It’s surprising how many organizations are so eager to get results, that they jump into action and completely miss out on the key aspects needed to make their marketing work for them. While we understand the enthusiasm, the consequences of not having a strategic plan in place can severely impact your organization; specifically, when it comes to collecting data and evaluating your efforts.
Think about this:
- Without proper objectives, goals or benchmarks, you don’t get the data needed to evaluate whether you’ve reached your mark.
- You overextend your business’ resources because you are on every platform instead of being strategic about using the proper channels.
- You try to evaluate progress but get multiple streams of data and then have difficulty sorting through results.
- Or you are completely successful and have a good amount of data, but you have not taken the time to review and evaluate it , therefore you’re not sure what exactly worked well for you.
If you have limited resources, you have to make a plan. Without a plan, you may start to feel overwhelmed, However, with a good plan in place, you can avoid the misfortunes highlighted above. This doesn’t need to be your outcome. As Stephen Covey mentioned in “7 habits of Highly Effective People,” begin with the end in mind. By just taking a moment to develop a plan that will act as a road map these issues can be avoided. When strategizing there are a number of items you should consider.
- Look at the Big Picture
Review what is already established. Your plan doesn’t have to start from scratch. Many times, organizations have a business or strategic plan in place that outlines the organization’s overall goals. Revisit that plan and line up your marketing actions with the company’s goals and objectives.
- Be S.M.A.R.T!
Next, consider what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts and establish your S.M.A.R.T Goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Remember to work smarter, not harder.
- Consider Who You are Trying to Reach
Establish your target market with the help of a buyer persona. Determining your buyer persona allows you to picture who you want to reach and how you want to reach them. Visualize your target so you can reach the right audience in the right spaces with the right content. Consider the following questions;
- Who are the people you are trying to reach?
- What type of platforms do they utilize?
- What are they interested in?
- What type of content would attract their attention and provide engagement?
- How do they use particular platforms?
- What are they talking about? Interview some of those that are close to your organization?
Get on the phone with an ideal sponsor or volunteer and ask questions. This will help focus your outreach strategy and provide you with the answers you need. Not only looking at demographics but psychographics as well, which are things like attitude and concerns about topics. Once you realize who it is you are talking to, you can determine what information will be most pertinent to them and begin to develop your strategy.
- Map It Out
With an eye on the organization’s overall objectives and S.M.A.R.T. goals established, a timeline for completion accompanied by a budget andmetrics for evaluations, you can now complete your strategy for success. Prioritize your plan in a one-to-three-year roadmap and work to obtain buy-in from stakeholders. Consider your resources such as who is on your team that can help provide content. Think about the size of your team and if outsourcing will be necessary. If so, make sure to incorporate these costs in your budget. Within the budget also consider whether there will be a focus on organic content or paid ads. Make note of any roadblocks such as a lack of time, people, or money, and consider how these items may affect your goal, timeline, and budget.
- Create and Evaluate
Now, we come to the portion everyone seems to jump into first, content creation. However, this time we have taken essential steps to ensure a successful journey. This strategy can also be used to establish the development of your content, no matter what format it may be in. It doesn’t have to be daunting. Here is a quick structure to help put together your strategy.
- Review your persona and the content that would be most appealing to the people you are trying to reach.
- Think about what will make it valuable or useful to them.
- Look at what channel resonates with your demographic the best and go there.
- Then think about the information we just went over.
- Consider posting times for best traction and when your audience may be online.
- Get team buy-in? Who on your team or in your organization has the information you need and establish a funnel for that information to get to you.
Content releases should help reach the organization’s objectives and meet S.M.A.R.T. Goals. However, to determine success, you must evaluate your metrics.Keep an eye on your content and engagement to identify where change is happening and then decide where you need to adapt. What better way to do that than set up metrics that will provide you with the answers you are looking for so you can make data-driven decisions.
According to Hubspot, “Bad data is costing businesses an astonishing 15% – 25% of revenue a year.”
Bad data is costing you money and you don’t need that because you need all of the resources to support your services, programs, and business.
- Start with the big picture! Review established plans.
- Put the pieces in place:
- Establish your S.M.A.R.T. goals
- Evaluate your target market and develop your Buyer Personas
- Construct your roadmap to help guide the way by developing a strategic plan
- Create and evaluate
- Repeat these actions, over and over again, making adjustments that will help you succeed along the way.
Once you have what you need, you can make strategic decisions instead of using intuition to help drive and reach your goals. So, let’s get, checkout some additional tips that can help prepare your strategy and keep an eye out for additional information on strategic planning concepts. Need additional resources or support getting started? Contact the Bekoz Team for a brief discussion regarding your next steps.