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.

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