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Create a Marketing Routine


by Matt McGovern


Without structure or routine built around your marketing efforts, you're likely to lose focus and get distracted—something that's far too easy for small business owners and the self-employed to do—and your marketing will fizzle.

One simple way to add structure to your marketing is to create an overall plan that outlines for you exactly what you hope to accomplish and when. You can then supplement this with shorter-term, action-oriented "to-do" lists aimed at reaching your marketing goals.

Here's how I keep my marketing efforts pointed forward:

  1. Every year, I create a short list of "Calendar Year Objectives"—goals I want to achieve by year's end. I usually give each goal a name, and then write two or three sentences describing what achieving that goal should look like. For example, an objective might be to write a book, followed by the title and subject matter, and by what date I hope to get it done. This does not have to be a painful exercise—my list usually fills only half a page.
  2. Using my "Calendar Year Objectives" as the basis, I then create a "90-day Plan" where I outline specific steps as to how, in the coming 90 days, I intend to make progress toward my stated goals. At the end of the first 90 days, I look at what I've done, what's left undone, and then adjust as needed for the next 90-day cycle.

    Each "90-day Plan" I create is generally two or three pages long, comprising a list of clearly stated bullet points with relevant dates. The idea is not to make the creation of the plan my end game, but rather to have a simple, action-oriented tool in place that keeps me focused.
  3. Every month I then create a simple list of items that I need to accomplish within roughly the next 30 days. I call this list my "Monthly Milestones" and it's usually nothing more than verbiage I cut and paste from my current 90-day plan, arranged in sequence.
  4. Lastly, at the start of each week I create a "Weekly Task List" of what I need to do so that progress towards my goals continues. This is akin to a "to-do" list and I simply cross off each task as I get it done. Some weeks my list is loaded, other times there may be only one or two items. What's key is that there's always something to do . . . and that something always gets done.

Of course, in all that you put on paper or commit to your computer screen, be sure to maintain an element of flexibility. Create your plans and follow them knowing that from week-to-week and month-to-month your objectives can—and most likely will—change.


About the Author
Matt McGovern combines a rare blend of creative and technical know how with more than 20 years of hands-on management and consulting experience. Through 700acres Small Business Services, Matt provides writing, editorial, book design, project management, Web development, and marketing consultation services—primarily for small businesses and solo professionals. He has authored and edited numerous Web sites, books, e-books, and newsletters; and has also published articles and short stories, including the novel, CURRENTS—Every Life Leaves an Imprint (read more about it at Get "Know How" his free e-newsletter at


Copyright Notice
Copyright © 2004 by Matt McGovern—All rights reserved. This article is the intellectual work and property of the author and is made available here for use only in e-zines, Web sites, magazines, newspapers, and other electronic and print mediums provided the content is not altered and that the author's byline, copyright and link to his Web site ( remains intact. All other uses for any reason by any person or entity are prohibited without the express written permission of the author. The author grants no rights to users of these articles other than one-time usage rights. You may not attempt to sell or resell article content to others, or otherwise profit directly from its use. Send inquiries for use of article content to the author at


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