New Year, New Goals: Activity Plan (s)

Now that you’ve set your SMART goals for 2015, we’ll talk about how to create and implement a useful activity plan for each of your new campaigns, to ensure the steps you take toward your larger goals are just as organized and achievable!

  • What media will you use?
  • What resources do these media require?
  • What is a reasonable timeline in which to to complete your goals?
  • What important milestones do you hope to achieve along the way?
  • What is your budget, both in terms of your time and money?
  • What are some external resources you may need to execute this campaign?

Let’s look at an example of how to create an activity plan:

Lia has set a SMART goal for her business as part of her 2015 plans: “I will acquire twelve new students each month until March and twenty each month after for my weekly French language tutoring classes by asking for referrals, launching a social media marketing campaign and networking with related resources in my community.”

To create an activity plan for her social media campaign, Lia needs to consider each of the questions above.

What marketing medium will you use?
When choosing your mediums, it is important to consider what will work for your target audience and provide a return on investment for you. You want to ensure you are using marketing mediums that your customers engage with and will also best present your product or service. Here are some great ways to choose the right mediums.

Knowing that her target audience is very sociable online, she is positive that social media is a good platform to connect with her target audience and will work with her marketing budget. However, which platforms will work best for her? Does she want to run paid ads, highlight aspects of her work, or work on building her existing platforms with current, former, and potential clients? Given that her business offers a service rather than a product, her best use of time and energy is probably not going to be something like Pinterest or Instagram, both of which are designed to highlight photos rather than describe services. Lia considers her market, which consists primarily of high school and university students hoping to brush up on languages for classes with a secondary market among adults looking to brush up on their French for travel or business. She knows that many of these people are active on Facebook, and decides to devote her initial attention to this platform by boosting her Facebook posts and running Facebook ads.

What resources will this media require?
In the coming weeks, we’ll review some considerations when it comes to determining what resources you may require to complete the various aspects of your SMART goals, including how to identify when you may need outside help due to limitations on your time or skill with particular tools.

Having decided on promoting her services via boosted Facebook posts and ads, Lia knows she’ll need some help getting things set up and rolling, but is confident that with a solid start, she can keep things moving in the right direction on her own. Lia has a relatively good understanding of Facebook boosted posts and ads but knows there are elements outside of her understanding, so she decides include the support of a social media strategist and a graphic designer into her plan. With their guidance, she can be confident in her a social media plan and have posts, images and ads that are strategic and professional. Outsourcing this work also frees up time for her to focus on other areas of her business.

What is a reasonable timeline in which to complete the goals?
Setting a timeline with recognizable milestones is an important aspect to achieving big goals in all aspects of our lives, and our business goals are no different!

One important element of an activity plan is the time allocation for each marketing piece you need. In Lia’s case, she has decided to have a launch date of January 1st for her social media plan. With this in mind, she meets with the social media strategist in the beginning of October to set up her plan. She has budgeted for three weeks for the social media plan to be developed and design requirements to be identified.

It is now the end of October and Lia knows her design requirements. She meets with the graphic designer and they review her design needs and they both agree on a final delivery date of December 1st for all of her needs. This timeline includes concept creation, design creation, revisions and final product delivery.

One trick when creating an effective timeline is to ensure you build a contingency time allowance in case one element of your plan takes longer than planned. This contingency time gives you a bit of wiggle room and will not cause a disruption to your launch date. Even with a Dec. 1 deadline on her design components, Lia has four weeks before her official launch. This also gives her time to have a follow up with her social media strategist to review her design material and execution plan to ensure it all goes off on time and as planned.

On January 1, Lia’s Facebook ads will start running at a budget of $10.00 per weekday, and she has scheduled two boosted posts per week for the period of January to March, with an increase to four per week by April at a budget of $21.00 per post. Based on Lia’s goal of attaining twelve weekly French language tutoring classes at a purchase price of $299.00 per month (revenue of $299.00 x 12 students = $3588.00), the total monthly cost per month is as follows:

  • January-March: Facebook ads ($10.00 x 20 weekdays) = $200.00 + Facebook boosted posts ($21.00 x 8 posts) = $168.00 Total: $368.00
  • March onwards: Facebook ads ($10.00 x 20 weekdays) = $200.00 + Facebook boosted posts ($21.00 x 16 posts) = $336.00 Total: $536.00

Once launched, Lia’s goals and timelines are to reach twelve new weekly customer each month beginning in February, and would like to increase that to twenty each month by mid-year.

What are important milestones would you like to achieve along the way?
Milestones are important to set as it shows incremental progress and breaks big goals down into smaller digestible components so the big goals is not as overwhelming.

People often break milestones down on a time or piece basis. In Lia’s case, as she is focused on monthly results, her milestone points would be on a bi-monthly or monthly basis. This gives her the opportunity to stop and evaluate her progress and readjust if things are going on track. If your goal is based on a quantitative factor such as 1000 widgets, then it may be a good idea to set a milestone point at after 200, 400, 600 and 800 widgets are sold.

What is your budget both in terms of your time and money?
Setting a budget for your media is very important as you have to ensure the money you are spending will translate into buying customers and offer a strong return on investment. Based on the calculations above, each month, Lia’s earnings per student if she achieves her goals are:

  • January-March: Revenue ($299.00) – [Total marketing costs of $368.00 / number of students acquired (12)] = $299-$30.67/student = $268.33
  • March onwards: Revenue ($299.00) – [Total marketing costs of $536.00 / number of students acquired (20)] = $299-$26.80/student = $272.20

With a monthly budget of $368.00 for January t0 March and $536.00 for the remainder of the year, Lia is seeing the following ROI on her marketing investment:

  • January-March: Revenue ($299.00 x 12 students) – Total marketing costs of $368.00 = $3220.00/month
  • March onwards: Revenue ($299.00 x 20 students) – Total marketing costs $536.00 = $5440.00/month

What are some external resources you may need to execute this campaign?
At this point, it is very important to assess what is feasible for you to do yourself and what you should outsource. Do you have the time and expertise to execute the campaign yourself or would outside support help improve its performance? Does your current and future earnings enable you to bring on assistance? If your time was freed up, could you spend it on earning more income?

In our example of Lia, she brought in people to help her launch the campaign and decided to manage the execution of her campaign. However, as she bring on more students, she needs to determine if she still has the time to continue executing the campaign. Perhaps in March when her earning are up, she can look at hiring someone to manage her social media so she can do thirty students instead of the original goal of twenty as this would free her time up to take on more students.

If you have questions about planning or executing your activity plan in 2015, please do not hesitate contacting us!

Here is the full series:

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