Edited by Alison Carminke
A lot of new business owners focus on their business plan, and we all know that this is important. But the key to any successful and thriving business lies not in the perfect business plan, but rather in developing a strong marketing strategy. Although few new business owners pay much attention to their marketing strategy, it is what drives sales. It helps make your brand more popular, and this helps you reach your business goals.
But what exactly does it mean to build a strong marketing strategy? As terms get mixed up sometimes, it is important to know that a marketing strategy refers to a plan for attracting (new) customers. It helps you clearly communicate to your audience the benefits and key differentiators of your business.
It basically all comes down to the question: Which tactics do you use to reach your sales goals and win a true customer base?
A marketing strategy helps you to push your business out of the shadows so people can notice you and buy your products or services. Because one goal of every business owner is to make money.
Ready to build your own marketing strategy from scratch? I’ve put together some steps which highlight key areas for you to research.
Step 1 Get Clear on Your Goals
Define what you want to achieve in your business. Sales goals might be:
- Sell your products/services
- Raise brand awareness so people buy your stuff
- Increase your social media followers so more people buy your stuff
You get the idea.
Pro Tip: Try to define your goals with a specific number and set a date by when you want to achieve them. This not only keeps you motivated, but also helps you to analyse your progress.
Example: Increase social media followers by 200 by 15th June, 20xx.
Step 2 Get Clear on Your Ideal Client
Do you know who your ideal client is? Do you know what worries or problems they have? If you don’t, then there is no point in moving on until you complete Step 2. You need to define key aspects of who your ideal client is, in order to find the right words for your marketing campaigns. Because as long as you don’t know who you’re selling to, you cannot market your products/services successfully out there.
If you’re still unsure about your ideal client, then just make a rough definition for now, and let it change over time. You don’t need to be perfectly set up at this stage.
Step 3 Get Clear on Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out
This is also part of defining who your ideal client is, but it’s crucial to have a closer look at it.
Nowadays, a lot of people hang out online and there is a good chance that your target audience does as well. But do you know where exactly? Do they spend their time on Facebook, Instagram or other platforms? Or can you find them offline? And if so, where?
Here, you can ask Google where your target audience hangs out. For example, you can type in “the name of your niche + forum”. Also, check out sites like LinkedIn and Pinterest, scan tweets on Twitter and use Facebook to search for groups in your niche. You might even find your ideal customers on sites you’ve never thought about.
Step 4 Check out Your Competition
Have a look at what your competitors are doing. Where do they run their ads? Why do they focus on a certain platform? Is there a demographic you might have missed? Pay close attention to their content marketing strategy. Obviously, don’t copy their content as this can lead to serious legal rights issues. Just use their posting patterns as an insight to fine-tune your own marketing strategy.
Step 5 Get Clear on Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What makes you unique? What do you offer that no one else does?
Unfortunately, at this point most people start to question themselves and think they are not unique. But you don’t have to think far to define your USP.
Create a list of 10 – 15 entrepreneurs in the same niche as you, and find examples of how they differ from your business (at least 3 each).
Maybe they focus solely on an American audience while you want to serve a European one? Or maybe they are different in their style?
Can you come up with some ideas on what makes you unique? This will be why peoplebuy from you – no matter how successful your competitors might already be.
Step 6 Define Your Marketing Budget
If your marketing budget is zero, that’s absolutely fine. However, you are always going to pay for your marketing efforts. And if not with money, then with time.
Define how you are going to budget your marketing, and choose whether you are going to pay with money or time. It’s your choice, but in this step you need to make it.
Here you go, your whole plan on how to build a marketing strategy from scratch.
I cannot stress enough: for you to become a successful business owner, you need to have a marketing strategy at hand. Because without it, it doesn’t matter how great your product is. If no one knows about it, you’re not making sales.
Your customers won’t show up magically out of nowhere – you need to learn how to get their attention.
But as soon as you figure this out, believe me, nothing can stop you from succeeding. You got this!