milestone by ennon
If you’ve read my last post about vision, I hope it helped you clarify where you are headed, and why you want to reach out, amplify your message, and connect with more people (you could call it marketing). Now, how to you know whether you are getting closer to your vision if most of the path is still beyond your sight?

Set your milestones.

Set some milestones for yourself – goals you reach along the way to your destination. Breaking down your bold, ambitious vision into more manageable goals helps you figure out if you’re on track, and it also makes it easier to decide what marketing action to take next.

Let’s look at an example set of milestones.

For example, let’s say that your vision is to teach 100,000 people how to eat in a way that supports their long-term health, and to make a good living from workshops and coaching. Then you develop a solid marketing plan based on that vision. But it might happen sometimes that you that you look at your plan and it’s just not that obvious to you what actions need to go on your to-do list for today. In that case, aim for a milestone instead of the final destination and trace your route back from there until you clearly see your next step.

A big milestone on this example route would be your first intro workshop on, say,  how to do an elimination diet.

What needs to happen before you stand in front of an enthusiastic, attentive crowd and kick off your first workshop?

Well, those lovely people would need to sign up and prepay for it, and/or be super committed to leaving their cozy homes at six p.m. to head over to your practice, rain or shine.

And before that?

They would need to decide that your workshop is exactly what they need.

And before that?

You’d need the opportunity to explain to them what it’s all about and how it is going to make their lives better.

And before you can do that?

You would need to get their contact information.

So your immediate next step might be to create your account with an email marketing service and add a sweet and simple sign-up form to your website, so your people can actually give you their contact information.

Of course, there are alternatives – you could go to events, connect with people there, and ask if they would like to get updates about your workshops, or add a check box to your intake form that people can use to opt in to your emails… The point is, once you have identified your next milestone as getting the contact details (and permission) of people who would benefit from what you have to offer, you will be able to see your immediate next steps right in front of you.

Not sure about your vision, strategy, or milestones?

Then you might need what I call a marketing trail map – a simple, effective, and organic plan. Lucky you: I am about to publish a guide on how to create your marketing trail map, so check back here soon or sign up for my newsletter to have a free copy delivered to your inbox.

Marketing Plan Essential #1: Vision

Vision - Marketing Plan Essential #1
/ˈvɪʒ(ə)n/ – (1) the faculty or state of being able to see (2) the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom

Note: This post is adapted from my soon-to-be-published ebook Create Your Own Marketing Trail Map. It fits in well with my January theme Ambition, so I thought I’d share it with you today. If you’d like to find a free copy of the complete ebook in your inbox later this week, all you need to do is sign up for my newsletter.

Your marketing plan needs a vision. Make it a bold one.

It’s hard to create a useful map (a.k.a. a marketing plan) without a destination. Your vision is just that: a destination that you can see clearly, and that guides and inspires your planning.

Your vision doesn’t have to be in HD or set in stone – maybe things look a little different when you arrive than you thought they would, or maybe you change course at some point – but it does have to be defined enough for you to actually envision it.

Two questions to clarify your vision.

To sharpen your focus on your vision, here is a question to explore:

1: When you have accomplished everything you could ever dream or dare, how will your everyday life, your community and the world beyond it be different?

I like this question because it demands a big answer – the type of answer that inspires you to stretch yourself and motivates you to do the work. You could call it ambitious.

Make chemotherapy obsolete! Change the definition of primary health care! Get vegetables on every plate in every school cafeteria, every day!

This kind of big, bold, outrageous vision is what will get you excited, compel you to reach out and make your plan reality, and allow you to grow with it. Small scale hopes get dull pretty quickly, and don’t inspire you for the long haul.

And the second question:

2: What does your ideal month look like?

I like that time frame because it’s realistic and manageable. “Your ideal day” seems a little shortsighted, and “your ideal year” can be overwhelming, with too many variables.
Thinking about your ideal month also puts the money issue on the table – at some point during the month you’ll probably have to pay for your housing, groceries, or a lovely weekend trip to the coast, so think about what you need to get there, too.

You can go public with your vision or keep it private. Either way, it should guide your choices and shine through in your everyday encounters with the outside world.

Share, and/or get support.

If you do decide to share it, I’d love to hear about it, too. You can send me a note, leave a comment, or post it on the Lightbox Facebook page for more bright, ambitious people in this community to see. Same if you’d like some help with developing a marketing plan that supports and reflects your ambitions.

{Love the mood of this photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis on Flickr.}

January Marketing Focus Wallpaper: Ambition.

ambition desktop wallpaper
New Year is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I love the atmosphere of closure and fresh starts, of collecting your lessons learned and leaving behind what doesn’t suit you anymore. In that spirit, I came up with a little New Year’s gift for you: Focus, for every month of 2013.

Unwrapped: Marketing Focus Wallpapers

Starting with January, you’ll find a wallpaper for your computer, tablet, or phone here on my blog for every month of 2013. Each wallpaper will have a different theme. The idea is to keep that theme in focus, explore it, practice it, work on it, and have fun with it throughout the month.

You can of course come up with your own interpretations of the themes, but in case you’re in the mood for more specific suggestions on how they might translate into marketing ideas and actions, I will also offer a blog post on the theme along with the wallpaper.

Sound good?

Then on to the first theme of the year: Ambition. Feel free to read on, or skip ahead and download the wallpaper at the bottom of this post.

January Focus: Ambition

Ambition to me means dedicating yourself to a goal that requires you to stretch yourself, to learn new skills, find creative solutions, and be OK with uncertainty. It means trusting your potential, intuition, and stamina.

In some ways, it’s like setting out to climb a mountain: you can’t predict every step you’ll need to take to reach your goal (if you can, it’s probably not all that ambitious) or what conditions you’ll encounter, but you’ve still got to be ready to get going and enjoy the process – and let go if you realize that it’s not the right goal or the right time for you.

(I also liked this article on ambition and wisdom on tiny buddha.)

How ambition might infuse your marketing activities this month:

1. Define your ambitions.

Clarify your goals for your practice or business for the year. What do you want it to provide for others? What do you want from it for yourself? Include some big, ambitious goals, the kind that will continue to inspire and motivate you for the long haul.

2. Distill your message from it.

Create a clear and simple message about your vision to share with your people. Of course you don’t have to make all of your goals public, but let them know where you are headed, why it matters, and how they can get involved.

3. Spark connections.

Identify the people who share your ambitions, and the ones you want to benefit from it. Find out how you can reach out and connect with them. Start sparking some of those connections this month.

4. Start the learning process.

Make a list of skills you need in order to realize your ambition. How, where, and when can you learn them? And how can you have the most fun possible with the learning process?

Download your January wallpaper

320 x 480, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 800, 1366 x 768, 1440 x 900, 1024 x 1024.

The superb photo of the Matterhorn is the work of Chris Zielecki a.k.a. zanthia on Flickr.