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that's the plan...

Tom Perry
by Tom Perry - December 7, 2018

calendarAs Christmas fast approaches and 2018 creeps towards the final mile, we at Sherpa are looking toward 2019. In fact, we at Sherpa, have been looking toward 2019 for quite a while. Why’s that you ask? Well, because we are planners. Not in the ‘urban development’ sense, but in the ‘planning ahead is the number one rule of marketing’ sense. We spend countless hours planning campaigns, content, communications, sometimes even blogs! But why?

Well, to use the age-old adage “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. We are a goal driven agency…we have to be, as we have set targets in place from our clients (and for our own marketing) and therefore require a stringent plan to execute all of our marketing prowess. Are we just at risk of wishing our lives away and missing the now, always looking to the future and not focusing on the present? Absolutely not! Creating a full campaign plan, plotting targets, planning all the set content in advance, scheduling corresponding social posts and laying out set metrics, leaves you far more able to focus on the more agile elements of your marketing…’the now’. Campaign plan

Creating an end-to-end campaign plan is the holy grail of your marketing. End-to-end marketing is centric to everything we do at Sherpa. It encompasses the entire content workflow, from strategic planning, research and validating specifically targeted data to campaign delivery, lead capture, and proof of execution. It involves stringently mapping out a campaign before even thinking about launching – getting to know the audience to ensure the right activity, right platform and right message is delivered at the right time…and then constantly monitoring it and optimising it, allowing your campaign to evolve within the marketing and sales cycle. 

Content Plan

As mentioned, serving your audience the right message, at the right time, on the right platform is of paramount importance, especially if you are running an ABM programme. However, unless you plan out exactly what, where and when you want to serve content, you will be left scrabbling around attempting to fill the gaps in your communications, you didn’t even realise you had.

70% of the customer journey is already completed before your sales team is even enabled, so guiding the customer and nurturing their journey is integral to achieving conversions. Planning the conversation will help you to guide it more efficiently and ensure you have the right tools and can identify where the conversation is most likely to take place. This level of preparation gives you as a marketer more control with regards to client touch points and stops interaction from being random, but thoroughly orchestrated.

Social calendar

There are hundreds of tools and platforms available now that make prescheduling your social posts relatively easy. It just requires a level of organisation to sit down and prepare in advance what you would like to say and when. Now don’t get me wrong, planning social posts ahead of time is good practice, but they must remain relevant. Pre-planning a post which is very dependent on what is going on in the world, or regards something changeable is not ideal. For example, a campaign related tweet which discusses a potential pain point would be an ideal post to preschedule. However, a tweet discussing today’s weather and the weekend’s rugby score is not something you can preschedule and should be posted organically! We run Hubspot at Sherpa, so can take advantage of their social planner, meaning we don’t have to run too many different platforms at once. Many people swear by Hootsuite, but there are plenty available, so choose what works for you.

Plan to report

When I say this, I obviously mean ‘make sure you do report’ but I also mean ‘make sure you factor the reporting element in to your plans. Campaigns need to be monitored constantly, so that the messaging, paid search and social elements of the campaign can be adjusted, dependent on performance and budget. We would then use our experience in retargeting and remarketing to ensure our message extends across the right platforms for maximum reach and impact. All of this, whilst providing intricate real-time reporting on what is working and what is not. This would not be possible if the campaign goals and timelines weren’t planned prior to launch. Establishing such goals gives us a better view of metrics and regular reporting enables better optimisation opportunities.

Lastly, there is no right or wrong way to get organised…as I said above, there are multiple tools to keep you on track and help you plan out your objectives, so you can choose the best ones for you. Some like a spreadsheet, some like integrated CRM tools, I personally like a mix. I’m enjoying using Trello to keep myself organised and plan out Sherpa content, I am still partial to a spreadsheet – although am moving towards Google sheets as far more collaborative – and I use the relative Hubspot integrations as well.

So, make sure you get planning and hopefully you will see the results. Well, that’s the plan anyway…

For more information or to discuss how Sherpa can transform your marketing, please get in touch: 

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