Wow, we are already starting the second week of 2014. So you don’t have a market plan yet?
Don’t panic. If you can set aside a few minutes and follow this outline, you will have a simple marketing plan to keep you on track toward your goals. I started using this simple outline when I was in sales, and have found it works really well for me as a business owner as well. After all, every businesses owner is in sales, right?
1) Start by writing a sentence that summarizes three major accomplishments to achieve during the coming year. Here’s an example: In 2014, I will generate $120,000 in income, earn an additional professional designation and be interviewed on CNN.
2) For each of these goals, work backwards to define the step you will take to reach those goals. If earning a professional designation is part of you plan, list the classes you will need to complete or the hours of study: To earn my SEO Certification, I will review the course material, complete all of the worksheets and take the exam by March. For sales goals, think in terms of actions rather than outcomes. Instead of saying, I will book five new clients per month, define the activity. I will contact five existing clients per week to ask for a referral. When you have made the five contacts, you have succeeded. A consistent effort will yield results over time.
3) Set up milestones of achievement for each of the goals and schedule a check-in to measure your progress. If needed, you can re-evaluate your plan based on results. Do more of the activities that are yielding results, and rethink those that are not. A word of caution: be sure you give a tactic adequate time to produce results.
4) Estimate the budget you will need for each activity. Remember that even “free” marketing tools have some costs associated with them, in addition to the investment of time.
5) Transfer the activities to your calendar, keeping in mind your own personal preferences and work styles. Some activities like networking events and client meetings will have specific times. For activities you can control, consider where and when you will be most productive.
Remember that the plan is a work in progress. Once you have a basic outline, you can start to implement and adjust. Don’t let crafting the plan be an excuse for inaction or analysis paralysis.
So, now you have an outline for a quick easy, marketing plan. It’s possible to start with this simple outline and drill down as many levels as you would like.
Through the years that I have used this plan, I have found that it’s actually a time management tool, too. Evaluating possible activities against stated goals keeps me on track.