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mapping out your marketing action plan
Do you have a MAP – a Marketing Action Plan? If you are like most small business owners, chances are you don’t. You might have drafted up a formal business plan when your business was born. Then again, you might be like the rest of us that started our businesses by “winging it.”

So many businesses begin as a result of a great idea. You see a need for the product or service you offer. So you build a nice website, create some social media accounts, and wait for customers to show up and buy. Instead of hearing the cha-ching of the cash register, we’re serenaded with crickets. Yep, no website visitors.

Or you have lots of customers, but they’re for the wrong product or service. While you’d rather they buy your big ticket items, they’d rather buy what you’d rather not sell.

Alice in Wonderland wondering which road to take

Alice in Wonderland – Walt Disney

Which Way Should I Go?

They say that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get your there.

That’s true with the way we run our businesses. If want to get to a specific destination, we have to be on the right road. And, if we want to ensure we are heading in the right direction – we need a MAP. A Marketing Action Plan.

If you want to get from one destination to the next, you need a plan. Better yet, you need a map. With a map, you can see where you are now and where you want to be.

What is a Marketing Action Plan?

A Marketing Action Plan is a holistic way to market your business. Many business owners do not take the time to look at the big picture first. Instead, they do bits and pieces that don’t always connect. You should zoom out first and look at the entire roadmap.

A marketing roadmap helps you create a strategy that works best for you. It takes into account your vision, goals, budget, and time. Because it includes all the parts of your marketing plan, it helps you stay focused.

Anytime you feel confused with where you are in your marketing journey, pull over. A quick glance at your MAP might be all you need to get back on track. When you know where you are, you’re in a better position to know where you’re heading.

Marketing Action Plan – Examples

Marketing roadmaps are flexible. They can be simple or complex. They can include several destinations along the way, or only a few. Here’s some of the typical destinations:

• Website

• Social Media

• Email Marketing

• Advertising

• Search Engine Optimization

However, I see them more like stepping stones to help you reach your ultimate destination. Your final destination should be the vision you have of what success will look like for you.

At Launch4Life our ultimate goal is to be able work from the road. Our ideal workspace is location independence. Which is why our motto is “have laptop will travel.” When we keep our ultimate goal in the forefront, we find it’s easier to make a decision. Each time we come to a fork in the road we ask “Will this allow or prevent us from traveling?” We only take action on the business decisions that support our ultimate destination.

Creating Your Marketing Action Plan

Start out by taking some time out to think of what you want. Think about where you want to be in your business this time next year, or even better, five years from now. This is more than thinking about how much money you want to be making. Instead, it’s more about how you want to be making it.

For instance, imagine you’re a life coach with a somewhat steady stream of online. But, you’ve grown tired of meeting clients every day via Skype. You yearn for the day that you could spend an afternoon doing art, going for a hike, or reading a novel.

That life coach needs a vision of what they could do to create passive income. They might get more bang for their buck by offering group coaching. Writing a self-help book. Or creating an online course.

Passive income would be their vision. What they’d need next would be the road map to get them there. That’s where a Marketing Action Plan comes in.

Your Marketing Action Plan should include:

· What specific actions need to occur to reach your vision?

· Who on your team will carry out each of these actions?

· When do these actions need to happen?

· What resources do you need to carry out these actions?

Once you have all that figured out, you will see that all those stepping stones fit together to create a path. This is your MAP – Marketing Action Map.

Now all you have to do is keep moving along following the MAP – one step at a time. Even if the steps are small, as long as you keep moving forward you will be making progress towards your vision.

The End Result

When you have a vision, you will always know where you’re going. Armed with a Marketing Action Map you will have the means to get  where you want to be.

The greatest part of having a Marketing Action Plan is how it will empower you. You will be more in charge of your daily activities. You will stop feeling so overwhelmed about both your present and your future. Your marketing efforts will be in manageable baby steps. As you move from step to step, you will be on track to reach your final destination.

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant