Nobody does marketing just because it’s fun (although it can be a lot of fun—especially when it’s working!). We all engage in marketing activities because we want something to happen. We want traffic. We want leads. We want customers. We want results.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the particulars of marketing—in the various components of a marketing plan. But an effective marketing plan is more than just the sum of your marketing activities. Having an excellent website is great. So is having an outstanding blog. A great Facebook presence is important. Having a strong Twitter presence to go with things such as email campaigns and online (or live) events is a good thing, too. But all these activities need to be part of an overall plan. How do you build that plan?
Many of us in marketing know “The Seven Ps”: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Many of us even subscribe to that philosophy—at least in principle. But what’s the key to “Proper Prior Planning?” I’d suggest that it starts with setting SMART goals.
Specific. Make your goals specific. Instead of establishing vague goals such as “increase traffic” set specific goals such as X number of visitors; Y number of leads generated per month and Z number of new customers in the first quarter.
Measureable. No matter what marketing activities you employ, you need to be able to measure the results. Set up your activities so that you can track what happened. How many responses did your tweet generate? How many visitors went to your landing page in response to a specific blog? How many people requested your special report because of your Facebook post? If you don’t know what’s working (or what’s not) you can’t make adjustments to your plan.
Attainable. It’s important to be realistic with your goals. Don’t set a goal like doubling your website traffic in one week. It’s not going to happen. Industry statistics suggest that only two percent of your website traffic will actually become a viable lead. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Set goals you can actually reach (and understand what you need to do to attain them).
Realistic. This has to do with realistically evaluating your own capabilities. Do you have the skills, time, knowledge and infrastructure to set up SEO, create content, track results and manage your social media channels? If you do, that’s great. If you don’t, you may want to look at outsourcing the things that (at least for now) are outside of your areas of expertise.
Timing. Set specific timetables for achieving your goals. If you don’t have specific deadlines, you’ll never be able to measure your success. You don’t have to make everything “due” at one time. Some things can happen more quickly than others. Set monthly, quarterly and annual deadlines for your goals.
If you’d like more specifics on how to create and effective marketing plan, I encourage you to download our free e-book: 4 Keys to Effective Inbound Marketing Plans. This e-book was developed for homebuilding professionals, but the universal principles apply across any industry.