How to Build an Effective Marketing Strategy: Ten Tips For Achieving Success

inbound-marketing-strategy

Technology and social media have definitely disrupted marketing and offered new opportunities for startups and small businesses. But many businesses jump onto platforms without a plan. If you don't have a marketing strategy, your time and money could be going to waste. Here are ten tips for making sure you build an effective marketing strategy:


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1. Know who your target audience is

When it comes to shaping your marketing strategy, the first basic principle every marketer follows is determining the target audience. After that, you should define your expectations. What would you like for your marketing strategy to achieve for your business? How does your marketing align with your overall strategy? 

So, when thinking about your strategy, think about the basics.

  • Who is your target customer and what platforms are they using.
  • How can you reach them?
  • What problems are you solving for them that you can talk to them about?
  • Do you need brand awareness or to generate leads?

There are many strategies you have to consider. But, each one of them has a shot at bringing you success if it’s targeting the right audience. 

2. Plan out your strategy - and don’t forget to document it

It’s a good idea to have a precisely outlined plan that will help you avoid any miscommunication. That way, your staff and teams will be on the same page at all times.

By creating a strategy in one document, all your employees will know exactly what they’re supposed to do. They will know what’s expected of them, what their roles are and what they’ll bring to the table. 

A simple tool you could use is a marketing calendar. Divide it into categories and months, and your whole team will know when and what is happening. For example, a tech startup would have a calendar that could include product launches, social media campaigns, digital advertising campaigns, audience acquisition campaigns, public relations. Make sure that all your brand assets are stored centrally for people to access as they put those campaigns together. 

Recommended reading: How To Create An Effective Sales Strategy For Your Business

3. Personalise it

Even though marketing and marketing automation can be impersonal, I would recommend making your marketing strategy as personal as you can. That was the essence of marketing even before personalisation became a thing. Your pub landlord always knew what your favourite drink was. When you went to a local restaurant they greeted you personally. All of this boosts emotional connection.

Humans want an emotional connection, which is why personal touches and one-on-one engagement should be in your marketing arsenal. All people, especially millennials, want to connect to a brand like that. So, think how you can make your marketing personalised and as one on one as you can. 

If you get it right, then word-of-mouth as well as online reviews and brand loyalty will help bring new customers and drive revenue.

4. Boost content quality

We all know how powerful content marketing is. However, sometimes business owners overlook the importance of quality content and writing. High-quality content is still an exception, yet it should be a rule, no matter what you do or what your company does. I'ts much better to write less but better quality pieces than mediocre ones regularly. 

Think about what you can do in-house and what you need to outsource. If you have a member on the team that has a graphic design background, ask them to be a graphic designer. Meanwhile, if nobody can write a decent copy, then consider hiring a copywriter.

The point is - value your time and save it whenever you can. Make sure your strategies are not taking away precious hours from you. Furthermore, if you don't have a lot of money, don’t build everything from the ground up if you don’t have to.

There are ways you can speed up content marketing. To make it less time-consuming and more productive, delegate tasks as much as you can. Pick competent team members and ask them to write or research. Make sure your content follows the same template every single time so it is consistent and readers become familiar with your style. 

5. Work on your marketing partnerships

There are many reasons why you should consider building marketing partnerships. For starters, a partner can help you promote a marketing campaign much more easily, and you can also form a strong alliance with them. Secondly, better content is possible if you partner with a great company. And, finally, leveraging such partnerships won’t break the bank - but it will deliver quick results and expose your brand to a whole new group of consumers.

Take Half.com as an example. Before getting sold to eBay, they convinced a small town in Oregon (Halfway) to use "Half.com" as the town's new name. In return, they gave them stocks, Internet access and many other amenities. Thus, they received a huge amount of attention, which is incredible if you consider that they were only a textbook rental company.

Another good example is Converse. They partnered with Guitar Center and created the “Rubber Tracks” studio. Later on, the content made at that studio was used for a YouTube series about Guitar Center.

6. Work with influencers

Top influencers in your industry can also make good partners if you want to reach a new audience and boost brand awareness. Look at who are key influencers in your sector and see how you could suggest working together. If you are in the consumer space then allowing Instagram influencers to take over your Instagram page is a good example of allowing them to share content that inspires potential prospects and reaches a new audience too. 

7. Help your customers find a solution to their problem

If you want to leave a lasting impression on your customers and build brand loyalty, then just help them solve their problems. It’s just like what HubSpot says - your business exists to provide solutions. Therefore, try to post how-to content, provide exclusive offers, reply to them, listen and generally, make their life easier. Those are the key techniques you’ll need, no matter what medium you’re using. Newsletters, social media channels, apps and tools - all of those will help you out.

8. Help your customers interact with each other on a forum

It doesn't matter what your company does or what your products are. Most customers enjoy interacting with other customers, as well as the company. So, follow the examples of AMC or American Express. AMC created Mad Men Yourself, an exciting online game with avatars; American Express initiated the OPEN forum that helps connect small business owners and provides them with useful resources. Can you create an online space or offline events to connect your customers with you and each other? 

9. Involve your other employees too

Don’t just involve your marketing employees - engage others as well. Make them your brand advocates. Think about sponsorships and community outreach. Those can help you connect your company to a variety of events and activities that could have a positive effect.

You could sponsor a road race and raise funds for charity or for community projects. You could create an employee-based video that uses their stories connected with your brand. There are lots of ways to involve employees in your marketing which can be authentic for your brand. 

10. Perfect your targeting by using data

Look at the data you have available about your customers. Can you use it to predict trends or buying behaviours? Does it tell you things that you can use to delight your customer? I love the example of a pizza chain who use data to locate bad weather and power outages so that they can send their customers coupons while the bad weather is on and they can't cook - genius!

I hope these 10 tips have shown you how to go about building a more effective marketing strategy for your startup or small business. 

Over to you now. Do you have any tips to share on what worked for you as you created your marketing plans? Tell us in the comments below. 

 

 

 

 

 

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