Have you heard of Roger Bannister? He was a British runner who gave the world a proven blueprint, or plan, to break the mile record.
On May 6, 1952, Bannister did what up to that point was thought to be nearly impossible. He ran a mile in under 4 minutes. Since no one had ever broken the 4 minute barrier, no one knew how to do it. Sure, you needed to run fast, but how fast should you run in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter? How should you pace yourself to ensure you’ll have enough energy to get to the finish line before the clock strikes 4? And how much should you train and rest before race day?
Again, those answers could not be answered because no one had run that fast before.
In business, we don’t have this problem. The blueprints to build a $1MM, $10MM, $100MM, etc. business are available if you take the time to research. There are subtle differences depending on what you’re selling, but generally speaking, your business is no different from the others created in the past. You need a solid product or service, and a plan to market and sell it. Easy enough right? :)
Now before you sit down to create your plan, there is one very important step. If you get this wrong, then all that time planning will likely be a waste.
Start At the End
The first step to create any plan, including your marketing plan, is to start at the end.
For example, if your goal is to run a sub-4-minute mile like Bannister, then you have a clear picture of the end goal: 3:59 or lower. Since that’s the final time, then it’s easy to work backwards to see how fast each quarter mile has to be. To hit 3:59, there are lots of options, but a simple one would be three 60 second quarter miles and one 59 second quarter mile. That would add up to your 3:59 goal.
See how we worked backward? We didn’t start with your current mile time. In fact, it doesn’t matter how fast you can run a mile right now. That doesn’t change the realities of what you’ll need to do in order to hit your final goal.
That’s the most important lesson here and this same process should be used in your marketing plan. Instead of a target time, we have a target revenue or profit goal. Remember, don’t look at your current revenue or profit. That’s not the most important information to find your key milestones!
Set your goal and then work backward.
The Million Dollar Example
Here’s an example so you can see this in action.
Let’s say you would like to generate $1MM in sales in the next year. If you start with that goal and then work backward, then you know your average monthly sales targets are about $83,334. It doesn’t matter if currently generating $10,000 or $60,000 in sales each moth. In both cases, your average monthly sales targets are the same.
If your average sales price is $1,000, then your goal is to sell about 84 units (or acquire that many clients, etc.) per month.
Next, we need to take this a step further and spread out the monthly sales between all of your marketing channels. This will determine your targets for all of your marketing and advertising campaigns. For example, 20 sales could come from SEO, 30 from AdWords advertising, 20 from referrals, and 14 from up-selling or cross-selling existing customers. If my math is correct, then all of those campaigns would add up to the 84 sales we need to hit a million in sales for the year.
The final step is to “reality check” your numbers to make sure it’s possible to generate all of those sales from each channel. This is where research and advice from an expert can help. Clearly, if there’s no one searching for your product or service in Google, then you’ll never generate 20 sales from SEO. So check all of your numbers to ensure they are realistic.
Once you’ve completed this exercise, then you’ll have clearly-defined goals for all of your marketing channels.
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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