Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs Grow Your Business Online

Quit Dabbling, Start Doing: Creating Your Online Marketing Action Plan

blog 7.2

In honor of a new quarter, I want to ask you a question…are you a dabbler?

Specifically, a dabbler in marketing….and if you’re not sure, here are some signs that you’re dabbling:

  • You’ve paid for a pile of marketing courses that languish on your hard drive for someday. Or you’ve taken them but have applied very little of what you learned to your business.
  • The typical modus operandi is to start a marketing project with LOTS of excitement, only to fizzle out in a few weeks.
  • Ideas: you’ve got ‘em. Lots of them. Tonnes of them…but you don’t actually know how to separate the good, bad and super ugly.
  • You feel like you’re doing ALL of the things, but you’re not sure what’s working and what’s a waste of time.
  • Most of all, you can’t figure out why some people are SO freakin’ successful and you’re still stuck in park.

While dabbling happens to all of us at one time or another, we’re half way through 2015 and it’s time to get our shit together. Dabbling doesn’t get results; dabbling holds us back from success and tricks us into thinking we should be way further ahead than we actually are.

In short, dabbling is distracting and dangerous to your business’ bottom line.

If you’re ready to stop dabbling with your marketing and create an online marketing plan, here’s a few ways to make that happen:

#1. 90-Day Marketing Plan

For most of us, we have a business to run and clients to serve. And while marketing is important, it’s not our full-time gig. It’s just the thing we use to grow the biz and it fits in around everything else we’re doing.

Which is why I love the idea of a 90-day marketing plan. You may have heard me talk about 90-day plans for your business in the past (I’m officially obsessed, thanks to my friend and client Amber McCue), but invariably for me, marketing is always a big part of my plan.

The idea of the 90-day plan is that you can focus on bite-sized chunks, which is exactly why I’m creating one specifically for marketing for this quarter. This creates clarity around ongoing marketing activities and a new initiative related to my program launch later this Summer.

With my marketing strategy set for the year, this plan is tactical in nature and breaks out activities and actions by month.

So, what do you include in your 90-day marketing plan? That’s up to you, but here’s what’s in my ongoing marketing plan for Q3:
90 day marketing plan

You can grab your own 90-day marketing plan template here.

#2. Test & Fine-Tune

There’s not a single marketing tactic or program that you can set and forget. Everything needs to be tested and fine-tuned over time.

Without an eye on experimenting to see what works for you and watching for signs that things just aren’t cutting it anymore, you’re missing out on ways to make your marketing more productive and profitable.

What should you test? Here’s a few ideas of things you can have some fun with in the next few months:

  • For your email list – Split test your email subject lines. Most services will allow you to easily do this.
  • For your blog – Try offering a content upgrade (worksheet or PDF) that your readers can opt-in or add a signup box at the end of your posts. (Oh wait, I’m trying that on this post!)
  • For your social media  – Try using different media, such as a video or audio, to increase engagement. Or experiment with images.
  • For your sales page – Change your calls to action and add more social proof, such as quotes or media logos.
    For your interviews and  guest posts – Create a custom landing page to direct listeners or readers to.

#3. Measure Business Impact

Success is a funny thing. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can easily miss it.  Which is why for each of your activities you want to be looking for ways to measure how your marketing programs are impacting your business overall.

Did you just think: Ugh, numbers. Double ugh, math. Yeah, I totally get it. But if you’re not going to set up some basic measures, it’s pretty hard to figure out if your time and money are being well used.

This doesn’t need to be complicated or require you to turn into a data nerd. Start by tracking some basic numbers, like these:

  • Number of sign ups to your email list per month.
  • Open rate and click through rate on your weekly email.
  • Monthly blog traffic or podcast downloads.
  • Goal completions via goals you’ve set up in Google Analytics.
  • Social media follower counts by month.
  • Number of bookings/sales per week or month.

Figure out what’s most critical in your 90-day marketing plan and map out the measures you need to define success. Actively tracking and monitoring these numbers can help you celebrate your successes and do more of what works, while ditching what isn’t getting you where you want to go.

Are you going to stop dabbling and start doing?