How to Make a Plan and Stick to It
Taking the time to sit down and hash out a communication or marketing strategy plan takes a lot of focus and time. We get it! In fact, we do that sort of planning for a lot of our clients. If you’re considering making some changes this year, we’ve outlined a few steps to help you succeed.
- Be Intentional
Don’t set goals you think you’d like, but don’t actually want. In other words… be intentional about what you want to achieve. Don’t shotgun lofty ideas for the sake of writing something down and then expect to accomplish them. Your goals should be personally significant and you should feel a sense of ownership over them. Focus on a select few goals that are challenging, but also attainable and relevant.
- Be Realistic
One of the main reasons we see marketing plans fail is when people are unrealistic about their desired outcomes. Whether you’re developing short-term or long-term goals, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your company, and your capabilities. Take a moment to step back and critically look at your business, from where you are right now. Set goals based on where you are today, not where you’d like it to be today. Start with three realistic, attainable, and relevant goals and then set timeframes by which to achieve them.
- Start broad and focus on your overall goals you want to accomplish for the year.
- Focus on three-month increments by breaking your year into quarters.
- Get a spreadsheet going to organize the who, what, where, when, and how.
- Identify Your Target
Your marketing strategy plan should define your target audience. This provides direction and consistency of messaging across mediums as you move forward with your campaign(s). This may include blog topics and posting frequency, online ad and social media campaigns, and promotional materials. Remember, a good marketing plan will provide organization of a variety of marketing mediums and help them work together to achieve your final goals.
- Write Everything Down
While it seems simple, writing down your goals and your marketing strategy is important. Having your strategy plan and goals in your head is not enough. When you write them down, they become real. Outline like crazy. Add a calendar. Take big ideas and initiatives and break them down into smaller, bite-size tasks to accomplish by specific dates. Add color coding to organize topics and campaigns. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to accomplish this goal, and what are some specific ways I can go about achieving it?”
- Don’t Overdo It
It’s important to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. If you’re just getting started with marketing, or if it’s your first time with a formal strategy plan, be reasonable in the number of initiatives you include. If you include too much, it can be overwhelming and you risk burning yourself out. Start a spreadsheet and use these organizational tips to get started:
- Organize your columns by month and rows by methods of communication.
- Color coordinate each cell according to which campaign it’s a part of.
- Be concise, bold topic names, and italicize supplemental information.
- Stick With It
Once your marketing strategy plan is complete and you start implementation, you have to stick with it. Just like any other job responsibility, marketing must remain a priority. Only by consistently implementing a marketing plan will you experience consistent growth.