Are you a good or bad planner? Do you cringe at the very mention of the word 'plan'? If you do then you are not alone. Thousands of online (and offline) marketers find themselves in the same position.
A good many of these people may well have never considered a plan of action as part of their daily marketing activities. Others may think they are too busy to spare any time for planning. Still others may feel they do need to plan, can see the benefits to be gained from planning, but don't think their skills or personality are suited to this task.
It seems perfectly clear to me that without planning, the long term success of any business,large or small, is unlikely to be realised!
A plan need not be elaborate. It need not be detailed, but you should at least commit something to paper.
Start off by taking a positive view of planning. Don't just look at it as 'another boring chore I've got to do'. Say to yourself 'This is my plan for success.'
Also consider the following benefits to be gained from good planning:
- you can meet deadlines
- you can meet or even exceed your targets
- you can create a feeling of achievement for each step you fulfill
- you can monitor and control your marketing activities to greater effect
- you can initiate improvements
- you can achieve personal growth and success
Once you have accepted that planning for success is a positive thing, it is then time to think about your goals. And just what do you want to achieve? Why are you marketing this or that product in the first place? Do you know what your short term and long term aims are?
Answering these questions accurately will enable you to take a big step forward to achieving whatever goals you ultimately set yourself. So what are your goals? And how do you plan to achieve them?
The great thing about targets is they give you a way to measure your performance and give you a sense of direction - you are going somewhere. It is important also to consider that in order for your goals to have substance and meaning they should satisfy the following criteria:
- they should be achievable
- they should be measurable
- they should be challenging though NOT impossible
Here are THREE achievable, measurable and challenging goals that Bill, an Ezine owner, has set himself:
- to get 200 subscribers within the first three months following launch
- to ensure that AT LEAST 70% of subscribers are still in place after 6 months
- to increase the number of subscribers by 800 in the year following the initial 6 month target
What three goals relating to your business can you think of that meet the above criteria? Write them down.
Now let's look more in depth at each of Bill's goals to see how he can evolve an Action Plan that will enable him to meet each goal in a systematic, cost-effective way.
In order to work out the Action Plan he should consider a set of specific questions he should ask. These questions are:
- When should this happen?
- How is it going to be carried out?
- How much is it going to cost?
- Who is going to do it?
To bring in 30 subscribers
Within the first 30 days
By advertising in Ezines, on PPC Search Engines, via opt-in email lists, and via other media such as Classified Ad sites and also offline via magazines and periodicals
In the first instance Bill himself and then by others as the subscriber base grows
The budget is under $50 a month
Bill's next step is to start to put together the Action Plan in more detail. This is a very important stage of the overall plan because it focuses on specifics:
- how many hours is he going to devote?
- which specific advertising media is he going to use and how often?
- which advertisements is he going to use?
When getting down to the nitty gritty of executing his plan, Bill will try to keep in mind:
- his daily advertising routine (stick to it)
- whether he is keeping to the budget
- his target
When considering your own marketing campaign always think to yourself that EVERY day you follow your Action Plan is a step closer to the achievement of your goal!