Picture this – you woke up this morning with a burning desire to go on a beach trip. Without hesitation, you hop out of bed, grab your beachwear, and head to the car. You’re driving along, thinking about all the fun you’ll have, and how the sun and sand will feel on your skin.
Wait – is that a roadblock?
Yes, today’s the day of the 5K marathon for charity – the road is blocked so you need an alternate route. As you reach for your phone to ask Google for help you notice you’re running low on gas and you aren’t sure where the nearest gas station is.
Shoot! You also forgot to grab a snack and now your tummy is rumbling. Why is this beautiful morning that started on such a high note going to pieces so quickly? Simple, you forgot to plan.
I’m sure we’ve all been in a similar situation – we had a bright idea and rushed into it without thinking things through first. While that isn’t always a bad attitude to have, it can often result in huge setbacks and possibly you giving up halfway through. It’s the same in business and marketing.
You might have a great business or campaign idea but if you don’t have a strategy in place for how to execute it, you will find that things become frustrating. Obstacles will arise with no plan for how to overcome them, you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel.
Why Strategies Matter
Your strategy is your plan of action and a good strategy will map out the steps you need to get to your end goal. The research you will do when creating your strategy will help you to anticipate obstacles you might face and guide you in how to overcome them.
It will detail the steps that need to be taken along the way, what roles you’ll need to play, and what services you might need to outsource. You’ll have a clearer picture before you begin so you can feel more confident as you set out to achieve your goal.
A clear strategy matters because it is your road map and if you aren’t sure where you’re going or how to get there, you’re bound to get lost.
How to Create a Strategy
Your strategy will naturally depend on what your goal is but there are some basic principles to apply. First, identify your ‘why’. Why do you want to undertake this venture? Why is this beneficial to you? Why should someone support the idea? Then look at your endgame. Do you want to increase sales? Be the first person to provide a specific type of service in your area? Gain more subscribers? Once you know what you want to happen, you can start writing down the things you need to do to make it happen.
Maybe you need to create more content or increase your ad budget. Maybe you need to hone in on your niche so you can focus more on a smaller aspect of your business.
Once you’re able to work out the steps, start to think ‘worse case scenario’ – being realistic and accepting that things don’t always go to plan is key in helping you face challenges head-on. What will you do if a supplier is unable to meet your deadline? What happens if your website crashes? What will you do if a curfew restricts your operation hours?
Write down every scenario you can think of and a possible solution (or two!) for each. If you need to have an alternate supplier, start making contact with a few people to establish an existing relationship. If you need to increase your website’s security and back up your files, start as soon as you can.
Without a strategy, you’re likely to get lost, frustrated, and confused. Worse yet, you’ll waste a lot of time, money, and effort going nowhere. Before you even begin to plan your next marketing campaign, use this checklist to ensure you’re on the right track to get the results you want!
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