- Let's talk about your marketing strategy and tactics.
- Find out 4 key elements of marketing strategy.
- Build your marketing strategy!
There are 2.1 million small businesses operating in Australia according to the Australian Parliament statistical snapshot. Of these 1.6 million, 60% of these businesses do not employ any staff. And there is an annual exit rate of 12.9% of these small businesses.
In this article I will illustrate how having a marketing strategy in place will help your business grow and succeed.
Small business owners are often confused where to start with marketing their business, because there are so many tactics available, and it’s easy to jump from one tactic to the next without understanding what’s working and what’s not.
What is a marketing strategy?
Put simply your marketing strategy is your overall plan of action to help you achieve your goals, to promote your product and service, and attract new customers into your business. If you search on Google for marketing strategies, often what you find are a number of tactics. So what are tactics?
What is a marketing tactic?
Your marketing tactics are the marketing activities you undertake to reach your desired goal, achieve your overall plan, and reach your ideal customer. It’s a set of marketing activities. An example of a marketing tactic would be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation etc.
Why it’s important to develop a marketing strategy for your business?
A marketing strategy lays the foundations for your business. By investing your time and effort in building your marketing strategy you will be able to research and identify crucial aspects to your business such as understanding and researching your ideal client, identifying what is your unique point of difference and also what is your core message.
Your strategy needs to be built on relevant research, and planning, this will be the key to your success. If you get your marketing strategy right, you can surround it with just about any set of marketing tactics, once they are actioned and measured consistently.
I have been working with a Kinesiology business for the past 6 months. When I met with the client they had no marketing strategy or plan, had attempted Facebook Ads, but had not seen any results.
Here key objective was to increase the number of clients in her clinic as she had lots of vacancies in her booking system. The starting point was to build a marketing strategy and her marketing plan.
By taking the time to do this, it has resulted in her being booked solidly in the clinic, 2 weeks in advance, and her revenue has increased by 30%.
There are 4 key elements of marketing strategy:
1. Goal setting
The first thing you need to do is set some business, sales and marketing goals for your business. An example of a business goal would be to enter a new market, launch a new product, or increase your market share.
A sales or revenue goal should be calculated monthly, quarterly and annually. Once you have established your revenue goal you will then need to calculate how many new/existing customers it will take you to achieve that monthly goal.
Marketing goals could be, how many website visitors you want to attract each month, and what your conversion rate will be from visitor to lead to customer.
You need to track and review these metrics monthly to ensure you are reaching your revenue targets, and achieving your marketing goals, and getting a return on investment.
2. Define your ideal client/building your buyer personas
When you are just starting out in business it’s very tempting to take any business that comes your way. However, there is actually a unique set of people that you are designed to serve with your specific business you just need to identify who they are and understand how they make purchase decisions.
So how do you identify your ideal client?
I would recommend starting with your existing client base. Rank them in order of the biggest spenders, and then from that list look at who you enjoy working with. Then conduct some market research with about 10 of these clients via phone or face to face and find out:
- Age, gender, demographics, work/business
- Interests, media consumed, what social media channels are they on
- How do they search for and make new product purchase decisions
- How do they weigh up their options
- What problem do they have?
- What do they enjoy about working with your business, what makes you different?
Once you have this information I recommend building a buyer persona based on commonalities and trends in the above information.
If you are a brand new business you will need to do your market research to identify a gap in the market, to test that there is a need for your unique product/service, and then research who your ideal client is, that will demand this product/service. Find a focus group of a 10 – 20 people and test and validate your product or service.
3. Differentiate your business
It’s really important to figure out a way to differentiate yourself from other players in your industry. This is a key part of your marketing strategy. You may already think what you do is unique; unfortunately, competitors often claim to do the exact same thing.
From the research you will have conducted as outlined under identifying your ideal client, you should have found out:
- What made the client choose you over a competitor
- What they love about your service
- And why they remain a loyal customer and tell their family and friends about you.
Your point of difference could be the little unique touches that you do that you are not even aware of. It could be your staff, it could be a unique service/product that you offer, or it could simply be you.
4. Core message & Content plan
Once you have set your goals, narrowly defined your ideal client, and clearly mapped out your point of difference, you then need to build your core marketing message around these and communicate it clearly across all of your marketing channels.
Your core message will convey what you do, who you help, what’s their pain point and how you can help them overcome that pain point, with your unique approach.
In order to plan your content you need to understand:
- What social platforms your ideal clients are on e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.
- What online blogs they are reading?
- How they like to consume content – audio, written blogs, video, eBooks etc.
- Understand where they are in their buying journey as there are 3 stages awareness, consideration and decision
I recommend setting up a spreadsheet with your weekly/monthly content ideas and start researching for blog ideas via Google Alerts, Quora, Buzzsumo and on LinkedIn articles. Find what’s already been written and provide your unique spin on it.
Remember the aim of your content is to help each potential customer along their buyer journey, but providing answers to their questions and helping them find a solution.
Once you have built your marketing strategy and followed points 1 to 4 above, the next step is to build your marketing plan, which really consists of all the touch points you want to appear in the buyers journey, your research will help you with this as you will have identified where they are online, how they search, what content they need etc.
Marketing Channel Mix
There are sixteen marketing channels I suggest finding a mix of the ones that work for you and your business. You need to use touchpoints that reach your ideal client. So there is the point of having a content strategy for Instagram if your ideal client is on LinkedIn and not on Instagram.
So an example of some of these touch points in your marketing plan could be:
- Online Ads – This includes the use of pay per click on Google Adwords, social network ads, and retargeting.
- Social Media Marketing – Building engagement across your social channels such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.
- Email Marketing – Targeted and automated email campaigns that produce email content that is useful and adds value.
- Search Engine Optimisation - This includes optimising your website for search, to generate organic search engine traffic.
- Partner Marketing – Collaborating with strategic partners to work together.
- Public Relations – Activities aimed at receiving coverage in media outlets for your business.
- Referral Marketing – Intentional word of mouth activities such as attending your local small business networking group.
Set a marketing budget
It’s important to allocate a monthly marketing budget to help you implement your plan. Without a sound marketing investment into your business, how do you expect new clients to hear about you?
So, in conclusion, you will see that if you have a well researched and thought out marketing strategy and plan for your business you will providing the right content at the right time to help your ideal client make their purchase decision which is to ultimately choose your business to work with.