“Plan the flight, fly the plan.” When I deployed with the Marines, I worked closely with some of the pilots attached to our battalion. Before each operation, I watched them create a detailed flight plan. Then all of the pilots involved in the mission would meet in the briefing room to review the plan. Once the plan was set, they would go fly the plan. Afterward, they would meet again to talk about what happened on the flight. What went well, what didn’t work, and how should they change in the future?
One of our mistakes during our first year was not building the right foundation with our clients. We didn’t “Plan the flight, fly the plan.” A client would call and ask for photography and a new website. If they were in our niche and a good fit, we would quote the work and then go do it. Aaron did a great job meeting with clients when he did their photography, but it wasn’t enough of a foundation for our future work.
What were we missing? We didn’t always understand where each business was going, and why they wanted a new website. We didn’t have good data on the old website so we could see if the new one was better. And there was much more we were missing. So we learned from our mistake and created a new way to begin working with a client.
Phase 1 – Building the Foundation
We have 4 parts to our new onboarding process for clients. Some parts are mandatory or we won’t take the job, and some can be modified based on need.
- Discovery Meeting – Before we do any work, we’re meeting with the owner and senior executive team to learn about their business strategy, culture, and growth objectives. What are their goals for marketing, and what is the payoff to the company if we hit those goals?
- Analyze the Data – Next, we’re getting access to the current data and analytics so we can see how the website and social media is working. If clients don’t have good data, we’re encouraging them to implement BuildWitt Dashboards.
- Create a Plan – After we’ve met with senior leaders and reviewed the data, we’ll work with each client on a simple plan for the year. Where are we today, where do we want to go, and how will we get there?
- Brand Guidelines – Some clients have great branding, and others need a refresh on their logo, colors, fonts, and better templates for email signatures, letterhead, brochures, and important documents. For those that need it, we’re creating brand guidelines with an updated look and feel for the company before we start any other marketing projects.
We’ve kicked off this new process with a few clients, and it’s working well and giving us a much better start.
Even if you work with a different agency or do your own marketing, this process would still be helpful. Work with your senior team to write down exactly what you want to accomplish. Look at the data to see what’s working. And then create a simple plan so you can “Plan the flight, fly the plan.”