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As I sit here writing this blog post, I’m stuck in a bit of a rut. I am relaunching my business with a slightly different service offering, and I know I need to start marketing it. However, there are SO many different things to do: blogging, social media, SEO, paid advertising, email marketing…the list goes on and on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed!
The irony here is that I do this for my clients all the time – that’s my bread and butter. But, when the tables are turned, I suddenly feel my clients’ pain…where in the world do you begin? To wrap my head around it, I broke it down into 5 actionable steps which make the process of getting started with your marketing a little less intimidating.
Step 1: Get clear on your long term goals
What is the ultimate effect you want your marketing to have on your business? Perhaps it’s driving brand awareness, increasing web traffic, growing your email list, or convert more web visitors to sales.
Chances are, you want to accomplish more than one of these things. However, as one of my colleagues says, “You can’t boil the ocean.” Meaning, trying to do it all at once will get you nowhere. Pick one goal, two max to begin.
Additionally, you’ll want to determine how you are going to measure success. Will you be measuring website visits or email sign ups? Will you be looking at email open and click through rates, or likes and shares on social media? Solidify that KPI (key performance indicator) and then proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Pick one marketing strategy to start with and prioritize the rest
If you are a small business or solopreneur, you most likely don’t have a ton of resources at your disposal to tackle too many initiatives. You’ll really need to get as much bang for your buck as far as where you are investing your time, effort, and money.
Decide what is the most necessary marketing strategy to make the biggest impact toward your long-term goal, and start with that. You can prioritize the rest after that.
For example, in my case, my primary goal is to generate web traffic. However, I need to provide useful content to my readers in order to do so. Therefore, my first task will be to generate a significant amount of blog content.
From there, I can add in social strategy, email blasts and lead acquisition efforts, etc. But, it’s pointless to start that now if I don’t have any content to offer.
Step 3: Create Actionable Mini Goals
Even though I’ve narrowed down my focus to generating blog content, that is a very broad task and can seem pretty overwhelming. Breaking the process down into mid and short term goals can help keep you on track and avoid procrastinating due to being overwhelmed.
In my case, over the next 3 months I want to have 12 blog posts written. That is my mid-term goal. I can break that down into short term, weekly goals, or sprints, which will help me break the process down into even more bite size pieces.
For example, if I want to have 12 blog posts published in the next 3 months, I need to publish one per week. That means that each week, I need to come up with a topic, research, outline, and write the article.
At the beginning of each week, I will make a plan to do this, and, at the end of the week, evaluate the process. Did I accomplish my goal? What part of my strategy worked, and what needs improvement? What did I learn from this?
Step 4: Execute and Analyze
Once you’ve done this planning, it’s critical to actually do the work. That seems obvious, but many of us, myself included, fall victim to “paralysis by analysis.” Meaning, you get caught up in the planning. Maybe you question the best thing to start with, or get caught up in trying to figure out the best way to start.
I can assure you, the best way to start is just to start. The process of marketing is not a quick miracle fix. It’s a long-term, slow growing approach of nurturing your marketing efforts and changing as needed. So, just start. It’s better to have a task done than perfect.
Block time off to work on your marketing. Turn off your phone, put away Facebook or any other distractions, and focus. Even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes at a time. Whatever it takes to get you started on creating dedicated time to work on growing your business.
Analyze your efforts
As I mentioned in Step 3, evaluation and analysis post-execution is critical, and it’s important to measure the success of your short, mid and long-term goals.
Reviewing your short term goals gives you useful information to pivot as necessary to make sure your smaller tasks are actually contributing the best way possible to your mid and long-term goals.
Checking in on your mid-term goals gives you the chance to see if you’ve stayed on track. After diving into this process, does the marketing strategy you are using still make sense to achieve your long-term goal? If not, it’s best to again pivot and change your strategy.
Finally, when you approach your long-term goal deadline, you’ll want to review the entire process. Over the long-term, what worked, and what didn’t? Take your KPI’s you set and measure the success of your efforts. Did they pay off, or do you need to take a different approach next? There will always be pluses and minuses as part of every strategy, but honest evaluation of your efforts and making necessary changes is an essential part of growing your business.
Hopefully these 4 Steps will help you to break down your marketing strategy into manageable steps. Remember, the best thing you can do for your marketing and growth is to just start! You can perfect your approach along the way!