A simplified marketing plan that works!
When I started my first business in 1981, I researched business plans and marketing plans. I looked at all the formats and read a lot about the purpose of creating a business plan. But I never got excited enough to do it.
When I launched my public speaking business in 1997, I reconsidered a business plan and a marketing plan. Again, they seemed too complex, like a lot of “hype” for my one-person operation. But I soon found out that I needed some kind of plan that would remind me where I was going and how I planned to get there.
For the past few years, I have been using a simplified marketing plan. And it has worked for me. It can inspire you to do something similar, or at least do something! Is that how it works.
At the beginning of the year (or during my planning period for the year), I make a list of goals for my business. I try to analyze all facets of the business. For instance:
1. Book of speaking engagements X.
2. Give X free speeches.
3. Generate $ X in consulting fees.
4. Increase website traffic to X page views per month.
Then, I list the key factors of my success during the year and assign a code for each one. For instance:
* Increase online visibility. Code V
* Deepen my credibility. Code C
* Highlight my experience. Code E
* Generate passive income. Code I
Finally, I describe the audience (s) I want to serve, assigning a code to each one.
Speakers Code S
Authors Code A
C Code Consultants
SB Code for Small Businesses
Now I am ready to put my plan into action steps!
At the top of the first page, I list the first objective: Conference Engagements from Book X. Then I list as many activities that will contribute to that as possible. Here are a few that I have listed this year:
* New professional photo
* Monthly contact with key advocates
* Monthly postcards with tips for meeting planners.
* Updated demo video; distribute to speaker’s office.
* Schedule for each commitment.
* Send press releases for each engagement, as appropriate.
* Specific series of follow-up activities for each commitment.
Also, I list specific prospects that I want to target this year.
I repeat this process for each objective, listing the marketing or sales activities that I need to perform under the objective to which it applies.
Then I go back and code each activity. First with the Key Factors code. Will this activity contribute to my visibility? Credibility? Experience? Or passive income? An activity can have multiple key factors. If I find an activity that does not contribute to one of my key factors for the year, I wonder if this is an appropriate activity for this year. In many cases, I will drop it or lower its priority.
Finally, I review each activity and code the audience (s) for which it will be appropriate. Most of the activities can apply to multiple audiences, but I often find that I am ignoring one of my target groups for the year. Again, I ask if there are additional activities that I should do to better serve you or if it is appropriate to ignore them this year.
As a format, I found that this works fine for me:
Task Key Factors Public Deadline Completion Date
And since I have staff, I add an additional column for who will perform the activity.
At this point, I have my basic plan. It only remains to set the deadlines for each activity. These deadlines, in turn, dictate my daily activities. If I find myself doing something that is not in my marketing plan, I stop and ask “Should I do this at all? If I should, why didn’t it show up in my marketing plan? Where can I add it or should I stop doing it? ? “
In general, my entire plan is less than 10 pages long. I try never to set more than 10 goals for the year, as that seems so overwhelming! So keep it short. I review the plan monthly, noting the activities I have completed and the progress on those I am working on. It always amazes me how much I manage to do on the plan, even if I never complete all the tasks that I set out to do.
Having a plan is a key element in setting yourself up for success. The format your plan takes is entirely up to you. But if you haven’t found one that works for you, try this one. Then tweak it to make it work even better for you. I’d love to know what works for you!