So, you’ve heard the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Well, in marketing we like to say, “If you fail to plan, you’ve already failed.”

You see, planning is essential to marketing success. However, the more marketers I meet, the clearer it becomes that most entrepreneurs/small business owners have no idea how to even start planning. In this blog, I decided to offer our approach to planning that has led to some really great outcomes over the last 2 years. Whether the day-to-day or the long term goals, it’s planning that makes the ideas come to life.

The Big Idea

Every marketing plan must revolve around your “Big Idea”. If not, you will loose steam. Believe it or not, your prospects will loose interest too. What is a “Big Idea” you ask? Well, a “Big Idea” is usually the goal that your prospect can reach if they choose you or your product.

For example: If Apple wanted me to buy an iPad, they need me to understand that it is more than just a giant iPhone. So their “Big Idea” is “iPad is an entirely new experience with more capabilities and features” so I can access more while I am on the go. Or, “iPad is even a laptop replacement that has full touchscreen capabilities.”

Now, without going into to much more detail, your “Big Idea” should offer the big picture benefit. Once you have the “Big Idea”, you must hang all your messaging and effort on it and your plan becomes purely communicating that idea to your potential customers.

Mastermind/Think-tank

Now that you have a “Big Idea”, it’s time to start spitballing and trying random pitches on people. Sometimes you might have the privilege of having another marketer you know who has sold something similar and who can help point out some inconsistency. But let’s face it, this is a needle in a hay stack.

I have always pitched to my wife or my best friend first. They don’t mind shooting your ideas down in a loving way and vetting you through their own opinions. Once I get their approval, I try out some other people I know that may be close to my demographic. Then, once they are excited, I take it to some peers in the industry for feedback. Now, this is not always possible but the longer you stay in the game, the more people of like heart and mind you’ll find.

Framework

Once you have dialed your pitch you need to start a plan framework. The Framework will give you an overview of what needs to be done. It needs to look like an ELEPHANT.

What do I mean by an Elephant? I mean it needs to look like you could never do it in one day. If it is too easy, you’re probably forgetting a lot of the nuts and bolts regarding what really needs to be executed.

For example: If you are going to need a YouTube channel, you need to:

  1. Set up the account
  2. Upload a brand image
  3. Upload a banner image
  4. Upload your first video
  5. Apply for monetization
  6. Get your website verified with your channel
  7. Build your intro/outro videos
  8. Work on subscriber view… and so on.

I recently launched a Facebook page with this method and had almost 40 page likes in 1 week because it felt very clean and well executed. If you do half the job, users and prospects can always see that and tune out. Take the time to make a list of every piece of the framework, even if it seems insurmountable. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run:)

Workflow

Now you have your framework and you can begin with your workflow. These days, I could write an entire book on the types of workflows that suit different businesses and even people. However, in short, you need to have a way to organize your to-do list into a manageable format. If you are working with your team, then find a tool that can keep order and communication smooth as you knock out your framework day-by-day.

P.S. Keep an eye out 😀 Very soon we will actually be releasing a marketing planning app that will be an absolute game changer when it comes to congruency and workflow. Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone 😉

Eat The Elephant

Now it’s time for doing. Remember that Elephant you built earlier? How do you eat it? One bite at a time. This is where most marketers want to give up and try something easier. It is painful to just sit down and do the work. You’ll find yourself making excuses you have never heard before just to legitimize your giving up and abandoning the process.

This is where the rubber meets the road and it takes everything within you to push through the execution. You will know you’ve hit a vein when you start hating the mundane. You will have to  get up and beat your body into submission and follow through regardless of how you feel or what your thoughts are.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to schedule a day off right after this push. It will give you something to look forward to and trust me, you’ll need it. Although you’re not finished, you need perspective to move to the next phase. So don’t skimp on some R&R and make sure you divert your mind completely.

Comb The Dessert

Ahh! That was a nice rest, but now it’s back to the grind. You need to go back through every task and view the quality with fresh eyes. Sometimes you will have to redo entire tasks but the more you use this method, the more you’ll stop compromising during the “Eat The Elephant” phase.

Now it’s just tweaks and adjustments that help square things up.  It’s round about now that you begin to feel that “hey this is pretty good” feeling. Dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and sign it off as you masterpiece. Remember, if you are not stoked then your potential customers will know and lack the passion needed for them say yes.

Let It Fly

Finally, it’s time to saddle up! Make sure in this phase that you have run multiple tests and once you have seen Frankenstein alive then… shout it from the mountaintops!!!

Most marketers go wrong during this phase. They are still tired from all the setup and craziness and lose steam to talk about the product as if it is brand new and the best thing since sliced bread.

A cure for this is to front load all the exciting videos and copywriting when “Eating The Elephant.” That way you don’t have to fake it.

The best thing you  can do in this phase is set some realistic goals. Shoot for the stars so that if you hit the moon you still have that “high-five” moment. Even if you’re high-fiving yourself. Lol. Trust me, I’ve been there!

Optimize

Now your marketing asset or campaign is live! Congrats! You must learn though to compensate quickly as visitors or users give it a go. Knowing what the bottlenecks are will help you take away the constraints the real world dishes out on your dream. Then, and only then, you can see it through to reality.

The best most effective way to do this is of course, tracking. There are many ways to do it but keep the goal in mind when looking for a solution. We tend to build marketing funnels and customer journies so ConversionFly is always up to the task. Allowing us to see our Opt-In Rate, Order Form Completion Rate, Average Visitor Value, Average Lead Value, Average Transaction Value, Lifetime Customer Value, Geo Location and Keyword/Referral sites, Break-even Speed and SO much more.

It just takes one well executed funnel or campaign to change your life forever. Remember your marketing can only be as good as your plan. I hope you feel encouraged to hear our struggles and successes. I believe we all need to have them and I am unashamedly sharing, hoping you will get stoked and begin rethinking your approach to success.

So till next time, dig deep, shoot for the stars and never look back.