The ultimate guide that you could ever ask for!
First 90 days is always pivotal for any business. You would have experienced it probably, or your next client might say it to you, or your boss would have told you, or you might be asked in your next job interview.
But why am I saying this? I’ve been into digital marketing for last 4+ years, have been a one-man army for multiple startups, and have worked as a social media manager, email marketer, event marketer, SEM specialist, SEO specialist, content writer, content marketer, product manager, and as an entrepreneur. After 4 years of execution, finally I’m onto building a Digital Nomad Team with DigiMusk.
I’ve struggled a good time when it came to few of the challenges to solve for the small — medium size businesses such as
- Which channels to focus on digital marketing for them?
- How to build a marketing dashboard that makes your client understand your efforts?
- How to plan for marketing in the initial 90 days so as to give a preview of your work to the client?
- + many more.
Recently, I was helping a client in crafting their first 90 days marketing plan and this time I had made up my mind to draft a process out of it.
A step by step process/ framework to design the first 90 days marketing plan.
While I was on to it I could do it within 90 minutes. If I can do it, you can too!
Obviously, this came from my years of work experience into this and I also support the fact that I’ve learnt a lot from other people’s work. Since this year is my payback year (more details on this in the coming days), I’m going to give it for free to everyone in need.
Yes, for “free”.
When I help startups who run on shoestring budgets, I usually search for most of the things with “Free” as the prefix.
“Free rainfall background HD image”
“Free time tracker tool”
“Free Digital Marketing Template”
And so on…
I can relate to you now, completely. So here you go!
Note: This framework is for solopreneurs/ entrepreneurs/ freelancers/ job seekers/ interviewers. Follow this when you have to create one for your own business, or when you are asked to create for a client, or you are asked to create one for the interview submission.
The template will save your time and will help you understand the step by step process to reflect your marketing activities and project your growth.
Before starting this process, you need to have a couple of things in place. I recommend you to gather all of these before you sit on creating the marketing plan. This will help you to stick to the 90 minutes output.
- A Time Tracker Tool (to help you track the exact time you have spent doing this). At present, I’m using Toggle App for this. I’ve tried multiple other apps but this one is too minimalistic to use.
- A Happy Soothing Instrumental Music that sets up the perfect work environment for you. I’ve been recently listening to this.
- Info about the business for which you’re planning to create. The Website, The Social Media Links, The Business Stage, The Team Size, The Target Persona, The Business Age, The SMART Goal (without the goal in place you can’t even start).
Step by Step Process To Design First 90 Days Marketing Plan Within 90 Minutes
- Place yourself at your workstation and play the happy music.
- Open a new spreadsheet and save it as “<Business Name> Marketing Plan”
- 90 Days = 3 Months = 12 weeks (Approx)
- Put the heading in the first row “ First 90 Days Marketing Plan”
5. In the first column, mark week numbers such as Week #1, Week #2, Week #3, Week #4, Week #5, till #Week #12.
Note: We could have done it according to number of days as well. But since, this is going to be a forecast, and unless and until you’re inside the business you can’t predict the day to day activities. Also, any strategy, any campaign, any test takes at least 4 days of time. Considering a 5 days work week, the weekly plan will perfectly fit into the plan.
Now you have 12 weeks to plan for. The objective here is to reflect a constructive marketing progress/output at the end of the 12th week.
Week #1: Identify The Goals
Write down your planned strategy in the second column (next to week#1 row).
In the first week, you will spend some time to understand what is going on inside the business. What is the business objective, what do the CXOs expect from the marketing person, why have they decided to invest in the marketing at this stage. You will understand the past growth goals that they had set before, the achievements, the present status, and the new projected growth goals.
Note: It is important to mention the output/ result at each week’s end. This will reflect your objective and will help your client to match the results and see the progress.
Making your work visible is more important than executing your work. Always, always, always include the expected results when you’re presenting it to your client.
Week #2: Discover The Product Verticals
Now you are aware of the history, the present and the future of the business.
Next, you need to understand the product/ service verticals of the business. Many of the businesses have multiple product/ service lines. You will be achieving marketing goals for one or the all.
Each product/vertical will target to a different audience. You need to understand the customer persona for each vertical. Ask the team, brainstorm with them, if they have the personas in place. If not, build different personas as per the requirement.
Each persona will need specific channels to reach out. Example: If the customer persona includes CXOs (who are super busy and rarely hang out on social personal networks), LinkedIn as the channel would be good. Understand which all channels have they been targeting so far. Suggest any new if you find any missing channel.
For each channel, they would have deployed different marketing strategies to reach out to the people (Remember: You sell to people, not to business). Understand all the past strategies, what has worked for them, what has not worked. If the business is starting from the scratch, suggest marketing strategies for each channel.
Week #3: Do Some Number Crunching
This week you will do some number crunching.
Were you good at mathematics in your school? If no, doesn’t matter! You’ve got tools and tricks to do this.
By number crunching, I mean you’ll be creating a customized marketing dashboard where you will be measuring Top 10 Important marketing metrics to measureuntil the 12th week.
I’ll soon be sharing a free template of the marketing dashboard as well.
You will go through the Google Analytics/ Business Metrics for number crunching and will include the last 60 days metrics based on the previous data. This is to ensure that you have the benchmark data to progress further.
Week #4: Identify Your Goal
In this week, you will identify a fixed goal and the top 3 channels that will bring maximum results to the fixed goal.
For this, you will first analyze the digital and offline presence of the business. What is the communication being sent out to the people? How do people perceive the business presence? You will analyze the current copy, CTAs, landing pages. If the business doesn’t have a digital presence, suggest the team to have a website in the first place. Work on the digital assets to include in the website.
Next, you will discuss with the team, drill down and fix a realistic smart marketing goal to achieve until the end of the 12th week. Example: Generate 60 Hot leads by next 60 days.
And, you will identify the top 3 channels that can bring maximum results to this goal. The channels could be email, phone, social media, Google Ads, billboard etc.
If you can crunch all these data within 4 weeks of time, you’re nailing it.
It also depends on how many resources do you have. Will you be having a team to help you in this, or will you have to do it on your own?
Let’s continue to week 5. This week you will go a little easy, to make sure you have the focus for the rest of the weeks.
Week #5: Fix The Loopholes and Analyse The Budget
The fifth week will be about fixing loopholes and budget analysis.
By now, you would be able to see the missing gaps in the present strategy. The loopholes might be in the copy, on the landing page, in the design, or the CTAs.
You will apply quick growth hacks to fix all such loopholes in order to drive results to the present ongoing marketing activities.
For the growth hacks, I recommend you to download the template and count-yourself in for the weekly newsletter (where I share interesting growth hacks weekly)
Next, you will ask the team about the present marketing budget and next quarter’s marketing budget. You will analyze the budget for top 3 marketing channels (that you have identified in the previous week) and craft a profitable budget plan to invest across each of the 3 verticals that should last until the end of the 12th week.
Week #6: Craft Campaigns
The sixth week will be an important one for you where you will use all the existing data to craft campaigns for each of the top 3 channels.
By now, you have the goal in hand, the budget in hand, and the metrics in hand.
Draft two variations (for A/B testing) of 1 campaign corresponding to each of the three channels. Each campaign should run for at least 1 week. Present the campaign draft to the team and the CXOs.
This campaign should meet the goal, and drive maximum results. Your entire efforts will be based on your performance on this. For the campaign draft, touch the persona’s pain points and match it to the business offering. Also, understand the persona’s lifecycle stage before you draft the campaign.
Week #7: Project The Desired Results
Since you have drafted the campaign, you also need to project the desired results. You already have the marketing dashboard in place. Chart out the metrics result for these 3 campaigns. This will help you benchmark the goal.
Also, whenever you draft a marketing campaign, I recommend that you A/B test the campaign with few fixed parameters. You have already drafted one set of A/B testing campaign in the week 6, here you will identify two other parameters to fix for the next set of A/B campaigns.
Get everything in place required to execute the campaign. The copy, the design, the landing page, the perfect CTA.
Week #8: A/B Testing
The intermediate important run of the marketing strategy goes here. In the 8th week, you will launch the campaign across each of the top 3 identified channels. You will be doing A/B testing on the campaign by changing only one parameter.
Note: I’ll recommend changing only one parameter for the A/B testing as it gives you a clarity on what has worked, or what has not worked. Changing more than two parameters will overlap the results.
Post the campaign launch, you will have some good amount of time this week. With the time in hand, you will analyze the present content calendar, the ongoing execution, and the roadmap.
Week #9: Initial Result
It’s the 9th week, you’ve reached good far. It’s the time for your first tangible result to reflect.
Run through the achieved results of the first set of campaigns. Map the results to the marketing dashboard. Analyze, analyze and analyze.
In the previous week, you had done some work on the content segment. This week you’ll suggest improvements to the content calendar. If there is not any, build the content calendar.
I’ll soon be sharing the step by step process to craft the perfect content calendar for a startup. Subscribe here to stay updated.
Week #10: Iterate With Other Parameters
Remember, you were asked to identify two other parameters for the later A/B testing of the campaigns? It’s time to tweak those parameters and relaunch the campaigns and run for another 1 week.
While you are running the campaign, this week you will also look at the other channels and analyze the missing gaps over there. From the marketing dashboard, you can infer the loopholes and with the grow hacks, you can fix those loopholes to drive the maximum result.
Week #11: Final Result
Ting tong! It’s time for the final results.
Gather all the results of the last two set of campaigns. Discuss with the team, the CXOs. Take suggestions/ improvements/ concerns.
Report the results to the concerned stakeholder.
Compare the results to the last 60 days metrics (this should correspond to the same goal).
Week #12: Renew The Marketing Dashboard
You’ve the result.
You’ve your marketing strategy reflection in the marketing dashboard.
You’ve your feedback from the team.
This week you will renew the marketing dashboard for the next 90 days.
You’ll also reshuffle the priority marketing channels and analyze the new set of top 10 metrics to achieve in the next 90 days.
90 Days is sufficient time for the business to change, and to grow.
So how does it look?
Well for me it took quite some time to present it to you in a seamless way. It has worked for me, and for my clients. For you, it should take exactly 90 minutes to draft the plan (remember: if I can do, you can too!)
If you have any concern/ feedback on this process, feel free to comment below. You can also reach out to me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Here comes the freebie.
I understand how easy it is to copy and edit something rather than doing from the scratch. To save your time, I’m sharing the editable template for *FREE*. Use it to customize as per your requirement.
Sign Up here and I’ll send you the *FREE 90 Days Marketing Plan Template*.
Thank me now or later (whenever you feel like) 👏
Note: I’ve used spreadsheet here because it is much easier to edit, share and comprehend. You can choose your other options.