January 26th – “to do” list
1. Choose blog topic
2. Write blog
3. Get blog proofed
4. Publish blog
I am an avid list writer. Pen and paper, Notes on my iPad, Post-its on the office wall – whatever the format, I can add things on, cross them off, consult the list for what to do next. It gives me confidence that I won’t forget to do things, and a great sense of achievement when something can be crossed off. Tada! Done! Without my list, priorities would slip and I wouldn’t know whether I’d achieved what I set out to achieve. My list is my map, my guide, my plan of action.
Plan for success
Even if you don’t share my passion for written lists, whatever you do you will follow a plan. You may not always be aware of the plan, but for anything to be done successfully you will need to follow a series of actions, in a certain order.
If you have guests coming for dinner, you will choose a menu, write a shopping list, go shopping and then cook (itself a list of actions to be done in a certain order and at a certain time). Without some kind of plan, however informal or vague, the end result is either unachievable or will be flawed. (And if the contents of your fridge are as random as mine, you certainly won’t produce a palatable meal without some planning.)
So having plans allows you to achieve the best end result.
Creating an effective marketing plan
Marketing is no different. To get the best from your marketing, you need a plan. The plan comes from identifying your end goal and then deciding what marketing actions will get you there. Putting out a succession of unrelated messages across a random selection of media is akin to throwing the first ten things you can see in your fridge into a casserole and expecting to produce a Boeuf en Daube. Success is highly unlikely – and your customers are unlikely to come back for seconds.
So, what’s the plan for delivering effective marketing? Firstly, ask yourself these questions before you do anything;
1. What’s your end goal – exactly what do you want to achieve?
2. Who are the customers who will allow you to reach that end goal?
3. Where are the relevant touch points to reach those customers?
4. What message will they respond to?
5. What is the best medium to reach them?
6. And how will you measure the effectiveness of the marketing?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can begin to create a marketing plan, choosing the various elements according to their effectiveness in helping you reach your end goal, rather than mere availability or other random reasons. After all, there’s no point using time, effort and money on Facebook boosts if your customers are all on Snapchat.
Maybe you’ll never be a list writer – I won’t hold it against you. But I urge you to be a planner when it comes to your marketing, because your end goal will come quicker, easier and more cost effectively.