You can’t sell a product or service without undertaking some form of marketing. And you can’t succeed at marketing unless you have a meaningful plan in place.
Do Your Research First
There’s no point writing a marketing strategy if you haven’t done some careful research. The deeper you go here, the more you will understand about yourself as a business and your customer. It’s then easier to bring the two together and forge the path forward.
There are several areas you need to cover with your research:
- Competitor analysis: What your competitors are up to will not only give you good ideas it will highlight your own strengths and weaknesses and where you stand in the marketplace.
- SWOT analysis: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relating to your business need to be well understood if you are going to develop in the future.
- Research your audience: This includes carrying out research into your buyer personas and how these relate to the buying cycle.
Set Your Goals
Once you have armed yourself with all this useful research, you can begin to set your goals. These should be realistic, not necessarily easy, but achievable all the same. It’s important not to overwhelm yourself here – pick a couple of strong goals and perhaps three or four supporting ones.
Identify Your USP
Key to any marketing strategy is what makes you unique. What is it that you do which sets you apart from the competition? Your unique selling point or USP needs to be front and centre of your marketing communication.
Key Elements of a Marketing Strategy
Ideally, you want to create a document that is easy to read and simple to understand. That’s a challenge when there are so many different channels and media threads to incorporate. Here are just a few of the main ones:
- Identify Your Audience: You need to understand your potential customers, what their persona is and how they fit into the buying cycle.
- Branding: While a strong, clear brand is important, so is consistency. You need to have a strategy for maintaining your branding across different media
- Content Creation: Whether it’s video, blogging, text on your website, social media posts or infographics, your content needs to be appropriate for the audience and marketing activity. Different types of content will suit different stages of the buyer’s journey from awareness through to the decision to purchase and you need to define this.
- Your Website: This is usually the foundation of any successful marketing strategy and getting it right is important. Your website is more than just a pretty looking set of pages – it’s the engine room that should drive conversions and sales.
- Social Media: Free to use and with the opportunity to reach a huge audience, a good social media strategy is indispensable to modern businesses.
- Email: It might seem a little old-fashioned to some but email marketing is still a really powerful tool that delivers a great ROI. Crafting the right messages and growing your marketing list are vital parts of developing a meaningful strategy.
No marketing strategy is worth a dime if you can’t tell what success looks like. Setting KPIs or key performance indicators is important as is having the right metrics in place for each channel. There are plenty of tools that allow you to measure online activity nowadays which is a good thing.
What is more challenging, however, is understanding what these all mean for your business. Your strategy should include what you want to measure, why you need a particular metric and how you are going it use it to define or challenge your future strategy.
The final thing to say about writing a marketing strategy is that it’s not a document that is set in stone. It’s a guide rather than a bible and you need to return to it regularly and update it if needed, especially as your business begins to grow and you can afford to add more marketing activity to the mix.
If you would like help building your marketing strategy from the experts,