No matter the size of your business, a marketing strategy can help to push your brand forward and in front of a wider audience. In this article, we’ve explored what a marketing strategy is, why marketing strategies are important, how to create one from scratch, and what makes an effective plan.
What is a marketing strategy?
Marketing is the process of promoting and selling a product or service, through high-quality and targeted messaging. The purpose of marketing is to demonstrate value to potential customers; digital marketing focusses promotional activity within the online space, and encompasses SEO, digital PR, paid media, and social media.
As such, a digital marketing strategy is a business’ plan of action, which covers expected obstacles and the relevant actions to overcome them, as well as an outline of the resources and time frame required to hit certain metrics of success. Success can come in various forms, depending on your marketing strategy goals and key performance indicators (KPIs); these could be an increase in website visits, leads that you’ve converted into sales, or improved brand awareness.
What is the importance of a marketing strategy?
Creating a marketing strategy is essential for any business hoping to progress their brand and grow their customer base; it helps to simplify the entire sales process, and can be used as a guide to inform you through almost every business decision. Developing marketing strategies can benefit your business in the following ways:
1. Overcoming difficulty
By predicting and understanding the potential marketing pitfalls you may face over the next 3/6/12 month period, you are preparing your business to respond to difficulty with strength.
2. Improving organisation
Clarifying your marketing processes within a clear strategy document ensures that each of your business’ departments or areas are all pulling in the same direction.
3. Efficient budgeting
Developing a marketing strategy allows you to pinpoint the resources you’ll need to achieve certain criteria, and the spend required across each section of the business to hit your goals. Without a marketing strategy in place, it becomes difficult to follow the money.
4. Effective customer communication
By conducting market research, while developing your strategy, you are able to determine customer personas and what your target audience is looking for in a brand. With this knowledge, you are able to better communicate with consumers and offer a more personal experience.
Developing a marketing strategy allows you to develop a consistent form of tracking goals and measuring progress, rather than inefficiently taking each campaign as it comes. It can also help to develop a marketing strategy template, to keep each of your marketing strategies uniform in style.
What is the impact of not having a digital marketing strategy?
Creating a marketing strategy can play a large part in propelling your business forward, and putting your company in front of new audiences. On the flipside, not having a digital marketing strategy can have a huge damaging impact on your progress. Failure to recognise the value of marketing strategies can result in:
1. Uncoordinated spending
Neglecting a marketing strategy can make it more difficult to establish the resources required to achieve marketing goals, which can lead to unnecessary outlay. Having a digital marketing strategy in place, though, allows you to delve into your budget to determine whether your money could be more efficiently spent. For instance, could you coordinate your SEO spend with your PR activity?
Similarly, without a marketing strategy in place, it can be easy to lose track of your sales spend, which can lead to overspending on promotional activity.
2. Difficulty tracking success
Without a digital marketing strategy outlining what constitutes a success according to your measurable metrics, it can be difficult to determine how well your campaigns or activities are doing. By detailing your KPIs, however, you can easily work out where you are, where you need to be, and the work required to improve.
3. Losing out on sales to competitors
By ignoring the need to create a marketing strategy, you are opening your business up to lost revenue; you may miss out on potential proactive sales opportunities, which are likely to fall to your competitors.
How to create a marketing strategy
We’ve discussed the importance of developing your strategy, but what exactly does this entail? We’ve outlined how to create a marketing strategy, including the most importance elements to include.
1. What is your company’s vision?
The first step you should be taking, when developing a marketing strategy, is establishing what your business’ vision is. Only after reflecting on this can you effectively channel your resources. Take the following questions into account, when considering your ambitions:
- What do you want to achieve over the next 3/6/12 months?
- What are your KPIs, and what would constitute as a success?
- Do you have plans to expand your business, and how can you make this a reality?
2. Do you know your target audience?
Before you begin to market your brand, you should first identify who your potential customers are and what they respond positively to. This information allows you to:
1. Tailor your sales strategy to accommodate your audience’s habits
2. Offer a personal service built upon rapport, rather than trying to follow a one-size-fits-all approach
3. Determine and prioritise potential changes to your business model
4. Focus your keyword research for your on-site content, to find topics relevant to your customers’ search habits
3. What are your competitors doing?
Having an awareness of how your competitors are performing can help you to map out your own marketing strategy. The purpose of competitor analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of other brands within your industry, and how you can enhance your own strategy; accordingly, learn from their success and mistakes, identify gaps within the market, and take on a fresh and innovative approach.
4. How can you adopt a cross-channel approach
Cross-channel marketing is a strategy that places your brand at the forefront of the conversation across multiple consumer platforms. Additionally, adopting a cross-channel approach gives you more avenues to capture consumer interest.
Similarly, consider how you can align your organic, paid, and social media marketing efforts. For instance, if a user discovers your website through organic search, but doesn’t convert, you could use targeted ads across social media to remarket your brand.
5. What does your timeline look like?
Whenever you conduct marketing activity, you should always have a time frame in mind, as well as the relevant goals and objectives you hope to hit within this period. A marketing strategy allows you to formalise your goals and makes you accountable for a campaign’s timeline.
Additionally, having a strategy in place allows you to reconvene at the end of your predetermined predicted period to assess the successes, where you could improve, and whether your marketing activity requires additional investment.
6. How can you maximise your spend?
A core reason for writing up a digital marketing strategy is to develop a working budget, that spreads resources as efficiently as possible; otherwise, you’d lose track of spend. Marketing strategies allow you to determine how much spend you’ll need to achieve your goals, and what you expect as a return on your investment.
How to write effective marketing strategies
You know the importance of creating a marketing strategy, and the elements you should include within your plan; the next step is to develop an understanding of how to make your marketing strategy efficient. We’ve offered our top tips for writing effective marketing strategies.
1. Document your marketing strategy
It might sound straightforward, but formally documenting your digital marketing strategy not only gives you a handy resource to refer back to, but it also allows your entire business to access your research and planned approach. This means that everyone is pulling in the same direction, and there won’t be any messages lost in translation.
2. Continue to generate customer data
While it’s important to create initial audience personas, and they definitely play a huge part in developing relevant marketing material, don’t fall into the trap of resting on your laurels; to keep up with your customers’ evolving behaviours and habits, you should continue to collect data that informs you of any further decisions or changes you should be making.
3. Make your marketing material engaging
Your customers are the most important part of your business, because, after all, they’re the ones purchasing your product or investing in your service; they are the driving force of your brand. As such, your marketing strategy should be orientated around your audience, with a focus on how you can engage with them on a personal level across your various platforms.
4. Don’t underestimate the value of content
When working out how to market your brand, don’t underestimate the value of creating engaging and helpful content across your website, which comes from clever copywriting.
Not only will this demonstrate value to your customers, making them more likely to return to your site, buy you’ll also put yourself in a position for long-term SEO success; by demonstrating to search engines, such as Google, that your brand is an authority within your industry, you’ll likely begin to see improvements in your search engine ranking.
5. Make your marketing strategy scalable
When creating a marketing strategy, make sure to include room for growth. Failure to do so can make expanding more difficult, as you have to develop further marketing strategies to adapt. You digital strategy should be malleable enough to cope with increasing team sizes, growth in your customer base, and an accelerated distribution of marketing material.
By developing a marketing strategy template focussed around developing your brand and creating valuable material, you can begin to take your business forward and grow your company. For even more expert guidance and advice, discover all there is to know about marketing your brand or setting up your business. Alternatively, if you haven’t yet created a website for your business, discover how you can purchase your own domain name.