There’s no point in investing time and money into starting a new business venture only to discover that no customers are buying from you. That’s why a marketing strategy is essential in any business. Creating one from scratch, however, is easier said than done.
As a result, many aspiring and new entrepreneurs aren’t putting the needed effort into building a strong marketing plan for their business ideas.
Some companies also cut corners on planning their marketing strategies. They treat marketing as something like a cost center instead of a revenue driver.
Fortunately for you, everything you need to know to succeed in your marketing strategy is in this guide. If that’s something that interests you, then read on.
What’s Strategic Marketing All About?
First, you have to understand what the term marketing strategy means. This seemingly simple term can have a number of different definitions, so delineating how this guide exactly defines the concept is important.
A marketing strategy describes how businesses understand their markets and the processes or methods they carry out to influence profitable customer action.
Also Read: How to Write a Marketing Email?
The Difference Between Marketing Strategies And Marketing Tactics
Most people think about the visible executions of businesses that they see in their lives every day when talking about marketing. They think about ringless voicemail, blog posts, television commercials, billboards, and social media ads from their favorite brands.
Simply saying, the stuff that marketers create is what marketing strategy is all about based on what people commonly think. The truth is that marketing strategy is the planning behind all those visible executions.
Business owners like you have to understand that tactics are the execution of marketing strategies and aren’t the strategies themselves, unless, of course, you want to rely purely on luck and brute force in achieving your business objectives.
How To Build A Marketing Strategy?
Without a marketing strategy, your business runs the risk of actually becoming directionless. If that happens, you’ll just waste money on channels that don’t really bring results.
You’ll end up losing out on potential clients to your competitors. In addition, you’ll miss the chance of creating a deeper understanding of your company’s customer base.
The good news is that coming up with an effective marketing strategy isn’t too hard. Here are the steps that you should follow to do strategic marketing right:
1. Know Who Your Target Customers Are
Creating a buyer persona is one of the common ways to go about knowing your target customers. You can be sure that your marketing efforts are directed toward the people who are actually showing interest in what you’re offering if you create effective buyer personas.
When the creation of buyer personas goes wrong, you’ll end up like someone yelling at random people walking on the street using a megaphone, without really knowing who you’re trying to sell to.
To create an effective buyer persona, you have to visualize your customers. Ask them incisive questions, such as the following:
Why do they buy your product?
What type of experience did they want to have?
When purchasing your product, what concerns might they have?
Answers to these questions will tell you about the behaviors and motivations of your target customers. You can use the information to create a summary statement from the perspective of the persona.
2. Use SWOT Analysis To Understand The Competition
The next step is to understand the competition. It’s obvious enough that for your marketing strategy to succeed, you have to do better than your competitors. You can understand the competition by identifying the following:
Strengths – Areas or aspects where your products or services excel
Weaknesses – Things that make your products or services vulnerable to competition and where competitors are likely to strike you down
Opportunities – Where and how you can improve to take your business to new heights
Threats – Diminishing demand, increased competition, murky economic forecasts, shifting market trends, and other external factors that could impact your success negatively
The SWOT analysis is a time-tested and effective, though an age-old, framework that business owners can apply in two ways:
Marketing Strategy – Where could you improve in your current marketing execution? Is there anything with what you’re doing right now in which your competitors are doing better?
Business As A Whole – You can also use SWOT analysis to understand your business as a whole. Once you do understand your business, you can then focus on doing what has to be done to succeed.
3. Choose Your Marketing Channels
There are many ways to get your marketing message right in front of your prospects. You have to decide which ones you’ll be taking advantage of.
Of course, you could opt for the traditional advertising route. That means sticking advertisements on newspapers and on billboards. Note, however, that search engine optimization, content marketing, and other more modern and ever-evolving tactics are also worth the try.
Whatever route you head down to, it’s important that you know the channels you’ll be using for you to turn the audience into prospects, then customers.
Note that going for a ‘scattergun’ approach isn’t a good idea no matter how tempting it is to try everything at once. If you do that, you’ll be wasting precious resources on marketing channels that don’t guarantee results.
Therefore, investing effort and time into a specific channel only because you really feel like you should use it is a mistake that you have to avoid.
Finding the right channel for your marketing message will take a bit of experimentation and time. Not getting it right from the get-go is normal, so don’t stress yourself out too much.
Breaking down all of the potential channels into three sections first is the best approach for you to figure out the optimal marketing channels for your strategy. The three sections are:
Owned Media – These are the channels that you own or have full control over. These include your blog, website, or email list.
Earned Media – These refer to the organic exposure your content receives through outside sources. Earned media can be any coverage from the press, results of your SEO efforts, or guest posts on other websites.
Paid Media – These are an effective mechanism that you can take advantage of to generate more owned media exposure and win more earned media.
A good example of paid media is an SMS text blast app or platform that allows you to connect with customers on a massive scale and engage them immediately to raise awareness as part of your brand-building efforts. Just make sure that you don’t throw money at it continuously, especially if it isn’t giving you the results you’re looking for.
When creating a marketing strategy, the ratio of 2:1:1 is a good rule of thumb to follow. It denotes using two owned media, one earned media channel, and one paid media channel.
4. Create A Marketing Budget To Get Your Finances In Order
If you don’t get your budget in order, executing the marketing strategy you’ve prepared will prove to be difficult. That’s why you have to create a marketing budget. It makes sense since you can only make money in a business when you spend money initially.
Knowing how much money is available in your budget and how much of it is getting spent where is crucial.
Having a marketing budget and actually getting your finances in order will help you make things happen in your business and know how much return you’ll be getting from each dollar spent on marketing.
5. Break Down Your Sales Funnel
Doing a quick breakdown of the sales funnel that your business will use will help in fleshing out the important details of your marketing strategy. You can figure out which particular marketing channels and tactics are right for you.
Every sale funnel will follow the AIDA format at its most basic form. AIDA means attention, interest, desire, and action.
Here are the things you should be doing in your sales funnel:
- You have cold leads at the top end of your funnel. These are the people who are completely unaware that your brand exists. The goal here is to grab the awareness and interests of these cold leads.
- Generate a sense of desire to turn cold leads into hot leads after capturing their awareness and interest.
- Ask them to perform a certain action by capitalizing on the desire you’ve just generated. It can be buying a product from you or just subscribing to your business’s email marketing
6. Set Your Marketing Goals
Everything with marketing actually starts with goals. That’s because you should be measuring success relative to what you really want to achieve.
These goals have to follow the SMART framework:
- Specific – Marketing goals are tied to hard numbers.
- Measurable – Marketing goals should be trackable and quantifiable with data.
- Achievable – Marketing goals should be just within reach.
- Relevant – Marketing goals should be meaningful to your business.
- Time-Bound – Marketing goals should meet a deadline.
So, that’s the whole process that you have to follow to develop an effective marketing strategy.
If you want your business idea to succeed, building a killer marketing strategy is essential.
You’re not going to achieve those winning sales numbers if no one is aware of your business, no matter how excellent your product or service is.
The truth is that customers don’t just turn up magically out of the blue; business owners have to fight for their attention.