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Photo by Nate Grigg via Flickr

Is anyone tired of the road map metaphors yet? Well, good news, we’ve just about reached the end of our, er, trip: implementation.

If you’ve been following along, by now you have a solid framework for your marketing plan, including a definition of you as an author, your competition, and a solid outline of objectives, strategies, and tactics. Now comes the tricky part: putting them into practice.

While we discussed the need to choose objectives that are measurable over a specific (and relatively short) period of time, the reality remains that whether because of time constraints or monetary concerns, you won’t be able to implement every tactic at the same time. So how do you decide which ones to do first?

Are any tactics time-sensitive?

If you are tying in promotional efforts to a specific event or awareness month, you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead since they come around on an infrequent basis. Do you have a book about a breast cancer survivor? Then you’ll want to make sure you plan well in advance of October for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

What gives you most exposure for the time investment?

This especially goes for social media, which can be a massive time consumer if you let it. With Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, Tumblr, and many other social media outlets to consider, you will find yourself overwhelmed (and out of time to write!) if you try to focus on all of them at the same time. Pick the top one or two efforts to focus on first, and add additional efforts as you master the previous ones. Check out this post from Dreamgrow with the latest social networking market share numbers, for example.

What gives you the most exposure for monetary investment?

If your marketing tactics require a monetary investment, there are a few ways to evaluate them. One is CPI – cost per impression, most often used in direct mail, pay-per-click ads, and magazine advertising. The formula goes something like this: Cost [per pay period] / # of Impression [magazine subscribers, site visitors, etc.] = CPI. To get the CPM (cost per mille, or thousand) just multiply the number times 1000. This way, you can compare disparate media/marketing tactics to see what gets you the most bang for your buck.

What gives you the most potential sales for cost investment?

Sometimes this is the same as the point above, but not always. Impressions don’t always convert to sales. Once you’ve tracked your marketing efforts for a single cycle, whether it be three, six, nine, or twelve months, you’ll be able to extrapolate that data for future marketing tactics.

What tactic excites you?

Granted, this isn’t a strictly objective criterion, but if there’s a particular marketing tactic that excites you, put it in the first round for implementation. You’ll likely do a better job in less amount of time.

Keep in mind that we often approach a marketing plan with enthusiasm, but it wears off over the long haul. Start with tactics that interest you and promise the best return on your investment and build slowly. Even after a book launch, authors must continue to promote their backlist to spur sales, so even if you’re not able to implement every tactic right away, you’ll have the chance to try them over the book’s life cycle.

This week’s action items: Evaluate your objectives, strategies, and tactics according to the criteria above. Choose two to three tactics to implement right away.

Next week: Metrics: Measuring your Marketing Success

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