30 Dec What happened when I hired myself as an ethical marketing strategist
Are you working on your plans for 2019?
Before I finished for Christmas, I spent two weeks working on my business and marketing strategy.
Often when you’re busy working in your business, you can feel guilty for working on the bigger picture and doing your business planning or marketing during “office hours”.
This year I spent so much time working on everyone else’s marketing strategies that my own was often left to evenings and weekends.
So I decided to ‘hire myself’ and book in dedicated time at the end of the year to get really clear about what’s working, what needs improving and how I plan to grow over the next 12 months.
In 2018 I learned that I love deep diving into impact marketing strategy, one-to-one and with small groups of people.
That’s why I ran 2 successful Instagram Academy programmes and helped a whole range of clients achieve some amazing results this year, including:
- Helping an ethical fashion brand get featured by a influential celebrity
- Getting another ethical fashion brand shortlisted for a major industry award in New York
- Achieving a 49% increase in Facebook Group members and a successful launch for a social enterprise mentor, with a 150% increase in their overall social media engagement
- Increasing new sales by 78% for a vegan subscription box brand and increasing subscription renewal rate by 92%
- Designing an email challenge which increased a cruelty-free beauty brand’s mailing list by over 100 subscribers on day one
In the last 12 months my clients have made their first sales to strangers within days of launching their brands, flown around the world to showcase their work, appeared in major press publications, won awards and made an incredible impact for the causes they care about.
Closer to home in my own business it’s been an amazing year too – with a new magazine column, being awarded the title of Green and Eco Influencer of the Year 2018, a new impact partnership and a book in the pipeline for the next 12 months.
Goal setting at this time of year is really important. It helps us reflect on how far we’ve come and celebrate those wins, and it’s the first step to developing a plan for the year ahead.
When I first started #EthicalHour in 2016, my plan was to unite 20,000 changemakers by 2020, but I actually achieved that in year 1!
So my ambitious plan for the next 12 months is to hit 100,000.
It’s all part of my big goal for 2019 – to become “the go-to ethical marketing expert for impact brands that want to scale”.
Once you’re clear on your goals, you can make a plan to get there. That’s the bit that takes time and often gets neglected when we get busy. But having a clear roadmap will actually save you time (and money) in the long run, as it’ll keep you focused on the right activities to achieve your goals.
With my mentoring clients, we’ve been working through a 5 session programme to define their target customer, map out their sales funnels, set targets for how they’re going to grow their audience, income and impact, and create a content plan for 2019.
So when I “hired myself” I decided to work through the same process…
Making data driven decisions
First, I gathered together a range of data from the last 12 months in my business – from income and sales figures, to audience growth and engagement.
Even if you haven’t been collecting this every month, you’d be surprised how much there is to analyse when you focus on it.
You can’t work out where you want to go unless you know the starting point, so this is a really valuable exercise – even if all it uncovers is that you need to collect more data next year!
For me, I was able to see which projects and services have been most profitable and impactful, which marketing campaigns have converted the most customers and which content has performed best.
Once I had this information, I could make more informed decisions about my strategy going forward.
Setting my income, impact and audience goals
Impact businesses need goals in 3 areas to be successful.
Once I had the data to show me how my income, impact and audience had grown in the last 12 months, I was able to set targets for growth in 2019 – and build myself a spreadsheet to track this throughout the year.
Overall, my goal is to grow my audience to 100,000 people by the end of 2019, but I’ve broken that down across different platforms based on the performance data I gathered in my review.
Setting time aside to focus on the impact I’ve made this year, and how it’s grown, meant I could focus on how to make the most of our new giving partnership with B1G1 and see new opportunities to embed giving back into our business model – which has given me an action plan for Q1 of 2019 to get that fully up and running.
I also spent time creating our Manifesto – a document which explains our mission, vision and method of working. This should be helpful for potential stakeholders, collaborators and clients when choosing to work with us, and sets out a clear strategy for impact in 2019 and beyond.
Making a plan
It was really refreshing to have some dedicated time to work on the ‘Why’ behind my business. It gave me a clearer sense of purpose and defined goals to start working towards.
With the financial data, I was able to get more focused and clearer about how my clients can work with me – and how much work I can take on each month.
That means I’ve now got defined marketing targets to work towards, and a client waiting list – so no clients are disappointed or turned away (unless their values aren’t a good fit) – but I also have time and space to work on my business development each week alongside my client work.
Finally, I mapped out all the major milestones and campaigns coming up in the year ahead and started brainstorming content ideas and planning out my marketing.
That doesn’t mean I have to sit and write every piece of content now, but it does mean that each week I know what’s coming up, what I need to post on each platform and what content I need to create – so the whole marketing process will be smoother, more consistent and highly converting.
It’s the exact formula that I use with my clients to get amazing results (and why one client referred to me as a “magical marketing unicorn!”) and I loved working through it for myself and my business.
I was able to see the process from my clients’ point of view, develop new tools and techniques to support them and walk in their shoes, so I can help them tackle the overwhelm and work through the process more effectively.
Here’s just some of the results I’ve achieved by hiring myself as a business strategist so far:
- Planned a year’s worth of email content so I can automate my lead generation
- Set clear targets for my income, impact and audience
- Built a weekly schedule that gives me more time to be creative, grow my business and serve my clients – so my own admin and marketing isn’t left to evenings and weekends anymore
- Mapped out the year ahead so I have a clear content plan – no more getting stuck for ideas!
- Set a pricing strategy with confidence, that will help me achieve my income goals without taking on too much new work and burning out
Most business owners don’t have a strategy because they think it will take too long to create. But that’s the main reason why 43% of businesses can’t show that marketing activities like social media are having any impact.
Consider how much time you or your team spend on those activities. Now imagine how much time and stress you could save if you knew exactly what impact that was having on your triple bottom line – and had a clear plan for how to do more of what works.