It’s important to define your business goals before you create a marketing plan.
When creating business goals, be specific and set a timeframe.
Make sure that your business goals are achievable.
Review your marketing channels to make sure the content aligns with your business goals.
Sometimes, you’ll need to beef up your business’s tech resources or expand your staff to achieve your business goals.
When I was a kid, I loved the three-legged race, working with someone in lockstep to get to the finish line first. It was so much fun and because I was one of the shortest kids at camp being partnered with someone taller, I often got a stride I would not have had on my own. Before my partner and I would start I would say, “Okay, you lead but start with our tied together leg first” (I was a smart kid J). I knew exactly how to win this game. However, for other campers, this was not as enjoyable. The idea of moving in-step with a partner meant knowing who was taking the lead and keeping up with that cadence. Many campers struggled, fell, and were frustrated when they couldn’t keep up with those who understood the lesson the game was designed to teach us.
Starting your marketing plan without defining your business goals is like starting the three-legged race with no idea of who is leading or the strides you plan to take.
Understanding the Role Marketing Plays in Your Business
One of the most undervalued ingredients in growing your business is marketing. I know you’ll say I am biased but, it’s the truth. Marketing is responsible for:
- Building awareness
- Generating leads
- Client and customer retention
- Supporting sales
- Driving your message
- Building advocates
- Connecting your team
I could add more to this list and dig into the specifics, but you get the idea. When you’re starting your business or are in your early stages, you may not see all these areas.
Because marketing is responsible for so many areas of our business, it’s important to be clear about our message and purpose as a business, and to create goals to measure our success.
What Are Your Business Goals?
Defining your goal for the next three, six, or twelve months will help you stay focused. You cannot effectively drive growth without a clear milestone you expect to achieve.
Saying “I want to increase my revenue by ‘X’ dollars in the next six months” is a business goal, but not a focused goal. In what areas of your business do you want to increase your revenue? What products do you want to push more? Why are you focusing on these areas and how does it impact your bottom line?
Steps for defining your goal:
- Be Specific:
Who, what, where, why — this will help you stay focused.
- Define the way you’ll measure success:
How much growth or what percentage increase?
- Is it achievable:
Do you have the tools? Do you have the resources you need to meet your goal?
- Review the relevance:
Does it fit your business purpose? How will this help your business long term?
- Set a timeframe:
Without an end date or a milestone marker, it’s not truly a goal.
Stepping back and working through this exercise will help you, your team, and your target customers understand why they should work with you. Remember, a confused mind will not take action.
Clarity Leads to Clear Tactics
Now that you’re clear about your goals and timeline, you can start to outline the elements you’ll need to focus on for your success. One of the best places to start is reviewing your marketing channels. Look at each channel and make note of what the focus is and if it is currently focused on your goal. If it is not, what will you need to do to change that channel to support the objective you have in place?
What will you need to achieve your goal — make a list:
- Photos or designs
- Content or copywriting
Keep in mind that every marketing channel has different specifications, both digital and non-digital.
Create Your Timeline
Timelines help us stay accountable to ourselves and to our team. Allow time to rev up your marketing, implement your plan, and review along the way. Creating a timeline puts everything in perspective for you. We all need to be realistic about the bandwidth it takes to start and run a marketing plan.