The Ultimate Guide to Developing a Killer Marketing Strategy.
A Marketing Strategy is a foundation of how you approach prospective clients and how you position yourself in the market. Marketing is not a standalone activity, distinguished from all other aspects of the business. Rather, marketing is a joint effort that involves collaboration from creative, financial, sales, and technical departments.
It’s not always obvious which path to take that is where a marketing strategy comes in. Companies need strategies to connect them with their audience: in order to deliver personalised, seamless and memorable content, that drive engagement, transaction and loyalty.
The future of brands lies in ideas that combine the power of storytelling with the creative use of technology, to motivate consumer behavior and engagement.
This guide will walk you through the fundamentals of a Marketing Strategy. The goal, Omni-Channel Marketing, Tools you can use, Marketing channels E-mail Marketing and Inbound Marketing.
Goal Marketing Strategy
It might sound boring and yes, it comes with a bit or work, but it is essential for your business. A good marketing strategy covers all the areas of your selling activities and helps each one support the next one. The strategy is making sure all your departments are aware of what each is doing and what comes next. Understanding how to create an integrated marketing strategy will help you make better individual decisions regarding specific marketing goals and tactics.
Everything you do and plan should be customer-centric. Nothing can be achieved without you considering your customer’s needs. To engage with your audience means interacting with them to build a relationship between customer, brand and the business.
The engagement can happen in different ways through social media, your own website, live chats, forums, review portals and many more. A high degree of customer interaction is crucial especially for social media in our digital age. A variety of different touchpoints and contact options in the customer journey is essential.
Your business will not only receive the feedback you can also control costumer’s interaction with creating relevant content and values for them. It is all about the customer empowerment which creates different values which aren’t always focused on conversions or sales. Keep your client happy and listen to them.
Sounds hard but it isn’t. Be aware of changes around you and keep tabs on the customer journey. Don’t be shy in adjusting but keep the customer in its center. It is important to leave a good impression and experience for your clients.
Have you noticed that there are some brands which seem to get famous overnight? Well, it is not always the case that there is a big campaign or an even bigger budget behind. Sometimes all you need is a great idea and some creativity. Fact is, it doesn’t need to cost that much.
Creating brand awareness is essential in promoting your business or product and it is crucial especially during a brand’s earliest days as it can decide its place in the market share. Brand awareness is that share of attention you need, to take your brand to the next level.
When consumers starting to familiarize with a brand or even associate the brand with a product you will realize that your brand awareness has upraised. That is a good sign. You can use channels such as social media, events, PR and many more which will help you to create the brand image you are longing for. Remember to be consistent throughout all the channels and use the same branding and CI (corporate identity) in all your advertising. Only then a customer can recognise your brand.
How to set Goals?
How exciting – you are about to set your goals. That is by far the most rewarding part of the strategy. Why? Because each goal you achieve will raise your self-confided. Setting goals defines your long-term vision and gives you a short-term motivation. What does that mean? It means that you can measure your achievements and it gives you a great overview of your current development.
For each objective, you establish you need to allocate the time and all the resources needed to fulfill it. That way you can be as effective as possible, and it also measures your success. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it is important that you keep the focus on the goals and start with the big picture.
First, identify the large-scale goals and after you can start breaking them down into smaller targets. Once you set time, budget and resources to each of the goals you are ready to go.
Have you ever checked the product reviews while you were actually in-store holding the product you are interested in? That is where Omni-Channel Marketing appears. The term “Omni-channel” refers to a significant shift: marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media.
Omni-Channel Marketing has become key to marketing success as consumers engage with companies in a variety of ways. The challenge for organizations is to make all of these interactions and experiences as seamless, consistent and effective as possible for the customers.
Organisations must employ omni-channel marketing methods and strategies in order to meet customers where they are. Through the various channels and devices consumers use, companies need to send more personalized communications in order to keep up with their competitor.
Companies that are most successful with omni-channel marketing view it through the eyes of the customer. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution.
According to Google research, 90% of multiple device owners switch between an average of three per day to complete a task. That’s why, increasingly, companies are guiding their prospects and leads through the customer journey with an omni-channel strategy.
What used to be a one or two-stop shop is now a journey that can take days, times, locations and can be done through different channels. Want to learn more about Omni-Channel Marketing? Download this free powerpoint presentation.
When creating a marketing strategy for your brand or company it is key to always keep your target audience in mind. Who are your potential customers? Why would your products or services be beneficial to them? What are their interests? Where do they hang out?
To help you understand your customers in a better way you can create personas. By gaining a deeper understanding of their behavior, purchase intentions and digital habits we can create segmentation in our big group of customers.
This offers you a better insight in how to develop a marketing strategy that is catered for your target audience and gives you the opportunity to create the right message for the right people, in the channels that would be best to gain their attention.
When creating personas there are a couple of questions we should consider that could be of importance for your marketing strategy.
What is their occupation?
What is their family status?
What is education?
What age group do they belong in?
What are their interests?
What social media habits do they have?
What shopping preferences do they have?Based on the research you conducted you can start filling out these questions and give shape to the archetypes you think your customers would fit into. This will help you in your next step when developing a customer journey.
To create these personas, we developed some handy ready-to-use templates. You can pick from a couple of characters that we created, and just fill out the information that you collected about your customers based on your research. We even filled out a couple of examples to get you on the right path!
Your customers are experiencing a certain need, a problem or are just interested in buying a certain product. And it is that need that you want to tap into as a brand, and make sure they get to know the product or service that would satisfy that need.
Or maybe it goes the other way, and the customers get exposed to your product before they even experience a certain need. Both events mark the start of a customer journey, the process your customers go through before buying.
The most basic customer journey usually consists of the following steps:
The Awareness Stage where your prospects realize they have a problem or need
The Consideration Stage where they research ways to solve the problem
The Buying Stage where they make the decision to buy a product or solution
As a brand, you want to make sure your brand can be found when your customers are in the consideration stage. Or you might even want to reach them before they reach the Awareness Stage. But how do we reach them in these different stages?
Where will they be most likely to go look for a solution? How do we convince them to choose your product over that of the competition? And it doesn’t even stop there – because your customer’s journey isn’t finished once they bought something.
How do you follow up on them? How do we ensure their satisfaction once they’ve converted?
Sounds complex? Mapping out a customer journey is a great way to visualize their buying behavior along the conversion funnel. By mapping out their problem, the mediums they use to research, the way they will interact with your website, social media or advertisement, we can predict how they move to the sales funnel.
We created a useful tool to map out your customer journey in a visual way, including personas, their research behavior, preferred channels and emotional journey that goes along with it.
Without a strategy, your business will be floating around, without a set course to follow and destination to reach. We need some direction, a clear guide that will help us achieve our goals.
When we develop a business strategy we create an overview of long-term goals, our target market, our competition, financial objectives, the direction we want to head in and the threats we will be exposed to. We get to know our key-customers and how our products will help them. And we will explore the channels of distribution to reach them.
By developing a strategic plan, we align our vision and mission with our ongoing activities, marketing efforts, and processes that the organization goes through. And with this in mind, we create a marketing strategy, a content strategy or an advertisement strategy.
Unsure of where to start with your strategy development? There are so many fields to consider, that will all contribute to your game plan. That’s why we created a strategy development tool, that will guide you through the most important steps to consider while setting up your business strategy.
With a clear strategy in mind, we know where we are heading. But how to ensure we are still on track? Once in a while, we need to stop, breathe and have a close look at what we are doing. That’s what we call a strategic review.
Our strategy is something we developed in an earlier stage of our organization. But along the way, we can check-in to see if we’re still following up on it.
By going through the different aspects of the strategy we evaluate the progress that we made, and improvements we could implement in the future. This way, we can adjust our goals, focus on new targets, make changes in our marketing approach and discover new opportunities.
A good strategic review should take place at least once every quarter. Possible topics to consider are key business objectives and key performance indicators, costs/revenue models, marketing results, customer journeys and the buying funnel, a digital audit, and a review of the operational side of your business. Have a look at our blog post on how to conduct a digital audit.
Companies who blog get 55% more website traffic than those who don’t.
More website visitors equals more opportunities to convert them into leads. More leads mean potentially more sales and blogging is where everything starts.
Every time you are creating a blog post you are creating a new page on your website which can be crawled by search engines. The more content you have indexed and considering your content is relevant to your audience the better your website can be found.
Blogging is a way to regularly share industry updates as well as offers of your company.
Most importantly though, people are searching for content that solves their problems. So, you can strategically promote offers after giving them an answer to their question or their problem.
Finally, blogging can help you stand out as an expert in your industry. It creates credibility and authority with your target audience.
Pick the right topic based on long-tail keywords
People are searching for information online. Write about your industry, not yourself. Brainstorm a list of topics you can write about. Ask your sales and marketing team. What are industry leaders talking about? Which problems can you solve for our persona?
Pick one topic to focus on per post and craft a sexy title. The title is one of the first things people will see. Include a long-tail keyword in your title. Make the value clear in the title to set the expectation, e.g. is it a list post or a how-to article? Try to stay within 50-60 characters per title.
Write and optimize for humans and search engines
Format and optimise your blog post in a way that humans and search engines can easily read your blog post. Use white space to make the post more easily digestible. You can also use section header and subheader to break the post up.
Highlight or bold important information to make text stand out. This makes it easier for readers to skim the text and understand the information at a glance. Images can also help to break up the text. Make sure the images are making sense in the context.
Optimise the post around long-tail keywords and break it up over the article. Include internal and external links. Google webmasters appreciate this as it shows you have done your research. A call to action should appear on every post.
A blog post without a CTA is a missed opportunity to liaise with the website visitors. Don’t forget to ask your visitor to subscribe to your blog. You might want to insert a CTA after the first few paragraphs. This saves the reader who is not prepared to read the whole article time. Your visitor is there to get information so give him something more to research on or learn about.
Promote your offers for lead generation
You can use your blog easy to find on your website. Link internally to your blog posts. Readers who are interested to learn more about a topic can click through and learn more.
The more frequently you blog the more often you can get found and get an opportunity to showcase your expertise to your target audience. The better the quality of your blog posts the more likely it will be that your blog will be influencing your lead generation.
After you publish a blog post analyse the performance of your blog over time. The most important metrics to watch are the monthly traffic to the blog post as well as the time spent on the post.
In addition, you might be monitoring how many click-throughs you got on your call-to-action and if you got any inquiries from an offer you had embedded on that post. Over time you will get a good feeling which offers work best for lead generation.
Creating great content is not enough for search. Google cares how interesting your content is to other people and measures this with backlinks. The more backlinks and the higher the quality of backlinks, the better the ranking.
Link building is the process of manually encouraging people to link to your website from theirs. But this sounds easier than it is. These days people are more likely to share a good post or website via social media rather than embedding your link in their blog posts on list your link on their website.
How many links do you need to rank high in search results?
There is no magic number but as a rule of thumb you need to get approximately the same number of backlinks as the result you can see on number 1. You can calculate the backlinks by running a link through a link-checking tool.
This will give you a good idea of how many backlinks you are competing against. In order to compete with the link you have chosen you need to create a similar page with similar content that covers the same themes.
In case the top search result you want to compete with is a video-based article, then it is recommended that you also create a video about that topic and add it to your written content.
As Google is serving up videos in the top results for the topic you have chosen, it believes that this is what a searcher would want to see and start preferencing this. However, including well written content on top of your video is to your advantage and shows Google you have done your research.
How do you get websites to link back to your site?
Relationships are the key to link building. Link building doesn’t work with blind outreach or sending out cold emails. Because webmasters need to go through effort to publish your link, you won’t get far just by pitching your awesome content.
Instead, you will need to build relationships with people who can bring you further. We found freelance journalists are a gold mine. They make a living of pitching stories to media outlets all the time. Having them on your side and having your story published on their website or blog can be worth gold.
The best way to build relationships with journalists is to respond to press request alerts. Journalists are sending out these requests every day through various services. If you respond quickly enough and give the journalists exactly what she wants, there is a great chance your link will be published on their site.
We are not only Marketing Strategy Experts but now also HubSpot certified and can help you with your Inbound Marketing Campaigns, Automated Email Marketing Campaigns, Buyer’s Journeys and Personas.
Forget outbound marketing, cold calling and diffuse sales pipelines. Inbound Marketing is customer-centric and focused on attracting and engaging your prospective customers through relevant and interesting content and also by adding value at every single stage in your customer’s buying journey.
Even the most successful people in the world understand that you can’t know everything and it is essential to keep educating yourself in every part of your life. At 4DP, we understand the importance of omni-channel marketing and we are continuously learning new skills and techniques to serve our clients even better.
Our life takes place online. We read the news online, we check the weather on our phone, we order food via an app, we talk to our friends through Facebook. And that’s why your marketing should happen online too.
We believe in omnichannel marketing. Marketing that doesn’t just reach your customers through the channels individually, but a marketing approach where everything connects and is consistent for the customer.