The past several weeks, we’ve discussed the elements that form the framework of your marketing plan. Today we’ll begin the section that forms the meat of your plan: objectives, strategies, and tactics.
Starting a marketing plan without defining these three elements is like taking a road trip–without knowing where you’re going, how to get there, or what you’ll do when you arrive. Objectives are the overall goals you want to accomplish: your destination. Strategies are the overarching plans you use to reach those goals: your route. And tactics are the specific steps you’ll use within those strategies: your waypoints.
You’ve probably heard Stephen R. Covey’s Second Habit of Highly Effective People: “Begin with the end in mind.” There is no truer statement in marketing, and your objectives will define this end. Three things are required for a good objective.
- It must be specific
A good objective will lay out a specific goal within a finite time frame. Compare the objective “Increase book sales” to “Increase book sales by 20% by December 2013.”
- It must be measurable
The objective above is measurable because you can clearly define how much of an increase in sales you achieve, either by sales figures or royalty statements. A bad objective: “Do better with online sales.” In this case, better is hard to define and will mean different things to different people. A good objective: “Achieve at least #2 ranking in my category on Amazon by December 2012.”
- It must be achievable
Becoming a millionaire by Christmas might be measurable and specific, but for most writers, it’s not achievable. Choose something that you can reasonably make happen within a specific time frame.
Your overall marketing plan may take into account the long term, but objectives are most easily achieved when they’re 3-, 6-, 9-, or 12-month goals. The temptation to stray off course is higher the longer the time frame.
Not all objectives have to be sales related. If you’re a published author with books on the shelf, your goals may very well be financial. If you’re unpublished or pre-published, your objectives (and your whole marketing plan) might be focused on platform building.
Some examples of sales related objectives
- Increase book sales by 1000 units by February 2013.
- Increase ancillary sales (workbooks, audio products) by 15% percent by June 2013.
- Book 10 speaking engagements in 2013
Examples of platform-related objectives
- Achieve 400 followers on Twitter by March 2013
- Get 200 likes on Facebook author page by December 2012
- Compile 150 e-mail addresses on mailing list by June 2013
This week’s action items: Define at least two objectives for your marketing. Make sure they’re specific, measurable, and achievable.
Next week: Tactics, Your Road Map to Success