Jenni here, and this week we're continuing to have great conversations with our readers. It must be something about Spring, but so many of you guys are just on the brink of launching something, creating something new, or expanding your brand into a new market.
This week's question comes from one of our fellow Hivery Members, who is launching a new app that she's been working on for several months. Her words:
I've created my target audience profiles. I've written down my "why." But I don't know what I'm supposed to do next. I'm overwhelmed by what I am supposed to do first, or where I am supposed to be putting my efforts. I wish I just had an action list that could tell me what to do.
Well, I can tell you that she is not alone. Most of our clients feel exactly like this when they start working with us. They have several people in their ear, all of them telling them different things that they need to try, or emphasising a tactic they absolutely cannot get wrong. When they begin thinking about marketing, before long they're spiraling, drafting an impossibly long to do list, or reaching analysis paralysis (sound familiar?).
Well, if that's you I'd love to tell you a little more about our conversation, so you can begin to see how we unpacked her overwhelm to help her create a Marketing Action Plan for herself.
Step one: acknowledge that there is no 'right answer'
I want to start by telling you that there isn't one secret thing you have to get right. In fact, more likely, if you do it poorly, it won't be as bad as you think, and if you do it wonderfully, it won't make as much impact as you'd hoped. There is no magic marketing bullet that will make your business take off. And conversely, you are not going to get it wrong and blow it.
While a bad execution can lead to missed opportunities, no execution leads to no opportunities. So let's all acknowledge that you're going to make some mistakes, you're going to learn a lot, and you're going to make great progress. Deal?
Step Two: make a measurable goal
If you're launching something or creating something new, you might be surprised to discover that you don't have a clear idea of what "launched" looks like. Are you launched if your site is live? Are you launched if you get 100 sign ups? If you get covered by 15 media outlets? If you get 10,000 new subscribers to your newsletter list?
These are all varying measures of success, and depending on how ambitious you are, can take varying levels of support. A goal of coverage in 15 media outlets and 100 buyers in your first week is different than simply wanting your app to open when you click the icon.
If you don't know what's reasonable, think of a goal big enough that it makes you squirm a little, but not so big that you want to throw up. Be sure to think about your limits (if you're a service, how many clients can you take, or if you're selling products how much would it push your distribution). Write that goal down on a post-it and put it on your monitor screen.
Step Three: What things are in the Way? What are you afraid will happen?
Ok, now that you're looking at your goal — you probably have the green gremlins whispering in your ear. These are the things you're afraid of, the things that are standing in the way of your goal, or the things that need to get done in order for you to move forward. We want you to write those down.
When chatting with our reader, here were some of the things that she brought up:
"I'm worried I'll stumble over my words when trying to explain my app"
"I'm afraid of the questions media will ask if I reach out for press"
"I don't know how to integrate my target audience into my goals"
"I don't know what media outlets I should be targeting"
This may feel overwhelming to commit your fears and roadblocks to paper, but this is the magic. These become your action steps. We ease anxiety and move away from overwhelm by creating simple action steps that keep you moving forward.
Step Four: Let's Make Some Action Steps
Now we want you to take each of those fears, roadblocks or dependencies, and create one simple thing that you can do to move beyond it. Don't worry about the global view of your marketing or launch plan, just focus on how we alleviate that one sticking point.
Here are the things we suggested for our reader:
- I'm stumbling over my words = create a script!
If you're having trouble talking about yourself in front of others, write out what you want to say. Practice it in front of the mirror, in the car, or on a walk. The more familiar you become with your words and brand story, the less you'll worry about saying the "right things," and instead focus on sharing your vision.
- I'm worried about questions that people/media/customers might ask = create a FAQ
If you've been working on your idea for any amount of time, you've gotten asked questions that you've fumbled. Start a notes app on your phone, make a Google Doc, write it in a notebook — but create a central place where you track and answer questions. Practice your answers.
- I don't know how to integrate my target audience into my goals = hang them above your desk
You may not always be sure how to connect with that target audience, but we're willing to bet that if you hang a picture of that person above your desk, you'll start writing your blogs, newsletters and social media to them. You'll probably start thinking more of them when making choices too.
- I don't know what media outlets to be targeting = ask your target clients what they read
We always say that it comes back to clients. If you don't know the answer to something, ask your clients. Ask them what blogs they read, how they find online resources, where they like to hang out online.
At this point, you should have at least a few action steps on your list. Even if your action step is "Go ask so-and-so how I do this," that counts. Now here's the tough part: DON'T ADD ANYTHING ELSE. We give you a pass to keep your to-do list short until you've checked everything off.
That's our 4-step formula to getting out of overwhelm and into making progress. We want to hear from you — what action steps did you create? Let us know!
Sometimes getting unstuck starts with knowing who you are. Finding the rights words and phrases to define who you are, what your vision is and who you are for, can be hard. So we have created a Define Your Brand Values worksheet as a simple exercise to help you get started, and get you unstuck.
Download it, and get started on defining the heart and soul of your business.
This can be something you can do on your own or in a group of like-minded business owners for your next mastermind group or co-working session. Getting unstuck can take a village, so getting an outside perspective from fellow business owners can be enlightening.
Get FULL Access to our Resource Library
Get FULL ACCESS to our curated and most powerful worksheets!