels, in which all of your new business has come:
online marketing – including your website, email marketing, social media and more
off-line marketing – business cards and brochures, networking, public speaking, conferences, etc.
referrals – generally from current clients/customers, and can include rewards, an affiliate program as well as other methods to encourage referrals
While new business often comes under multiple methods – for example, a person hears about your business from a colleague, and then checks out your website before making a call, or a person saw your ad somewhere and also heard of you from another client, and the two ‘clicked” in your head – it is still a helpful way of grouping your marketing strategies.
So – 3 steps with 3 different methods – not so bad after all!