Creating a marketing strategy can be a daunting task. Every business and department are different, so unfortunately, there is never going to be a one size fits all plan for you to use.
We have put this post together to give you a simple checklist of the information that you need to consider when setting up an industry leading marketing strategy. This works for businesses as well as business functions.
Set Your Goals
If you don’t know what you want to actually achieve then you are lost before you begin. What do you ultimately want to gain out of your marketing efforts?
Here are a few goals that you can consider for starters:
- Increase brand exposure
- Grow your business i.e. get more customers and sales
- Build your reputation
One important point to remember is to make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed).
There is no point in just saying that you want to “get more customers”. There is no driving force behind this statement. 2 new customers would mean that you’ve achieved it!
Give yourself specific goals, with achievable targets and give yourself a time scale to work towards.
A goal such as this is better:
“I want to increase the number of new customers visiting my website by 2% in the next 3 months. This increase will mean an additional £x in sales and profit of £x”.
Find Your Customers
Now that you know what you want to achieve from your marketing strategy you can start building your approach. If you already know where all of your customers can be found then you’re laughing!More often than not this won’t be the case. This is where you need to do some research.
More often than not this won’t be the case. This is where you need to do some research.To start with you can ask your existing customers where they found out about you and also if they use any other resources when considering similar purchases. You might even be able to ask them to complete a survey for you.
To start with, you can ask your existing customers where they found out about you and also if they use any other resources when considering similar purchases. You might even be able to ask them to complete a survey for you.You might find that your customers only use websites or only social media channels. Some might only do their research on Google.
You might find that your customers only use websites or only social media channels. Some might only do their research on Google.Note down every piece of information that you are given. You are likely to start seeing some trends for you to follow up.
Note down every piece of information that you are given. You are likely to start seeing some trends for you to follow up.Some places where you could start to look for customers are:
Some places where you could start to look for customers are:
- Websites similar to yours
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram
- Forums relating to your business industry
- Google search for related businesses
- Review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor etc. These are industry dependent so find the ones that fit your business.
Pick 1 or 2 channels
Finding your customers is probably the hardest part of creating your marketing strategy. With that research completed you can now choose 1 or 2 channels to start off with.
If you are going to be doing all of the marketing yourself, then starting off slowly is a much wiser option. Each additional channel takes up valuable time and resource. You’ll be surprised how easy you can get sucked into this activity when you also have other work to do, such as growing your business!
As soon as you have successfully set up your first couple of channels then you may be able to consider adding new ones. Remember to always be realistic about how much that you can do on your own.
What do your customers need?
Each channel that you use in your marketing strategy will need a unique approach. Know their best practice and how each of them works.
Having a Facebook page and posting cat video after cat video might not give your customers the information that they need to decide whether your product is best for them. (Unless that is creating cat videos of course!)
Yes, you need to entertain them and keep their interest, but you also have to bear in mind that you have set yourself goals to achieve.
Some examples of types of content that you can use to promote your business are:
- Video (short and long)
- blog posts
- Images, such as memes
- Status updates
- Paid advertising
Use Targeted Advertising
This would depend upon your budget, so don’t worry if you can’t consider it at this time. There are lots of free ways that you can market your business by yourself, but at some point, you may need to consider investing in paid advertising.
There are really only 2 options when marketing online and looking to use paid advertising:
- Search engine targeted adverts i.e. pay per click ads and display network advertising
- Social media advertising – Nearly all of the social media channels offer you paid advertising options now
Search engine advertising can be very effective, but it can be more expensive than social media ads. It depends upon what industry you are in and who you are looking to target as to how competitive your relevant search terms are. This is usually the domain of PPC experts, as it can be particularly difficult to achieve success with a low budget and not much experience.
Social media advertising is much more user-friendly, although if you don’t know who your specific target audience are, it can be pretty much useless! For a modest amount of money, you can usually see some impressive results.
Measure The Results Of Your Activity
No matter what marketing activity you develop for your business, you need to make sure that you can measure it. If not, how will you ever know what is working and what isn’t?
Your goals will tell you what needs to be measured. For example, customer growth isn’t just measured by new customer flow. Customer retention also needs to be a consideration.
Types of data that you can measure to assess your marketing strategy are:
- New customers and customer retention information
- New and returning visitors to your website
- Click through rates (CTR)
- Conversions i.e. sales, subscribers, sign ups
There are literally thousands of potential data sources, so stick with those that you think are important.
The ongoing commitment to marketing strategy
Measuring your results aren’t quite the end of creating your marketing strategy, though!Your business will change, your customers will change and your results will change over time.
Your business will change, your customers will change and your results will change over time. The strategy that you develop is only there to get you started and to work to your first goals.When you get to the time frame that you initially committed to you need to use your data to improve your next approach and test a new strategy.
When you get to the time frame that you specified in your goals you need to check your results. Use this data to improve your next approach and then create and test a new strategy.There is no such thing as a perfect marketing strategy. They can always be improved and your results will only be as good as your last strategy.
There is no such thing as a perfect marketing strategy. They can always be improved and your results will only be as good as your last strategy.
Experiment – Measure – Improve – Repeat – This is how you create an attractive marketing strategy!
What tips would you give for creating a strategy for marketing your business? Leave a comment below