Every business needs a business plan if they want to compete in the market and stay ahead of the cut throat competition. In spite of the many benefits of having a marketing plan, many entrepreneurs fail to realize its importance. Having a marketing plan or strategy is as important as innovating your product.
According to Will Keenan,
“It’s not what you upload; it is the strategy with which you upload”.
Making a strategy is important no matter if you are marketing your product or your content. Peter Drucker has correctly realized the importance of this strategy and said that the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.
A good marketing strategy is responsible for outlining your company’s course for success. However, it differs from your business plan.
A marketing strategy focuses on winning and keeping the customers. It is strategic and includes numbers, statistics, important facts and other relevant data.
A good marketing strategy also includes all the tools and tactics that you will use in your sales to achieve your sales goal. Small businesses usually miss out on creating a marketing strategy as they think that it is an elaborate and complicated process.
However, this is not the case when it comes to creating a marketing strategy from scratch. You don’t have to create an extremely lengthy or beautifully written marketing strategy.
As long as it covers all the essentials of your plan of action such as “what you will sell”, “who will want to buy it”, “how will you differentiate it from others” etc.
I am sure you must have known the importance of a marketing strategy for a business by now. But if you don’t have one, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Here are some easy steps that will help you in building a marketing strategy from scratch.
Perform an analysis of your existing business
Before you start forming a marketing strategy the foremost thing is to evaluate the current position of your business. Pen down a list of your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you may encounter in the market.
Another one of the key factors that you need to consider is to make a list of your market competition and what they offer that you don’t. Describe what you want to market and how your product or service that you are planning to offer to your customers has a better advantage over your competitors in the market.
Since the target audience has become even more segmented and particular like never before, you have to begin formulating your marketing strategy by having a complete knowledge of your market.
While you perform an analysis also mention any external opportunities that you wish to capitalize on. For example, the situation of expanding the market for your product.
Get to know your target customer
The next step is to know your target customers as closely as you can. Because you are designing your marketing strategy keeping them in mind, it is essential that you build a persona of your customer.
Though you may find numerous potential customers in most of the markets if you plan to succeed you need to study the market and determine the best target customers for your product. Once you narrow down to your target customers make a list of their likes, dislikes, habits, choices, gender, age group, income, profession, background etc.
Make a fictional character of your target prospect. It will not only help you place your product accordingly but also help you in creating a lasting relationship with them.
Think of ways to reach your audience
Once you have figured out your target audience it is time to think of all the possible ways to reach out to them.
Does your audience use social media sites likes facebook, twitter etc more or do they respond to official emails more? Where do your target customers go to find a solution to the problem that your product or service can solve? How can you reach them in that particular place and provide them the needed at the solution at the earliest?
Consider for example you are a seller of laptop skins. And your audience uses Google to search for your products. In cases like these, you can take the help of Google Adwords for your marketing strategy.
Also, social media channels that are excessively getting popular are a wonderful platform to reach out to your audience. Brett Farmiloe, who is the founder of internet marketing company Markitors, has advised companies that are just putting their first step in social media to get to know their customers and what platforms they are using.
Image Source: Marketing Land
Try to develop a content strategy that can be used to engage the target audience. Even the market trends of 2017 suggest that content is becoming one of the most popular and customer engaging tools of the year.
Another notable mention is email marketing that can be used to segment your customer as well as reach out to them more widely.
Determine your marketing budget
In order to accomplish this, you need to take out a percentage of your gross sales and put them in your annual marketing budget. It may require self-financing or funding in case of small and medium enterprises, but in return, it does give a magnified return on investments for your business.
Even if you have a tight budget just remember that with a mix and match of various available strategies, you can easily set up a marketing strategy.
There are different ways that you can look at a marketing strategy. It can be your tool guide for reaching out to your customers or simply outline your business principles. The key factor that you need to pay most of your attention to, is finalizing a budget for your marketing plan.
Most businesses fail because they cannot settle on a budget. Try never to stop marketing. If you find yourself exceeding your budget, go back and make crucial changes in your strategy.
Gary Vaynerchuk has correctly said,
“The best marketing strategy ever is Care”.