Multi-channel marketing plan

On Michelle Frantino asks:

How to you create a multi-channel marketing plan? (events, inbound, etc.) Should have events, paid media, inbound, email campaigns, etc. included. Trying to include costs of each item as well. Lots of detail to show here..

Here’s an expanded version of my reply. It’s a non-answer to her specific question, but this is an area we’ve spent a lot of time on and ended up on something much simpler than detailed channel planning, so I thought I’d open up more of our process here at Highrise.

I dislike planning and complexity so we just go for simple. And a lot of this stuff is really hard to ROI, so deep planning anything with too much detail really doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. Might not fit someone who really needs sophistication, but we have a pretty big business here and do fine without the extra overhead.

First, we decided what’s important. We basically sat down and looked at all of our possible metrics: retention, upgrades, traffic, and on and on. Comparing ourselves to our past and whatever benchmarks we can uncover. Knowing these things, we found 3 we want to keep improving, and 1 that we just want to keep our eye on (if it dips we screwed up). That way we can keep our eyes on what matters as we do these marketing activities.

Then we just decided on a quantity of marketing hits: X per month. So any blog post, video, talk, etc. goes into that X number. When we get down to the end of the month our brain goes into overdrive, how can we still get our quota, so we start figuring out quicker things we can do. It really helps us focus our brainstorming when at the beginning of the month vs. end of the month. Dreams vs. being practical. Gets us to change gears when we need to.

We also make sure that X per month also is Y experiments. So we experiment with something new. Maybe it’s just a new A/B test on our marketing site, or it’s testing a new channel: e.g. maybe we should try posting a guest post on a real estate blog. Keeps us doing new things each month we wouldn’t do unless we had some kind of nudge.

Another aspect I enjoy of our type of “marketing plan” is that it gives everyone freedom to participate. If it was too specific to the marketing channels, some of our employees would be out of the discussion. Not everyone is going to be publishing YouTube videos or attending an event. But with just knowing that the team should hit X per month, anyone can brainstorm how they are going to help us hit that this month.

One last point I’ll make is that this quantity plan also allows us to figure out how to do things we enjoy doing. Instead of forcing us into channels we think we have to do, we give ourselves some freedom to get stuff done in channels we really enjoy. If we’re feeling like doing a talk this month because the right opportunity presents itself, awesome, but we don’t force it. I for example don’t love getting on a plane and missing my 2 year old. So I like the freedom just hitting the quantity goals: I can get another blog post out or a new video when my time is tighter or more precious this month.

A great resource on “channel” marketing is Traction from Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. It also encourages experimenting and not doing everything. Find the few things that you enjoy, and actually work for you and your circumstances.

Checkout Soundslice from Adrian Holovaty. He started experimenting with different channels from Traction and found out that doing trade shows is awesome for his business. Won’t work for everyone and not something he would have bumped into unless he made experimentation a critical part of his marketing.

P.S. If you have some other good ideas, share them in the Inbound discussion: here. If you enjoyed this article, you should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how history, psychology, and science can help us make better decisions. And if you find yourself overwhelmed organizing your own small business and marketing, check out how Highrise can help!