Are you tired, listless and exhausted? Do you poop out at parties? Do you feel like the constant, unceasing barrage of social media and marketing advice is just overwhelming? Does it feel like you’re in Lucille Ball’s Vitameatavegamin skit?
You, my friend, are suffering from tactic-itis. Consider the symptoms:
- You run from pillar to post (read that as Facebook to Twitter and back again) trying to post … post … post
- The phrase “if a tree falls in a forest, but no one hears it, does it still make a sound?” has new and special meaning for you
- You put all your good bits on Facebook and having nothing left to say at cocktail parties
- You’re an expert at blog avoidance, preferring to scrub the toilet rather than writing a deeply relevant treatise for all two of your readers
“If you’re not motivated, here’s why: Isolated tactics sap your energy — and without a goal, they’re pretty much a waste of time.”
Consider the evidence. You’ve tried every “Top 10 Things to Do on Facebook” tactic to boost your sphere and get more likes — but nothing is happening. Your website content is out of date, which somehow doesn’t really bother you because no one visits anyway. Your blog is forlorn, with just two posts from 2010. You don’t really understand Twitter and secretly wish for its demise.
The problem is not a lack of effort. It’s a profound lack of discipline, goals, objectives, strategy and measurement. When was the last time you truly contemplated the scale and scope of your investment in marketing — and your return? It’s far too easy to throw time or money at a problem, only to realize afterwards that it’s been poorly spent.
That’s when people say marketing is a waste of time, and cancel projects, pull ads or generally gripe about what a pain in the ass it is to win business.
Set a goal. Then manage what you measure.
Everyone has heard the mantra that you can manage what you measure. That’s a great starting point. Before you spend another dime on marketing, put together a comprehensive plan so that you actually know what you’re trying to achieve.
[blockquote]A comprehensive plan starts with a single, overarching goal. Something like:
‘I want to be the #1 agent in [insert name of your farm here].'”[/blockquote]
A great goal sets your vision and motivates you. It provides a clear view into the future of where you’ll be in a set time period.
But a great goal isn’t good enough. It needs specific objectives to get the goal over the hump of intention — and into the doing.
Think of it this way: Goals are intentions. Objectives are outcomes. For something to be an objective, it’s got to be measurable so you can define whether you’ve achieved it or not.
How to set a proper objective.
Solid objectives are clear, concise and mercifully brief. That’s because a complicated objective obscures what you’re trying to do and compromises the goal because it’s just too hard to sort out what you’re actually supposed to do.
Consider these two objectives and how they might relate to our goal of being the #1 agent:
- Produce and promote 18 blog posts about price trends in my farm over 12 months, and get 250 more likes on my Facebook business page.
- Grow my sphere.
One is easy to implement and measure. The other? There’s a four-letter word for that, and it’s S-O-F-T.
The first objective follows the SMART methodology. For those not familiar with the acronymn, that’s Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timed. Translation: they say what you’re going to do, how you’ll do it, and how you’ll measure it.
With the first objective, you know instantly what you need to do, and what you need to track. You need to produce content on a prescribed schedule. You need to measure traffic and engagement. You need to take a baseline of where you are now, so you can see where you’ll be over 12 months. Before you start strategizing, figure out the measurement — because that’s what will make your objectives real.
Make your objectives real, achievable and not just a little bold. Here’s why: It will drive every decision you make about your marketing from this point forward. You will allocate your time and money based on your goal. You will judge the success of your marketing by whether or not you have achieved your objective. Most important, you will not quit until you have achieved your objective, even if you have to change your strategies — and tactics — to achieve it.
So what about strategy?
Strategies are like a GPS in your car. They give you direction about how to achieve your objective, but you’ll constantly readjust based on changing conditions. Let’s take that first objective and put a few strategies behind it:
- Develop an editorial calendar to post 1-2x per week
- Create a list of other relevant blogs, Twitter handles and Facebook pages to promote my posts to
- Leave at least three comments per week on other blogs and FB pages
- Improve subscription options on my website
You can see that if one of these strategies proves to be a dud, you can easily drop it — or change it to something else. You’re empowered to see what isn’t working, because you know where you’re going.
Where the rubber meets the road: Tactics
If strategies are a GPS, tactics are the asphalt. They are the details — and they super important. But implementing tactics before you’ve set your goal, objectives and strategies is like putting a blindfold on and getting behind the wheel. [It’s also why so many of those “top 10” tricks haven’t worked out so well — because they’re not related to what you’re really trying to do with your business.] Relating your tactical execution to your big goal enables you to spend your time and money wisely.
Let’s apply some tactics to those strategies:
- Write posts about new developments, pricing trends, walkability, schools and recent closings
- Post to FB at least 3x per week, and contact 60 influential bloggers via Twitter
- Contribute three guest posts to neighborhood blogs
- Respond within 60 minutes to any comments left on FB or on my site
How to measure whether it’s working.
The truth is, only you can do the hard work to see whether what you’re doing is working. You may not be able to measure every iota of your efforts. Not every metric applies to your situation. But by choosing key checkpoints in advance, you can know in the aggregate whether you’re on track to meet your goal.
What do you think? Do you actually plan your marketing? Let me know in the comments.