You’ve heard the saying, I’m sure, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail” and I couldn’t agree more.
Trouble is, most of us running a business rarely take the time to do any planning at all beyond a daily to-do list. And even then, too often, we put too much on our list and never get around to most of it.
I’m a strong advocate of creating, at the least, a quarterly marketing plan. Planning at least 3 months in advance gives you the opportunity to look far enough ahead so that you can plan marketing campaigns around special holidays and special month, week and day designations.
Three months out will generally give you enough time too, to plan a promotion and still allow plenty of time for writing, printing, and distribution, such as you might need for a postcard mailing for example.
I also think planning out the entire year in advance is a good idea. This doesn’t mean that the plan can’t evolve and change, but at least doing an annual plan will give you a good overview of what you want to accomplish and when. You can then focus on your plan before the start of each new quarter, adding, changing, and deleting strategies as your needs change.
So, right now, go to your calendar and set aside time for making a plan for next year. A really good time to do this is in October. You already have a good picture of where you stand for the present year and you can think clearly and without a lot of pressure about what you want to accomplish in the coming year.
When doing this annual plan, look at a good calendar — or Chase’s Event Calendar — for each month of the year to see which holidays and special designations are coming throughout the year. You can plan fun and unusual marketing promotions around those events if you know about them well in advance.
Be careful though. When you’re not under a lot of pressure you can plan too much for yourself. You may come back to your plan later and discover that you’ve just scheduled way too much to comfortably accomplish during any given time period.
This is one of the reasons that I suggest to business owners that they pick 3 (any 3) marketing strategies that they really enjoy doing and that they know will work for them in their industry and concentrate on just those three strategies at any one time.
For example, you may really enjoy public speaking, as I do, teaching teleclasses, publishing an ezine, writing articles, mailing postcards, networking, sponsoring events, writing ebooks, and conducting workshops. But you’d make yourself crazy if you tried to do all of those things every single month and at the same time.
So pick 3 marketing strategies that you enjoy — remembering that if you don’t enjoy it you won’t do it — and concentrate on just those 3 things. Do them well and do them consistently for at least 3 months.
Be continuously monitoring the results you see from each strategy. If you’ve given something your best shot, and its just not working for you, then drop that and try something else, but also be sure you’ve really given the new strategy time to prove itself.
Concentrating on just 3 things will keep you out of overwhelm and you can more easily track the results you get when monitoring only a few items.
© Copyright 2009 Marty Marsh