Any strategic plan is worth doing. Whether you spend 3 days off-site developing a plan for the company, or meet with a marketing firm for 90 minutes, your strategic plan will make life easier for you and bring you new business. We’ve put together a list of Q&As that might help you get started.
Q. Business seems to change so frequently, I don’t understand how working through a strategy for the year will benefit my business. Can you help me out here?
A. It’s true. Business does change frequently. But a good strategic plan takes into account those “known” occurrences that pop up during the year – a conference, a new product, new employees, etc. Having a plan helps keep your communication campaign on track.
Q. If I map out a plan and then something happens during the year to cause us to go off course, what happens to all that work I put in previously?
A. It’s rarely wasted. Let’s say you design a plan and half way through the year, you merge with another company. The content you planned is probably still important, but you’ll revise it slightly based on the merger. Either way, you stay on schedule.
Q. Does a strategic plan stay on topic all year?
A. More often than not, a strategic plan covers many topics. But what makes a plan so effective is that there is a core message that stays consistent throughout the plan. That repetition is effective in getting your message across.
Q. How will my audience come to trust what I publish throughout my strategic plan?
A. Your audience will recognize quality. And the consistency of your message helps make the case for your value. Including articles for 3rd party sources also helps. Even though it’s not your content, your audience can see that this is information shared throughout the industry.
Q. What is the problem I’m solving by creating a strategic plan?
A. Every company has gaps in communication. We work hard to inform our customers for 3 months in a row, and then our communication breaks down. A well-crafted strategic plan takes into account the busy times of the year and designs communications that can still be implemented at those times.
Q. Do you recommend working with a partner to create an effective plan?
A. If you have some trustworthy partners, who are also respected in the industry, working with them on a strategic plan is a great idea. Partners can also provide content. Think about it. A painter and a window washer working together. A marketing firm and a PR firm. An architect and contractor. When you work with a partner, you are providing your customers with a more complete solution.
Q. How do we start?
A. You should go into a strategic plan with an end goal in mind. Do you want to increase your revenue by 10%? Are you trying to break into another target audience? What type of customer are you trying to attract? A few answers will help you design the right strategic plan.
Q. Can I use materials I already have in place?
A. Absolutely. A good website, nice brochures, a blog full of information – all of these are useful tools in creating your strategic plan. Remember, repetition is a good thing. While you don’t want to send the same brochure three months in a row, a good campaign might include 1) sending a brochure, 2) linking to a certain page of the website in an email, and 3) sending them a pdf file of a related article. While you may be saying the same thing for 3 months, the information is slightly different – each piece reinforces the main message.
Need help with your Strategic Plan. Give us a call at 301-467-2501. We’re happy to sit down with you and work through it with you.