Building a solid marketing strategy is essential if you want your business to succeed. No matter how great your product or service is, if no one knows about it in the first place, you’re not making any sales. Customers don’t just magically turn up out of nowhere, you have to earn the right for their attention.
This might take you anywhere between one afternoon, to a whole month of doing nothing but constantly developing your strategy. But rest assured, once it’s done you’ll know exactly which direction to move forward and how to get there.
What does your marketing strategy look like? Do you have a sales funnel you’re particularly fond of? How did you determine your target customer? Let us know in the comments below!
Choose Your Channels
There is a wide variety of ways to get your marketing message in front of your prospects, more than ever, in fact. You can go the traditional advertising route and stick ads in newspapers and on billboards, or you can try more modern and ever-evolving tactics like SEO and content marketing. Whatever route you head down, you need to figure out what channels you’ll be using in order to turn your audience into prospects and then into customers.
While it might be tempting to try everything at once and go for a “scattergun” kind of approach, all you’ll be doing is wasting precious resources on channels that aren’t guaranteed to work
In order to get the return on investment you want from your marketing strategy, it’s important to make deliberate, informed decisions about what channels provide the best ways to reach your target customers.
Remember, don’t invest effort into a particular channel just because you feel like you should be using it. It will take a little time and a bit of a feeling around in order to find the right marketing channel for you, so don’t stress if you don’t get it right from the get go.
The best approach to figuring out the right channels for your marketing strategy is to first break down all of your potential channels into three sections: owned, earned, and paid media.
It’s best to think of these three different types of media as three legs of a stool, with each type playing an important role in your digital marketing strategy, and all three needing to work together in order to cover all your marketing bases.
A good general rule of thumb is to follow the ratio of 2:1:1 when you’re starting off with your marketing strategy:
– 2 owned media channels
– 1 earned media channel
– 1 paid media channel
Owned media are the channels you have full control over, meaning your email list, your website, or your blog for example. In basic terms, any branded content that you produce yourself can be considered owned media.
The reason you want at least two channels of owned media in your marketing strategy is so you don’t ever need to rely on anyone else’s platform in order to promote your brand. Owned media should form the backbone of your digital marketing strategy.
This is why, at Foundr, we put a ton of effort into building our email list and growing our Instagram followers. These are channels we have complete control over, that reach our target audience, and generate us the majority of our leads and sales.
Put simply, earned media refers to the exposure your content receives organically through outside sources. Think of things like guest posts on other sites, your SEO efforts, or any coverage you receive from the press.
With earned media, what you’re doing is essentially tapping into word-of-mouth marketing. You’re promoting your content through other publications and using their influence to reach your target customer.
“Earned media is one of the most cost-effective ways to raise brand awareness and—if it’s done well—increase sales.” – Gini Dietrich
Whether it’s focusing on building partnerships with influencers, or looking to build your own level of influence with guest posts, identify at least one earned media channel you can use to reach your audience.
Unsurprisingly, paid media can be defined as any media that you pay for. Think of things like Google Adwords, Facebook ads, sponsored updates on Twitter or Instagram. Traditionally speaking, this would also include TV or radio commercials, or print advertising.
Paid media is how you generate more exposure for your owned media and win more earned media. While you have a certain amount of control with paid media, you want to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of continuously throwing money at it, if it’s not generating the results you want.
The best way to find the paid media channel that works for you is to set yourself a budget and try different platforms at once. After a couple weeks of testing, see what’s working best and double down on that particular channel.
Break Down Your Sales Funnel
A great way to help you flesh out the details of your marketing strategy and figure out what the right marketing tactics and channels are for you is to do a quick break down of your sales funnel.
At its most basic, every sales funnel follows the AIDA format of: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Source: Smart Insights
At the top end you have your cold leads, people who are completely unaware of your brand’s existence, and you want to figure out how to grab their awareness and interest. Once you do, you’ll need to figure out a way to turn them into hot leads by generating a sense of desire. And finally, you’ll capitalize on that desire by asking them to perform a specific action, whether it’s subscribing to your email list or purchasing a product.
What you want to do is break down each channel you’ve chosen to focus on in your marketing strategy and map out your customer’s journey through your sales funnel.
By breaking down your customer’s journey, you can find out the weakest points of your sales funnel, and whether there is anything more you can be doing to ensure you’re moving enough leads through to the final action stage.
This exercise can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to figure out what marketing tactics you want to use and where to implement them.
Create SMART marketing goals
Now that you understand the bare bones of your marketing strategy, let’s figure out what success means to you.
It’s all well and good to say that you want more exposure, or that you want more customers, but you want to define your goals a little more narrowly than that. How can you tell that your marketing strategy is working if you don’t know, exactly, what success is in the first place?
Some examples of poorly defined goals :
– I want to rank number one in Google.
– I want a bigger email list.
– I want more awareness of my product launch.
These are no good. They have no workable timeline, they lack specificity and actionable steps, and worst of all, there’s no way to track or measure them.
To get over this pitfall, we always advocate creating SMART marketing goals. In other words, goals are that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely.
Source: Smart Insights
By having SMART goals in place you can make sure that your marketing goals align directly with your business goals. They’re easy to follow and something that your whole team can get behind and, most importantly, instead of relying on your gut you now have definitive metrics you can use to track the success of your marketing strategy.
This means creating marketing goals that look more like this:
– I want to grow my mailing list to 50,000 subscribers by the end of the year.
– I want to create rank number one for the keyword “entrepreneur” by 2018.
– I want to track and measure the number of downloads and sales I receive from a series of downloadable ebooks over a period of three months.
By creating goals like these, you’ll be able to work toward something and make sure that your marketing strategy is kept focused and on the right track at all times. It’ll also give you a clearer idea of whether or not your tactics are working and if you possibly need to change or adjust your strategy over time.