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Let’s start here: Marketing goals vs objectives.

Marketing goals and marketing objectives are similar, and support each other, but are two different things. Your marketing GOALS are the broad, big picture type stuff. For example, I might say ‘In 2021, my goal is to increase brand awareness’. Pretty lofty right? My objective on the other hand would be something more specific to support this goal, perhaps something like ‘I will increase my instagram followers by 20% (thus increasing my brand awareness). This is why I love Goal + Objective + Action = Result statements like:

In 2021, I will _____ by _____ by doing these actions: _________. You get to fill in the blanks.

Mine looks like this : In 2021, I will grow my email subscriber list to 2000 contacts by showing up consistently every single week with something to share that will provide value to my subscribers. I will grow the list itself by optimizing my website to collect contact information.

So… What happens if you don’t have a marketing plan?

First we need to have a basic understanding of what a marketing plan is and what it’s intended for. Here’s the complex definition from investopedia : “A marketing plan is an operational document that outlines an advertising strategy that an organization will implement to generate leads and reach its target market. A marketing plan details the outreach and PR campaigns to be undertaken over a period, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives.”

Let’s simplify this a little bit, then I’ll tell you the story about my crazy 40 page marketing plan that NEVER SEES THE LIGHT OF DAY! Haha.

Basically, your marketing plan is a document (however you choose to structure it doesn’t really matter as long as you use it to guide you) that outlines your marketing goals and objectives and the strategies you will take to achieve these goals and objectives as well as the notes on how you will measure their success. The marketing plan is the driving force behind your sales and growth. Without a plan, you are weakening your efforts big time. It becomes hard to know what activities to take part in — but with a plan, you can decide if those activities are in line with the goals and objectives you set and go from there. This is why the one page marketing plan is so powerful, it helps you make quick decisions that impact your business. Ask yourself “Does this support my goal of ___?” If the answer is yes, then figure out a way to make it happen. If the answer is no, drop that thing faster than you can say ‘hot potato’!

Here’s a few other not so fun things that you may experience without a plan:

  1. Being reactive rather than proactive. You frequently find yourself reacting to marketing opportunities as they come along rather than taking a planned, controlled approach. This is never a recipe for success. Pro-Tip: avoid shiny object syndrome! Just because something is new and fancy in marketing doesn’t mean it has to be for you. In fact, it usually isn’t. Looking at small businesses specifically, it’s usually best to stick to the basic core functions of marketing. Leave the expensive shiny object stuff for the big guys with deep pockets and massive marketing budgets. You need to remain committed to learning what works for you first, and only then should you invest in more expensive marketing endeavours. Use that marketing budget wisely!
  2. Missing out on opportunities. When you are constantly reacting to problems that may arise, you are not focusing on the current opportunities in front of you. This couldn’t be more true, especially in the crazy year we just had. If you had no marketing plan this year, you may have found yourself scrambling to figure out how to pivot your business and make it all work. If you had your goals and objectives clearly outlined, then you could swap out strategies for things that would be beneficial in this season of business. For example, if you’re a realtor and host first time homebuyer seminars, 2020 would have been a real challenge! But if you had the goal of generating leads from these seminars, and the objective of running one per month and you were able to pivot the strategy to doing them via zoom, you may have even generated more leads than in person because it’s more convenient for young families to hop on a zoom than it is to organize getting somewhere in person.
  3. Creating less than stellar content and campaigns. This one is pretty self-explanatory but important nonetheless. If you lack a plan with at least your basic goals, you will have a hard time creating content and campaigns that support your goals, because… well… you don’t know what they are.
  4. Struggling with STRESS! No plan = stress! If you don’t have a documented approach even in its simplest form like our one-page marketing plan, then oh boy… you’re going to be one stressed out small biz owner! You won’t know what is working, what’s not working, what you should or shouldn’t be doing… the list goes on. So… make that plan!

Does your marketing plan have to be complicated?

Nope! While larger companies can have really robust marketing plans with hundreds of pages, a small business can get away with much less! Phew! We aren’t going into detail here about all of the major sections you would see in a large businesses marketing plan because… well… you’re not a large business 🙂 Small businesses need simple, effective, nimble marketing plans. What a relief right?!

If you want our old super crazy long boring as heck marketing plan template, I am happy to share it with you, just ask. But I hope you will join me in using the much easier one-pager instead!

Let’s talk about that time I created a 40+ page marketing plan that NEVER GETS LOOKED AT!

Once upon a time I created a marketing plan template, complete with a challenge delivered through my email list (mailchimp) for my subscribers. I thought I was a genius breaking this plan down into weekly chunks to work on. By the end of the 10 weeks (I think it was ten weeks anyways) you would have had your whole plan done. The template was modified from pieces I found all over the place online and it felt like it was my masterpiece. 

The only problem? That freakin masterpiece was like 40 pages long! Don’t get me wrong, it was a great piece of literature to sit on the shelf and die a slow death (queue sadness and tiny violins playing), but it really had no place in our day to day operations. It would have served a purpose if we were looking for investors or selling our business, but we weren’t… so.. Ya.

I made the mistake of thinking I needed this super robust plan to guide my business when really all I needed was something simple, easy to follow, and clear for the rest of the team to stay on track with me.

I had some great feedback from people who completed the challenge saying ‘thanks for this, I have more clarity’ etc, but most of the comments finished with ‘there were a lot of parts I think I dont need and I’m not sure how often I’ll refer back to it’. How embarrassing!

Let’s move on shall we? I’d like to forget all about that long, boring and general ‘blah’ marketing plan to explore why a one page marketing plan is so much more effective and why you need one in your life.

Besides the basic idea of ‘it just takes less time to put together’ (which is true), the only thing that really needs to be said for the one-page marketing plan is that it is effective. Plain and simple. You will be able to follow along with it throughout the year and make changes where you need to because you’ve outlined only the most important goals and objectives to get it all done.

Pro-Tip: Get yourself a marketing buddy or business bestie! There’s strength in partnerships and accountability. I’m not talking about someone to come in and partner on your actual business, what I am talking about is someone you can connect with whether it’s a weekly virtual coffee or a monthly in person lunch (hopefully in 2021!) that can cheer you on, help you move forward, and provide valuable insight. Make sure this business bestie is someone that has similar goals and aspirations or values so that you are a good fit together. If you wouldn’t want to hang out with this person outside of business as a friend, they probably aren’t the right fit to be your business bestie. 

It’s all about focus and consistency.

The one thing that I often see small business owners struggle with is consistency. They want to try different things in marketing because they are new or exciting, but they don’t give their core basics enough time to really work for them. When it comes to marketing, and especially for a small business, it’s important to pour your focus on to one key area (or a few but not more than 3-4!) so that you can see it through, pivot where you need to, and adjust your strategies until you find what works for you. If you show up consistently, you will build that brand you’ve always desired, but it takes time. Don’t give up!

Stop making ‘getting leads’ your number one goal.

I had to put this in here, because I hear it allll… the… time… I hop on a call to help someone queue up their marketing plans and I ask them what their number one goal is for the call (as in what they want to accomplish with me in guiding them) and I hear ‘I want to get more leads’. Well…duh! Haha. “And I want a toilet made of solid gold but it’s just not in the cards now is it?” -Austin Powers 😉 

‘Getting more leads’ is so incredibly vague and is not helpful to someone helping with your marketing, or even for yourself trying to figure out what to do for that matter. You have to consider the goals and objectives that would fall in line with getting more leads and what that means for your business. 


Goal ‘Getting more leads’ — actually means ‘generating more conversations’

Let’s take it one step further:

Goal: Generate more conversations

Objective: Talk to 10 new contacts each month about marketing

Action/Strategy: By asking specific questions on my instagram stories to elicit messages and replies

Examples of marketing goals:

  1. Establish or grow recognition and authority
  2. Increase brand presence
  3. Increase website traffic
  4. Diversify marketing channels
  5. Embark on or improve email marketing/communication strategy
  6. Launch a new product or service
  7. Improve quality of a product or service
  8. ‘Wow’ existing customers to gain more referrals or add on business
  9. Increase revenue or efficiency 
  10. Increase profit margins

Pro-tip: Don’t pick them all! Pick only a few to focus on for the year so that you can actually dive in deep and remain consistent. If you have the budget or a team to outsource pieces of this puzzle, then you can choose more items.

Ok – Are you ready?

Download the One page template here and watch the live replay here >>

In its simplest form, here is how you do this:

  1. Write your business name at the top (want a branded version of this? Ask us – we can send you one in your colours!)
  2. Decide what your income goal will be for the year (revenue/gross – not net)
  3. Divide this number by 12 to see what you need to sell monthly
  4. Now fill in your average sale/client value (if you have multiple products and offerings, use an average. FOr example, we have clients that use us hourly and ones that have monthly packages but we can say our average client is $500/month)
  5. Write down how many sales you need to make up this monthly number
  6. Pick THREE marketing goals max to focus on for the year and write those down
  7. In the ‘objectives’ column, make these goals more specific 
  8. In the ‘action/strategy’ column, write down HOW you will do this

Keep the notes section at the bottom for any marketing ideas or opportunities that may come up so you can visit them when you’re ready. Then, sign your little contract to yourself and you’re done! 

You can use a variation of this template to break down your sales targets further if you like or you can add other pages to make it work for you. As an example, I know what my monthly income goal is, but I know that I won’t get the same number of new clients in each month so I might set my goal to be $20,000/month by the END of 2021 like this:

Here’s an example of that top part for EDS

My income goal by the end of 2021 is $240,000

That is $20,000/month

Each month I need to service 20 clients at $1000/month 

OR I need to have 10 clients at $1000/month plus 15 clients at $500/month and 10 $249 pick my brain session clients.

Because we offer other services like website development, hourly marketing support and graphic design, we know that some of the balance of our goal will be made up with these services as we get new recurring monthly clients needed to achieve our goal. Our goal is to have 20k months by the end of 2021, so we aren’t obsessing over the 240k/year as our target – you need time to build!

Because this is a recurring revenue model for us we know we need the ongoing client revenue/packages to make the goal work, so we may set the goal of 20k recurring revenue month by the END of 2021 by reverse engineering the goal like this (because we know we wont have this right away, our marketing activities have to support getting new clients along the way and not all months will be the same):

Jan: 1 new 1000/mo + 2 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

Feb: 1 new 1000/mo + 1 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

Mar: 1 new 1000/mo + 1 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

Apr: 1 new 1000/mo + 1 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

May: 1 new 1000/mo + 2 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

June: 1 new 1000/mo + 1 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

July: 1 new 1000/mo + 2 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

August: 4 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

September: 1 new 1000/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

October: 1 new 1000/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

November: 1 new 1000/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

December:  1 new $500/mo + 2 $249 pick my brain

It’s not a perfect science, we know some seasons are naturally slower (summer when people take holidays and Christmas for example) and some are busier. Based on historical data of our sales, we can see some trends which help us make a very basic plan like this. Some months we will be over target and some months we will be over so we can adjust. If you blanket the entire year with an even number it MAY work, but you could be discouraged if you aren’t hitting your goals when it’s out of your control and is just the seasonality of your business.

Remember, “a goal without a plan is just a wish!” So… stop wishing, and make a plan!

Here’s an example of how we have filled out our goals and objectives:

Goal #1: Grow email list

Objective #1: Grow email list by 50 subscribers each month

Action for Goal #1: Post to social media daily and provide value with a call to action of sign up for my email list to get more free advice

You could also write out your goals after you’ve made your plan by turning them into statements like this:

Statement 1: I will get 50 new subscribers to my email list each month by attracting them on instagram using stories.

Statement 2: I will sell 2 pick my brain sessions each month by leveraging my email list to tell stories that intrigue people to purchase a session.

Statement 3: I will attract my ideal client to our done for you social media programs by inviting them to apply to work with us AFTER one of our pick my brain sessions.

The key? Make sure each goal has a ‘I will get ___ by _____ (date) by doing _____. 

That’s it! It’s not an overly complicated plan and to be honest, it’s all you need! We ditched our crazy elaborate 40+ page marketing plan because it was completely useless. If we were going to sell the business and needed it for that purpose perhaps we will resurrect that dinosaur, but for now, we are getting out of our own way by following our simple one-page marketing plan for 2021.

BONUS: If you complete your one page plan and send it to me by Jan 15th 2021, I will hop on a zoom call with you for 15 min to give you some free advice (and a little treat to enjoy on the call) 🙂

Happy Marketing Planning – You’ve got this!


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