Long Term Planning and Measuring Success

Long Term Planning and Measuring Success

6. Long Term Planning

Step 1.  Research Your Competition

The best way to research your competition will require some help. You can use existing staff members, friends, even hire a few interns.

Get together with your team and analyze your competition. The easiest way to do this is:

  • join their social network accounts
  • visit and analyze their website
  • visit their establishment if they are a store
  • brainstorm

Bring you team in and brainstorm:

  • What did you all like
  • what do you think works for the competition
  • what doesn’t work for them?
  • what is their ‘Story’
  • what is their brand, does it work for them?

Don’t forget to check out YouTube. Research, Research, Research.

Step 2. Conduct a User Analysis

Invent a prospect for your business.  When choosing an imaginary prospect, invent someone you think would be interested in your product or service.

Then access the demographics, psychographics and webographics of this person. You can easily find this information on the Internet.  Their demographics will provide you with their race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, profession, occupation, income level, and marital status. Never discount these important facts because you will need to be respectful towards any potential customer. Be inclusive.

Webographics will give you some valuable information on your targets, such as what platforms they use, their favorite browsers, and how tech-savvy they are.

Psychographics gives you an insight into their habits, and hobbies, how they like to spend their money, and even investments.

Step 3. Interview

You can ask several friends to participate with this but cold interviews are the best.

You will need at least ten interviews. Ask for their approximate age, income, marital status, location, level of education, how they would find your product or service, the amount of time they spend on the web, what devices do they use most often to access information on the Internet, their tech level, and social networks.

If you find some of your questions may be too prying or awkward, make a reasonable guess.

Devise a list of questions to ask them. DO NOT put answers in their mouth. If they are not sure of an answer, DO NOT HELP THEM.

We recently conducted an interview with a counselor who wanted a new website. We randomly selected some students and faculty at a local college to help with interviews. And with permission of course.

We asked them what counseling did they think people sought the most. Their top two answers from 15 people were loss of a job and chemical dependency. 

We did receive one computer Internet addiction!

Think clearly about one or two questions that will help you identify when, how and why they will choose your product or service over others. Particularly, how they will find your product or service in the first place.

Plot your interview results out in a chart under headings. See the example below.


Interview chart showing results of an interview including age, gender, income, education, ethnicity


Now you have completed your Brainstorming Sessions, your Interview Process charted and your User Analysis completed, you should have a clear idea who your potential customers are, your Target Market. You can now put together your Planning Document.

The Long Term Planning Document

You can start planning out your marketing campaign for the year by using a Google sheet or Excel spreadsheet.

On your document start with your goals. For example, at the top of your sheet write out how many potential customers you wish to attract to your store. From this number you need to know how many website and social network leads you are going to have to achieve to attract this number of customers. If you wish to attract say 200 new customers you will probably have to engage at least 2,000 new visitors.

How you are going to market to them? This may be in the form of newsletters, Facebook posts,Tweets, Pins and Instagram posts. You may even have thought about giving a sales talk, semester or video blast.

What are you going to present? Decide on the subject matter. Let’s say you want to introduce a new line of summer wear in your store. New Summer Wear is a very specific subject. Write a blog or a news item that covers this topic. But, within the article include lots of related content. This could be sub topics such as accessories, swim suits. hats, shoes, makeup, sun screen, sandals and even a section about how to pack for a vacation. The list can be endless but you now have lots of different content to post throughout a two-month period leading up to your summer sale.

How will you present these items initially? Through a magazine, a fashion show, are you partnering with another store? Are you purchasing Ads in magazines, Facebook, or in Google Ads? Plan all of this out well in advance on your spreadsheet.

What is important about subtopics is that they can improve your website newsletter’s search engine placement. The more subtopics you have linked to content, the more hits you can expect. The more hits or clicks you get, the higher you will rank. The higher you rank, the more visitors you can expect. The more visitors you have, will result in more leads. And finally  you can expect those leads to convert to new customers.

Give your spreadsheet your topic page title, and underneath add you subtopics. Across your page you should have columns that identify dates for your blog, your e-blast, your video or fashion show, call to action, Google Ads, and all your social network campaigns. Date them. And start monitoring your metrics. You will soon identify what is really going to work for you.

This is the beginning. Your Process for Success.

Organizing Each Individual Project

We have already covered this but if you missed it you can read about Building A Roadmap in the Planning Your Content document.


7. Audit Metrics and Trackers

Google Lighthouse

For beginners this is a good starting point for improving the quality of your webpages. You can run web audits from the Chrome Browser’s DevTools.


We have used Moz for years. It doesn’t mean it’s the best, just that we are comfortable with it.

Google Webmaster Tools

Say No More!

Google Search Console

For beginners this is a good starting point for improving the quality of your webpages. You can run web audits from the Chrome Browser’s DevTools.

Cool Tabs

For non professionals Cool Tabs is easy to use and offers a centralize system to store, view and manage data from your social media and hear what customers are saying about you on the Internet. You can even add the app to your Chrome browser.

Marketing Tools Part 1

Marketing Tools Part 1

A CMS website allows many individuals of differing levels to edit your website.


To be efficient lets get serious now. The most important tools are:

  1. A collaborative website
  2. Social Marketing one-stop tool
  3. Planning applications

1. A Content Management System Website

Lucky for us there are lots of options for collaborative websites. The best in the business has to be WordPress.

This is a Open Source Content Management System which allows access by many individuals of differing levels to edit your website. What is stunning about WordPress is that you have access to hundreds of thousands of different templates, plugins and widgets. Plugins add extra functions to your website, like, for example, a calendar or even a ticketing system.  Widgets are, in general, smaller pieces of code that sit in the website’s sidebar. You often see a widget that shows a selection of your blog posts in the sidebar.

Don’t be confused with WordPress.org and WordPress.com  WordPress.com is a complete web service. Great if you are a novice or just want to learn the Ins and Outs of WP. But is fairly restrictive as far as design goes. And you can’t access your database as you can with a WordPress.org website. You may need to in the future.

You can build your own WordPress website from scratch on most hosting services. Or a reliable developer or hosting service can do that for you. It is very dependent on how skilled you are at page builders, UX design, and the many different types of landing page and content pages available.

The other two CM systems are Drupal and Joomla. But according to statistics, currently there are more than 1bn WordPress websites. That must say something about its reliability. There is also a BUT. Because it is so popular, you need to ensure you incorporate some sensible rules and some recommended security software for your website.

A CMS website allows many individuals of differing levels to edit your website.

2. Social Marketing Tools

  1. The top of the list has to be Hootsuite.  At Chocolate Moons we have used Hootsuite for four years. We are not saying its the best but it suits our business. You even get user statistics and a 30-day free trial period. Plans start at $29/month for 10 social profiles up to $599 for 35 social profiles. They also offer Enterprise by quote.***
  2. Sprout Social is a single hub social media marketing tool. It includes Instagram. Offered to users starting at $99/month. ***
  3. Buffer is really affordable and starts at $15/month for 8 social accounts and 100 posts. The Premium level is offered at $65/month again for 8 social accounts but 2,000 scheduled posts. and Business level is at $99/month for 25 social accounts and 2,000 posts. ***
  4. We haven’t covered 3rd party add-ons to social networks but there are many apps that allow you to conduct extra searches on social network platforms. One example would be Tweepi which allows you to reach more Twitter followers than through Twitter itself.
  5. WhatsApp Business App is one of the most powerful Facebook tools you need in your social network arsenal. In our Measuring Metrics section we discuss several other marketing tools for you to research.


***Prices at press time January 2020.


Marketing Tools Part 1

Marketing Tools Part 2

3. Tools for News and E-Blasts

AWeber and Mailchimp

We love AWeber and Mailchimp because you can run these directly from your website blog. We presume your blog is designed within your brand which makes these email marketing tools so powerful. We think this is what sets these two apart from:

Constant Contact
It has been in the business for decades – yes decades. And is one of the most popular email marketing tools. Our only criticism with this product is if you have temporary staff, they can really mess up your brand if you allow your staff to run fast and loose with the drag and drop editor features.

4. Content Marketing Tools

Few influencers will ever share their secret that they still use RSS feeds to gain insight into current trends and major influencers. But we rely fairly heavily on our own RSS feed to gain an upper hand on competition for new ideas.

Alongside RSS fees we think BussSumo is awesome for the “Use [of] content insights to generate ideas, create high-performing content, monitor your performance and identify influencers.”

5. Drag and Drop Art Production

If you already have a graphic designer on your staff, we would expect them to be proficient in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat DC. If you are going to be serious about marketing you should not scrimp on these skills. You should be thinking about your brand and how you can expand your brand to cover everything from newsletters to e-blasts, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter banners and Image influencers. How about posters, cards, coasters, shopping bags, T’Shirts, pens, glasses and stickers?

Did you know that website and social network banners have specific sizes they require? If you don’t follow these guides your images will not only look ridiculous but your business will look unprofessional and therefore, unreliable. In speak to a customer this means ‘If they don’t care about how their website or posts look, maybe they don’t care about their customers.’ Or worse still ‘If this looks tacky maybe they are in financial difficulty. Should I trust them?’

If you cannot afford a qualified graphic designer, even on an ad hoc basis, with these necessary Adobe skils, temporarily you could try Canva for amateurs. Canva has hundreds of templates. It does though have a lot of limitations. It can only save files in PDF or JPG/PNG file format. For printing companies it can be painful to work with Canva files during production. It really is a cheap and cheerful compromise if you don’t have the budget or staff that can produce something more professional for you.

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