Dec 9 and 16 4pm: Reiki Circle (To take a break from the rush this season and this is an event I host:)
This is the season of holiday parties and planning for the new year. How are you doing? What are your rituals and routines for new year planning? I’ve been working on my own 2019 plan and one of them includes updating my website. Wish me luck and see you soon! 🙂
What metrics are you using for your marketing? One of my favorite tools is Pirate Metrics, AARRR. See how you can use these metrics for your marketing in the below Facebook LIVE video and article. I’m experimenting with more LIVE videos to explain the tools, tactics, and concepts I use for my strategy and planning work, stick with me as I get the hang of this lol!
The framework is based on the most important metrics to track:
Acquisition: Where are users coming from?
Activation: Are users having a happy first-time experience?
As an avid reader and life long learner, I love to read marketing books and learn new frameworks. These are the shiny objects I’m easily distracted by, in a good way of course;) Recently I’ve added a few new tools to my marketing kit and am excited to use them for myself and clients! Since I like to keep my posts short and sweet, I’ll give you a list and how I like to use each of them.
I’m only 2 chapters in and I am loving this book! The author perfectly balances giving examples and explaining the principales. I also love it when authors include summaries and next steps at the end of each chapter! It shows that they have taken the time to be clear and concise in their communications and want people to use what they are teaching. I’d been wanting to read the Hero’s Journey and this is a digestible alternative for marketing folks and business owners. Below is an overview of the story brand steps, I’ll definitely be using this for marketing strategy and planning moving forward.
This is a great guide for startups or any company that is starting a new division or product line. The problem interviews in Chapter 7 are my favorite. I would recommend that every business go through this exercise to better understand their customers and their problems.
An interesting read. More academic and less about application. I’d recommend skimming this or looking up a summary online. Basically, he breaks strategy down into 3 parts – diagnosis, guiding principales, and action. I’m not sure how to apply my learnings from this yet.
My latest obsession. AARRR matey! Literally it means Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, and Referral. These metrics perfectly compliment the buyers journey and I recommend having a # and % for each. For example, for acquisition, track the # of website visitors and the % increase of website visitors month over month.
A great business and marketing model to follow. Personally, I think I’ll use the story brand model with the pirate metrics and then cross reference it with this to make sure that the strategy is complete. A great tool for building a stronger foundation.
I am reading Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt and would like to share my notes with you. The key point is in the title of this post, ‘What is going on here?’. The key to strategic work is figuring out what is going on. Not just deciding what to do, but the problem of understanding the situation.
All of the below are my organized highlights…
First, let’s talk about what a bad strategy looks like.
To detect a bad strategy, look for one or more of its four major hallmarks:
Fluff. Fluff is a form of gibberish masquerading as strategic concepts or arguments. It uses “Sunday” words (words that are inflated and unnecessarily abstruse) and apparently esoteric concepts to create the illusion of high-level thinking.
Failure to face the challenge. Bad strategy fails to recognize or define the challenge. When you cannot define the challenge, you cannot evaluate a strategy or improve it.
Mistaking goals for strategy. Many bad strategies are just statements of desire rather than plans for overcoming obstacles.
Bad strategic objectives. A strategic objective is set by a leader as a means to an end. Strategic objectives are “bad” when they fail to address critical issues or when they are impracticable.”
If you fail to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don’t have a strategy. Instead, you have either a stretch goal, a budget, or a list of things you wish would happen.
When a leader characterizes the challenge as underperformance, it sets the stage for bad strategy. Underperformance is a result. The true challenges are the reasons for the underperformance.
A leader may successfully identify the key challenge and propose an overall approach to dealing with the challenge. But if the consequent strategic objectives are blue sky, not much has been achieved. The purpose of good strategy is to offer a potentially achievable way of surmounting a key challenge. If the leader’s strategic objectives are just as difficult to accomplish as the original challenge, there has been little value added by the strategy.
Good strategy requires leaders who are willing and able to say no to a wide variety of actions and interests. Strategy is at least as much about what an organization does not do as it is about what it does.
The kernel of a strategy contains three elements:
A diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as critical.
A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge. This is an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.
A set of coherent actions that are designed to carry out the guiding policy. These are steps that are coordinated with one another to work together in accomplishing the guiding policy.
Good strategy is not just “what” you are trying to do. It is also “why” and “how” you are doing it.
Actually, the 5 questions are a teaser. I’m presenting at Venture Cafe on the 15 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website and I thought it would be content you would be interested as well. I’ll give you the first 5 and then after my presentation on Thursday, I’ll post the full 15. I know you are so excited to optimize your website and want the full 15 now! It will give you time answer the first 5 and read a few articles before jumping into the process;)
What are your top goals for the website?
You need to know if the goal is to increase traffic, conversion rate, or brand awareness. Each has different metrics to measure and there needs to be one primary goal to give you focus.
If visitors could only do 3 things on your website, what would they be?
Once again a question to help you refine the purpose of the website or landing page.
Who are your ideal customers?
What differentiators do your customers say you have over competitors?
The key word here is ‘customers’, now what you think your differentiators are but what your customers actually say. Have you asked them? How did you ask them? I recommend the Running Lean problem interview process or using a tool like UserTest.com.
Has your current content been written with your goals in mind?
If not, how would you rewrite the content to better speak to your customers and goals?
To help with the process, here are a few articles on optimizing landing pages in particular. While you may be redesigning or updating your website, it’s helpful to test one page at a time. The principles here still apply to a whole website.
A website redesign is a big project. There are many moving pieces and each one is so important. It’s the intersection of all those pieces that make it a success. The user experience, design, development, content and story are all a part of that.
To give you an example, I worked on a website redesign project for a state wide credit union and my role was managing the content for the new site. It was fulfilling work to collaborate with the agency that hired me and the internal client team. I was essentially filling a marketing lead role on the client side to help them complete the content. My primary team was the chief marketing officer, senior communications specialist, and agency project manager. So what was involved in the content process?
My goal is to give you a few tips for your website redesign and managing the content portion.
Having conversations about the vision, mission, core values, and voice of the organization was key. This laid the foundation for the rest of the project. We had to know what the voice, story, and key messages were in order to write or rewrite pages.
Doing a content inventory. Knowing what we had to work with was crucial to building our step by step plan for the launch.
Revisiting the brand experience brief as we moved forward. This document covered the crux, context, insight, experience, approach, credibility, momentum, commitments, and how we’ll know we’ve succeeded for the individual campaigns that were being developed during this project. The brief asked questions like What is the central problem we’re solving? What in our audience’s world can we challenge or capitalize on? etc.
As the content lead, I lived by the content master spreadsheet. It was a Google Sheet that was shared with the entire team and tracked page URL, page details, action needed, page job, subject matter expert, Google Doc link for final page, doc status and notes. This was the hub we worked from along with Basecamp for day to day project management.
Know your process for content creation and editing. I worked closely with the writers, marketing team, and agency to assure the pages met our criteria (the page job and filling in the outline we created for each).
Best of luck with your own project! If you need help, feel free to send a note. I’d be happy to help and would love to hear from you either way:)
Through our work together, my goal is that you feel confident and clear about your marketing. You’ll have a working strategy and plan document as an end result and someone to bounce ideas off of along the way. This is a team effort and as your strategic marketing partner I’ll be guiding you through the process. With a simple and powerful marketing plan, you’ll be sure to have less confusion and frustration and more clarity and direction. To give you a better idea of how we would work together, here’s the process for the first 3 meetings.
We’ll start with where you are and where you want to be. We’ll cover what’s worked, what’s not worked, and what components of a marketing plan you have now.
Once we’ve determined what we have to work with, I’ll create the outline of the plan and organize the pieces. This is where we talk more about ideas and what you can do now as we are planning for future growth.
Building & Refining
Once we have our road map, it’s time for implementation and refining the map as we go. This is the testing and measuring phase and where we are seeing what’s working and what needs to be updated.
The benefits of going through this process is that we are finding solutions as we go. The end result is more organization and clarity but you don’t have to wait till the end to have that. It starts with the discovery process. I’ll be here for you throughout the process. While there will be work (or play depending on how you look at it:) for you to do outside of our meetings, I’m here to answer your questions. Each time we meet we’ll talk about where you are now, what ideas or questions you have, and work through the next step in the plan. Ready to get started and feel more confident about your marketing plan?
The marketing strategies and plans I create are simple, short, and working documents. I want to make sure that business have a solid foundation in their strategy and plan and also ways to start improving their marketing now. For example, my plans may include your vision, mission, brand pillars, story, personas, and marketing strategies. Yet every time I meet with a client, we are finding ways to help them get more clients now while building or rebuilding their foundation.
That’s why when a friend said they wanted to see more examples of my work, I wasn’t sure what to actually show them. While some of them are client docs and I’m not sure they’d appreciate me posting their plans. Most are working docs that make sense to me and the business owner but I’m not sure they would make sense to anyone else. In part because the strategies and plans I create are for each person I work with and also, sometimes you don’t need a formal document that is posted for everyone to see. Sometimes you just need guiding posts and to start testing and measuring ideas.
One client said that “simply having someone to bounce ideas off of was really helpful, in fact that was probably the most helpful”. While another found a new idea for creating packages for her business most powerful. In fact she liked it so much she mentioned it to a friend and they called me about my marketing planning services. That’s the beauty of marketing, you start to create something and that creation transforms and you never know where your next lead will come from.
After our first conversation with another client I started to organize my notes into a future plan and it always amazes me how each client has similar pieces in their plan yet can be totally different. Each is tailor to what they are doing and how they speak to their audience. For this client, we are basing her strategy off of the stories she loves to tell. As a master story teller, all of her lessons and values that she wants to impart to her clients are in her stories. We are using that as the basis for her brand pillars, vision, and mission. She also loves to connect other people. While friends have asked her why she didn’t have a Facebook page or website, with her particular style we are going to test a Facebook group instead to let the community she has built help her further build her brand.
Where are you with your marketing strategy and plan? Is it overwhelming thinking about starting one? They can be simple one pagers and still be powerful. It’s a matter of having a plan and foundation and also just getting started with new ideas.
Honestly, most of the work I do is in motion, a moving plan or project. Isn’t that how most business is? Why should your strategy and plan be different? Whether I’m working on a large scale 3 month project as a content strategist and team lead for a website, developing a branding strategy for a 30 million dollar business, managing a project for 10 new YouTube videos, or working one on one with a business owner to take their marketing to the next level, the work is varied and rich. Each project has it’s own marketing strategies and tools that I am using yet I am seeing foundational patterns in each. I suppose that’s the benefit of being in marketing for over 10 years. I have the experience to know what has worked or not worked and how to be creative. It is a ever changing landscape and still the principles remain solid.
If you are curious about an example, here is my strategy and plan master. I keep all the potential components of a strategy here and for each client I’ll pull elements that makes sense for them. Please feel free to copy and use for yourself. (See, didn’t I tell you simple is best.)
Do you have a content calendar for your social media and blog posts? If so, what are you using? I would love to hear what works for you. Personally, I use a spreadsheet for my communications calendar, it’s simple and keeps me organized. Ideally you are planning content 3 months in advance, where you have your monthly themes, weekly blog post ideas, and social media ideas. While that is the goal, I know for myself if I just use my template for ideas and as reference guide each day before I post I consider it a job well done!
If you are looking for an easier way to manage your content and plan ahead, I’ll share my super secret template with you. Hopefully you feel more organized and confident in your content planning with this. Of course if you would like to strategize together and have a team help you with the whole process I can do that too.