6 Steps to Creating an Effective Marketing Strategy
Winging it just doesn’t work when it comes to marketing – ever. You need a strategy, one that is well thought out and you need an action plan. That means you can’t just say – yea, I’m going to toss some posts up on Facebook, pay for a couple ads in the newspaper and hope I sell something. Trust me that “plan” will more than likely fail.
Here’s what you should consider (hint hint – what you really need to do right now!)
#1: Figure out who you are – why do people buy from you?
What sets you apart from the competition – what makes you special. No, you can’t say “Because we are awesome, have great customer service and well, we are awesome!”.
It’s time to write your value proposition statement, your narrative statement, and your mission statement – whatever you would like to call it. It’s time to write it. Here’s how to get started – write these things down and from the “words collected” formulate your statement.
- What is your niche market – what do you do differently than your competition?
- List some words that describe your company culture
- List some words that describe your product or service
- What are your company’s SWOTs – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
- What are you selling: Convenience, Quality, Cheapest Price – you can’t do it all – decide what it is and Rock it!
- What do your customers really want?
All of your messaging & content will be centered around this statement.
#2: Who are your customers?
I call this determining your “Target Client Profile” – again let’s make a list:
- Make a list of your top customers and your favorite customers – they could be different. Your top customers are the ones you are generating the most revenue from. Your favorite customers are the ones you love and wouldn’t mind spending happy hour with on a Friday afternoon.
- Determine the demographics of both these groups: Age, Sex, Socio-Economic Background, Location, lifestyle – etc. the more detailed the better
- B2B folks – are they in a certain business niche? Size of company, # of employees etc.
- B2C folks – How much money do they make, what types of cars to they drive, what type of jewelry do they wear – again – the more intel you have the better
Now – take all that information and create your perfect customer profile – ones that pay you the most AND the ones you like the best.
All of your messaging & content will be targeted to this group.
#3 What do you want to Achieve? – what are your Marketing goals & KPIs?
This is pretty simple – what do you want your marketing to do for you? Increase sales by 20%, increase brand awareness for a new product by 10%, hire new employees? It can be whatever you want – but it has to be measurable as we will assign KPIs to it – or Key Performance Indicators. This will tell you if your marketing is working or not!
All of your goals will be set around getting your relevant content about your mission to your target client profile.
#4 Determine your Customer’s Journey
You will want to have a marketing strategy that targets all stages of the customer’s journey
- Investigative stage – your prospects are considering buying what you sell and they are out there getting information
- Consideration stage – they have narrowed it down to a couple vendors but haven’t made a decision
- Negotiation Stage – This is the buying stage – the deal isn’t closed yet
- The Buy – enough said
- Post Buy – keeping them happy and turning them into Brand Evangelists and referral sources
Look at your business – and look at your customers’ journey. Are there certain triggers for each section. If you are in retail – we all know Black Friday is a BUY day – but leading up to that day – how will you touch your prospects during those other stages? What is your messaging? Who is your target client?
#4 Determine your Budget
This will vary based on your goals and your business. There is NO magic number here. You can definitely market on a budget – but you can also make a bigger splash with a lot of dollars. Think Geico
#5 Determine how you will get your messaging OUT
What “channels” will you use to get your messaging out. Based on your Target Client Profile and your mission – who will you be targeting in each of these venues (you don’t have to use all of them!). Be conscious of your budget – Super Bowl Ads might not be realistic! Ideally you want a good marketing mix – in the end, if the content isn’t relevant to the audience, it won’t matter where you put it!
- Digital Marketing
- Social Media
- Print Media
- Word of Mouth
#6: Set up your Editorial & Content Calendars
I like to be proactive, it’s so much easier that way!
For our clients here at Red Barn, we:
- Create a 1 year calendar – with an overview of our content strategy that aligns to our mission and is targeted at our Target client profiles
- Create Quarterly buckets for content ideas and KPI’s around them
- Create monthly content calendars – this is specifically what we are going to post on social, blogs to be written, web content, radio content, bill boards, etc.
- Determine the workflow on how it will all happen
- Leave room for opportunistic happenings etc.