Planning for 24 pt. 2 with Lee Wochner

You have your vision. Your brand. Your voice. Your strategy. What’s next? Marketing. Now that you’ve identified your starting point and destination, it’s time to chart the path between them. Map out the steps you need to take, key landmarks for progress, and the necessary stops for recalibration along the way. What social media platforms should you use? Mobile or desktop? Do people still read emails?

In part two of Counterintuity CEO Lee Wochner’s “Planning for 2024” series, discover the ways you can create a thorough and successful marketing plan.

Jaclyn Uloth: Welcome to the podcast that lightens the tension when things sort of get hard… That’s What C! Said, the Counterintuity podcast, featuring interviews with leaders and doers who have helped to make our world a better place through their actions — and especially through marketing, communications, and embracing change. Here’s our host Lee Wochner.

Lee Wochner
Hi Everybody welcome to That’s What C! Said, the Counterintuity podcast. As we were saying last week, there’s still time to plan for 2024, and it’s important that you do. Without a plan, you run the risk of wandering around in the desert looking for an oasis you might not find. I quoted the great songwriter and former Beatle, George Harrison, who sang, “‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.'” But with a plan, you’re not wandering around. You set out in a certain direction in order to arrive at the place you want to be. I also let you know last week that this doesn’t need to be some big, complicated, onerous process. Some planning is better than no planning, and fast planning is better than no planning because at least you got started. So the goal here is to get you started and to help you achieve the most you can as quickly as possible so you can act upon it because 2024 will be here right after December 31 and that’s only about 30 days away. So how do you develop an action plan for 2024, one that helps you take action, make progress and succeed? As I shared last week, there are topic buckets that handle most of your planning. And so here are the three topic buckets for planning, vision, marketing, and finance. That’s it. Vision marketing, finance. Last week we covered vision. Today we’re going to discuss marketing.

Lee Wochner
Vision, you may recall, is your identity, your brand. Who you are, what you do, where you do it, why you do it, when you do it, how you do it, lots of other who, what, where, when, why, and hows. It’s your reason for being and how people see you and how you behave. It’s your identity and your focus, and it’s strategic. We covered that last week. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to that yet, please take 20 minutes now and listen to it and then come back, I’ll hang on.

Lee Wochner
Great, welcome back. Marketing comprises the actions you will take to align your vision with the desires of other people. It’s tactical. It involves writing a marketing plan, a simple marketing plan that says, here’s how we’re going to let people know. We’re covering that here today.

Lee Wochner
And then next week, we’re going to cover finance, answering the question of how we’re going to budget for marketing and how we’re going to set expectations for what the results will be. So last week, you reestablished your brand, your vision of who your organization or company is and how it acts and what it sounds like. And this week, we’re going to talk about getting that message out in 2024 and beyond. The beautiful reality is that you’ve got more ways than ever before to get your message out and more and better ways than ever before to calculate success, and by the way, also more and better ways to do it less expensively than ever before. And that’s because most of your marketing is going to be digital through the internet, and most of it is going to be attached to reporting mechanisms that help you understand what’s working and what isn’t and how to adjust accordingly.

So here’s a quick rundown of just some of the methods you can use, and yes, I know you’re aware of most of these when I run down this laundry list, but it’s important just to get the list out. Maybe not everyone is as smart as you. So here goes, here are your marketing tools and methods, your website, email newsletter, social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, what used to be Twitter, now it’s X, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, threads and a bunch of newish Twitter X would be competitors and no doubt others I just forgot to name, spoutable and so forth. Print and mail, yes, mailed print pieces work, partly ironically because people get so little mail anymore. Your blog, your annual report if you’re a nonprofit, your press outreach, public appearances and speeches, advertising, sponsorships, trade shows, personal meetings, such as donor lunches or client meetings.

business and community meetings, such as chamber of commerce events, neighborhood meetings and so forth, billboards, broadcast advertising, which is cable, TV and radio, and on and on. It’s a long list. If you’re groaning at the thought of doing all that, here’s some relief. Number one, you don’t have to do all of that.

And number two, in fact, if you are doing all of that, you can probably stop doing some of it. Actually, you probably should stop doing some of that because it’s taking up time and money and head space and it’s not profitable for you. So I’m going to encourage you to focus on three and potentially build from there. And in most cases, those three will be your email newsletter, your social media presence, just.

the top one to three platforms, Don’t Kill Yourself, and your website. Your email newsletter, because it enables you to inexpensively reach out to your existing donors and clients and stakeholders and supporters and remind them that you’re around and remind them of what you do and why it’s important, and because you can build that list and it’s all presto easy to manage.

Your social media presence because it easily enables you to take your existing followers and add new ones, and because it enables you to respond in a timely, fun manner to things that are happening in real time, and your website because you have utter control over it. It’s where you can park a lot of information about who you are and what you do, and because you want to link all of those emails and all your social posts to your website.

so that all of your traffic goes to you and doesn’t just stay with billionaire mega yacht playboys. You’re building your audience, we want you to own it.

On top of those three, you might add an occasional search engine optimized press release. When you’ve won an award or landed a significant donation or grant or made an important new hire or, hey, achieved some remarkable achievement that people should know about, write a press release using the key search terms for what you do and then use an online press service to send it out, linking it back to your website. You’ll be amazed.

what this does for your website traffic, and you want that so that you come up high in Google search. Again, this is an occasional thing, maybe once or twice a year, maybe four times, so it’s not so demanding, but the impact is well worth the time and the money. But again, the main three are your email newsletter, your social media presence, and your website.

The purpose of an email newsletter is to help your subscribers with something. It’s a place for you to provide quick advice and solutions on problems they may have, and to inform them of things relevant to them, and all of this with an emphasis on quick. In other words, ideally, it should be readable within three minutes. Within three minutes, the reader can skim the contents and take in the key points. Three minutes max.

They’re not going to read it. It’s just that simple. It’s going to be like the big showpiece Russian novel that you see on their bookshelf that they’re never going to read. You go to their house, you’re impressed that they have that. Turns out they didn’t read it. You don’t want your newsletter to be like that. So they’re not gonna read it if it’s too long. It’s just that simple. Ideally, your content should be sorted into one to three, maybe four at the most, quick stories that they can skim.

and then click on if they want to read more, and that read more takes them to your website. Because your website is where you gain the traffic advantage, thanks to Mr. Google, who loves those clicks. You’re going to put graphics in there to help the story stand out. You’re going to put in little headlines, and you’re going to do a catchy subject line so that people open it and read it.

If you’ve already got an email newsletter, now’s the time to do an evaluation about tuning it up, making sure that it’s quickly digestible, making sure it’s graphically attractive. Looking at your stats, provided courtesy of the email platform you use, to see what the open rate is and the click rate and the overall growth to make some real determinations about how you can drive up those numbers. If you don’t already have an email newsletter,

Now’s the time to start one. Think about it. You’re gonna put in your donors or your buyers, those people you’re connected to, and once or twice a month, I’m recommending twice, they’re going to get an email from you that reminds them about what you do. You might be selling pet doors, which makes them and their pets happy. Who wants to be a doorman for the pet, right? Get the pet door. Or you might be working to end the cycle of homelessness, which definitely serves all of us because nobody likes homelessness.

It’s a tragedy. Or you might be running an arts center and selling tickets, whatever it is, your people want to know about it. And they want to buy it or support it with their donations. If you’re setting this up now, take note of how many initial subscribers you’ve added when you built out your platform. If you’ve already got one, note all the stats you can get. Run a report.

So you’ve got your baseline, we call that a baseline. It’s either the people you’ve started with, or it’s what you’ve got right now because you’re gonna set new targets for 2024, that’s your baseline. So now you’ve got your baseline, set a goal for 2024 about how much you’re going to grow. Constant contact, which is one of the email providers you might try and one we support at counterintuity. We also use eye contact and work in pretty much all of them.

Anyway, Constant Contact offers a helpful chart to show you how your email should perform. If you search average email open rate 2023, it’ll come up. I know, because I’ve done that. It shows you by industry the average performance, which overall, here I’m breaking the news to you, overall is 34.46% open rate and a 1.33% click rate.

That means on average, if your email is going out to 1,000 people, 344 of them will open it and 13 will click through to your website. If you do that twice a month, you’ll be getting some real traffic and the cost of doing this is negligible. It’s just not going to cost a lot in hard cash. So that’s goal number one for 2024. Start or improve your email newsletter and set some targets.

And seriously, set the schedule, stick to the schedule. It’s amazing how much you do. And I think they said, now I’m quoting Confucius, I think, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Goal number two, social media. Think about where your people congregate, the people your company impacts. And then pick the three.

social media platforms that match that profile. Are you B2B? You’re selling professional services or something to other businesses? LinkedIn will be one of your profiles, one of your platforms. And I would also say if you’re looking for donors of a certain sort of thing, if you’re a nonprofit, LinkedIn. Are you providing a social service? Instagram and Facebook for sure. Do you do how-tos? Do you wanna show the story behind what you do?

Then YouTube. Is your demographic younger and maybe impatient? TikTok. Threads? It hasn’t really taken off. Same with Spoutable and all the would-be Twitters. Maybe hold off on those because you wanna maximize your effort and you don’t wanna climb on top of a sinking ship. We’re taking a wait and see approach with them. Threads initially looked pretty good, but it stalled out quickly.

But we’re still there and I’m still there and I’m waiting to see if it if it truly takes off. Similarly to your email newsletter, you want to post news that matches what you do with who should care and link back to your website. You also want to share other posts you see that are relevant to your audience and comment on them. This helps you build your audience and your perceived expertise. Now set some targets.

While as they say, your mileage may vary, a successful social media marketing strategy most likely results in an increase of 6% to 8% each month. But the more important metric is conversion. People actually doing something in a way that accords with your desired goal. So did your donations or sales go up? As an example, that might be a conversion for you. People actually made a donation or a purchase.

A 2% increase in followers that results in a 20% increase in revenue is better than an 8% increase in followers that results in nothing as far as conversion. So conversions really are a great number to track. All of this is to say that you might need to put in place a social media management tool to help track these results and conversions.

As a HubSpot agency, we connect all these things for clients so they can get a full read, including website visitors and email opens and tracking analytics and on and on. But there are lots of do it yourself, social media management solutions you can check out with Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Sprinklr being just three. They don’t cost too much and they tell you a lot.

Lee Wochner (14:49.346)
Goal number three, your website. So now that you’re spreading the word in the easiest, lowest cost, highest return way ever in the history of humankind, thanks to email marketing and social media, we turn to your website. Step one, get a read on how your site is doing. There are a number of sites that will give you a performance readout on the state of your website. These include and a number of others. I like, which will show you what’s working and what’s not and what needs to be fixed. Go there or to some other website testing service, Mr. Google can help you find one. Plug in your website’s URL and see what comes up. If you’re failing major tests, particularly with Google, you have to get those addressed.

driving a whole bunch of traffic to a website that doesn’t perform, doesn’t serve you or the people you’re trying to serve. And if you think about it, whenever you’re putting on any sort of event or show, you kind of want people to come back, if you’re driving them to your site and they see the site isn’t working, they’re not coming back. So you’re kind of killing that audience. So what are the website common issues that you want to look for and get solved? So here’s the ones we see most frequently. Slow loading.

Broken elements, no ADA compliance, poor messaging, unclear path for visitors to take, and not mobile or mobile first, not mobile compliant or mobile first. So taking those one by one. Slow loading. If your site doesn’t come up within eight seconds, you’ve lost half your audience. All of the metrical tracking shows that to be true. Ask yourself,

How long would you wait for a site to come up before simply going to a different one? Like it or not, on the internet, 8 seconds feels like 8 years. Broken elements, that’s either things missing or the hideous visible little broken box that makes your site look like it’s been broken into and robbed. It hurts your brand because it hurts the impression you’re making on visitors.

Oddly, it’s the number one thing people will look at on your site. If they see something’s broken, they’re going to stare right at it, like they drove past your house and all the windows were smashed. No ADA compliance. We all should want to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act for three excellent reasons. Number one, you want your site to be visible and navigable and audible for every potential visitor. All are welcome.

Number two, it’s the right thing to do. And number three, you run the risk that someone will sue you if your site isn’t ADA compliant. This happens a lot with an average payout in California and New York of about $40,000. If this concerns you, and it should, I have to tell you this is easily remediated. You just have to take care of the fix before you get sued. Poor messaging. This is a problem.

when your website doesn’t sound or look like you in the way we discussed last week. Unclear path for visitors, now they’re on your site. Is it clear what they should do? People are impatient on the web. They want you to clarify what they should do on your website. We call that user experience, the UX in UI slash UX. If people have to stop on your site and figure out where they should go or what they do, you’re losing them.

Again, speed is of the essence on the web. Not mobile compliant or mobile first. Your site should be designed primarily for smartphones. Here’s why. 92.3% of internet users access the internet using a mobile phone. And almost 60% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices.

If your site requires pinch and squeeze navigation, it isn’t mobile first. And I guarantee that’s hindering what people are doing with it. So that’s quite a list of things on your site. But there’s no need to get freaked out about any of them. You probably don’t have all of them going on. And in many cases, small improvements manifest big results. But now is the time to identify what’s not working on your website and fix it.

So you’re all set for 2024. Better to tackle things than to try to drive around them all the time. So that’s it, email marketing, social media marketing, and your website. This all sounds doable, right? If you’ve already got those things humming along, check out the rest of the list and decide whether to add or tune up something else that helps you get your message out. For nonprofits, we believe, let me say that again.

For nonprofits, we believe strongly in the value of an annual report. Why? Because annual reports make the case to funders about why they should support you even more. And you can do that very easily with quick graphical takeaways that show number of people served, number of problems solved, et cetera, et cetera. There’s also great value in trade shows and print pieces and networking. Everything on that list has potential value. I just urge you to think realistically.

about what you can do next year to set real and actionable targets and then go do it. As someone said, the best way to predict the future is to create it. Let’s make 2024 everything we know it can be. Next week, we’ll discuss how to budget for 2024 with two different systems you can easily apply. One is not for the faint of heart, plus my informed prediction re the economy next year.

Lee Wochner
Thanks for listening, really appreciate it. I appreciate the gift of your time and always eager for you feedback including on this podcast. Please follow and rate our podcast. Whichever platform you’re enjoying our podcast on. We’d love to get some ratings and find out how we’re doing.

Jaclyn Uloth: Thanks for listening! We’re glad you came. That’s What C! Said is produced by Lisa Pham and engineered by Joe Curet. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. Please like and follow the show. Visit to sign up and learn more.

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