Creating and developing your marketing strategy is one of the most essential aspects of ensuring marketing success for your business. Within your marketing strategy you will define your brand, your business objectives, your marketing tactics, and the metrics you will monitor to measure the success of your strategy.
When developing your brand strategy you will define the values that drive your brand as well as determining how your brand presents itself to the public. Prior to finalising decisions for branding you will need to conduct your preliminary research. This will provide insights into your target audience and your competitors (Read our "Preliminary & Market Research" blog post for more information).
From this research you will determine: what your industry category is; who your target customers are, and you'll identify your competitors. It is essential to understand what values drive and define your brand, for example, does your brand strive to be inspirational or aspiration? Does it focus on aesthetics or value connection? There are many marketing values that bring purpose and direction to brands - read here for a comprehensive list.
Details about your target audience will shape the values adopted by your brand. This is why demographical and conversation data gathered in your preliminary research is essential when developing your brand and marketing strategy. It is important to understand the preferences, tones, and engagement habits of your customers and clients.
Vice versa, aspects of your brand will determine your target audience. When establishing your target audience, the following questions should appear within your branding strategy:
- What kind of person would find your brand most interesting or appealing?
- What kind of people will connect to your brand?
- In your category, is there a group of people that are being missed? Is there an opportunity here for your brand?
In addition to the criteria we discussed last week there are more focused questions you will need to explore when surveying your competitors:
- You will need to identify their target audience. Is it the same as yours, or different?
- You will need to identify what they offer to their customers?
- Can your brand compete with the distribution of their products or services?
- Can your brand compete with the pricing of your competitors?
- How are your competitors communicating with their customers? How does this compare to your communication plans?
Once you’ve collected all your research and developed your brand strategy you will then progress onto areas that cross over into your digital marketing strategy.
Digital Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy is your brand’s plan for meeting specific marketing and business goals. Marketing tactics are the actions that you choose to achieve these goals. When marketing tactics are actioned through online and digital avenues, this is when you are implementing a digital marketing strategy.
Your digital marketing strategy should include:
- Your short and long-term business goals and objectives
- The strategies you will use to achieve these goals and through which channels these will be implemented.
- Financial breakdowns of how much you are willing to invest and what your budget is going to be, but also of your estimates or goals for expected ROI (Return of Investment).
Once all this has been determined you will need to include timings; you will need to state deadlines for when tactics are completed, objectives are monitored, and when goals are achieved.
Before you can fully determine your business objectives, it is advisable to complete a SWOT Analysis. A SWOT Analysis is an acronym which identifies what are your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
In short, when addressing strengths you will ask:
What are your strengths?
What do you do better than your competitors?
What gives you that edge?
When addressing weaknesses you will ask:
What are your weaknesses?
What advantages do your competitors possess?
What do others view your weaknesses to be?
To identify opportunities you will ask yourself:
Is there a gap in the market that you can fill?
Are there new technologies that are being developed that can be used to your advantage?
And, lastly, to identify threats you will explore:
What are your competitors doing that could negatively impact you?
And, what trends could negatively impact you?
You can download our Free SWOT Analysis Resource here.
Once your SWOT analysis has been completed, you will need to set some SMART goals. This is another acronym. Its stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevance, and Timely:
Specific: specific goals or actions, such as: increasing site visits
Measurable: then apply a number to measure these goals. I.e. site visits should increase by 50%
Attainable: this means that you need to set realistic goals that can be achieved.
Relevance: make sure that your smaller goals and objectives work towards and are relevant to the over picture and your end goals.
Timely: this means that you need to set deadlines and a timeline for the goals to be achieved. All of your research so far will aid in completing your SWOT analysis and setting your SMART goals.
To develop the next stages of your marketing strategy, you need to understand and categorise your target audience; defining the buyer persona. We also need to understand our category or position within the marketing - knowing what value you provide, but also what differentiates you from your competitor. Once this has all been established, you can shift your focus onto the actual content you will be producing. You do this in the content strategy section of your overall digital marketing strategy.
A content strategy is essential for creating and managing original content that customers will want to engage with.
Firstly, you will want to identify the purpose of your content. For example, is the purpose of your content to educate, to entertain, or to inspire? Once your overall content purpose has been determined, you can create key content pillars which will determine the direction of your content creation. Content pillars are like topics that your content will focus on, for example:
1. Behind-The-Scenes content (giving customers a peak behind the curtain of your business), or;
2, Authority content (providing tips or educational posts to establish authority on a topic).
Another factor to determine is what format you want your content to be, i.e. stock images, photography, videos, Interactive posts, etc,. Draw from your preliminary research to shape these decisions.
Creating a content calendar is advisable when planning your content. This can be done as an Google Sheet data log, or you can create more aesthetically pleasing content calendars using sites such as Canva or Picmonkey. When you create a content calendar you can preview the structure and flow of your content, ensuring that it is all relevant and a reflection of your brand. Simultaneously, using a social media scheduling system allows you to schedule and track your content.
TIP: Researching keywords is essential for improving SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This will enable your customers and clients to find you using search features and search engines.
Once you have determined your content, you can then plan which digital marketing tactics that you will utilise and implement in order to share your content with the world. These can include:
Social media marketing
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
This may appear rather overwhelming at first, however, there are Marketing Automation tools that are available to help in managing the workflow of all these digital marketing avenues.
Once your digital marketing strategy has been planned, developed and implemented, its success can be determined through the monitoring and measuring of performance indicators and necessary metrics. Not only can these reveal the success of a digital marketing strategy, but also reveal insights into developments and changes that may be required.
KPIs are Key Performance Indicators and these allow us to measure the success of both campaign strategies and marketing strategies. Some examples of KPIs, or Key performance indicators are: Positive reviews, Brand mentions, Customer Retention, Website Visits, Customer engagement, etc,.
KPI's are used to determine the effectiveness of our strategy and implemented tactics.
We will be discussing which KPIs and metrics are appropriate for which business types and objectives in next week’s episode.
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