Strategy is a favorite word of many an entrepreneur, myself included. After all, you have to develop a strategy to accomplish pretty much anything right?
Just as we use a planner to organize day, month, and year, we spend time putting together the right strategy for our business. A product launch. An event. You name it, and we develop a marketing strategy for it.
But, what is a marketing strategy? What does a strategy do for us? Or better yet, lemme ask: how many times have you developed a strategy, only to proceed and stray away from said strategy as you go about achieving your goals?
I’ve done it, too. You are not alone my friend.
Do you get the strategy right? Is it laser focused, or do you struggle with creating a strategy that you can actually execute? What’s the difference between a strategy and plan?
How to Transform A Strategy into a Plan of Action
The best way to get strategy versus plan straight is to realize that you need to develop goals (strategy) before you can create a plan of action to reach those goals.
First you come up with the strategy and goals, and then using the goals you will create the plan. They go together and you need BOTH to be successful when marketing your business.
Here’s an example:
Marketing strategy: Increase email subscribers to market XYZ product
Marketing plan: Create and promote a freebie report targeted toward a specific audience for the purposes of increasing email list subscriptions.
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan – What’s the Difference?
You have to know what you want do before you can figure out how you’re going to do it. This is why creating a marketing plan is an important part of owning a successful business.
The step usually missing in the plan is the DOING.
First, come up with the right strategy so that you can create good goals. Then, from those goals develop a plan of action that provides daily, weekly and monthly tasks to perform toward reaching the goals and seeing the strategy through.
If you were to create a workflow for developing your marketing strategy and plan, it might look like this.
1. Define the Goals
The first step is to spell out measurable and attainable goals. If you can’t write them out, you haven’t dug deep enough. Name what you want. If you plan to increase your email list subscribers, then by how many? Which list? With whom?
2. Identify Why
Next, know why you want to meet the goal. Do you know why you’re building your email list? You should know that you’re building it to promote XYZ product.
3. Create a Plan of Action
Third, list all the tasks you must do to reach the goal. What does it take to create the freebie? A writer, an editor, a delivery system and promotion; what else?
4. Implement the Plan
Fourth, organize the plan and implement it in the order necessary to succeed. Always remember first things first. Set the time limit or deadline, then work your way back to today to start filling in when you need to do each task.
5. Measure the Results
Fifth, determine if you met your goals by seeing how much you exceeded or how far you are from the measurable goal that you set.
6. Adjust and Improve
Sixth, throw out what isn’t working and keep doing what is. If you did not reach your goal, determine why. If you did, make a new one.
Finally, rinse and repeat. Replicate the process for every goal.
Understanding the importance of understanding how you will go about meeting a goal is about as important as creating the goal.
As you work through your marketing plan, you may realize that you lack skill or knowledge in a particular area. Then you can determine who or what can help you, whether its a subcontractor or a new technology. Work this help into your strategy (and budget) ahead of time to make sure you can achieve your goals!