Are you stepping back every quarter to examine your business from a bird’s eye view and creating a revised, intentional action plan?
If not, implementing this could be a MASSIVE game changer for your company!
If you are, good work! Let’s dive in and make sure your quarterly planning meetings are as effective as possible.
If you want to scale your company and become a long-term, profitable business, it is paramount to keep everyone focused, balanced and committed to the same big goals.
The quarter is an excellent spot to step back and re-evaluate everything you’ve done to gauge effectiveness and efficiency. If you fail to do so, you will easily lose money to projects or people who are simply not providing value to your company.
A quarter is a long enough to accomplish meaningful work and measure marketing strategy but short enough that you can course correct and make important adjustments as needed if things are headed in the wrong direction.
I’ve seen fellow entrepreneurs go a full year without really digging into the details of their long-term goals, marketing efforts, budget, employee tasks and projects, etc…only to realize they were making some major mistakes as a company and losing thousands of dollars because they never sat down to go over the numbers and properly or review/revise strategy.
Don’t let this be you!!
So what is the best way to go about making an effective quarterly action plan?
After running my own business for over 5 years and working with hundreds of clients, I’ve come to the conclusion that an action plan needs to be:
Short- I prefer having everything visible on ONE PAGE
Focused- Keep everything pointing towards you MAIN goals
Clear - What is success? What is failure?
Actionable- Action items should be listed
Here are some detailed steps to help you build your quarterly, one-page action plan:
#1 Top 3 Priorities For The Quarter
Pick 2-3 main focuses for the quarter. What do you most want to accomplish in the next three months? Some ideas may include:
Increasing daily number of new leads
Increasing sales by %
Selling/moving X number of products
Hiring someone for a specific roll
Acquiring X new paying clients
Building a new product/service
Writing a book or content piece
Launch new marketing project/campaign
Whatever you choose should bring you closer to your ANNUAL goals. Although you will likely be doing day-to-day tasks that don’t relate directly to these priorities, most of your energy, time and budget should be focused on these three top priorities.
#2 Set Clear Goals & Expectations/Criteria For Your Priorities
Now that you have your 2-3 priorities, create criteria for determining success/failure. What numbers/accomplishments will satisfy you on a weekly and monthly basis? Where do you want to sit at the next quarterly meeting/review? Be realistic but also optimistic. Set OBTAINABLE goals, but ones that also make you and your company stretch.
Choose criteria that is measurable and somewhat controllable. They should be objective. If you set vague, subjective goals, at the end of the quarter you will likely question whether or not you actually achieved them.
#3 Action Items
This should be the biggest section of your action plan. One your priorities and criteria are clear, start brainstorming action items. What needs to change in order to reach your goals? What marketing strategies will you need to implement? Do you need to hire someone? Let someone go? Shift the budget around? Start new projects? Create new content? Be specific and clear.
It is also important to put down WHO is responsible for which priorities and action items. If you are a one-man-show, it’s all you! But if you have employees and contractors, they should be crystal clear on the expectations you have for their work in the upcoming quarter.
Why only one page??
The biggest problem with creating a multi-page quarterly action plan is that you are less likely to look at on a regular basis. When I first got started, I would make detailed action plans that were several pages long…and then never look at them again. You want something you can see and check in with it every day. Keeping everything focused on one page make it easy for you to glance through it and stay on track.
Are you losing sleep because of the marketing aspects of your business? Are you someone who does NOT like to plan in advance? Have you run your business in a “by the seat of your pants” style? I have good news! I’ve created a 12 Month Marketing Plan to help you build a profitable business while not getting overwhelmed by the details!
This affordable course includes 4 straight-forward modules to help you:
Work smarter, not harder
Plan effective, profitable programs
Create successful promotions on social media and other platforms
Think about all the emails and sales pages you’ve seen in the last week, offering a new class, product, or service. Often some marketers will highlight the features and benefits of their latest creation but then fall short because they didn’t include a story.
The art of storytelling in business can be crucial to your success. It can mean the difference between having a sales funnel full of leads or barely making ends meet because you’re connecting with the wrong audience. People will spend their money with you only after they know, like, and trust you. What better way to build that relationship than with your storytelling skills.
Connect with the Right People
Of course, your storytelling skills are wasted unless you identify your ideal clients and where to find them. Think too broadly and you’ll attract freebie seekers or others who will want a price reduction. Or maybe you’ll find those who can afford your price point but who don’t want to do the work. Narrow your sights on your ideal client and create a storyboard with their demographics. Where do they live? Are they married? Do they have a family? How old are they? What are their pain points? How can you help them?
By stating these specifics, you will paint a clear picture of who you want to help, who you want to attract into your funnel, and where you can find them to start interacting. Focus on building relationships instead of selling products. Not everyone you meet will be ready to buy or maybe they are just on the fringes of your ideal market and not the right fit. Keep growing your network and you will find your tribe who will appreciate what you are offering and trust your judgment enough to make purchases.
Make Your Connections Personal with Stories
Your audience wants to connect with YOU, not with your product. What more personal way to make a connection than with a story, or two. Your customers or clients want to know your history, why did you start your business, and how can you help them. How are you different from all the other coaches out there? What is your inspiration? What personal struggles have you overcome?
Yes, at some point they will want to know about the features of your product and how it can help them but start off by allowing your audience to know you. You can show your human side by telling your stories on video. They don’t have to be as polished or as lengthy as a TED talk but you’ll be surprised how many people prefer video over reading outrageously long pages.
Show your human side; don’t edit out all your flubs. What better way to portray yourself as human than to show some bloopers. Showcase your expertise but show your tribe that you’re accessible by answering questions and asking them directly what kind of help they need.
When you decide to connect on a human level instead of always pushing a sale, people will naturally be attracted to you and will want to learn more about you and your business. Be patient; relationship building takes time but the sales will follow.
Have an awesome week!
PS: Are you looking for support for your online business? Having the right support is crucial and it will make all the difference for your bottom line. Click Here and Let’s Chat.
Improving your marketing strategy is far easier than you may expect. Mostly, it’s all about considering which aspects of marketing are the most worthwhile for your business. So, this short guide will walk you through some of the key things we believe you should focus on, while also touching on some areas that maybe aren’t worth your time or attention.
Create A Strong Digital Strategy
Arguably the most important thing to do is to create and build a strong digital marketing presence. The world has pretty much gone full digital, which means the majority of your customers are online in some capacity. To reach them, you must think about things like search engine marketing, SEO, social media, web design, and so on. If you click here, you can learn a lot more about all these digital methods and how they can be applied to help your strategy and create more leads for your business. If you think your business isn’t a digital business, then you’re probably wrong. Even small local companies benefit from digital marketing in the form of local SEO.
Use Inbound Marketing
Inbound and outbound marketing are like two brothers that strongly dislike one another. This is because one is nice and perfect, while the other doesn’t really get along with anyone. Inbound is the perfect brother as it represents a strand of marketing focused on grabbing people’s attention and getting them to notice you. This is in stark contrast to outbound marketing which is pretty much a case of just forcing your business in peoples faces, usually by a bombardment of ads, cold calls, or spam emails. If you want to improve your marketing strategy, then you need to use inbound marketing techniques, with a firm focus on content marketing. Let your content do all the talking as it sparks people’s interest in your business, and they stumble upon you without having anything forced down their throat. This tends to lead to a much better conversion rate.
Build Specific Campaigns
The last piece of advice is to ensure you build specific marketing campaigns as part of your overall strategy. What we mean is that you should have a marketing campaign to promote a new product, and then one to promote certain offers, and so on. Each one should be built around certain themes and ideas that help grab the attention of your target market. You can also create your campaigns around specific events as well. One very easy example is season-themed marketing campaigns. Companies will alter the way they advertise and promote themselves at different times of the year - summer marketing is vastly different in its town to winter marketing. So, create your specific campaigns to help generate interest when the time is right.
It’s not rocket science, and keep in mind there are many marketers out there right now who can help you! All it comes down to are three simple rules; go digital, focus on inbound marketing, and build campaigns for specific product launches, services, or events. Do all of this, and your marketing strategy will be improved.
Today is a little different, we’re going to cover another way you can build your list, it’s different only because it’s not online.
We know you’re doing all the behind the scenes marketing work, like blog posts, email marketing, creating your own marketing graphics, recording videos, and connecting on social media. That’s great, we know there are lots of wonderful opportunities doing these things but would you believe that you can also build your list and market your business attending live events and conferences?
Attending live events is a major marketing opportunity that many business owners shy away from for a variety of reasons. But remember that in your overall business plan, you shouldn’t be planning ONLY for the quick sale. Ultimately, you want people to remember you and you should develop relationships with others both online and in real life so they will refer you to their circle of friends. Forming that relationship is also how people will get to know, like, and trust you, which will lead to sales and other referrals.
Yes, you can develop relationships online via social media and videos but why pass up the opportunity to meet people in real life? You never know who you will meet; your next big client may be somebody who lives in your home town. Or maybe you’ll meet your favorite icon at a conference and become inspired to achieve more. Or maybe you’ll meet someone who offers services you can use in your own business. You can never predict who you’ll meet at different events.
Working an online business can also become very lonely, so attending live events is simply a way to get out of the house! Start off easy by attending a business networking meeting or a simple Meet Up in your area. If you enjoyed the experience, you can certainly expand your horizons with a BNI membership or joining a local networking club. Once you start researching, you’ll discover a whole variety of opportunities, from those local events that meet weekly or monthly, to conferences that last for multiple days.
Live events also offer the opportunity to learn new things through classes or workshops held during the event. For example, the Beachpreneurs event is held annually in Florida for 3 days where the women attendees listen to the guest speakers but also break into workshop groups to work through what they’ve learned from the speakers. This also allows the attendees to share their business stories and experiences, which is also perfect for learning how to handle certain tasks or situations that may arise in business.
Another example is the WPPI photography conference held annually. Those four days are crammed with classes in which experts teach different photography techniques. Not only can attendees ask specific questions but they get hands-on practice in class and then can develop the technique to use in their business. Even though you can watch a video tutorial on how to perform these same photography skills, there’s just something magical about being in the same room as the teacher. Live conferences make the instructors more approachable than when you’re watching their video online. At live events, they welcome questions and enjoy engaging in conversations with attendees. You never know what valuable snippet of information you’ll learn from an instructor just by having a private conversation with them.
Which Events Are Right For You
When choosing events that will benefit you and your business, first think about your personality. Are you an extrovert who thrives on big gatherings or an introvert who prefers conversations in smaller groups? While there’s something to be said about stepping out of your comfort zone, how beneficial is it for the introvert to walk into a huge event, alone, on the opposite side of the country? Likewise, will an extrovert get bored at a local event with 100 people or less?
Another crucial task when determining which events are right for you is to set up a budget. How much expendable income do you have for plane fares, event tickets, hotels, food, taxis, entertainment, and babysitters for the kids or pets? Obviously, traveling will be more expensive than going to a local event but you’ll need to weigh the benefits of traveling vs staying local and determine which event will give you more ROI.
Now, let’s explore the pros and cons of each type of event:
Big vs Small
Social Media Marketing World boasts an attendance of 5,000 social media managers, bloggers, podcasters, and industry leaders and is held in San Diego, CA in February. That huge number of attendees means you’ll have plenty of people to network and socialize with but you’ll only meet a small fraction of those attending. Big conferences like these also boast the more well-known guest speakers, names you’ve likely heard before and probably follow online. But…because the speakers are more well-known, and it’s high priority travel season for San Diego, the event ticket prices will also be more expensive.
On the other hand, a smaller event, such as Exposure and Profit, will have a smaller venue, smaller attendance, and the speakers might not be as well-known. However, you still have the opportunity to mingle and network with other attendees and you’ll have a better chance of meeting everyone in attendance. You’ll also have a better chance of meeting the speakers because of having fewer attendees. The event ticket will also be less expensive so it will likely fit into your budget.
Niche vs Broad
A niche conference is one that focuses on one particular group of people or one particular type of business. It’s very specific and will have very specific goals for that niche. One such event is Beachpreneurs. This event caters to female business owners and aims to create a sisterhood or camaraderie among its attendees. A benefit to a niche event is you’ll be among other like-minded people who belong to this niche. While your experiences won’t be identical, though networking and mastermind workshops, you can learn new skills or strategies from the speakers and attendees. At Beachpreneurs the speakers also participate in the mastermind workshops, making themselves very approachable to the other attendees.
The Traffic and Conversion Summit is considered a broad event because under the broad title of “traffic and conversion” there are many different ways to attract traffic to your site and to convert those visitors into buyers. You could probably hold a niche event for each of the topics they will cover at their next summit! A benefit to attending a broad event is you’ll get more of an overview of the subject matter with speakers adding in their more detailed viewpoints but a common downfall to this format is it can be extremely overwhelming to have SO much information thrown at you at once. Knowing how to determine what information you need and how to implement it properly is key to making broad events beneficial to your business.
Local vs Out of Town
For obvious reasons, sticking with local events will be easier on your budget because you won’t have to pay for hotel, cabs, or airplane tickets. All you’ll need to spend money on is your event ticket, food (if not included in the event ticket), parking, and gas money. If you’re in the San Diego area, Traffic and Conversion as well as Social Media Marketing World would be considered local events for you, so don’t equate “local” as meaning “small”.
So far, all these events we’ve mentioned are days-long events but those are not the only types of events to attend. Have you visited a BNI chapter yet? BNI has over 8,000 chapters worldwide and they meet on a weekly basis, usually early morning hours before most businesses open. You have to apply for membership and they usually limit the types of companies they accept so members aren’t competing against each other. Some chapters are large while others are small but the object for all chapters is to learn what the other members do and to refer prospects their way.
Look for other networking events through your local Chamber of Commerce. They usually hold quarterly networking events that include a guest speaker, networking time, and possibly dinner. They also have different committees on which to serve, thus meeting even more local business owners on a regular basis. The biggest benefit to staying local is you meet other business owners in your community, which is great for passing along referrals or asking for sponsorships or gifts for charitable events.
Look on Facebook for other local niche groups, such as professional women networks or other local networks specific to coaching. Most of all, no matter what event you choose to attend, don’t be afraid to interact! If you’re excited about your business, others will be drawn to you.
Today I have a little tip for you about how to improve your relationship marketing.
This SINGLE tool can take a mediocre marketing strategy and make it wildly successful.
First, it’s important to understand what relationship marketing is.
“Relationship marketing is a marketing strategy in which a company seeks to build long-term relationships with its customers by providing consistent satisfaction.”
When you use relationship marketing you are aiming to form a real, loyal, long-term relationship with a customer.
So what is the ONE tool that can turn a mediocre strategy into one that will literally make you money for weeks, months and even years to come?
It’s this: emotion.
Try something with me. Think of a memory from your childhood. Something you remember vividly. Whatever memory comes up, what emotion comes with it? What were you feeling during this memory?
When you are able to remember something from many years ago, it’s because the memory is attached to a powerful emotion.
It’s true, isn’t it? Your most vivid memories are from your most emotional moments. Both negative and positive emotions have the ability to lock something in our memory for decades.
How can we leverage this in our relationship marketing strategy?
Unless you pull your potential customers emotions to the surface (hopefully positive ones) your message just become noise in their life.
To create brilliant marketing strategies that create positive emotions in your audience, I suggest the following:
Know your target audience.Who are you trying to reach with your advertising, and what do they care about? What problems are they likely facing? What trends does their demographic gravitate towards? What will SPEAK to them deeply? Make them sit up and take notice?
Tell their story.This could radically affect the success of your business if done well! Your message should tell the story of your audience. It shouldn’t be about you 90% of the time. And when it is about you, it should be in a way that resonates and relates powerfully with your audience. Talk about them. Represent them. Tell THEIR story.
Speak into their dreams.Tap into the dreams of your target audience. Show them how your product or service can help them live the life they’ve always wanted. Make sure you are genuine and authentic.
Connecting to your readers through creating real emotion (and memories!) has the potential to dramatically impact the success of your business.
Remember, it is imperative to be authentic and genuine when doing so. If you aren’t, people can feel it, and they won’t trust you.
In 2 weeks I will be launching a new, comprehensive workshop on relationship marketing. I will walk you through everything you need to know to get started with your own relationship marketing strategy, so you can build genuine connections and learn how it can be used to transform your business.
Keep an eye on your inbox!
Have a great week.
P.S. If you don’t want to wait two weeks, you can sign up for a complimentary one-on-one call with me to discuss your business goals and strategies. Let’s dive deep and figure out what will take you to the next level. Sign up here.
My name is Robyn and I am a Certified Content Marketing Specialist, Digital Marketer and Tech Savvy Virtual Assistant who loves to help entrepreneurs grow their online business by helping them implement the right systems and marketing strategies in their business.