Wondering how to plan ahead for your business and marketing and if it’s even worth it? Is having a plan a good idea or not?
In this blog I chat about.
- The important step many business owners miss before they start planning ahead for their business and marketing
- How far ahead to plan
- How to create your plan for your business and marketing without feeling overwhelmed
- What if your plan needs to change?
- The unexpected benefits of planning ahead for your business and marketing
- And more.
Let’s get stuck in.
In a blog by CoSchedule their research showed ‘Organized marketers are 674% more likely to report success.’
They say ‘The most successful marketers they surveyed regularly plan their tasks, marketing campaigns, & projects with clear, established processes.’
It doesn’t stop there
They go on to say ‘The correlation between successful marketers and marketers that document their strategy has strengthened significantly since 2018. Yet almost 40% of marketers report they have no documented strategy.’
Sounds to me like planning ahead is a no-brainer, and as a non-planner turned planner I have to admit I’m more organised and less flustered with a plan to follow(ish).
How to plan ahead for your business and marketing
Good planning ahead for your business and marketing involves you knowing your goals and objectives and this is the important step so many business owners miss.
What are your objectives and goals for your business for the next 12 months?
Without these you won’t know what marketing to create to help you hit them.
If you’re not sure what your business objectives and goals are, now might be a good time to block out some time to do some business planning,
Here’s some questions to help you do that.
What is it you want to achieve?
- How much money you want to earn? By when?
- How much money you need to earn? By when?
- How many of ‘X’ product or service you want to sell? By when?
- What new products/services do you want to introduce? When?
- What products/services do you want to promote? When?
- What new lead magnets do you want to introduce? When?
- What events are you hosting? When?
- What events are you attending? When?
- What events/podcast are you speaking at? When?
Know Your Capacity
I believe the key to setting your business goals and objectives is to be realistic and to know what you can realistically achieve, do well and also do an outstanding job for your clients.
Daniel Priestly says ‘Knowing your real capacity is powerful. It’s far better to figure out how many people you can properly serve and then be honest about that number.’
Question for you: What’s your capacity?
How far ahead do I plan?
Begin by planning initially 12 months ahead.
Hear me out. We’re going start with your big rocks first for your plan and work down so planning ahead doesn’t create mahoosive overwhelm for you.
A year planner is a good place to start.
And we’re going to start with popping your non-negotiables in first.
Start by blocking out your holidays and include Bank Holidays or Public Holidays too.
If you’re business is impacted by school holidays mark these on your yearly planner too. How many times have you felt as though holidays have come round far too fast when you’ve still got so much to do? Me too.
When you can see them in your yearly planner you’re less likely to feel they’ve crept up on you.
Any other non-negotiables?
Perhaps you don’t work on your birthday, wedding anniversary or other days that are important to you. Pop them on your planner.
And what about your tax returns? Pop those dates in your planner too.
Now you’ve got you-time and important business-y stuff booked in you can start planning ahead for your business and marketing.
What’s the next step to planning ahead?
The next thing to do is commit to when you’re going to create your marketing and when you’re going to book time in to review it too.
You need to know what’s working and what ain’t cutting the mustard in your business and with your marketing so you can get better at nailing this planning ahead malarkey.
I get it.
Getting your marketing out there is the fun stuff but that’s where many business owners go wrong.
BEFORE you put your marketing out there do, this first.
Block out when you’re going to create your marketing and when you’re going to review it.
Then using your business goals and objectives you can plan what content you’re going to create for your marketing for the next 90 days.
How to create your marketing content plan for 90-days
A quarter of the year is 12 weeks or 90-days.
Using a 90-day framework can be useful to help you to achieve your business and marketing goals and objectives, and it’s less overwhelming than working on a full year at a time.
And at the end of the 90-days you can review what went well and what didn’t and tweak accordingly.
Your content creation
Each week, create one piece of really useful, helpful and fab content for your audience.
Ideas could be a:
- Facebook Live
- YouTube video
And because you’ve got clear goals and objectives for your business, you’re going to create a piece of content each week that’s going to help you achieve them rather than create a piece of content and hope it plays its part.
By the end of your 90-days you could have 12 pieces of useful and helpful content in your marketing armoury you can use time and time again.
How many pieces of content could you have by the end of a year?
Imagine if by creating a plan and sticking to it you could have 48 pieces of content to help you achieve your business goals and objectives.
Content you can repurpose time and time again.
What type of content can you create for your 90-day marketing plan?
Let’s keep it simple and break it down like this.
- Your audience is looking for two types of content from you.
The two types of content they’re looking for are:
- Content that answers questions to problems they have
- Content that answers their questions about your product or service
Content that answers questions to problems your audience has
A great place to start for ideas is your inbox.
What’s the most common questions you get asked in there? Write them down.
Look at that! You’ve got content ideas for your 90-day plan already.
Content that answers questions about your product or service
What specific questions do they ask about your product or service?
Again, write them down and you’ve got more content ideas.
How to create your weekly content plan from your 90-day plan
Once you’ve got your 90-day or quarterly content plan completed you can work on creating your weekly content plan.
Let’s say you’ve blocked out time to create your new content each week.
Perhaps it’s a blog, vlog, YouTube video, LinkedIn article, a podcast etc and you want to get as much benefit from it as possible.
How to repurpose one big piece of content for a week’s worth of content
The last thing you want is your content to be used once and then sit there to gather dust.
What you can do is repurpose your one key piece of content to create smaller pieces of content that you can use for 7 days.
Include what you’re going to do with your repurposed content on your plan.
Here’s how you can repurpose you content for 7-days.
Let’s say you’ve written a Blog and it’s on your website.
What you can do is:
- Take parts of the blog and turn them into individual posts for your social media
- Turn parts of your Blogs into images for social media
- You could turn your Blog into an infographic (Canva has some great templates)
- Republish your Blog on LinkedIn and Medium
- Record yourself reading the Blog for those that like to listen
- Record a video on the topic of your Blog
- Share your Blog with your email list
REMEMBER you can share your content more than once on social media.
It might be content you know inside out but it could be the first time your reader/watcher/listener has spotted it.
How to create your daily plan for your content
You can now use your weekly plan to create your daily plan for your content.
Map out the content you’re going to share on each social media platform and on what day.
Book some time in your plan to do this.
With a cuppa?
You got it!
What if your plan needs to change?
Life and business doesn’t always go to plan does it?
Perhaps you’re thinking what’s the point in planning out my business and marketing because my plans could easily change.
We know life and business doesn’t always go to plan, do they?
And even though you’ve created your plan you don’t have to stick like glue to it.
When you’ve created your plan you’ll have something to change or tweak if your plans do need to change rather than starting from scratch.
How to create your business and marketing planning habit
Block time out in your diary – regularly. It’s easy to block time out and then to re-arrange it when something else crops up.
Marketing plays such an important role so ensure the time you block out to work on it and create it is non-negotiable.
- Have time once a week to create your helpful, useful and fab big piece of content.
- Plan time for your quarterly reviews for your business and marketing.
- Book in time to review your marketing so you know what’s working and importantly, what isn’t.
What are the 7 unexpected benefits of planning ahead for your business and marketing?
What can planning ahead do for you, your business and your marketing?
1.It keeps you focused
Pure and simple it keeps you focused. No flitting from one idea to another like a toddler hyper with too many e-numbers.
You know what to do that day, that week and that month.
2. You can track your progress
When you plan you set targets that are in-line with your objectives and goals so you know what to aim for. Rather than winging it day to day.
Setting targets also mean you can tweak as you go.
3.You get more done
Working to your plan turns you into a productive Ninja.
You know what needs to be done and by when so you knuckle down and you massively increase the likelihood you’ll have more of Today than a To Do left.
4.Helps with decision making
Ever found yourself dithering between this, that and everything in-between?
Having a plan massively reduces your dithering time. The decision(s) you need to make are around your plan which has been shaped to around your objectives and goals.
5.Marketing becomes slicker
You know what to talk about in your marketing.
Your marketing will be 100% about what you’re selling that day, week or month.
And be more useful and helpful in helping your audience decide to buy from your, or not.
6.Identify problems before they crop up
Your plan can include what you need to be doing for your business and marketing and when to do it but we’re human so when you’re reviewing your plan it can help you flag up and identify gaps to work on.
Your plan is your measuring stick for what you’ve done and a great way to review your activities.
Measure what worked well, what didn’t work so well and what you can do to make it better the next time.
As a small business owner you’ll wear many hats so learning to manage your time is important especially around the key activities that are the lifeblood to getting you leads, clients and earning money.
By planning ahead you’ve got your own detailed record of what you’ve done, what you’re working on, and what is up next.
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