The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing Plan Implementation
It’s January 1st and and those months of lunches with the CFO, the VP of sales, and key members of your staff are behind you. After all the bantering back and forth, the great ideas, and the cheeseburgers you are left with pants that fit a bit tighter and a stack of paper titled “Marketing Plan”.
It’s time to implement your marketing plan my friend, are you ready?
The year ahead is like a field covered in a freshly fallen snow. There is no path to follow but the one on the desk in front of you. Little does everyone know but that plan is completely worthless if you botch your marketing plan implementation. Luckily there are some secrets I am going to share with you in the form of pitfalls to avoid.
What’s Between The Cover and Final Page Of Your Marketing Plan Doesn’t Matter If You Mess Up The Following 7 Things.
1) Thinking Like An Accountant
The first sin of marketing plan implementation is thinking like an accountant. You know, the guy / gal who sits in their office with stacks of papers and says “no” all the time? They have all the info you need but won’t share because, “that’s not for you to know.” ; )
While accountants are absolutely crucial for a business their mind can be about as pliable as this:
As a marketer you need to realize that at any moment your plan may become as worthless as the white perforated paper that is dispensed where the employees do their texting on their phones.
Things change and if you’re mind is not “like water my friend” (bruce lee) you are going to get crushed. The marketing landscape is changing incredibly rapidly and with it new tools may allow you to radically increase your results.
In your plan you have someone combing Twitter trying to “grow your audience” (10 hours / week). A few months into the year you discover a tool like Narrow that does this for you for a measly $9 at the time of this writing. Pay the $9 and use those 10 hours for something more productive!
2) Not Split Testing Everything!
While implementing your marketing plan realize that everything you wrote in your plan, every change you make on your website, and every email you send is typically based on an assumption. Looking better does not always equal better results. Need proof? Check out these 4 ugly websites that absolutely crush it.
The tools for doing this are literally free. For your website check out Optimizely and for your emails (if you aren’t able to run split tests through your current provider) send a segment through MailChimp to get some data and use the winning variation to mail your list.
While I can give you great email hygiene tips until the cows come home your actual marketing content should be determined through testing. Here are two things that I learned through testing that may be completely wrong for your business.
Not having client logos on our website converted visitors to leads at a 23% higher rate. Every modern site has the logos of their largest clients on it so you should too right? In our case we were catering to small businesses and entrepreneurs who were scared away by logos of Fortune 500 companies.
Not having images in our emails increased click rate by 18%. Even though every modern email template seems to contain images it was really hurting our conversion. Without testing we would have never known!
3) Putting An Emphasis On Social Media Posting To Generate Leads
Social media is the modern day SEO. Everyone knows their business needs it so they assign someone on the marketing team to be “in charge of social media”. The problem is anytime everyone anything it’s usually a bad idea.
The logic goes a little like this…
- There are nearly 290 million people on the internet in the US (internet live stats).
- 74% of online adults are using social media (Pew).
- So we have 214,600,000 potential people we can reach on social media. (calculator)
- And with the countless studies on how many times to post per day (Buffer).
Following this logic and likely a fancy PowerPoint you are left with this seemingly plausible idea that you could completely fail and get a hundredth of a percent of internet users leaving you with 21,400 leads, and that is if you completely fail of course.
In practice though, for most businesses worrying about posting on social media is a waste of time. Better to focus on what your customers are posting about you. (Article: How To Get More Positive Reviews)
4) Not Keeping Accurate Data And Making Your Decisions Based On It
In order to really make predictable, sustained progress you need to have your key metrics nailed down and obsessed over. If you are a small business you might think you can simply leave this to the big guys but the harsh reality is you have even more to lose. Your profits put food on your family’s table and keep the lights on.
“Knowing Your Metrics and Using Them As The Basis Of Your Decisions Is The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Marketing’s Success” (Nate Johnson)
Even a personal trainer has metrics, to find out yours check out this article about your marketing funnel and why it is important.
5. Not Automating Your Marketing
The fifth sin of marketing plan implementation is not leveraging modern marketing automation for your business. While it sounds complicated and all sorts of technical a basic follow up sequence is actually pretty easy to set up, even for a small business.
The benefit of automating your marketing is that it allows you to:
- Own a specific window of time after a prospect opts in (determine follow up actions ahead of time)
- Watch the success of those follow ups so you can test and improve them
- Predict the outcome of future opt ins based on historic data
Once you have this set up you can reliably scale your business using paid traffic generation to eliminate historically slow times for your business, ramp up and hire new employees, or simply focus on the work that you really enjoy doing.
If you approach paid without your key metrics figured out and an automated follow up sequence however it is like driving a race car on quaaludes.
6) Not Using Modern Marketing Tools To Your Advantage
Today we have the luxury of using an incredible array of productivity tools to not only help us be more effective, but to focus on the things that will make our business successful. When it comes to your marketing plan implementation I recommend the following:
- Buffer: Schedule all of your social media posts ahead of time.
- IFTTT: Automate postings, archiving, etc. (ex. If I post a new blog add it to Buffer)
- LeadPages: All of your offers and campaigns need an entry point, this saves a TON of time and money.
- Google Sheets: Like Excel but in the cloud. Perfect for sharing and collaboration.
- Google Docs: Replace word and share it with the world. Access it anywhere.
- Zapier: Connect anything… really!
- Elance: Hire around projects, get stuff done faster and cheaper.
There are certainly many more but these I use almost every day and can’t say enough about. It goes without being said you will want a modern email service provider (covered here), an automation platform, etc. If you’d like to go deep on the subject I recommend The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Will you only work 4 hours per week after reading it? Highly doubtful. Will you look at work and productivity differently after reading it? Yes, definitely.
7) Not Being Willing To Throw It All Away
The final sin of marketing plan implementation is not realizing that what you’re aiming for is a moving target. That SEO tactic that was pure marketing gold today might be obsolete tomorrow.
You have to absolutely be okay with walking away from any tactic whether things change, or it simply doesn’t work as you had imagined it would. The marketers that thrive are those who watch the data and pivot. As a great marketer once said, “you don’t go to school and learn to be a successful marketer, you simply have to do it and get better with experience.”