Hands up who struggles to find the time to market their business.
In my experience of working with small business owners, I hear that day in and day out. However, when I dig deeper often it isn’t time that’s the issue – it’s overwhelm.
I find that myself. When I’m in the zone, I’m in the zone and it doesn’t feel like a chore to get my marketing done. Mostly because I am organised and ahead.
It’s those moments when I haven’t had the time to step back and think about the big picture that I struggle to come up with what to post on social media that day – and then I don’t do it. Before you know it, 2 weeks have passed. It happens to the best of us…
So how do you get in the zone? How do you get that flow going?
Well, that’s easy – you get organised!
Here I am sharing the process I use (and teach members of the Amplify Academy), to get organised with my marketing so that we are not only producing that marketing content but we are also producing marketing content that gets attention.
The process involves annual, quarterly and monthly planning. However, each time the 3 steps are the same – just how specific we get with them differs.
3 steps to being super organised
STEP #1: CHECK YOUR NUMBERS
So many people skip this step but it is the most important thing you can do.
Past performance predicts future results.
If you want to improve your marketing, you need to know what is working and what isn’t. And the numbers don’t lie.
Numbers you’ll need to look at include your Google Analytics, Email Stats, Social Media Stats and, of course, Sales.
This is what will help you make decisions and course corrections.
STEP #2: CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS
If there was a secret to impactful marketing it is focus.
You have a lot to say – but in order to create impact and amplify your message you need to share it in many places and in many ways.
So often we dilute our messages or promotions by only saying them once or twice and then moving onto the next thing.
Instead, choose a focus based around your business goals and work your marketing around that one theme.
- Use all the marketing tools in your toolkit to get you towards that goal:
- What opt-in incentive do you have that you can promote?
- What blogs or videos can you create around that topic?
- What social media posts can you write?
- What emails can you send?
- Where will you direct traffic to via ads?
- Who can you collaborate with or provide a guest blog for?
This is what creates that magical orchestra effect.
STEP #3: CREATE YOUR PLAN OF ATTACK
Now it’s action time. How are you going to achieve your tasks? When are you going to do it?
Let’s look at how each of these steps work during annual, quarterly and monthly planning.
Once a year (either in January or July), it’s time to sit down and look forward to all the things you want to achieve in your marketing.
This is about the big picture so we don’t need to be too detailed here. Instead, we want to ensure you have all of your “bases” covered and you don’t miss something important because you run out of year to do it.
A year’s worth of data is solid gold. You can really see themes and trends shine through.
Things to watch out for here include:
- Which months had more sales, and which had less. Is this consistent across the years?
- What were your top sources of traffic? And which converted best?
- What were your most popular pages and posts?
And, most importantly, take a moment to appreciate how far you have come!
Your annual focus session is all about your goals.
- What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?
- What are your sales targets?
- What products or services do you want to launch?
- What marketing projects do you want to complete?
- What do you need to take action on as a result of your numbers review?
At this stage you want to create a rough outline of the year. First list out all fixed dates you need to work around (e.g. key promotional times, seasonal changes, industry events). Make sure to also include times when you want more down time like school or family holidays.
Then list out all the things you want to promote or launch through the year.
Finally, pull out a calendar and allocate only 1 or 2 focuses for each month.
This will ensure everything gets the attention it is due while also making sure you get to everything.
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Your quarterly planning session is very similar to your annual session, except you are making course corrections.
Numbers come in and you need to be responsive to those.
Life happens and things get delayed.
Or you get inspired by an amazing new idea.
I’m not about being locked in to your plan for the year. I’m about setting your intention and then making an informed decision about what you actually want to do.
So for your quarterly planning session, all you need to do is follow the same steps as the annual plan except you are focusing on a 3 month period. Check in on that annual plan and decide if what you have prioritised and planned is still relevant and make adjustments accordingly.
Your monthly plan, on the other hand, is where you need to start getting really specific about what you are going to do. Let’s look at each of the steps again.
On the 1st workday of the month make sure to set aside an hour or two to go through this process. Trust me – this is the most valuable hour you will spend on your marketing.
Look at the past month’s numbers and add them to some form of report (I have a free tracking spreadsheet as part of this blog post).
By doing this monthly not only are you informed as to what has been happening lately but you are also adding the data monthly to a spreadsheet so when it comes to your quarterly and annual sessions everything is just sitting there without you needing to open up your Analytics again.
At the monthly stage, we just want to identify any hot opportunities or things that might be going wrong with links, etc that you want to correct.
So far you have chosen 1 or 2 focuses for each month. Now you need to get more specific into exactly what content you are going to create around that content.
The simplest way I find to do this is to choose a sub-focus or topic for a week and then create a blog, an email and a couple of social media posts around that. All with one main conversion goal you want to achieve (e.g. sign up to my email list or buy this).
For each week write out what content you are going to create.
Then decide on which background marketing projects you also want to work on
Finally, you need to pull out your calendar and figure out how you are going to get this done.
I like to use Google Calendar for this as I can easily move things around. I colour code for different types of tasks (e.g. appointments, content creation, projects and admin).
Go through the month week by week, first making sure all your fixed appointments or production time is in there. Then fill in the gaps with the rest of your tasks.
This may mean going back to your focus and making some decisions on priorities as you might not be able to squeeze it all in.
And while you are at it – make sure to add in some down time or creative time too.
While you don’t need to 100% stick to this schedule (apart from your appointments), you need to know if there is enough space for all you want to achieve and have some direction to go with each morning instead of wasting time trying to figure out what you should be working on.
However, if one day you are feeling particularly inspired to write and you didn’t have that planned for a couple of days – feel free to switch things around to suit your flow.
And that’s it – that’s how I stay super organised with my marketing.
Or at least that’s what I am doing when I am organised! I admit, there are times when I fall off the bandwagon a bit – and I want you to know that is totally ok. You don’t need to write off an entire month or quarter just because you are behind a couple of weeks in your planning. Just start fresh again.