Be the Guide with a Plan

4min read
paper road map
Multi-passionate Creative

Picture this: A football team comes together in huddle. The quarterback says they need a touchdown, and the players nod in agreement. One player asks “What play are we going to do next?” The quarterback then says, “I’m not sure,” and they break. —This wouldn’t happen.

How about this: A family excited to visit Ireland for a fun-filled vacation asks their travel agent what the itinerary looks like and where they’re staying. The travel agent responds, “I figure you can just wing it once you get there.” —This wouldn’t happen.

Both of these cases sound extreme, but it’s to paint a simple concept. In both scenarios, everyone agrees to the same goal, but they need a plan.

First, everyone needs to be on the same page. In these examples, there is a shared commonality of what they want to have happen. The football players share the goal of wanting a touchdown. The family and travel agent share the goal of wanting a nice vacation.

Secondly, someone is looking up to their guide for a plan. They’re looking to the person deemed with the expertise to lay out action steps. It is expected that this person has a clear and understandable plan to share. The football quarterback has the play to get the touchdown, and the travel agent has the plan for the family vacation.

Goals are just goals until an executed plan happens to reach them. Plans help start motion. If your company doesn’t illustrate a clear plan to the customer, the customer will not bite on your call-to-action. Anxiety happens when you don’t know what to expect in the future. People don’t like surprises by nature. When you outline a plan, you alleviate anxiety by explaining expectations.

Share Your Plan

Let’s look at some examples. A successful plan can outline things like:

What your design process looks like:

  1. We’ll meet to discuss your business card needs.
  2. We’ll design your cards and send them to print.
  3. Proudly start passing out your cards!

Call-to-action: Start Your Project

How to start working with you:

  1. Complete our project inquiry form.
  2. We’ll schedule a 15-minute call to discuss your project.
  3. Sign a contract and start your project!

Call-to-action: Inquire Now

How to use your product or service:

  1. Create an account.
  2. Record your podcast audio.
  3. Publish and share it to your social media channels!

Call-to-action: Start Now

Keep Steps Simple

Notice that these example plans are all three steps? We want plans to be short in order to show the potential customer that completing the plan is achievable. Many organizations outline plans that are far too detailed and overwhelming. Let’s take one of the examples and show what not to do:

How to use your product or service:

  1. Create an account.
  2. Provide your email, and create a password.
  3. Click the confirmation link sent to your email.
  4. Go back to our website and login.
  5. Click the “add” button of your dashboard.
  6. Type the name of your podcast.
  7. Record the audio for your podcast.
  8. Add a podcast description.
  9. Publish your podcast.
  10. That’s it! You just published your first podcast!

This is WAY too overwhelming. So many businesses make the mistake of confusing a plan with a tutorial. This 10-step outline is a tutorial, not a plan. It’s important to understand the difference. Stick to three core points in your plan.

The next time you create a website, print collateral or other type of media ad, consider implementing a short, three-step plan that provides a broad overview of what it looks like when customers engage with your product or service. What you’ll find is that when you position yourself as the expert who has a plan, you’ll gain the trust needed for your potential customer to take the call-to-action you desire.

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Maria Gosur is a multi-passionate creative who loves to learn, design, make a difference and inspire others to do the same. With education and experience in all areas of creative work, Maria is passionate about sharing her knowledge and encouragement to others who are trying to expand their skills, pursue big goals, and be a resilient creative.