Planning and strategy: what’s different?
The best way to get strategy versus plan straight is to realise that you need to develop goals (your strategy) before you can create a plan of action to reach those goals.
First you come up with the strategy and goals and then, using the goals, you can create your plan. They go together and you need both to be successful when marketing your business.
Here’s an example:
Marketing strategy: Increase email subscribers in order to market XYZ product/service
Marketing plan: Create and promote a free report targeted toward a specific audience for the purposes of increasing email list subscriptions.
You have to know what you want do before you can determine how you’re going to do it. This is why creating a marketing plan is an important part of owning a successful business. You need to develop the right strategy so that you can create good goals, and then, from those goals, develop a plan of action that provides daily, weekly and monthly tasks to perform toward reaching the goals and seeing the strategy through.
If you were to create a workflow for developing your marketing strategy and plan, it might look like this:
Define your Goals
Using ‘SMART’ goals is a good way to make sure you are clear about what you want to achieve. This means that they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed. Name what you want. If you plan to increase your email list subscribers, then by how many? Which list? With whom? By when?
Know why you want to meet the goal. Do you know why you’re building your email list? You should know that you’re building it to promote XYZ product or service.
Create a Plan of Action
List all the tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. In my example, what does it take to create the free report? A writer, an editor, a delivery system and promotion; what else?
Implement the Plan
Organise the plan and implement it in the order necessary to succeed. Always remember first things first. Set a time limit or deadline, then work your way back to today to start filling in when you need to finish each task.
Measure the Results
This is an often missed step but it is a critical one. Determine if you met your goals by seeing how much you exceeded or how far away you are from the measurable goal that you set.
Adjust and Improve
Throw out what isn’t working and keep doing what is. If you did not reach your goal, determine why. If you did, make a new one.
Do it all over again for every goal.
Understanding the importance of how you will go about meeting a goal is as critical as creating your goal. As you work through your marketing plan you may determine that you or your business lacks certain skills or knowledge.
However, you now understand where the skills gaps are so can address these and successfully implement your marketing plans and grow your business.
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