Marketing a business successfully can be quite challenging in the increasingly competitive digital environment. You are competing against other businesses and fighting for your audience’s time – your customers could be watching content from brands and creators who aren’t even within your niche.
This is precisely why a strong and well-developed marketing strategy is essential for any business. Hence, here are the seven basic rules for writing a successful marketing strategy.
The Key Elements of a Marketing Strategy
First, it’s worth discussing the key elements every marketing strategy should have. These pieces will be critical to the overall success of your marketing, so you need to make sure to include them all in your plan:
- Products and Services – These are your business’s products and services. In other words, these are the things you will be promoting and selling to your audience.
- Goals and Objectives – These are your current business goals (e.g., sales goals) and the goals and objectives you set for your marketing campaigns and overall marketing strategy.
- Target Audience – This is your current and potential target audience. In most cases, your target audience will overlap with your current customer base, but you may want to expand your business and target a wider audience with your marketing.
- Competitors – These are your competitors on the market. These could be brands like yours selling similar products and services and creators who use similar marketing to yours (i.e., content creators, influencers, media outlets, etc.)
- Resources – These are the resources available to you (both current and potential) and your estimated budget.
- Unique Selling Point – This is the unique selling point of your brand. You can also develop a unique selling point for your products or services.
- Marketing Tactics – These are the different marketing tactics you will use in your campaigns and continuously as a part of your marketing strategy.
By including these in your marketing strategy, you can build a detailed and effective plan to guide your marketing activities and efforts. Without further ado, here are the most important tips you will need when creating your strategy:
#1 Define Your Mission Statement and Goals
The first thing you should do is define your mission statement and goals. Your mission statement will help you find a direction you will be moving in with your marketing. In addition to defining your mission statement, you must consider your vision and values. Most likely, you already know all of these as they are crucial for running a business, but if you still haven’t thought about them, it is the right time to do so, as they are also necessary for marketing.
Your values, vision, and mission statement help you craft a specific public image for your brand. This brand identity can then set you apart from your competitors effectively, connect with customers on a personal level, and continue working to live up to the ideals you preach. Your mission statement is the purpose of your business, while your vision is a specific position you want your business to achieve. Your values are the things that are most important to your brand.
Once you have defined your mission statement, vision, and values, you will also need to consider your goals. Remember that your business goals should align with your marketing goals, but they aren’t necessarily the same. In plain terms, your marketing goals are rather a continuation of your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to expand your business into a new market, then one of your marketing goals will be to target the audience of that market with your campaigns.
Using the SMART approach when defining your goals is a good idea. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. By ensuring that your goals possess all of these characteristics, you can be certain they are not too difficult to achieve while not underestimating your abilities and resources. Even if you initially set your goals incorrectly, don’t hesitate to adjust them as you start your marketing campaign.
Your business and marketing goals are also not the same as your mission or vision. Your mission and vision are essential for the overall image of your brand, but the goals you set are necessary to achieve these missions and visions you have. Make sure that you set all of these apart and define each step by step. All of them will shape your marketing strategy and how you brand your business.
#2 Understand Your Own Business
You already made the first step towards understanding your business – you defined your mission statement, vision, values, and goals. However, you should now also look at the more practical side of your company. In other words, you need to study your products and services. The better you understand what you are selling, the easier it will be to plan a marketing strategy to promote your products and services most efficiently and effectively.
For example, let’s say you are selling soap. How is your soap different from all other soaps on the market? What are its features and benefits that would make customers want to buy it? What are its flaws that would prevent customers from buying it? What is the unique selling point that will ultimately make someone purchase it? If you simply know that it is soap and that’s it, you won’t be able to market it appealingly. This is precisely why you need to study your own business first before you start performing any kind of other research.
Your unique selling point can be something specific to your brand or one of your products. It’s best to have both – this way, customers will have more reasons to purchase your products and services. If you are unsure what your brand’s or product’s unique selling point is, you can hire a professional writer from the writing services reviews site Rated by Students, who will help you define this point as you study your product and service line.
At this stage, you should already start thinking about the future. You might have plans to introduce new products and services, so you will need to include that product/service launch or introduction in your marketing activities in the nearest future. If you are still at the designing stage, you could even craft your product with marketing in mind. Something that inherently has a unique feature will already have a unique selling point.
#3 Know Your Audience and Competitors
After you have become a true expert on everything related to your business, you can turn to your market (i.e., your target audience and competitors). You likely already have a target audience in mind, but as mentioned earlier, your audience for your marketing activities could be somewhat different from the current audience of your business. By making this distinction, you can better understand how to promote your business and your products and services successfully.
One important point is that potential customers could learn about your business offline and online. This is precisely why nearly every business today uses some form of digital marketing in its strategy. Even if you have a local business that relies on the local population, you still need to think about something as simple as social media profiles and an email address (and, better yet, an actual website). Combining offline and online marketing tactics is the best way to promote your business.
Now that you understand that your target audience could be reached offline and online, you need to determine where it could be spending its time and where your marketing will most likely impact them. These will depend on the customer profiles you create for the different segments of your audience. Craft these based on a variety of characteristics, including demographic (sex, age, etc.), geographic (location), psychographic (values, beliefs, etc.), and behavioral (shopping habits, benefits sought, etc.)
You will also need to understand who you are competing against in marketing. Remember that your business competitors are already your marketing competitors, but there could be other entities that you could be competing against for the attention of your target audience. These could be content creators and influencers in your niche, online media outlets creating similar content to yours, and so on.
#4 Gather Available Resources
This next step is particularly important because it involves gathering and estimating your resources and budget. You can afford more or less expensive marketing tactics depending on how many resources you have and how big your budget is. These, in turn, will affect the scope of your marketing campaigns and the results you can get from them. The good news is that many digital marketing techniques are fairly cheap and extremely effective for achieving various goals.
When gathering and estimating your resources, it’s worth looking at different types of these and those you already have and plan to get in the nearest future. For example, your business might already own powerful software for customer management that will be necessary for target audience segmentation. You can also have experienced professionals on your team despite it being small. Both such technical and human resources will be invaluable to you as you launch your marketing campaign.
If you have a small marketing expense budget, you must be particularly smart about using it. Try to prioritize specific goals and then find the most affordable yet effective marketing techniques that will help you achieve those goals. This way, you can get the highest return on your investments despite not spending much on your marketing overall.
#5 Decide Which Marketing Practices to Use
Now that you know how many resources you have and your budget, you can choose which marketing techniques to use. You will need the information you already prepared (your mission statement, values, vision, goals, target audience, competitors, etc.) to choose the marketing techniques you will use in your campaigns.
If you are unsure about which ones to use, you can look for essay writing services from which you can hire a writer experienced in marketing to help you come up with the best marketing techniques for your needs. To give you an idea of your options, here are the most commonly used offline and online marketing techniques:
- Offline Advertising – Ads in public places like billboards, newspapers, etc.
- Direct Mail Marketing – Promotional materials sent by mail.
- Social Media Marketing – Brand accounts on different platforms and ad campaigns.
- Email Marketing – Promotional and other materials sent by email.
- Affiliate Marketing – Promotion with the help of affiliates.
- Influencer Marketing – Promotion with the help of influencers.
Social media marketing will likely require fewer resources and a smaller budget than direct mail marketing which is why it is so popular today. If you have limited resources and a tight budget, you can start from the less demanding types of marketing and then slowly integrate other techniques into your strategy over time.
#6 Be Concise, Clear, and Flexible
Consider all the information discussed above to make a truly detailed marketing strategy. But to make your plan (i.e., the actual document with all the details) accessible and understandable to your entire team, you must stick to some common writing practices. These include being concise, clear, and flexible.
If something isn’t important, then it’s best to omit it. You don’t need information in your plan that could confuse your team or mislead them somehow. While writing your plan and implementing your strategy, you should stay open to different possibilities. Being flexible is necessary for being able to adapt to different situations that arise. Likewise, being flexible can also help you become more innovative in the way you approach your marketing.
To organize all the information in your plan, break it into sections similar to the steps you took when making your marketing strategy. So, the first section would include information about your mission statement, vision, values, and goals, and the second section would include information about your product and service line, and so on. When it comes to the specific marketing techniques you will be using, you should also add some additional parts, such as:
- Content Guide – Your content guide should include information about how and what content you will create for your content marketing purposes (i.e., topics, formats, tools used, quality standards, etc.)
- Content Schedule – Your content schedule must state when and what kind of content you will post and on which platforms (e.g., a monthly newsletter sent out by email on the last Sunday of the month).
- Other Sections – You can also have similar sections depending on the types of marketing you use (e.g., an ad guide for the ads you create for PPC ad campaigns).
#7 Get Feedback and Adjust the Strategy
Last, you must get feedback on your strategy and adjust it accordingly. This is particularly important if you create your marketing strategy yourself. No matter how qualified you are to do this, you still need at least one other person to read it and give you feedback that you can use to improve the strategy before you start implementing it by launching your first marketing campaign.
The best thing you can do is craft your marketing strategy with your team. By involving different types of specialists from different departments, you can use everyone’s expertise and different opinions and perspectives to create a marketing plan most suitable for your business. Despite your different views on specific matters, you will still reach a final agreement after proper discussions and considering all the pros and cons of specific solutions.
But even if you write your marketing strategy with your team, you still need to check it. Look for a professional marketing agency that could assess your final marketing plan and tell you which things need to be changed or adjusted, whether your means correspond to the goals you want to achieve, whether you are being realistic, and so on. An expert’s advice could help you save money by changing one or two things in your strategy while using the most effective marketing methods to achieve your goals.
To summarize, planning your marketing strategy will take some time if you want to create a truly effective and successful plan. Use the tips in this article to help you develop your strategy and start implementing it in practice to great results.