Why You Need a Marketing Plan

Each new year offers the promise of a fresh start. I can't help but get wrapped up in the excitement of resolutions and big ideas, kicking the year off with a bang. The problem with declaring a bunch of resolutions is most people don't put a plan in place to achieve them. Then weeks later they're all, "Resolutions who?" The same goes for setting goals for your business. Much like an architect can't build a house without first designing it, you can't grow your business without first planning for it.

If you started this year with good intentions for promoting your business but already feel them slipping through your fingers, it's not too late to put a marketing plan in place to accomplish your business goals. Doing the leg work now generates a road map to success, creates accountability and offers opportunities to check in and measure your efforts and course correct as needed.

First, lay out your business goals. Do you want to generate leads? Increase conversions? Raise brand awareness? Use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to help you determine these goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

Next, lay out a variety of tactics that could help you work toward these goals. Here are some examples for consideration:

  • Optimize your website, improving the user experience and/or implementing SEO
  • Exhibit at a meaningful trade show
  • Work as or with an influencer
  • Create video
  • Do live video on social
  • Start an email newsletter
  • Run a promotion
  • Implement employee advocacy
  • Launch on a new social media platform
  • Test social media ads

Then, get into the details:

  • Identify the specific goals do you have for each tactic that complement your overall business goals
  • Develop timelines for creation and completion of the tactics
  • Assign team members or hire personnel to tackle each project
  • Determine any new technology or resources you will need to execute on the tactics

Once you launch your tactics, check in to see how they're performing. When they end, use metrics to garner insights and make plans for new tactics.

How are you feeling about your business in 2017? Do you have any planning questions? Send them my way!

Write Your Next Blog Post in 15 Minutes or Less

If you're a business owner with a blog you may find times when it feels like there's absolutely no room in your schedule to sit down and write a blog post. I can relate! I'm a mom and wife with a full-time job, a consultancy on the side, a cover band and a DIY blog. Time is precious! Sometimes I feel like Sarah Jessica Parker in "How Does She Do It." But I'm preaching to the choir, I know. So in order to do it all, I need to get crafty. I have an incredible way to help you create your next blog post in 15 minutes or less. 

First ask yourself these few questions:

  1. What topic are you writing about?
  2. Who are you speaking to? Who is your target and at what point in the sales funnel are they?
  3. Where do you want to point them to? Are you driving them to a landing page for a course? A service or product? An event?
  4. What are the key points you are trying to make? Limit yourself to three.

To determine your topic, use sources readily available to you:

  • Your Facebook page - Are there questions from your customers there?
  • Your sent emails - What question have you recently answered via email?
  • Is there an article or study you recently read that you have a point of view on?

Select a topic that pertains to the target keeping in mind where they are in your sales funnel and draft a post about it.

For example, in this particular blog post I'm writing about how you can create your next blog post in 15 minutes or less. You are a small business owner crunched for time and I would like you to subscribe to my blog to get more great actionable tips.

The main point: You can write a blog post in 15 minutes or less.

My three key points:

  1. Do some prep work
  2. Use Evernote and the talk-to-text feature on your phone
  3. Go back and edit edit edit, then post.

Now that I've given you insight into the rest of this post, let's move on.

Using Evernote and the microphone on your smartphone, you can talk through your blog post and Evernote will transcribe it for you. The one downside of using Evernote is it only has about 30 seconds of recording capability at a time so you will need to continue to press the microphone button. On the flip side, this gives you some time to collect your thoughts and plan for the next section. Using this method, you could draft a blog post in the time it takes you to commute to work.

After you have completed transcribing your blog post entry, go back and read through it. Check for spelling mistakes, grammar errors or just inconsistent transcribing and incomplete sentences. Use Merriam Webster's dictionary, thesaurus.com and Grammarly (install their browser extension/app!) to help you edit your post.

Lastly, copy and paste into your blog and hit publish! If you can add a compelling complementary image, all the better.  

There. Don't you feel like you could take on the world?! Try this method for your next blog post (or video script, or podcast script or social media post) and let me know how it goes!