This is the third and final post on my series on developing an e-commerce marketing plan. In this final part, we’ll discuss project management and scheduling important activities.
If you found this post first, I suggest reading:
- An E-commerce Marketing Plan that Won’t Overwhelm You – Part 1
- An E-commerce Marketing Plan that Won’t Overwhelm You – Part 2
Here is Part 3.
Download the Project Management Spreadsheet
PM, Editorial and Testing Schedules Spreadsheet – Use this to schedule out your own Marketing tasks or find a means to do organize this for your team.
Optionally, download the SEO Key Rankings document, which you can use to use your Adwords data to help strategize your best SEO keywords for link building in your writing schedules.
Project Management – Formulate an Activity Schedule
My style of Project Management is basically an exaggerated “to-do” list to keep track of activities to stay on task, log completed projects, jot down any important notes and follow up on anything I’m waiting on to complete the work.
Open it up to the first tab, called “Project Management”. This contains columns for:
– Deadline: Obviously, the date you want it completed.
– Project Type: The tactic of the activity you’re scheduling.
– Project Desc: List the activity.
– Site: This one is useful if you’re working on multiple sites (say, a Facebook profile, a blog, and your e-commerce store)
– Priority: Once your monthly activities are listed, prioritize them. I use 1 for most important, 2 for average and 3 for lowest importance.- Notes/Requirements: Any details or important notes to keep as you work on that activity.
– Objective: A simple statement of what you’re hoping to achieve. It should be tied with the goals of that tactic. (Useful if you’re sharing your PM list with others who may not fully understand your activities.)
Prioritize your activities on your schedule. I prefer to do this monthly since I track most analytics monthly, and a month gives me enough time to complete most of my project tasks. Bigger projects can be divided into blocks, or scheduled for longer periods of time. Then, I add details for each based on frequency (for instance, “blog writing” should be there once a week, but “Survey Customers about Storefront Features is a one-time activity.). Prioritize them, set reasonable deadlines and hold yourself accountable to make sure they are completed.
I suggest not booking entire weeks solid – you never know when you’ll need extra time, a day away from work, attending meetings, traveling, etc.
Not to mention being on point 24/7 will burn you out very quickly. Keep one or two days a week free in your schedule. It’ll do wonders for your sanity.
Also, you don’t need all of these columns to keep your work in line. Many of them are to help you coordinate and communicate with others; if you’re a loner, you don’t really need to worry about filling out “Objectives” or anything like that.
On Prioritizing Your Work
You’ve got all of your historical data handy, your tactics and activities lined up in your PM chart, and you’re ready to get to get started. But how will you prioritize your activities?
There is no “right” or “wrong” answer here – like most things in marketing your business, it usually comes down to managing your two biggest resources (“time” and “money”).
Just some examples of ways you can prioritize:
Let’s say your historical data shows your Newsletter converts sales from subscribers at a rate of 10% and Social Media converts visitors to sales at about 3%. Considering the traffic is around the same, where do you think its best to throw your time, money, and effort? Where you can connect with buying customers, right? In fact, in this scenario, I would even suggest that Social Media efforts should be encouraging more Newsletter subscriptions since you’re far more likely to convert them there.
The same goes for any goals related to storefront conversions. Let’s say you’ve got the time in one month to do a single A/B test. You should put the effort where the time and money are best spent. For instance, the use of landing pages has historically raised your Adwords conversion rates by 4%. Adwords amounts to about 15% of your total revenue. Your Storefront search results contribute to 30% of your overall store revenue (which may or may not include Adwords visitors). Sure, you should test both of these things, but if you can only choose one for the month, which would you choose?
I would suggest testing the Search bar unless you’re behind in reaching your new customers goals. A 4% increase in conversions is no joke, but 30% of your revenue is a big chunk of change; if I’m already getting the traffic, working on the Search Bar has the potential to increase conversions among a wider audience, thus the revenue potential is likely greater.
Think through how you prioritize each activity, and be sure the resources you allocate are in line with reaching your big objectives!
Develop an Activity Calendar
The rest of the tabs on the PM, Editorial, and Testing calendar are, well, for Writing and Testing. Everything. Blogging, Press Releases, Articles, Tweets, A/B Testing schedules and Surveys. Do I do all of these things? Yes, I do all of these things. And this is exactly how I keep all of my work in line with my big picture goals.
Go through each tab and come up with writing/testing topics for each of them. I go through the list, pick the ones with the biggest potential for SEO (blogging, tweets, press releases, articles), customer feedback (surveys), sales (promotions and newsletters), and conversions (testing).
From there, copy and paste them accordingly into the Project Management tab with everything else with any notes/description data you have.
You’re Off to a Great Start
It’s easy to get discouraged quickly, but in marketing just as in business and life, persistence is key.
As you are following tactics and tracking goals, be flexible enough to tweak your strategy to jump on opportunities and adjust the things that aren’t working. This is a refinement strategy – there is no rigid structure that is going to work 100% all of the time. If you see six months from now that something just isn’t working, or its simply taking too much time for the benefit, you should always adjust to throw your weight to the things that are working.
I wish you the best of luck, and if you would like assistance in setting up a marketing plan for your business, or you’d like a professional to audit, curate, test, and improve your online marketing strategy, check out our Online marketing services for more information.