There are four things that you need to focus on in your professional service marketing, four levels if you will.
The four levels are strategy, tactics, initiatives and action steps.
When you go to a conference, when you ask your mastermind group for help, even when you start searching the web for answers and resources to grow your business, the number one source of overwhelm is when we've heard a whole bunch of strategies, a whole bunch of tactics, a whole bunch of initiatives, a whole bunch of actions steps and we don’t know the difference.
- We can't do them all.
- We can't even prioritize or figure out how to start to think about them.
- We can't even distinguish which is what and why and how it might work for us.
So let's unpack this for your business...
Let's talk about level one, strategy.
A strategy is a big picture area of your business.
It could be a marketing-focused strategy. It could be a sales-focused strategy. It could be a financial strategy.
Let’s say you come across someone who tells you Twitter is an amazing marketing platform and you’re really missing out if your business is not on Twitter.
He's using it and it fits his business beautifully, of course and you respect this person and you admire their successful business. And now you’re thinking, "Oh man, it's all about Twitter Twitter, Twitter. This guy built his business on Twitter, so I can probably build my business on Twitter."
Well, all right, let's back that up and analyze that as far as the four levels of marketing.
Internet marketing is the strategy. Internet marketing is the big umbrella over Twitter. So you ask yourself, to what extent am I going to use an Internet marketing strategy in the sales and marketing and business development aspect of my business?
Internet marketing is the strategy.
The set of tactics under that would be social media. There's a lot going on via the internet, folks, that's not social media.
For example, search engine optimization, your website, the structure of your web presence, blogging, email marketing, dozens of internet marketing strategies. Social media happens to be one bucket under that, so social media is the tactic.
An initiative would be "I'm going to start using Twitter." This is level three now.
I'm going to start using Twitter. I'm going to start understanding it. I might read a book. I might go to some websites, I’m going to grab a copy of Twitter 101 or Using Twitter for business, all those fabulous resources that are out there for free. I'm going to become educated on that -- on that initiative.
Now, the action step - here's level four, the action step always takes the form of verb, noun, date.
- Set up my Twitter account by Wednesday.
- Load my first 30 tweets in Hootsuite by Friday.
- Find 100 influential people to follow in my industry by Monday.
Those are action steps. And the action step can also go on your calendar.
So this approach really takes it down to "What am I doing today?"
What's on my priority to-do list today? Not what's on my to-do list because your to-do list could be 50 things, but what are my top three most important things that I need to do based on the strategies I've selected, based on the tactics that I’ve chosen, based on the initiatives that I've designed, what are the action steps to put on my calendar and get it done?
So let’s follow this through with a complete example -- let's say I'm in the insurance business. (I'm not but let's say YOU are!)
You're selling into the insurance marketplace, insurance companies and insurance agents, general agents, insurance associations, insurance publications, and you’re looking to become a dominant resource in that world.
Your action step would be "I want to follow 300 insurance industry folks on Twitter by April 13th." That's your action step.
Does that fit into an initiative? Yes. The initiative is aggressively grow my Twitter following targeted to the insurance industry.
Does that fall in to a tactic? Yes, it does. It falls in to the social media tactic or set of tactics.
Does that fall under a strategy that I decided to use? Yes, it falls in to my internet marketing strategy.
So right there, just unpacking those four levels, you've got some "A-ha" moments, some insights you can use to start to filter and sort all of your old ideas, old notes, all of those conference sessions that you may have gone to, all of those tactics and tools and light bulb moments, all those nuggets and sound bites that you may have swirling around in your head or on your “someday, maybe list.”
If you start to sort them in to these four levels; strategy, tactic, initiative and action step – you’ll get a much clearer blueprint for ALL your marketing going forward this month, next month and next year!
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