You may be thinking, “can’t I just start on Part Deux, because I’m already here.” Well sure ya can! We actually find that it’s best to take some time between the two steps and start with a blank slate when you build the ideal plan. In order to really come up with the ideal plan, you have to forget about everything you’re doing right now.

Think “launch mode.” Start from scratch. Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting over?

Now, let’s address the fork in the road you just encountered when wondering what you would do differently. You either thought to yourself, “I would do this, this and this,” or you thought, “I have no idea.” If you had some immediate ideas, then you have a good head-start. If you didn’t, don’t beat yourself up like Owen on The Voice. Seriously, it’s like that guy wanted to go home. Most business owners and marketers don’t know what to do differently. That may be why you’re reading this blog. Good! You’ve already taken the first step toward fixing it, and that’s seeking out new options.

But there’s a lot of crap out there. How do you prevent yourself from wasting an endless amount of your precious time, clicking on links with a look of hope – only to have it gradually slide to despair – over – and over? There IS a lot of crap out there, but there are also a ton of options that are going to be a good fit, and there are a few easy was to find them. Sure, you can Google. Google away, but when you do, make sure that you keep your target in mind. You’re looking for a new, efficient way to reach your target, and targeting is going to vary between the millions of options out there on the interwebs. If you’re trying to reach moms, that should shape your search terms.

Another method – one that we use heavily in content and inbound marketing at Storm Stanley – is to develop a persona. The goal here is to develop an in-depth, rounded understanding of who this person is – what she does – where she gets her information – what she values. Give her a name. Describe what her day looks like. Describe her challenges. This will likely not only uncover some new ideas for connecting with her, but it will also help you shape your message so that it connects with her better.

Hubspot’s Guide to Developing Personas is a great reference. Portions of it only apply to Hubspot users, but the guidelines will be useful regardless.

Yet another method is to follow the tracks of success. Although it’s possible that you have a target that nobody else in the world has, it’s unlikely. Out of those who share a similar target with you, who does a masterful job of connecting? Seek out these businesses and study them. Success leaves tracks. I’m not suggesting that you R&D (rob & duplicate) them. Don’t. Take the best parts of their approach – what makes sense for you – and build something better with it.

Start gathering your ideas. In Part Three, we’ll discuss how to refine them into an actionable plan.

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