Thinking Ahead in Marketing Communications

When it comes to internet marketing we have tons of tools available to help us, but without clear goals supported by solid plans, even the best of tools won’t do us any good. We need to have  compelling  goals and solid processes to help use leverage the tools and resources we have. To be successful at fulfilling our targets, we need the ability to make and re-make well-formed plans  that will  bring us closer to realizing the big picture that our goals paint for us.

What are the helpful tools, skills,  and processes that an entrepreneur should work to make their own?

Well, that depends on what their business goals are. For anyone with an enterprise of their own, no matter what size, goals are the targets on which skill-set acquisition and planning hang. Getting things lined up and pointed in the same direction help enormously here. When your strategies, tactics and campaigns are aligned, they will help you reach your goals with less friction and more ease than if they contradict each other, in the same way any vehicle will function better when the wheels have been properly aligned.

What are you trying to achieve, now, and over the short and medium term, and what is your over-arcing goal for the long-term?

It’s a question of mindset, foresight, and clearly determined personal goals.
You’re an entrepreneur. You’re a business owner  — for you, your life and your business are connected. The more specific your questions and answers, the better focus you have about what you need (resources, assets), what you need to do (plans, goal-setting) and how long you have to execute (timelines).

  • What results do you want? Increased productivity? The ability to create engagement across social media platforms?
  • Do you want more insight into what is and isn’t working for you and your business?

The questions you ask determine the answers you look for, and the tools, methods and process you’ll use. Whatever method you choose, test their results to see which fits  and works best. You pose scenarios, research, test, and make informed decisions based on the results.

What are you looking for?
A goal is a target you keep in sight until you reach it. What are you looking for in terms of your business? ‘Success’ alone doesn’t cut it: success where, and how? How will you know if-when you’re not successful? Sometimes the negatives can be more helpful in showing you what you want by being very definite about what you don’t want.

Identify and capture your goals in an official document — one which you can locate quickly. The explanation behind keeping motivational material in plain sight is simple: Out of sight, out of mind.

  • I want to generate more leads by increasing my website traffic.
  • I want to run multi-channel marketing campaigns with a consistent message personalized to my market avatars.
  • I want smooth integration of customer support throughout my business communication channels, whether social media, phone or email etc.

Given those goals, you can then start fleshing out the how, where and whens to construct the plans to realize these goals,

Hard work is a given — everyone’s working ’round the clock as it is.  The crucial distinction is:  Are the things you’re working hard on the things that will actually make the difference?

Related article: Have You Heard Of The 20-80 Rule?

Break things down to clear action steps
Using the previous example, what will it take to increase website visitors? You can start with these fact-finding steps and build from them:

  • Establish a baseline count of website visitors for the past X months.
  • Assess your website’s most visited pages to see where your visitors came from and how they came to you: search engine results, referrals?
  • Break down the numbers to find where and how you get the most number of visitors, and so on.

Executing short term plans deals with the business’s needs and issues upfront and quickly, but long-term survival and success is dependent on making sure that a majority of the short term plans go forward with the intent of accommodating today’s needs and preparing for that of the future.

Example: How will you increase your businesses efficiency and effectivity in customer and market communication?

  • Whatever automated solution or service you choose, it should be robust enough to process and send large volumes of email, and have the capacity to track, report and break down the statistics for email open rates, clicks, and deliveries.
  • It should be able to set up automated mailing with appropriate customer-triggers (signing up for newsletter, or buying a product) easily.
  • It should let you create landing pages  designed for specific target audience (according to segmentation and avatar creation) to direct the traffic on your website. It’s best to have the capacity to easily create and edit design elements like website forms and surveys for collecting information from your visitors.
  • The systems you use to analyze website activity should be able to collect and aggregate information from visitors to your site to give you more data on your market’s behavior.

When you think of long-term you also have to consider mobile platforms, since it’s increasingly clear that the market is massive and still growing, especially in emerging economies.
You need to optimize email, apps, and other forms of communication for mobile platforms, as well as come up with a system (or enlist  another business who can) to monitor and assess  the effects on your customers.

These are all examples breaking down an over-arcing goal into component parts and considerations to help create concrete steps you can take to meet those goals.

What you do as a matter of course also matters.
Think ahead — build a library of information.
Marketing data and campaign results give you an edge and insight into your customer’s behaviors. The more accurate your insight, the more easily you can redeploy successful strategies again and again.

Build your own toolbox of skills.

Build strong processes.
Coordination and centralization is necessary inside any business regardless of size.

  • Shared calendars are a great asset to keep people to the same timeline and on the same page when it comes to project execution

Oddly enough, decentralization — a side-effect of globalization– helps in that you can off-source to partners and outsourcing personal who can work while you sleep. Just make sure you can still keep people on the same page across time zones.

Assemble a team/support or operations group.
No one person can do it all. People with mastery in their fields, whether social media managers, website developer,  internet security, etc. can do their job while you get out of the way. and focus on your own work.

Build strong networks.
You can also look for ways to build a network of connections to help extend your reach.. Partnerships and joint ventures help leverage email list of the people involved, but it doesn’t have to stop there.  Getting in touch with other like-minded entrepreneur can help build a community which can serve as a source of knowledge and support.

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