No matter what type of business you’re in it’s important to tell people about it. You know what makes your products or services stand out against the competition but communicating it with your audience can be a challenge. Blogs, pay per click, printed adverts – with so many options it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Making a clear plan will help you decide where to best focus your time and budget and show you what’s working and what isn’t.
A marketing strategy is different from a marketing plan. The strategy informs the overall goals and directions, while the plan is the actions you will take to follow the strategy. Creating a strategy can be a challenge in itself so we’re going to guide you through the basics, so you feel confident getting started.
Benefits Of A Marketing Strategy
“Why do I need a strategy?” we hear you ask. The main benefit is the control it gives you over your business. A clear strategy helps you effectively manage your team, budget and time. It will also help you build your brand and give your business a professional look. Trying a little bit of everything might seem tempting however a scattergun approach often ends up with you bogged down in ineffective marketing that you are struggling to keep up to date.
Creating Your Marketing Strategy
You might think you know your audience, but you can never do too much research. Follow these steps to get you started:
- Write a clear overview of your company including the products and services you offer.
- Get to know your target market. Who precisely makes the decision to buy your product / service and who influences that decision? Use online tools to work out who you need to sell to and learn more about them. What websites to they visit? How do they spend their free time? What are they looking for?
- Look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Chances are they have already done a fair bit of research so you can use this to your advantage. See how you compare to them.
- Understand how your product or service meets your customer’s needs – this is key to informing how you will target them.
- Set yourself goals – when creating a goal make sure it is SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Now you’ve put together the overall strategy it’s time to get more specific. Start by writing a list of specific marketing objectives. Under each objective list all the ways you can think of to achieve them, then use your strategy to see which fit best with your business, audience and goals. Next, create a marketing calendar and start inputting specific tasks – this will help you stay on track and tailor your activities to specific trends, events or holidays that might impact your business or audience.
How To Measure Success
Measuring how successful your strategy has been is almost as important as creating one in the first place. You can use online analytics, questionnaires, and focus groups to find out how your customers found your business and what their experiences were like. Once you’ve got this information you can use this to tweak your plan and make changes to tailor your marketing around what has been successful. Don’t forget to keep a record of what you have tried and what you have changed – this will come in handy in the future.
Know When To Ask For Help
It might sound easy laid out like this, but don’t be tempted to rush through the research and only create a basic strategy. If you feel you haven’t got the time or expertise to create a marketing strategy, consider outsourcing this important task.
At PP8 Marketing we have extensive experience in developing marketing strategies. If you need some help getting started or want someone to fully implement your marketing strategy, we can help. We offer practical, commercially sound marketing support to deliver your plans and get things done. Get in touch today to discuss your needs with us and see what we can do.