If you run a business, it’s crucial to understand why marketing strategy is important and how to create one. Your marketing strategy is like a road map that outlines your business objectives, and how you plan to achieve them. To claim success, it’s necessary to have a strategy to compare your results against. Here are some tips to get your strategy off the ground.
- Identify your business objectives
The first step in developing a marketing strategy is to ask yourself ‘what am I hoping to achieve’? For example, if you run a brick-and-mortar business and your goal is to increase foot traffic on a holiday weekend, you might focus on an in-store event or sale. Your objectives will, to some extent, inform which marketing channels you should use.
- Choose your marketing channels
Marketing channels are not all created equal. Wondering whether to focus your efforts on a display campaign, Facebook ads, SEM, or even direct mail (to name just a few options)? Select the channel that caters most to the audience you want to engage with. The way you promote your product or service may be central to your strategy. For example, an informative blog is not just a way to attract customers, but it’s also a product in and of itself.
- Clarify the value of your marketing channels
Be prepared to back up your strategy. If you’re planning an ad campaign, be sure to demonstrate the value of paying for ads. The beauty of digital advertising is that it is easily measured. You know precisely who clicked on your content, shared it, and eventually made a purchase. You can also drill down to understand which platforms drove the best results and use that intelligence to optimize your next campaign.
- Define your target audience
It’s essential that you collect data on your audiences and choose your target customer thoughtfully. You may have a unique strategy for each audience or product, depending on your offerings. Your target audience may share personal demographic features, or alternatively, they might share a pain point (a specific problem that your product or service can address).
- Define key metrics for success
How will you measure the success (or failure) of your strategy? Establish realistic KPIs (key performance indicators) that your team agrees on. There are many KPIs to choose from but be precise. If you’re launching a digital campaign, some common KPIs are: reach, engagement rate, and conversion rate. If you’re not certain how to measure your success, a great way to start is to research industry benchmarks, often published online.
- Write your key messages
With any marketing strategy, your key campaign messages should be consistent and compelling. They should convey the value of your product or the solution you offer to customers. First, answer the question ‘how is your brand unique?’ Then, you may craft distinct messages for different services or various aspects of a product. Incorporate keyword research when writing these messages. What are customers asking for? Ideally, your messages will provide an answer.
- Write a strategy document
Maybe you’ve considered all these factors, but you’re still not sure what your strategy should look like. Doing a simple search for ‘template for marketing strategy’ will tell you there are many ways to approach a strategy document, but there are some key elements. Include your business objectives, specific initiatives, marketing channels, key metrics, and targets. It’s useful to structure your document around a timeline and indicate how you’ll address different levels of the marketing funnel.
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