One of the more interesting books I've read recently is called "The 33 Strategies of War" by Robert Greene.
It's a brilliant piece of work, not just because of the incredible research that went into all the stories of wars won and lost, but because the lessons learned can be applied to our lives, businesses and, of course, to marketing.
This brief section really got my attention:
"The strategic element comes in the planning: setting an overall goal, crafting ways to reach it, and thinking the whole plan through in intense detail. This means thinking in terms of a campaign, not individual battles. The more detailed your planning, the more confident you will feel as you go into battle, and the easier it will be to stay on course once the inevitable problems arise."Now, you may not be a big fan of war analogies in marketing, and personally, I'm not big on the strategy of "crushing the competition to a bloody pulp," but I am a big advocate of planning in "intense detail."
Either most Independent Professionals hate planning or don't know how to do it, as I've seen very few plans that meet this intensely detailed standard.
Planning is the key step between gaining knowledge and implementation. There are three crucial steps in designing a marketing action plan for a professional service business:
1. Planning in marketing isn't so much about what you will do, it's about what you will communicate and when.
Marketing in essence says: Here's your situation as I understand it; here's something I have to address that situation; this is why I think you'll be interested in it; this is how it could benefit you; this is what to do next to find out more.
And then your plan is to design the vehicles that will carry that message and when and how those vehicles will be delivered to your prospects in the most cost-efficient and impactful manner.
2. In planning your marketing you need to understand exactly where your prospects are in relation to you and your service.
So, for instance, if you're introducing a service to a new market, the first step of your plan is to get their attention and build some familiarity, not to close the sale right away.
Only when you've built your credibility, provided information and given prospects a taste of what your service can do for them do you ask for the next step: a conversation to explore.
3. This conversation needs to be planned and prepared for just as much as the steps that led up to it.
What research will you do before the meeting? What questions will you ask to determine the situation, needs and challenges of the prospect? What questions will help you uncover the underlying motivations and desires in the heart of the prospect?
Then what exactly will you tell about your service that will move the prospect to taking the next step? How will you appeal to both their concerns and their aspirations?
The Plan In Action
What does a plan like this actually look like in practice? Below is the outline of an action plan I recently used very successfully. Every single step was designed and then executed precisely.
- Design and develop a program to offer to my subscribers.
- Send initial email to those on my subscriber list.
- From a link in the email send to a web page on site.
- At the bottom of page put a form to request more info.
- Send an automatic email in response to that form.
- Direct them to more information on a different web page.
- Have them request an appointment with second form.
- Respond personally by email to set up the meeting.
- Write a script or outline for the meeting.
- Hold the meeting by phone or in person.
- Give the prospect some final information or proposal.
- Follow up by email or phone to confirm moving forward.
Over a period of about a month this marketing action plan generated over $100K in new business.
A plan like this is very strategic, very directed towards producing a specific result. Nothing is left to chance. Each of the steps is fine tuned until it performs optimally.
Will you create intensely detailed marketing plans or will you make vague plans resulting in vague results?
The More Clients bottom line. You will only produce consistent results in your marketing to the degree that you develop intensely detailed action plans and execute them with focus and persistence.
Comments on creating intensely detailed marketing action plans? Please post them on the More Clients Blog.