The first step in any small business marketing campaign should be building a winning strategy. This is a game plan that includes the goals you want to reach and steps to get there. Your strategy involves everything from research to physically mapping out an approach step by step.
One of the mistakes new businesses make is focusing on tactical marketing first. While these very specific short-term goals are helpful, the result is shorter lived and less satisfying. To better understand these different styles and how to implement a strategy of your own, read on below.
Content Strategy Marketing vs. Tactical Marketing
When planning your marketing campaign, you’re likely to hear both these terms. Sometimes they’re used interchangeably, but they’re very different concepts. Here, we’re focusing on the importance of strategy, but the truth is, tactical marketing is just as important. In fact, these two facets of advertising aren’t meant to oppose each other, but to supplement each other. The two can be broken down as follows:
Tactical Marketing: A tactic is defined as an action used to implement a strategy. In marketing, it helps you achieve your end goal through smaller goals.
Strategy Marketing: A strategy is a plan used to reach an outcome. It is more of a conceptual tool, which provides visual guidance through a campaign. Think of your strategy as a map.
Building Your Marketing Strategy
Building a strategy that works for your brand depends on many factors. Working with a marketing team to create this plan will guarantee that nothing important gets left out. There’s no right or wrong way to strategize, but there are a few key factors every small business should include, such as:
Building an Ideal Customer Persona: This is where you need to start asking some questions. Who is your ideal client? Who does your product best serve? Which demographic best describes your ideal customer? This information shows you how to reach out to potential consumers and where to find them.
Completing Competitive Research: Competitive research is exactly what it sounds like, gathering information on your competition. Data to look at includes:
- Popular keywords in your industry
- Who your local and digital competitors are
- Types of advertising used by competitors
- Products or services offered
- Threats these competitors pose
- Opportunities created by your competitors
Considering Potential Customer Problems: Most customers search for a product or service because it fills a need. Understanding what these problems or needs are and how to solve them is crucial to your strategy. This is where you see what outcomes you need to succeed, which lets you plan steps to reach your goals.
Deciding on Tactics: Tactics support your long-term goals by creating very specific smaller goals. These can be game changers; for example, by 2020, it’s projected that half of all searches will be completed by voice. A tactic to coincide with this news could be implementing voice-related SEO. Other examples of tactical marketing include:
- Ranking higher with Google SERPs
- Building a website
- Creating a promotional offer
- Designing an automated chat bot for your social media messaging
These are all great ways to better your overall strategy.
Designing and Creating Custom Content: Knowing who customers are, what their overall needs are, and the tactics you’ll use to meet those needs will help you design custom content. The content you post on your blog, social media, landing page, and mobile app plays a role in the potential success of your brand.
Together, all these elements make up your core message. A core marketing message is so much more than a tagline or vision. It’s all the qualities of your strategy compacted into clear and concise points. This is used to show customers and other businesses who your brand is and what you want to achieve.
Creating Content for Your Ideal Customer
Content goes a long way toward developing your total online presence. Total online presence is the impact you make on the internet through the various channels that represent you. That includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, websites, and more. Content is crucial because it not only impacts how you appear to consumers, it’s how you give your strategy a voice. Studies show that businesses that blog see 3.5 times more web traffic than those that don’t.
Content creation is almost like building a separate strategy inside of your major marketing strategy. It involves research and customer awareness. So, what types of content should you be producing? You can discern this through The Marketing HourglassTM, approach to the customer journey.
The Marketing HourglassTM approach occurs in seven stages – Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer. If it helps, we can group the seven hourglass stages into the more traditional stages of Marketing, Sales, and Service, that might look something like this:
Marketing (Know, Like, Trust): During this stage, the consumer is just learning who you are and requires further information, which can come as blogs, live videos, Q&A materials, quirky infographics, and introductory promotions. This information helps build a foundation for trust and brand loyalty.
Sales (Try, Buy): The sales stage invites new customers to try your product or service and commit to the sale. Content for this stage often looks like offers for free consultations, customer review videos, and coupon offers.
Service (Repeat and Refer): Content for this stage is designed to draw back those first-time buyers and create repeat customers. Promotional offers, email newsletters, and shareable social media contests are helpful here. Referral program information also serves to spread your brand by word of mouth.
At each stage of the journey, customers are looking for different information. Research will show you where most of your customers are in their journey, which will help craft the best content.
Creating a Timeline
It’s not just what you market that makes up a solid strategy, but when you implement it too. A timeline helps guarantee you stay on track. It creates tangible and realistic goals to meet. Your timeline can include everything from when a website should be complete to the time of day when content gets posted. Timing is crucial to the success of your strategy. For example, marketing data shows that the best time to send emails is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Having long-term goals in place helps your business build a strong foundation on which to succeed. While short term-goals offer quick and tangible results, they are often short-lived. A well-planned strategy can be used in every campaign if tweaked slightly. If you have a goal, you can build a winning strategy.
If this post has you agreeing you need a strategy for your business, contact us for a consultation and see if we are a good match to help your company succeed.