Almost all business owners understand how vital it is to have a business plan in place, but often don’t realise just how important it is to create a marketing plan to sit alongside this too. As part of your company strategy you need to understand how you can market your business in the right way to achieve your sales goals and win customers.
In this article I’m going to talk you through how you can develop an effective marketing strategy that’s right for your business, covering:
- What a marketing strategy is
- How you can identify suitable marketing goals for your business
- Putting your strategy in place
- Useful tips
What is a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is a plan that can be put in place to promote your products and services to your customers, and potential customers, and aids you in growing your business. This could be a collection of activities, either online or offline, that helps a business move closer to its goals.
Without a marketing ‘plan of action’ there is always a risk that a company could become directionless, and as we all know it’s important to identify goals, otherwise what are we aiming towards? Your marketing strategy is there to map out what your company objectives are and how you are going to execute them.
How to identify suitable marketing goals for your business
There are a lot of factors that can be considered when trying to plan how you’d like to execute your company marketing, no matter what industry you may be in. It’s important to look at things from all angles to figure out what could work best for you, and these pointers should help you get off to a good start.
1. Define your company’s USP (unique selling point)
What makes your company different? Try to think about your products and services, and the benefits they offer, to form your unique message that you can use to promote yourself.
2. Identify your target audience
Depending on who your target customers are may affect the type of marketing methods that you should use. Make sure you carry out research on your target audience to identify trends and habits that you could aim your marketing towards. For example, if you are a B2B retailer targeting small businesses, you should market yourselves and your products as more ‘affordable’ than others as you are working with companies that may have smaller budgets.
3. Analyse your competitors
Research and monitor your competition in your industry and see what marketing tactics they are executing that you could learn from. This could be anything from their brand, product price points, trends in marketing methods and so on. Always try and get one step ahead of your competitors and ensure your offering is different to theirs.
4. List marketing tactics
The best thing about planning your marketing strategy is brainstorming. This is your opportunity to get your team involved, and throw fresh ideas out there. It’s all about trial and error, and there’s nothing to stop you testing some tactics out until you find the ones that seem to work best for you. Start pulling a list together of marketing ideas – this could be anything from a social media campaign, offline direct marketing or exhibitions and events you’d like to attend that you think could be beneficial.
Once you’ve followed all of the above, you should then have a marketing plan ready to carry out.
Putting your strategy into place
As you begin to implement your marketing strategy within the business, one thing you’ll need to think about is what resources you have available to carry out your planned marketing activities. For example, if you are going to share responsibilities amongst colleagues for managing specific marketing activities, you’ll need to make sure you have enough resources available to accommodate this.
Depending on the type of marketing tactics you have in mind, some of these may come with a fee. That’s why it would be beneficial to allocate certain budgets to your marketing, which could be something that starts off small with room to grow as you begin to see results. There are various marketing methods that wouldn’t incur a cost, however if you’re interested in attending networking events, exhibitions or paid adverts online this is often where you’d start to see costs introduced.
Planning & recording
As you dive into your new marketing activities, make sure you have something prepared to record everything into as you go so you’re able to track progress and results over time. It’s useful to get ahead of yourself with any planned marketing activities and produce assets or content in plenty of time before you’d like to execute it. For instance, if one of your marketing goals is to publish three blog articles on your website per month, try and get any content and image assets produced a month before so there’s no last-minute action required.
Review & feedback
Online and offline marketing can be known to change with the trends we face this day and age, so it’s important that you can be adaptable when it comes to your marketing. I’d suggest reviewing your marketing activity and future plans on a monthly or quarterly basis, to:
- Analyse the success of your marketing activities to date – what results have you gained from them? How has it benefitted your company? Has it helped meet overall company goals?
- Use this as an opportunity to get feedback – from your colleagues, to customers and even members of the public. Ask people for their comments on what marketing material you’ve been producing to date to get their suggestions for any improvement.
Useful tips moving forward
A lot of people can often think that marketing is difficult, but that’s not true. All you really need to kick start a successful marketing strategy are some ideas, a place to concentrate, and a supportive team that will help you run with it and have the same drive for it that you do.
To summarise, here are some useful tips that you need to remember moving forward whilst your marketing strategy starts to take shape:
- Don’t forget your target audience
- Always document your strategy and activities – otherwise it didn’t happen
- Keep up with online trends and what people are talking about that you could use to your advantage
- Get your team involved – don’t let marketing become your responsibility alone
- Don’t be afraid to try new things
- Keep an eye on your competitors
We can help you develop a successful online marketing strategy for your business – chat to us today on 01709 470001 if you’d like to know more. Alternatively, you can request a quote for our online marketing services.