The success of running a business substantially depends on the clarity of product/service offering, business model and vision.
If you are crystal clear about whom you serve, what services/products you provide, your revenue model, and have a clear vision of what success means to you, getting the right marketing strategy will tighten up the links between those elements.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure
We all need a sense of direction, and clear goals to work towards to see our professional and personal growth. A strategic marketing plan provides a road map necessary to achieve your goals, whether it’s a higher volume of sales, better brand recognition or the best customer service. So, where do you start?
Marketing strategy is essentially about getting profit clarity. In other words – where should you spend your time to maximise your profit?
Don’t know where to start? We have some useful prompts for you!
Who – is your customer?
What – is your business model, and what are you selling?
Where – does the most profitability come from in your business? Which products or services are the most profitable. Which products drain your energy? Can you scale to leverage the impact of any of my services or products?
Ultimately by keeping your products or services relevant, and adding value to your customers, you will be able to build your success. Here are our ten steps to gaining clarity and building a robust marketing strategy.
1. Analyse your current strategy – (if you have one)
Start with what you’ve got. It’s likely you’ve been tracking your KPIs if so, grab that report and have a look at the numbers as they will reveal your marketing activities. By taking stock of all your marketing efforts, you will see the pattern of what has worked and what hasn’t. Once you have this information in hand, you can start going through the steps of shaping up your marketing strategy.
2. Define your goals & objectives
Before you create a marketing plan, define what you want to achieve. Setting up SMART goals that can be broken down into measurable objectives will give a sense of direction and accountability. You can’t manage it if you don’t measure it! Some examples of SMART goals may be:
- acquiring x new customers within the next six months
- increasing sales by x% over the next 12 months
- gaining x followers on social media during the first six months on the platform
3. Determine your USP
Understanding what makes you different from your competitors starts with understanding your business offering. What does your boilerplate say about you? What are your values? Are they clear to your staff, stakeholders, and clients? Why would clients choose you over your competition? How will you solve their problems?
SWOT analysis should help you understand your strengths and weaknesses better but also provides insights into challenges that may not be within your control.
Creating a value proposition is not easy, but it’s at the heart of your marketing strategy, so don’t skip this step!
4. Clarify your audience
Specifics sell. How well do you know your clients? If your previous marketing activities were based on a vague idea of what your buyers might like, then it’s time to get to know your target market better. Are you selling B2B or B2C? If you are selling to businesses, focus on analysing sector type, geography, size of the company, or position of the decision-makers.
On the other hand, if you sell to customers (B2C), start building specific buyer personas. Be as specific as possible. Figure out your ideal buyer’s gender, age brackets, where do they live, their income level, where do they shop, how they access information, what they read and how often they are online. This information will help you establish the potential size of your marketing and shape your marketing strategy better.
5. Analyse your competition
Competitor analysis plays a vital role in creating a successful marketing strategy.
It might be worth putting yourself against two types of competitors: your close competitor and another one that you aspire to become more like soon.
What are they doing well that you can imitate?
Your starting point may be reviewing your website and products/services you offer. What is your product range, level of service, price, location and experience in the market in comparison with your competitors? Does it need updating?
Then have a look at their social media channels -where does their highest engagement come from? What kind of content do they offer? How do they engage with their audience? Just remember that every business is different and compares differently.
6. Map your messages
Having clarity about your target audience and the problems you solve for them will impact messaging for your business. Your core message should include your values as well as aspects of your UPS that might inspire confidence in a client.
For inspiration, tap into your testimonials, your clients have already said it, use the language that resonates with them.
7. Mind your budget
Your marketing strategy will depend on who your target audience is, where they hang out and on your budget brackets.
From direct mail marketing, building chatbots, creating blogs to determining the right social media platforms, types, and frequency of posts, it will require time and testing.
Your marketing efforts will vary, depending on the social media network you’re using. Understanding how these platforms can be integrated into a marketing strategy is essential. To complement your organic marketing efforts, you might consider paid advertising options, or CPC, E-books, webinars, podcasts and influencers engagement.
Feeling overwhelmed? Relax. A rule of thumb is to start small. We recommend finding one or two social media platforms and mastering them first.
8. Plan everything out
Let the fun start! Consistency is a secret sauce to your marketing strategy. Once you’ve determined your WHAT, WHO and HOW you can start planning your marketing activities. Having a timeline will provide you with two extra determinants: measurability and accountability over a period of time and will align it with your monthly, quarterly and yearly goals.
Hello Excel! If you want to make it simple, keep your calendars separate. Social media calendar should only record those activities. Create another general marketing calendar for other published content: blog posts, email campaigns or e-books, and of course make sure you keep track of all of your KPIs.
9. Measure your efforts
If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed. Your future marketing strategy will depend on the effectiveness of your current efforts. Make sure you review the analytics from your website, social media, and other marketing materials. Regularly track conversion rates, examine trends and experiment. Has your engagement and lead generation changed? Are you achieving your goals? Don’t be afraid to make tweaks and changes as necessary.
10. Stay current
As nothing is set in stone, your strategy is likely to develop over time while your business grows. Follow industry news and newest trends, and keep an eye on your competition. Above all, engage with your audience to learn about them, gain their trust and serve them better.
Lastly, keep in mind that creating a successful marketing strategy takes time and effort. But if you’re consistently creating valuable content for the right audience at the right time, it will pay off.