Written by Heather Buen
This is Part 2 of a Two-Part Series. Click here for Part 1.
Determining your goals for a marketing plan
Each action should have a purpose and a set of goals. You will likely have a ton of goals for your blog. For your marketing plan if you are doing short term goals of 30 or 90 days, I recommend having between 3 to 5 goals that you can put your attention to. Having too many goals will mean you are spending less effort on maximizing return on your efforts.
When I create an online marketing calendar, I assign a letter value to each appropriate goal. In the list below are examples of goals but you would only choose a few of them:
a.Generate leads – this is probably my #1 goal and it’s used for email lists, advertising and selling products.
b.Learn industry news and competitive research – You want to build a fashion blog, so you study great fashion blogs
c.Generate PR for your company – people don’t know you exist so you want to get the word out
d.Connect and interact with customers – gaining followers
e.Share information to establish your expertise – educate your audience
f.Generate SEO (search engine optimization) – You want to improve the rankings of your blog in search engines
g.Bring traffic to your website and/or blog – improve pageview and new visitors to your blog
h.Just to see what it’s all about – Curiosity about a new service to see if it fits your needs.
Choose an outlet by goal
Now that you have a letter system associated with your goals, you can determine which social media outlet will help you best achieve that goal. There is no right or wrong answer but you may need to set a goal to learn about a social media platform before going all in to use it. Here’s an example spreadsheet (click to enlarge):
You could also add in Instagram, YouTube, Vine or other platforms. For instance, if you work with Social Fabric and on shoppertunities, you will see many shops that are tutorials, recipe- based, Instagram videos or party planning types of posts. If you are not getting picked for some of those because you lack the experience, then make that your goal. If you want to create more Instagram videos, then make that a goal. If you don’t have the correct editing app on your phone to create great videos, then research that as a part of your goal. Once you have experience, your ability to get picked for those opportunities may change.
How much time can I commit?
This is why I recommend just 3 to 5 goals because we all have 24 hours a day and while we’d like to do all the tasks to reach our goals, there may not be enough time. Along with writing blog posts, you may also be answering questions, handling orders, picking up kids, making dinner or a myriad of other tasks. So choose wisely.
Look at your calendar and aside from reading emails and writing posts, determine how much time per day, week or month do you want to devote to your marketing plan. Do you have a virtual assistant or someone else that can help? Time is the biggest constraint on most people’s ability to execute their marketing plan.
Here is a list of time (click to enlarge) you can allocate to each task to reach your goal. Time is arbitrary and you may need more or less time to do these things. When you post a status update, keep track of how much time you spend doing that. Also consider how much time you spend looking at the analytics of your efforts.
Creating your social media calendar
Now that you have a clear idea of what it will take to execute this plan, you can create your social media calendar. For short term goals of 30 to 90 days, create a daily and weekly task list. Add them to your calendar. I do mine in my Google Calendar and on my iPhone. I even set reminders for myself. I also schedule things out in advance. If you use WordPress, you can schedule posts. I also use Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule posts to share on my social media accounts. The key is to follow through. Enter the end goal date into your calendar as well. I believe follow ups to determine how successful you were in reaching your goal is important. You can review what worked and what didn’t work so well. You can also shift things around and move goals around throughout the year. For a parenting blog like mine, traffic picks up around the start of the school year. Since I have that knowledge, I like to make sure I have my back-to-school posts and plan ready by July.
How do you plan your online marketing efforts? What tools can you use to create your own marketing plan and calendar?
About the Author: Heather Buen is a Dallas based “Creative Online Innovator” and a local Dallas celebrity blogger at her blog, Dallas Single Mom and a host of other lifestyle blog brands. Heather provides marketing consulting to small businesses and teaches web marketing and analytics at the University of Texas at Arlington. This mom of three is also a freelance journalist and web content developer.