When it comes to marketing, there are four things that you need to focus on, four levels if you will.
The four levels of marketing are:
- 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 you've heard a whole bunch of strategies, a whole bunch of tactics, a whole bunch of initiatives, a whole bunch of actions steps and you don’t know the difference.
There are three reasons why this short-circuits your brain:
- You can't do them all
- You can't even prioritize or figure out how to start to think about them
- You can't distinguish which is which and why or how it might work for your particular business
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, 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."
"If this guy built his business on Twitter, I can probably build my business on Twitter."
Well, let's back up and analyze that as far as the four levels of marketing.
Internet marketing is the strategy. In other words, Internet marketing is the big giant umbrella over Twitter.
The tactic 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.
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 next Monday
Those are action steps.
And the action step can also go on your calendar.
So it really takes it down to "What are you doing today?" What's on your priority to-do list today?
Your to-do list could be 50 things, but what are your top three most important things that you need to do based on the strategies you've selected, based on the tactics that you’ve chosen, based on the initiatives that you've designed, what are the action steps to put on your calendar and get it done?
So let’s follow this through with a complete example -- let's say you're in the insurance business.
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 March 1."
Does that fit into an initiative? Yes. The initiative is aggressively grow my Twitter following targeted to the insurance industry.
Does that fit into a tactic? Yes, it does. It fits into the social media set of tactics.
Does that fall under a strategy that you decided to use? Yes, it falls under your internet marketing strategy.
So right there, just unpacking those four levels, you've gotten some insights through which you can 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.