In this blog posting I would like to talk about long-term planning because it is something I have neglected for far too long and maybe you have as well? Spending some time on drawing up a good strategy can help you to become much more efficient and successful in the long-term. And who wouldn’t like to work less to gain more?
Now let’s put some meat onto the bones. I will give you a quick overview at first, before I’m going to drill down into it.
The first thing you need to know is your goal. What do you want or need to achieve? If you know that, then everything else falls into place almost on its own.
Have a long-term goal
Where do you want to go with your account? What is the most important metric you need to measure yourself against? Don’t intermingle with 20 different goals at the same time. Do you want your account to grow, to reach more new customers or make the most profit out of your campaigns? There are lots of different possible targets and you need to prioritize your work very differently for each of them. In my opinion, you can either do one thing very well or be mediocre or average with everything you do. This is a lesson for life but it works for your PPC campaigns as well. Decide what you really want and go for it with everything you have.
The next 3 months
OK, so we have a goal. But how do we achieve it? Establish some simple and rough tasks that fit in with your goal and place them in a practical order for each day of the next 3 months. Don’t plan the day’s work fifty days apart – just some simple steps and reminders. Remember the last lesson about focussed tasks?
Take some time and plan your work as though you lived and worked in a perfect world without short-term changes, interruptions and unanticipated assignments. But as is the case with everything that happens from time to time, don‘t overthink it. You can and will fill it with more when the time comes.
This is how the next 15 workdays could look, if the main goal was to grow an already existing account:
|Day 1||Check product feed for new products|
|Day 2||Upload new keywords|
|Day 3||Check and optimise location targeting|
|Day 4||In-depth analysis to find top-performing brands|
|Day 5||Keyword research of top brands|
|Day 6||Upload new keywords|
|Day 7||Check and optimise advertising copy|
|Day 8||In-depth analysis to find top-performing product categories|
|Day 9||Keyword research of top product categories|
|Day 10||Upload new keywords|
|Day 11||Check and optimise landing pages|
|Day 12||Analyse search query report|
|Day 13||Upload new keywords|
|Day 14||Check and optimise negative list|
|Day 15||Check and optimize sitelinks|
In this example we are trying to secure a baseline with needed optimisation, but the main focus for ten out of the 15 days is clear, i.e. to expand our keyword portfolio. As you can see a lot of these steps don’t fill an entire day. That means you will always have enough time to react to any last-minute changes, to do bid management, to create reports and so on and so forth. But you will always work with your main goal in mind, set clearer targets and decide more easily what you will do next.
Plan the forthcoming week
Plan your week with a view to taking into account your overall goal, as well as reacting to any short-term changes in your account. The 3-month plan gives you a good outline but of course that isn’t everything you need to do. When will you do your bid management? Do you need to create reports for a customer or your boss? What are your most important tasks and which are only nice to have? You should have all of that on your board (see last blog posting) and now you can use it to plan your working week.
The day has come
Scan the task list on your board and your plan for the week every morning and move priorities around if circumstances have changed. After that you can pick your focus task and work in a relaxed, yet efficient and goal oriented way at the same time, because you know exactly what there is to do and what has the highest priority.
Once again, this is not a “one-size-fits-all-solution”. Just something that works well within my team. Try out what sounds good for you and ditch what doesn’t. Do you have a few more guidelines to share? I would love to discuss them with you in the comments section! What is more I am looking ahead to the next and last entry in this series where I will share a few ideas with you that you can use to improve your meetings.