Whether you are starting a new business or updating your current one, a marketing strategy is a great way to visualize how you are reaching customers. A study from Smart Insides asked 604 businesses if they have a clear marketing strategy and only 34 percent said theirs is created and implemented. That’s a small percentage of businesses getting the most out of their marketing. If creating a marketing strategy is daunting or intimidating, we have four areas of your business you need to know before you start.
Before you begin planning, define your brand: what you do, how you do it, and why. Reflect heavily on the purpose of the company and you should easily answer and understand the what, how, and why questions. To ensure you are staying within your brand’s message, have your marketing strategy reiterate your mission statement. Make sure you are creating an entirely unique plan. Once you have a clear understanding of your company’s purpose, review all your current marketing and see what is demonstrating it right and what does not match up.
Not only do you want to know the ins and outs of your brand, but also what’s going in and out. Meaning, events and/or products that would create great publicity and marketing campaigns. Find ways to play with your company and have exciting and interesting ways to get customers involved. Ask questions like, “is there an event we can market,” or “is there a new product/idea we can play up”?
Find out who you are marketing to. Delve into your marketing data analytics and find out the demographics of people already looking at your company. Once you have an idea of the age group and location, see what they most often interact with. If you’re not comfortable using data to build your marketing plan on, read this article courtesy of Salesforce. If you are not obtaining the ideal demographics, research how to better get them interested in your company; and if you have the financial abilities, hire a marketing team who can attain this information for you and work it into your strategy.
Foundr recommends creating a buyer persona to understand who your target audience is. Find answers to about your audience’s location, age, gender, income, interests, language, and motivations. The best way to create/understand a buyer persona is to ask your current customers some of these questions.
Social media, email marketing, survey, and selling platforms are not one size fits all. Certain platforms will work better for your business than others. For example, if you are a growing company with numerous job opportunities, you are more like to create and use a LinkedIn profile. However, if your focus is on selling a product, you are more likely to benefit from Facebook and/or Instagram.
It is best to do your research on each platform and take advantage of free trials. Most social media platforms are 100 percent free, so definitely take advantage of those. Other great platforms you may or may not need like Mailchimp, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Shopify have a monthly/yearly cost. If you are looking to keep spending low, opt for free media platforms that get your business on the market but saves you money. Read this Forbes article for more on social media platforms.
With social media and a variety of outlets to find companies, it may seem difficult to stand out amongst similar brands. However, it helps to see what your competitors are doing with their marketing and campaigns. Research companies similar to yours and ones reaching a similar audience. Seeing what they do with their marketing and what strategies work for them will inspire your marketing plan. A great little mantra for this is “if you can’t join them, beat them at their own game.” Entrepreneur has a great article that explains what it means to dominate your marketing competitors.