Episode 19 – Marketing Calendar with Diane Conklin

Diane dropped additional nuggets of sales and marketing goodness in the EXTENDED Interview. Be sure to click here to access all of our great extended interviews, transcripts and more within our Insider's Club.

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Diane Conklin is an internationally known author, entrepreneur, coach, consultant, event planner, speaker and copywriter. Diane is a direct response marketing expert who specializes in showing small business owners how to integrate their online and offline marketing strategies, media and methods, to achieve maximum results from their marketing dollars. As a marketing and business strategist, Diane shows entrepreneurs and small business owners how to outperform their competition by measuring their marketing and strategically using multi-media campaigns to stand alone in their marketplace as the go-to provider for their products and services.

She is the President and Founder of Complete Marketing Systems where, for more than 14 years, she has been showing small business owners how to start, build and grow their businesses.

Podcast Transcription

Brian Basilico: Hi, welcome The Bacon Podcast, everybody. Today, I'm really pumped to have our guest, Diane Conklin. Diane is with Complete Marketing Systems. Diane, can you tell us how did you go from being an exercise science person – and what is that – to a content marketer?

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Diane Conklin: Well, I have a masters degree in exercise science and I've done a lot of different health and fitness related kinds of things from dealing with athletes, to morbidly obese people, to people who are disabled who have spinal cord and brain injuries – from everything in between, pretty much.

Brian: Wow.

Diane: I love my field. What's interesting about it is that I love all of that. Like I love to go to the gym and help people with their technique and that sort of thing. Sort of what happened was that I really was looking for something a little different. I wanted to make more money and I wanted to do some things that really, really, really had an impact on people. I sort of fell into this marketing thing, just studying and looking to see what was out there. I was a protege with some really well-known mentors over time. I think just fell in love with marketing like I did with fitness industry, have sort of taken that, and just sort of run with it. I probably more spent more time in money getting educated on marketing and with all the things that go into information marketing, copywriting and all of that as I did in getting my undergrad in grad school and masters program education.

Brian: Yes, and I noticed too that you do a lot with event planning. I do some event planning for very [stiff necks] and you have to be super, super organized to do that stuff. That seems like one of your passions?

Diane: It's funny. I think I have the ability to really look at the big picture and then bring it down to the detail piece. I love the big picture of the event, what's going to happen over the course of the next three days, or two days, or whatever, and how do we market and plan all that? Put butts and feet and then how do we make that experience for people on that detail basis? Something really unique and different that they take away and they go away with and they say, “Wow, that was really so worth it and that was an amazing experience.” I love being able to have that big picture piece. Again, the fact that we do help people put butts and feet and help marketing that can make us a little different.

Brian: So, as we enter into the new year, everybody is starting to set their business plans, their goals and all these other stuff, and today's topic is on a marketing calendar – a content marketing calendar, or just marketing calendar. What is a marketing calendar and why use one?

Diane: First of all, I will tell you this, I don't do a business plan. I think the only reason that you need a business plan is if you're going to go to the bank and ask for money because quite frankly, they change which is why I do marketing plan. All of my goals are wrapped into my financial and my marketing plan which go hand-in-hand for the year. The marketing plan really consist of – it's a two-part process for me. It's the big picture and I happen to be sitting in my office looking on the wall of my 2015 marketing calendar. I've already got my tentative marketing plan for the next 12 months. So, I know every month, or every quarter, or however often when I'm going to do a launch, when my events are going to be, the speaking gigs that I have lined up already are on my calendar. The ezine goes out every Thursday, that's marked on there.

My vacations and time off are on my marketing calendar because those things have to be planned around and quite frankly, if you don't put them on your calendar, they won't happen. It will get filled with other stuff, right?

Brian: Right.

Diane: That's sort of the first piece, is getting that overall plan for the year and I do that based on how much money I want to make. People don't think of this, but the two are tied in together. If I said I wanted to make $100,000 next year, or a million dollars next year, it doesn't really matter. I now know, “Okay, what do I need to do in order to do that? $100,000, I need to bring in $8,333.33 every month.” If it's a million, it's $83,333.33. But now when I look at, “Okay, what am I going to do in my business?” I know on a marketing plan basis, “If I launch this in this month, I should be able to bring in approximately these many days on these parameters.” Everything I do is driven by those two things.

The second part of the marketing calendar is – because I know what people are thinking, “Diane, you put this 12-month plan out there. Things are going to change.” You're right, they will, which is why I do the dry erase marker or in pencil. But the second part of the marketing plan is, “What am I doing on a week-by-week, on a day-by-day basis for the next 90 days?” Because we can all plan that 90-day period. So, we then go in and look at, “When is the email going out? When is email one going out? When is email two going out?” I call it backward planning. We set the X date or the event date if you will, and then we plan everything backwards. “When are the follow-up emails going?” Imagine now for the next 90 days, walking into your office whether it's a live office that you go to or it's a virtual office and everyone on your team knowing exactly what they have to do. That's what happens when you have this marketing calendar in place.

Brian: So the reason that we need one is to help organize ourselves and make sure that we're hitting our marks, hitting our goals and hitting our dates? Is that pretty much it?

Diane: Well, that's it and it's a bigger picture than that because if you don't know where you're going in your business – your marketing drives everything in your business. Marketing calendar is the GPS of your business. If you were to go on a trip – and I don't care if you're driving or from an airplane – there's a GPS involved, right? You have to know where you're headed to know how to get there from where you currently are. That's what the marketing calendar does for you. It says, “Here is how you get there. Here is your driving route.” While you may be a little bit off your route the entire time, ultimately you get to your destination.

I will tell you this, I've been doing marketing calendars now for about the last five years at my live events that I put on, and every time we finish them I ask the group – usually of some very highly successful marketers – “How many of you now have more of a marketing plan in your business than you've ever had before?” 95% of the people raised their hand. The problem, Brian, is most people are doing what I call “throwing mud on the wall.” They don't have a plan, they don't know where they're going. They just try stuff. That's fine because we're entrepreneurs. We're small business owners. That's how we do things to some degree, but this will get you to your goals and to those target areas much faster, much cleaner with much less time wasted because you're not constantly wiping the mud off the wall and picking up the mud that fell on the ground.

Brian: Let's keep it in the 90-day range since you brought that up, which I think is a great idea. What is a great content marketing sequence? Let's say we're talking about online marketing, we're doing things. What is a good sequence and how do you back time that? What does it look like?

Diane: Well, it's different depending upon what I'm marketing. Webinar, teleseminar will certainly look different than the live event, if you will, which would look different than a launch sequence that includes multiple marketing partners. For example, I have a webinar coming up on the 7th of January. So, on my calendar, it actually shows, “January 7th is the date. What are we going to do to market that up until the 7th? When is the last email going to go?” This is how I do the backward planning. The last email is actually going to go on the 7th because I'm going to send that out on the day up and say, “Hey, you haven't signed up yet. You don't want to miss this.”

Maybe I send one on the 6th, maybe I don't. If I'm going to send one on the day, maybe I'll send one the day before. But I physically look at and I typically start a marketing campaign for a webinar or a teleseminar. Someone the area of 10 days, maybe two weeks would be the maximum on that. Am I going to do other things? Am I going to pick up the phone? Am I going to do a Facebook ad? Am I going to do marketing on social media? Do I have any JV partners I'm going to go in? All of those things now will affect what that marketing calendar looks like, but I'll put everything on there when the emails are going, when the Facebook ads are going to run, if I'm going to do a [week flash] or a [fact splash] – those kinds of things. I'll also put on there then the follow-up sequence.

Brian: What do you mean by follow-up sequence?

Diane: Well, what happens about 90% of the time is when the event, if you will, is over. Where there's a teleseminar, or a webinar, or a live event for that matter, that thing happens. No more emails get sent, no phone calls get made, no anything happens. It's the marketing effort is over – the biggest mistake people make, one of them anyway because here is what I know: if you send follow-up emails, if you have a phone set up, maybe it's you, or maybe you have a team of people or one person who calls afterwards and follows up with people, you'll make somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 – I have a friend who recently made over 400% more money in the follow-up sequence. Typical is about twice as much…

Brian: Wow.

Diane: …in your follow-up sequence as you did on during whatever your event was. Imagine on the webinar, you made $1,000, you should make at least $500 on the followup sequence and sometimes even more depending upon what you're doing to market that.

Brian: Wow, that's amazing.

Diane, let's talk about what are some of the most common mistakes that people are making in planning and executing the marketing?

Diane: The biggest thing is what I said a minute ago, they don't have a plan. They just randomly do things and they do them without a plan. What I mean by that is not only did you not think ahead to say, “Hey, I want to do this teleseminar or webinar in 90 days from now or 30 days from now.” But then they don't really have a plan for the webinar either. So, it becomes this hot mess, if you will, of activity that sort of just jointed and that nobody sort of really knows what the goal or what are we aiming at. All of your marketing – here is the thing that so many people miss and some of their mistake, is you have no strategy. You don't know why you're doing the thing that you're doing. And the easy answer, Brian, that people always say when I bring this up is they always revert to the easy one, money. “I want to make money.”

Well, you know what? Me, too. But the thing is that's not always the case. Money isn't always the reason that you do things. Maybe you want to build your list which ultimately down the line brings you money, but is money the most important thing? Again, this sounds like the same but it's really different because it becomes the goal and the focus of the reason that you make every decision. If you're putting on the live event, your goal may be to get 50 people there. Your goal may be that you want to sell 10 of them into a high-end coaching package – as opposed to wanting to sell 10 of them into a lower end continuity program. The goal is still money, but they're very different because the 10 people who might buy into your continuity look very different than the 10 people who will buy into your high-end coaching.

The goal in those two instances aren't really money. One of them is to bring in a client who's interested in high-end coaching. Attempt to sell them that. The other one is you could bring in people who are just starting businesses because they might in fact buy into that lower end continuity. The big mistake is you don't have a plan, the next mistake is you don't have any strategy, you don't know why you're doing the things that you're doing and we covered a few minutes ago, there's no follow-up. That's a really big, big problem.

But the misconception, Brian, as you know, is that your marketing has to be like awardwinning, this amazing stellar marketing campaign where it was a world-class copy – it's not true – and that you have to have the perfect product. If you have all of those things and you have it planned out and you know what you're doing, it only has to be good. It doesn't have to be world-class and you can make a ton of money doing whatever it is that you're doing. You don't have to be a world-class copywriter to write good enough copy to get people on a webinar to sell them into your systems and your training.

Brian: Right and people run into this analysis paralysis. They say, “Oh, I need to make it so great.” And then they stop just that inch-short of actually executing.

Diane: Yes. They fall in love with their product and then everything gets related to that. If you have a good product and good marketing, or a good service, it doesn't really matter. Get it out there because somebody is looking for you. Somebody is looking for the thing that you have and they want the thing. If you never get it out there, you're not serving anyone. That's the biggest mistake of all.

Brian: So what are some of the best practices in marketing can you suggest to our listeners?

Diane: I have a system I call “PLANS.” The P is what you already got, plan; L is leverage; A is action; N is next and now so knowing what you're doing next; and then strategy and systems. I think the big thing for people is really having a plan and I know nobody wants to do that. The other piece now is the leverage piece. How can you do things so that you aren't the hamster on the wheel? I often say that the worst business plan is to be a solopreneur because what happens when you're a solopreneur, you are the hamster on the wheel, you now own a job instead of owning a business.

What I mean by that, my distinction for those two things is if your business is dependent upon you everyday, open the store, or to write the copy, or to be the one at your desk behind the computer doing something, you can't leave; if you do leave, bad things happen and you make less money – you own a job. You own a business when you are leveraged and can walk away for a week or two weeks, and at the end of that time period, not only everything happened was good and if it wasn't, it was taken care of, your cellphone was not buzzing even with emails or with phone calls and you have the same amount or more money in the bank when you come back.

Brian: That's well laid-out in the book The E-Myth. It's very much the same thing.

Diane: I think the big thing is even in all of this having your marketing plan in your calendar and all that is then – this is going to sound really strange – but then be flexible. In marketing we know that and this definitely is the best practice. Be flexible because sometimes the best laid plan, things don't work well, or it doesn't work as well as you wanted. So, you have to sort of be flexible, and be willing to change up and add things here, or move this over there in order to make things work when you're doing your marketing programs and moving through things.

Brian: That's some great point. First and foremost I love the acronyms. It's Planning, Leverage, Action, Next or whatever that is and then Strategy. You've kind of covered all that stuff and then that strategy really is like the foundation for all the other things that are going to happen because a lot of people skip those steps.

Diane: I was just going to say exactly. They do skip that and they forget that the strategy piece is really important. Why are you doing what you're doing and then staying on that path because it's so easy in today's world to get off the path with the BSOS, the Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. If you have it, you should get rid of it. But if you know why you're doing the thing you're doing, it will keep you from jumping off or being influenced by somebody else who has a different idea. If you know that this is your strategy and this is your why, and this is where you're headed at the end of the GPS, then it eliminates what I call the “Last person who I talked to” syndrome. “Why are you doing that?” “Well, because John said I should.” “Who's John?” “Well, he's the guy I ran into the other day at an event and this is what he is doing.” “Okay, great. Does he have the same client base that you have? Is his target market the same? Is his price point the same?” There are so many variables that go into play. “Is that in line with your strategy?” Is a question you should come to look on back.

Brian: Great, great point. This the ultimate question that of all of these things is how can we or how do you measure success with all of this?

Diane: Well, this is another key practice. This is another best practice, if you will, is measure. I can give you four or five things that you should measure in your business and that you should measure in every campaign, and I will do that and I will also say that measuring success depends a 100% on you. One of the big mistakes that people make in their businesses is they let other people determine what success means for them. Your success may be, “I'm making $100,000. I'm working from home. I'm working 20 hours a week. That's the ultimate success for me because it allows me the time and money to go do X.” Success for me might be a million-dollar business with certain parameters and all of that.

Neither one of them is right or wrong. They're 100% right if it's where you want to be and that's your measurement for success. I really get irritated with coaches and mentors who push people into doing live events, or into building their business really big, when in fact, it's not what they want. I have a friend who is doing two events a year and she was miserable. I said, “Why are you doing the second event?” She said, “Well, so and so…” who is her coach at the time, “…said I should.” “Okay, if we go back to your strategy and your definition of where you want to be in this thing, you're miserable. That's not success. That's somebody else's plan for you.” Your measure of success is your measure of success. I say to people all the time don't apologize for that.

I have another really good friend who just downsized her business, she's making half million dollars a year with just her and two part-time people who are doing two very specific things. She works 9:00-3:00, Monday-Friday, she takes her kid to school and picks her up everyday and that's the most important thing to her. She's 100% happy where she is in her business and has no desire to grow her business.

Brian: I love that because success is different, everybody. That's why I ask the question because in the internet marketing world, I've heard all kinds of answers. It's hits to your websites, it's sales, it's all those other things. I love your perspective on it and it's just the different way of looking at it. So, thank you very much for that.

Diane: Yes. I just think we get so caught up in chasing the proverbial carrot and in looking at – I love the quote that talks about, “Stop comparing your behind the scenes reel with everyone else's highlight.” We get so caught up in, “Oh my gosh, I have to figure out my passion, or my purpose, or my this, or my that.” That we forget the reason that we started our businesses. What is it that we want out of this? It's so easy to run into that whole point of, “Gosh, I'm doing this business thing and I'm really not happy.” Well then, go get a job. This is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be fun based on you and your measurement of what success is, not somebody else.

Brian: Great, great point.

Diane, you have a system that helps people organize their marketing efforts, kind of put the plan together, put the calendar together and that kind of stuff. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Diane: Yes. It's called the Magic Money Map System. I love that you said that. Everything that I do are systems because systems are a big part of not only business, really, but life and avoiding being overwhelmed by all of the things that we have to do in our businesses. What I've done is just sort of set out with the marketing calendar that I've talked about included in there, I talk about how do you really figure out who your target market is and then really specifically, not just women or not just people who are [sought], but really, really delving into the specifics of your target market and then I walk you through in a really visual way.

This whole backward planning thing that I talked about on the marketing calendar; how to sort of systematize it and put it all together so that you literally can be the “person who walks into your office” and everybody on the team knows everyday what it is that they're responsible for, when it's due, what's going to the printer, or what has to be in your shopping cart on that day, or your contact management system, and who's loading it, what the marketing sequences are, when they're going out and all of that. It's really just the nice little system that will help walk you through this so that again, you have all the pieces and can really enjoy and have fun with which is the big thing, your marketing campaigns instead of letting them stress you out and thinking that everything has to be perfect.

Brian: If people wanted to get a hold of you, what's the best way for them to contact you?

Diane: The best way is just go to the main website and that's Completemarketingsystems.com. That's the easiest way, or if you'd like to pick up, there's a free CD there, there's also a free marketing calendar if you go to Yourfreemarketingcalendar.com. But the easiest way would be definitely just the main website which is Completemarketingsystems.com.

Brian: Awesome, Diane. Thank you so much for joining us today. Great, great concepts, great ideas and I love the way that you put it into a system and help us to back-time everything. Also the follow-up sequence which is really, really important. Thanks for sharing all these great information.

Diane: Thank you, Brian. I appreciate it. It's always an honor to get a chance to talk to you as well as to the folks that are following you. So, thank you.

Brian: Well, that was some great content from Diane Conklin about setting up your marketing calendar and hopefully this helps you get organized to get ready for next year. Join us next week for another killer Bacon Podcast Expert Interview. Till then, rock on.

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