As you reflect on your year and plan the next one, are you looking at your marketing? It’s easy to look at business goals, but one of the main ways to reach your business goals is going to be marketing. So, it’s important to make sure you investigate that side of your business too (along with customer service and a few others).
I’d like to propose a way of looking at your marketing that you may not have considered before. Get your journal, a notebook or a few pieces of paper out and get ready to write (don’t Ugh me!! You want to be as successful or more successful next year, right? Then write this stuff down!).
Start with a big picture view of your business from this year.
What was your big accomplishment this year?
What was your favorite part about working in your business this year?
Write any thoughts that come to your head down…no need to sensor, everything you write is RIGHT!
Now, break it down into smaller parts.
What goals did you reach or exceed this year?
What specific tasks, events, or projects allowed you to reach those goals?
What marketing did you do to support reaching those goals?
Which parts did you enjoy the most?
Write it down…remember, everything you write is RIGHT.
Gotta take the negative with the positive.
It would be nice to continue on with all the things that went right this year, but stopping to look at what went wrong can help you shape things for the next time. So…
What didn’t go so well for you this year?
If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?
What marketing tasks would you skip or add this time?
Now, take all of this and apply it to next year.
Success usually means whatever you did worked! So, use it again and tweak it so that it works even better next time. Use what you learned from the projects that didn’t go so well and use it to beef up what DID go well. Also, focus on the successful strategies that you enjoy doing (you are most likely to follow through if you enjoy it!).
What business goals would you like to reach in 2010?
What marketing strategies from this year are going to support you in reaching those goals? (make a list)
What new marketing strategies do you want to add in? (add to the list above)
What do you need to do to make each marketing strategy successful? (make a list for each strategy, including answers to the below questions)
Who do you need to help you?
What materials do you need?
What systems need to be in place?
What technology do you need?
Finally, calendar it all out.
Get a marketing calendar. Put all your ongoing marketing tasks in first. Put the date you need to have materials/content created, then when you expect to have the final completed.
Then add any one time projects you want to do. Mark a “start date” and a “launch date” or “finish date”. You may want to have several other milestones in there mapped out, depending on the project.
Now you have your year of marketing planned out and ready to go. As you go through your year, go back to your notes from this exercise and check in to make sure you are keeping in mind those things that WERE successful in 2009. You may want to make notes about these things as you go through 2010, so you have it when you are ready to plan 2011.
Get creative if you want with sticky notes, colored highlighters or whatever you want to play with…get your crayons out if you want. It might just make things more fun!
So, what do you think? Are you going to do this? Let us know how this method works for you in a comment.
As you may know, I was out for the last two weeks as I attended Marketing to Millionaires and did some networking on the west coast. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful I decided to embark on this journey. Although, I don’t think my brain has ever been so crammed full of information to process before!
First of all, at Marketing to Millionaires I got to meet some amazing people that I had only known via the internet and had a phone call or two with. Meeting in person really made those relationships stronger and cemented several that will be long-lasting. Not to mention, I met a lot of new people that I am now continuing to build relationships with.
Kelly taught us a lot about marketing to the affluent. It’s a whole different ball game from the mass marketing that we all learned when we started our businesses. It’s a different way of thinking when communicating with this group. It also takes a much higher level of investment in the relationship. I am now completely rethinking how I work with my current clients and how I will attract new clients as a result of this training. Not only that, I have new positioning for my business and I’ll be rewriting my website content soon (stay tuned for more on this!). It’s all VERY exciting! For once in my career, I feel like I know exactly what I need to do to achieve what I want. It’s awesome!
After the event, I arranged some time to meet up with others who weren’t attending. I took my Project Manager, Carrie, with me so that she could meet one of our clients that she manages and others. It was awesome to meet all these people in person. I think we really strengthened our relationship with the client! As for my other friends/colleauges it was great to meet up with them in person and find out what’s up with them. I was also introduced to some amazing new people that I will continue to keep in contact with.
Oh, and then there was the day I was able to meet with my brother. I only get to see him once a year usually, and this year I got to see him twice! It was great to hike in the woods, shoot a bow and arrow, and visit with his new furry friends at the house.
Needless to say, I truly enjoyed my trip. Now, I’m beginning to implement the strategies I learned from Kelly and I’m following up with the amazing contacts I made. I now know that these kinds of events are totally worth it from a learning and networking standpoint. I’ve grown HUGELY over the last two weeks and I have a commitment to my business that I’ve never had before. If for no other reason, this was worth it!
Have you been to an event like this? How has it changed your relationships and/or business?
As you know I’ve been taking quite a bit of time away from my business office this month. I was on vacation the first week of the month and today, I leave to attend Marketing to Millionaires.
It is kind of uncomfortable to take that much time away. Just like so many solopreneurs, I wonder what my team will do if something they’ve never tackled before comes up. I worry that I forgot to give them something. This is all par for the course before I leave, but I DO leave and I DO forget about what’s going on while I’m away. I have to trust that my team can handle whatever comes in while I’m away. Otherwise, I’d never enjoy it!
That doesn’t mean that I just throw my hands up in the air and say “I’m outta here!”. In order to ease my mind as much as I can, I have a lot to do in preparation for leaving. I spent the majority of last month preparing to be out of the office all but 6 business days in October. So, I know what it takes to get there. I’m hoping it will help you as well. So, I thought I’d share with you my vacation preparation strategies.
1) Do your writing and marketing in advance - Okay, I’m going to admit that I wrote this newsletter in the middle of September (but I did reread it before it went out and edited just a little bit). This keeps my marketing going even though I have no time to do it this month. I always tell my clients that consistency is the key to successful marketing. So, writing out your marketing in advance and scheduling it to go out while you’re gone can keep that consistency for you.
If you have someone helping you with your marketing, make sure you get it to them early and let them know it’s coming early. That way they know it’s supposed to wait until the time you are away and it’s not in addition to your usual marketing.
If you don’t write it out in advance, at least let peopel know what’s up. As you see, my previous post on this blog tells you that I may or may not be posting for the month. It’s kind of a heads up. That lets people know where you are, so they don’t wonder and leave really quick.
2) Have a team member in place - My Project Manager, Carrie, works very closely with me on a regular basis. She knows what needs to get done when it comes to helping my clients with their work. My clients are already familiar with her and have had communication with her fairly regularly. This makes Carrie the obvious choice to take over in my absence.
Now, as a coach, I understand you may not have someone like this in place. I think it’s important to have someone who can handle your administrative duties though. Someone who schedules appointments, handles follow-up with potential clients when they need more information and can handle the intake process for you once a client decides to work with you. This team member will have already had a connection with your clients. So when you are away, they can easily answer e-mails or phone calls as they come in for you.
3) Schedule a meeting with your helper - Whoever you decide to have help you, make sure you speak to them before you leave. Cover all the reasons someone would contact you and give them a process for responding. Give them all the resources they would need to get someone started working with you, in case someone wants to move forward. Give them any numbers for people that help you with your business in case they need it. Give them permission to use their best judgment and allow them to make decisions if necessary. This way you don’t come back to a line of people waiting to hear from you. Some of them can be taken care of and on their way.
4) Technology and e-mail - Give your helper access to the back side of your e-mail. Either through the cpanel or a login to webmail. Allow your helper to delete junk mail in that back end. Give them permission to delete newsletters, advertisements, and announcements from online communities etc…. That way it never touches your inbox. That way you come back ONLY to e-mails that are important. This will keep you from inbox overload. You will quickly be able to jump back in and respond to people in the first day.
5) Plan some time to get back in the groove - When you go away, you need to give yourself some time to catch up once you return. I’m going to be away for most of October, so I’m taking the week after I return to catch up. I have no calls scheduled. I made sure I didn’t promise anyone I’d get them something that week. I have absolutely nothing going on that week by design. This will not only allow me to get caught up, but it also gives me time to start implementing all that I learn from the event I’m attending. So, think about what you will want and need to do once you return and schedule accordingly. Don’t get back and jump right in or you’ll be in overload so fast your head will spin.
I do these 5 things every time I step away from my business. I have saved myself a lot of headaches by doing so. When I come back, I know that I will be able to handle catching up. While I’m away, I know my business is in good hands and that things are getting done. This helps me get over any doubts I have about whether I can take time away from my business. I hope it will also help you.
Are there other preparations you make? What helps you know you can safely step away from your business? What challenges do you have?
I’m going to be honest with you. The next 4 -6 weeks, I’m not sure exactly how much I’ll actually get to blogging. Yeah, I could do as I tell my clients and schedule a post every week. However, I have no idea what I’d talk about!
Here’s the deal. I write my blog posts as ideas come to me. I only plan them out in advance when lots of ideas are floating around and I just want to get them down on paper so they can be used. Otherwise, my posts are written very close to the time that they appear on my blog. Sitting down and trying to convince myself that I have 12 blog posts in me right at that moment doesn’t work. I’ve already written a lot of the information that I’ve been waiting to get out…lots of posts have been done that way since I started this blog. I’m kinda done and brain dead at the moment.
I DO encourage clients to be transparent in their marketing…so that’s what I’m doing today. At this moment, I have nothing else to write except that I am going on vacation. Do you take a vacation? This year, I feel it’s totally necessary. Between all the craziness of life and the craziness of business I’m plain tuckered out and brain fried. My husband and I are taking 8 days off starting Thursday and I am totally psyched! I need some time away from my computer. We both need some down time to just exist. No lavish vacation for us (which we have done in the past). This year, we’re staying home.
Now, does that mean the marketing I do stops? Nope, I’ve pre-schedule my newsletter. I also have some pre-scheduled broadcasts going out through AWeber. One thing I’m not willing to give up is my social networking. Now, if you follow me on Twitter or have friended me on Facebook, then you know I don’t just talk about my business. While I’m on vacation, I will be on vacation. I may tweet or update my Facebook status, but it’s going to be about my vacation. NOT work. I’m stepping out of work mode as of Thursday at 9:00pm and I won’t return until my first day back in the office. I’m even shutting down my laptop. I’m also turning off all e-mails to my iPod Touch, except my personal one (NO work goes there). I need to step out of my business for at least a week every year. If I don’t, I’ll go stir crazy.
After my vacation, I have exactly 6 business days to work. Then I leave for Marketing to Millionaires in Los Angeles. So, things are gonna quickly get busy again once I return. Thus the reason I’m not sure when my next blog post will be. I may do a post vacation post, but I’ll be seriously busy when I return so I won’t promise that. After Marketing to Millionaires I’m taking a week to visit with virtual friends, clients and family while I’m in California. So, I will promise you this. I’ll update you when I get back from the west coast, but that won’t be until November.
Until next time, have an amazingly wonderful time! Make sure SOME marketing is getting done, regardless of where you are or what you are doing.
Please leave your comments and questions below.
Every day my team and I work on marketing campaigns, newsletters, blogs and other internet marketing strategies for our clients. We usually get a plan together and have milestones for completing that plan. The reason we do this is so that every little detail can be taken care of in the process. Well, okay, everything we KNOW that needs to happen anyway…technology is technology, and sometimes things don’t go as planned and we have to work on plan B.
As someone who is a proud owner of her iPod Touch, I signed up to get Apple’s newletters about their products. Of course I want to be up to date on the latest, greatest gadgets for my Touch.
All too often I get newsletters or some sort of e-mail where someone missed a predictable step in their planning process. I got just such an e-mail from Apple today! Yes, the big company that sells iPods, Macs and other products. They missed a critical step in their newsletter today.
I got my usual mailing (which is likely scheduled in advance and comes out at the same time every day). I had heard rumors that a new iPod was going to be released today, so I was excited to get my regularly scheduled mailing from Apple. I clicked through on the iPod link in the e-mail. What do I find? A “We’re busy updating the store for you and will be back shortly” message. Um, hello?!! I wanna see the new iPod! Don’t send me an e-mail with a link to a page that isn’t working. Now, I could understand if this e-mail had come to my inbox today and I checked tomorrow, or even 3 hours later. I checked the site right after I got the e-mail and the page wasn’t up! BIG oversight. Especially when the e-mail is ONLY to market your products.
Now, I’m sure someone at Apple is just running behind on getting that new sales page up for the iPod release. This is a clear example of one hand not talking to the other. I’m guessing no one in the sales page department mentioned to the newsletter department that they were running late. I’m SURE the newsletter could’ve been held a few hours, but they didn’t communicate.
This is SO important and exactly why I have built my team to communicate with each other. One person holds the entire plan, so that each little detail gets taken care of. When something goes wrong, then our plan holder knows exactly what needs to be changed to accommodate Plan B.
So, the moral of this story is…communicate with your team or have someone who is holding that plan for you. Don’t miss the little things that make big differences.
What are your thoughts on this oversight?