Ron Reich works behind the scenes of launches, and planning is one of his superpowers. In this episode, he walks us through his framework for making an annual marketing plan.
Ron will tell us why having a plan separates the big players from average business owners.
He’ll outline the 3-step method he uses and recommends for planning.
And he and James touch on an obsession with numbers that can be key to success.
Table of contents
a. Strategy: where do you want to end up?
Why have a marketing plan, anyway?
Why plan in the first place, James wants to know?
Ron references Zig Ziglar: it’s better to be a meaningful specific versus a wandering generality.
When it comes to marketing, many people are wandering – they don’t know what to do. Or they know what to do but can’t get themselves to do it.
If we can be more intentional in our planning, our strategy and our execution, says Ron, good things will happen. And for people going from six to seven figures, a lot of it is a formulaic process.
It’s the ultimate simple but not easy, to sit down and create a marketing plan. And if you just execute the plan, if you just do the process, you will get good results.
You’re going to get so much more results by just having a plan in place, says Ron, than if you don’t.
Does planning take a lot of effort?
How much effort does it take, asks James?
Do you put a timeframe on it, set aside a planning meeting? Do you involve your team, or is it something you do in isolation?
Like most of his clients, Ron works with a lean team, so he will typically spend some time alone mapping things out and putting down ideas – a matter of 90 minutes to a couple of hours. Then he might go back to it a few day or a week later.
The whole process can take two or three hours total, and then he and his team will have their game plan for the next year.
Ron’s 3-part process behind marketing plans
There are three main parts to Ron’s methodology – an overall strategic plan, creating a money map where they do their math, and then building the actual marketing calendar.
a. Strategy: where do you want to end up?
The first part is always about figuring out the goal. Where do you want to be when the year ends?
This requires looking at two things:
What offer or offers are doing the heavy lifting, or the 64:4 that James mentions in his book? Where is your actual revenue coming from?
What are your lead generation sources? We want to be looking at, what’s the actual traffic source? Are they coming from Facebook ads, from partners? Are they coming from like, one specific referral partner? Or what’s the 80:20 of your referral partners? Is it coming from organic traffic?
Then, if you’re working with clients, you also want to be looking at commonalities. Do they all live in the same part of the country? Are they all men?
Are they all women? If you’re a certain kind of coach, are they all in a certain niche, business for example?
When you know that, you know who you need to focus on to really enhance your revenue.
b. Time for the fun math
The next part is figuring out, how many offers do you need to sell in order to hit your revenue goals?
So if your goal is to make a million dollars, and you have a $10,000 program, you know you need a hundred sales to hit your goal.
James takes it further by working out on a spreadsheet how many hours it would take to deliver his product, knowing that sometimes the spreadsheet could kill a plan before it starts.
Planning itself is kind of half the battle, says Ron, because this is going to give you a lot of huge insights. But of course, it’s even better to be able to execute.
Make more sales by making more offers
The math will fuel your promotional plan, of which an important part will be an evergreen content machine, like discussed in Ron’s previous appearance.
This will be the content you put out on a regular basis, on social media and on email. The other part of it is continually making offers on a regular basis in various mediums.
James likes that simple, fundamental rule. If you want to make more sales, make more offers.
Successful people know their numbers
And the numbers thing is key, says James. Back at Mercedes-Benz, they obsessed over it, with high-ticket accountants and benchmarking against all the data, everything worked down to a percentage and a number and a budget and a target.
They would do that and then reverse engineer, then hire sales teams.
Ron has worked behind the scenes coaching a lot of the bigger players, and he can tell you, the people who make the most money, they obsess about the numbers the most.
c. Making your promotional calendar
When all that’s covered, then you create your promotional calendar, for which Ron has a framework.
They call it the ABC method of promotions.
They have, first, their A promotions, basically their big launches that they might do between two to four times a year. Three times per year is optimal, Ron thinks.
An A promotion is where they make a bigger scene, they might be spending a couple of weeks promoting one of their products, they may or may not be rounding up affiliates.
Then they have what they call their B-level promotions. A great example is a week-long webinar type promotion.
Or you might have a webinar that starts on a Thursday, and you start promoting it on Monday. Then you might have an offer that’s available through the weekend – that’s essentially a B-type promotion.
Then there are the C promotions, which are always shorter promotions and typically email-based. They might just be doing a little promo where they offer free coaching calls if we work with clients, or maybe just a 24-hour flash sale, or a Black Friday type sale.
Ron’s rule of thumb is, to put the big rocks in the calendar at the beginning of the year. So these are their two to three bigger A promotions.
They may do one in January, one in June, and one in December, just to keep things clean and symmetric.
Then in between their A promotions, they can do one B-type promotion per month, or two C promotions equals a B promotion.
James is a huge fan of C – it’s his go-to, because the stored value is in your email list. He sends out appropriate affiliate offers or promotions via his list on a fairly regular basis, because the last time he analyzed his numbers, he realized that affiliate promotions are a higher effective hourly rate.
Does Ron do his calendar digitally, or has he got a wall plan?
Ron is old school. He likes to use Word docs.
And does he share it with his team?
He does, typically at the beginning of the year. And every quarter, they check on it to see what’s coming up.
And Ron’s good at it, says James – he’ll talk about it, and then James sees it materialize. And that with a small operation, too.
Where to go if you need help
If someone wants help from Ron, can he coach them?
That’s what he does. In fact, he has a special invitation for James’s listeners.
Ron and his team have done a sort of Cliffs Notes version of their yearlong planning process, placed in a detailed 90-minute training with specific exercises, more in-depth than today’s discussion.
For just $10, you can get access to that training. Just message Ron on Facebook and say you heard him on James’s podcast and would like to get the training.
A recap and final tips
James’s recap is simple: strategy, math, calendar. You’ve worked out strategically what your business can do, you’ve verified it with the numbers, and you’ve put it into your schedule and briefed your team on it.
Absolutely, says Ron. And some last things: if you just execute the plan, you will get better results, you will make more money, and your business will grow.
At the same time, as Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. The plan you have at the start of 2023 will not be the exact same thing you’ve done at the end of the year.
There will be iterations and the like. But just taking action and doing the planning really is 90 percent of the battle.
And critically important, says James – a plan will protect you from the latest fad or person coming along with their plan. If something’s not in your plan, you can put it for careful consideration in your quarterly review.
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