What is a 90-Day Plan

What is a 90-Day Plan

If you’ve heard about the 90-day plan, but you’re not quite sure what it is, you’re in the right place. In this short article, I will explain what is a 90-day plan and how you will find it useful in both your working and everyday life. Although many consider the 90-day plan to be a business or productivity tool, it can be used just as easily in everyday life. I used it recently to get on top of my sleeping (I will write an article on this at some point).

What is a 90-day plan?

A 90-day plan is a productivity tool designed to help you focus on the tasks that will take you towards your goals faster and more efficiently. The 90-day plan can be really useful if you struggle with focussing on one task at a time. It is also really good to help you prioritise just what needs to be done. In short, it’s my go-to tool to get shit done.

In essence, you list everything that will get you to where you want to be and decide if they need to be done in the 30, 60 or 90 days. Sounds pretty straightforward, hey? That’s because it is – Its beauty is its simplicity. I use a slightly extended version of this that looks at what needs doing this week and goes beyond 90-days – It’s not unlikely that it will take you more than 90-days to reach your ultimate goal. By pigeon-holing your tasks, you’re able to put aside the ones that are not important right now and focus on the tasks that are. You can see the tasks that you need to be working on right now – nothing else matters. Work and focus on these immediate tasks and before you know it you will reach your end goal.

Alternatives to the 90-day plan

Over the years as a business owner and marketing consultant, I have played around with quite a few different planning tools and I’ve always come back to the 90-day plan. It’s worth taking a look at some of the alternatives out there. Other planning tools I have played around with and found useful include:

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Sean Covey

The 4 Disciplines of Execution or 4DX is really good if you have a team and want to get things done. The hardest part is getting your teams buy-in, but if you can master that, it’s a machine and can be very effective.

Todoist

If you’ve not tried Todoist, I’d recommend giving it a blast. It’s more of a to-do-list than a planning tool, but the ability to have multiple lists, add priority levels, and schedule tasks, makes it a great tool. It’s also multi-platform and if you go for the premium version it syncs instantly.

Goals: Zig Ziglar 

I prefer his audio books as I just love listening to him – You’ve just gotta love Zig Ziglar’s energy. That aside, I things Zig’s approach to setting goals is a really good one and definitely one that will get stuff done.

Now we’ve answered the million dollar question ‘what is a 90-day plan question, it’s time to give it a try and see just how focussed and organised it makes you. To help I’ve put together a resource page dedicated just to the 30 60 90 day plan. Here you’ll find tips, tricks, hacks and templates, to help you master the 90 day plan.

Now go give it a try!

via GIPHY

 

Micro Conversions – Just What Are They?

Micro Conversions – Just What Are They?

If you work in a digital space you’ve quite possibly come across the term ‘micro conversions’ and may just wonder what are micro conversions? We all know that the key metric to measure how a website is performing is by its conversion rate and that the user journey will heavily influence that conversion rate. If you understand your customer and master the customer or user journey then the riches of new customers await. Get it wrong and you’ll be sat around waiting for the sales to come in or the phone to ring.

What are micro conversions?

Micro conversions are essentially the smaller steps required to get your customer to the bigger goal. imagine you’re just about to head out on a first date. It’s very unlikely that you are thinking about marrying your date before you’ve even been on date number one. If you’re realistic, you’re keeping an open mind, you want to have an enjoyable date and ascertain if there is scope for a second date. One date becomes two, which then becomes 3 and 4, until one day you move in together. Natural progression moves you closer until one day, you decide you that you will get married. This journey you have taken together didn’t just happen the first time you met, it happened over time, one step at a time.

I have deliberately used a relationship scenario, as ultimately we are trying to build relationships (albeit a completely different one). Ideally, we’re trying to build a relationship with users and turn them into customers. So how does this corny relationship analogy relate to the performance of your website? Well if you can really get to know your customer, you can break down the journey they take and gear it accordingly. By breaking it down into bite-sized pieces or micro conversions, you can hone in on where you may be losing customers.

Conversion rates are a great metric, but if you are looking to improve your conversion rate, how helpful would it be to know which area, in particular, needed the most attention? It may well be that your checkout process is awesome, but your add basket button is at the bottom of a product page, hidden away below the fold.

Whatever your desired outcome for visitors to your site, there will be steps in between them hitting your site and reaching that desired outcome. By breaking down the customer journey into micro conversions, you can measure each stage and really fine tune the areas that need your love and attention. The net effect is much higher overall conversion rates.

 

How To Create A Marketing Strategy In 3 Easy Steps

How To Create A Marketing Strategy In 3 Easy Steps

create a marketing strategyAs a marketing consultant, I have helped lots of companies successfully create a marketing strategy. Marketing Strategies are an integral part of any businesses plans for growth and sit at the heart of any successful marketing campaign.

How to create a marketing strategy

Whether you’re a small business, a start-up, a sole trader or you work in-house in a marketing department, hopefully, you’re all too aware of the importance of having a marketing strategy. As I discuss in my previous article, Why you need a marketing strategy, a marketing strategy is your plan of action to promote your business and every company, small or large should have one.

Over the last ten years, I have designed and perfected a sure-fire framework to create a marketing strategy suitable for any company, regardless of the size, or marketing budget. In this article, I will give you break down of the 3 key elements you need to explore in order to create your own marketing strategy. I am hoping that by the end you will feel inspired to take the first steps to hitting your goals and take control of your own marketing. So without further ado let ‘s get started and create a marketing strategy just for you!

1. Lay out your objectives and set your goals

When I sit down with a client to help them create a marketing strategy, one of the first questions I ask is what do you want to achieve? What does success look like for you? You’d be surprised at how few companies can answer this question without further exploration. This is quite alarming as if you have no idea what you want, then how will you know when you get it? Clearly laying out your objectives will give everybody involved clarity of what you are trying to achieve and also allow us to start to quantify your goals.

Core Objectives
The first thing we need to do is lay out your core objectives. What is it you want to get from marketing? is it more sales? more leads? brand awareness? Don’t worry if these are very vague at this point, we will make them specific to the next step.

Whatever you went for, we now need to quantify. Let’s just say you went for leads, how many leads do you want? if you are struggling with this, think about how many you currently get. How much more would you need for you to consider your marketing efforts a success? 10%, 20%, 50%? What does a successful campaign look like for you?

Goals
Now we have your objectives, try to drill down and identify some tangible things that would get you there. So, if you decided you wanted to increase sales by 25% what would you need to do to achieve that? what is 25% more sales made up of? e.g £10k revenue per month. An extra 50 leads per month. 5,000 more visitors to your website? What Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) do you need to hit to reach your core objectives? What are the key components required to make sure your marketing strategy is successful?

Resources
As you start to create your marketing strategy, you’ll quickly realise that you’re going to need one of two things, either time or money. It’s unlikely you will have both and if you do, that’s awesome. At this point, we need to identify what resources you have at your disposal. It may well be that as a start-up or small business, you don’t have a huge marketing budget, instead, you have a little bit of time that you can block out each week to work on your marketing. You may have no spare time whatsoever, but are lucky enough to have a budget available to bring in some help.

If you’re lucky enough to have both, it is still good practice to define the resources you have at your disposal.

2. Define your audience

define your target audienceWe’ve all heard the saying “people buy from people” and “know your customer” well they’re true. Very true. In both offline and online marketing, the better you know your customer, the closer you can match your key messages and gear your customer journey. A common mistake I see businesses make all the time is selling how they want to sell rather than how their customer wants to buy. You master that and you remove barriers, barriers that are stopping your customer from buying. The net result… More sales!

A recent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) research showed that if a number of businesses were pitching for the same business, the proposal most likely to win the business was the one that best understood where the customer was now and NOT the solution they offered.

In order for us to understand our customer, we first need to know who they are. Who is your target audience? What does their demographic profile look like? What are their interests? What age groups are they? The more information you can put down the easier you will find it to create your marketing strategy. Trust me, you can never know, or have too much information on your customer. You could even try creating persona’s, or pretend customers and look into the life they lead. I love this exercise. When I help my clients create their marketing strategy and map their user journey, I often do a persona walk though. I take the persona through the customer journey we have mapped out. It really allows you do get a deep understanding of what life is like for your customers.

3. Identify the best routes to market

This is the bit where we start to get some kind of idea about where we’re heading. I often talk about the marketing minefield and how to gain clarity and direction and here is where your marketing strategy starts to come together. The first part of this section is to simply list every single route to market you can think of. It doesn’t matter how irrelevant you may think it is, just pop it on the list. Your list may include things like leaflet drops, SEO, paid search, social media, telesales, direct marketing, absolutely anything you can think of.

The next step is to go through the list and explore it on merit. I like to use a simple risk-reward analysis here. What is the risk i.e cost or use of resources compared to the reward or potential return? I categorise both the risk and the reward as low medium and high. So, this is where your understanding of your customer will come in really handy.

Let’s use my good friend Stuart the window cleaner as an example, as he has recently decided he needs to create a marketing strategy in order to grow his business. Stuart would look at something like a leaflet drop and conclude that he could get some leaflets printed a very low cost, he has a few hours a week spare to spend on marketing, so can distribute them, so it is quite a low-risk strategy. He decides that the rewards could be medium to high so his risk-reward analysis suggests that it is low risk/high reward. Let’s take a look at another example. Also on Suearts list was radio advertising on his list. This would be high risk (very expensive) and low reward (not targeted enough). As you can see Stuart’s best chance of success would lie with the leaflet drop.

After you have explored every item on your list, you will hopefully have some items that are low risk/med-high reward? Unsurprisingly, these are the items you should be focussing on and where you should be spending your time and efforts. Try arranging the items in order of risk, with the lowest risk/highest reward activities at the top of the list and the highest risk/lowest reward items at the bottom. This forms your higher level to do list and is the order in which you should do things.

The final step is to put time-scales on things. What things do you want to do in the next 3 months, the next 6 months and the next 12 months?

There you have it, pretty simple hey? You now have everything you need to enable you to create a marketing strategy specific to your business needs and in line with the resources you have available. I really hope you find this useful and I’d love to hear how you’ve got on with creating your own marketing plan.

Why You Need a Marketing Strategy

Why You Need a Marketing Strategy

Before I get into WHY you need a marketing strategy, let me ask you a question; Do you or your organisation even have a Marketing Strategy in place? Some of you (a lot of you, I hope), at this point, will now be sitting up very tall and proud, safe in the knowledge that ‘YES’ you have a marketing strategy. Others will be slouching down in their chairs, knowing all too well that they know they should have one, but they don’t. There will also be others amongst us that are not quite sure what would constitute a marketing strategy, so let’s start off by defining what we mean.

What is a Marketing Strategy?

So here’s Google’s definition…

I love the term ‘plan of action’, it gives us clarity and direction. it lays out exactly what we need to do and it doesn’t leave anything to our imagination. A marketing strategy can take many forms. There are lots of templates available online (I will upload mine at some point soon – I promise) and as G’s definition suggests, the content can be quite broad. They can be a single page of A4 or hundreds of pages, it doesn’t matter. As long as they give clear direction on how to achieve your marketing objectives, it counts.

When working with clients, I always ask if they have a marketing strategy and I often get met with the response “Oh Yes, I do, but it’s in my head’. Let’s get one thing straight… If it’s not written down on paper or in a document it’s not a strategy! Get it written down.

So why do I need a Marketing Strategy?

why do i need a marketing strategyNot having a marketing strategy is like setting off on a long car journey without knowing where you are going. You wouldn’t just get in the car without the faintest idea of where you were going, and just hope that you could wing it, yet time after time I speak with companies who don’t have ANYTHING in place. The most recent instance of this was a sub-division of a global brand, I promise you’ve heard of.

Here are the main reasons why you just absolutely have to have a strategy document in place.

  • Clarity & vision – Once in place, your marketing strategy is going to give you clarity and vision. It helps you drill down specific, measurable targets that will propel you towards your core objectives. Moreover, you will know exactly how you are going to get there and the marketing activities you need to engage in to hit your goals.
  • Order amongst chaos – I can’t speak for every strategy, but when I am working clients to produce a strategy, I make sure we end up with a clear order in which we do things. I recently worked with a client who came to me after burning through a good chunk of money on Google Adwords. Adwords is a great way to generate revenue pretty much instantly IF it is a part of your strategy. If this client had of had a strategy in place they, would have weighed up the risk and reward of an Adwords campaign and known that it was too risky – It just wasn’t where their target audience was.
  • 90-day plan – Having an order-of-play allows you to identify everything that you need to do in the next 90 days. My good friend Tony Brooks talks about this in depth in his book PI Leadership: The 7 Positive Insight Steps To Peak Performance Leadership.
  • Everybody is on the same sheet – There is no grey area. Everybody involved knows exactly what the plan is and the order in which to execute things.
  • It is a reference point – We all get distracted now and again, and we all can get pulled off track from time to time. I revisit mine every couple of months. Your marketing strategy is a great tool for just reaffirming that you’re heading in the right direction, and of you’re not, then it helps you to get back on track. How many times have you been in the middle of something, and the next minute, you realise you’ve been totally sidetracked and now you’re in the middle of something else, that was never even a thing you were going to do?

I really could go on all night about why you need a marketing strategy in place, but hopefully, this is enough to persuade you that it is an integral part of any businesses higher level strategy. In time I am going to put together a lot more resources and share them with you on the blog, so be sure to sign up to my newsletter to keep up to date. In the meantime, if putting together a strategy is something you’d like me to help you with, you should absolutely get in touch via the form on the contact page. 

I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to share your experiences below in the comments.