The Difference Between a Strategy and a Plan – and Why a Business Needs Both For Long Term Lead Generation
In order for long term lead generation efforts to pay off, a business needs an effective strategy and solid planning. Unfortunately, many business owners focus exclusively on planning and ignore strategy altogether. This is a common – but costly – mistake.
So what is the difference between strategy and planning? Here’s a simple explanation: You have a vision of where you want your business to go. Strategy involves evaluating the situation your business is in today and then deciding the path you want it to move in. Planning consists of outlining the actual steps you will take to get there. When you make a plan without thinking through strategy, day to day decision making gets harder and harder as results come in. For example, your vision may be, “I need to get to Springfield.” Knowing this, your strategy asks, “Which Springfield? MO? IL? When do you need to be there? What’s our budget?” That strategic information makes your plan easier to execute, “Ok, we need to get to Springfield, MA by Oct 31, 2019 and we’ll start by taking the bus.”
Unfortunately, many business owners pour all of their efforts in to planning while ignoring the strategy piece. At LeadGen Compass, we see far too many businesses make this costly mistake. However, we understand the temptation to do so. Coming up with an overarching strategy for a business seems like it will take a lot of time and analysis. Planning, on the other hand, is action-oriented.
While coming up with a strategy for your business may seem like an overwhelming process, the fact is, a well thought out and researched strategy will make everything else you do simpler and more effective. (LeadGen Compass has a “Strategy in Hours” workshop available if you’re interested in learning how to take the mystery out of the process.) Further, while ignoring the strategy piece of the lead generation puzzle might work in the short term, it never sustains a business over the long haul. Sure, you may luck out and choose a tactic that generates a significant number of leads, but you won’t be able to sustain that level of success indefinitely.
A 3 step process for long-term lead generation
- In order to generate the greatest number of leads over the long-term, you need to know where you are as a company, what your opportunities are for growth, and how to achieve that growth. This involves
- Strategic thinking
- An analysis of, among other things, who your ideal customer is, what they are buying, and how they are buying it.
- And taking a hard look at what your competitors are doing.
Gathering this information is the first step in creating a successful lead generation strategy for your business.
- The next step is to define your goals. For example, if you want to increase online lead generation by 10%, your strategy might include PPC advertising to pinpoint which keywords are most effective in driving traffic to your website. Once you know what keywords to use, you develop content around those keywords. Finally, you will measure key performance indicators to track organic search improvements.
- Now that you have a strategy in place, it’s time to work on the planning portion. In other words, what actionable steps will allow you to achieve your strategic goals. These steps will include thing like setting up a PPC account, creating and posting regular content and making sure your website’s meta data is properly optimized.
When it comes to long term lead generation, strategy and planning are equally important to the success of your business. While having a plan is essential, developing a strategy should always come first . After all, your strategy is what will ultimately drive your plan toward its goal. LeadGen Compass is here to help if your company needs help with its lead generation vision, strategy, and planning. Call us to learn more. Give us a call us today at 402-682-7418 or visit leadgencompass.com.
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