Updated: Feb 20
What Is A Marketing Strategy?
Many small businesses know that they need to market and understand that doing so is central to the growth of their business. However many don’t know where to start, what to do, and how to do it even if they do. Marketing is one of the best ways to talk to your audience because it allows you to communicate with them directly, however, in this era with the market has become overly saturated with ad’s and getting rich quick schemes reaching your audience can feel almost impossible. The marketing strategy is where many small businesses go wrong as it pertains to their marketing efforts, as they fail to put one together or fail to consider the implications of what this will mean for the business in the long term. Put simply a marketing strategy when done well is the long term game plan for a business's marketing efforts. It takes into account the goals, audience, and desired impact that the business wants to have and lays out a strategy to most effectively reach those goals, audience, and create the desired impact.
When it comes to marketing as a small business, having a marketing strategy is essential because it will ultimately inform your marketing efforts, saving you time and money. It also makes sure that you have a clear idea of your audience and how best to reach them in a way that stays true to your goals and who you are as a small business.
Today’s article centers on how to create a marketing strategy as a small business, and use the knowledge gained from creating one to your advantage.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne, Founder of Marketoonist
Assess Who You Are As A Business
The first item that you need to complete when creating a marketing strategy is an assessment of who you are as a business. Your business identity, goals, vision, and more are some of the most important things to be aware of when creating a marketing strategy because they inform many other aspects of the business such as audience and messaging. Before you can even begin marketing you need to understand who you are as a business so that you can create a clear cut identity as a brand and stand out among your competitors. Assessing your business also means that you will need to become more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of your business which can be found through something like a business plan, or a S.W.O.T analysis. Assessing who you are as a business means you will need to ask yourself several questions such as:
Who Are We As A Business?
What Makes Us Valuable To Our Audience? (Value Proposition)
What Are Our Business Goals? Ideals?
Who Are We Trying To Reach? (Audience)
What Does Our Audience Need?
What Makes Us Different From Other Businesses and Competitors?
What Are The Goals Of Our Marketing?
Of course, your questions will need to be more extensive than the ones listed, they will still act as a good starting point for assessing your business. Your marketing strategy will be dependent on several aspects of your business, but knowing who you are is one of the most important ones.
Identify Your Audience
The next step in the process of creating a marketing strategy would be to identify your audience. Your audience is central to the development of your Marketing Strategy because they will ultimately be on the receiving end of all your marketing efforts. As we know businesses can often have more than one type of buyer in their collective audience. It is here that the creation of buyer personas will come into play. Essentially a buyer persona is a representative of a certain group of your audience. If you know that a piece of your audience is represented by a specific age range, identity, or other indicators you would create a persona for them.
For example, you are a phone company selling a new type of phone. Based on your analysis of your business and the identification of your audience you have come up with the buyer persona Cool Kyle. Cool Kyle is in his early 20’s, is always looking to use new technology, and hates being behind the curve when it comes to trends. By identifying this splinter of their audience and market and creating the persona, this business is much more able to effectively market to their audience.
Buyer Personas are comprehensive profiles for each part of your audience, beyond age range, identity, and other indicators. Other things to know about your buyer persona include likes, dislikes, interests, stress points, areas of dissatisfaction, career, and more. The more you know about your buyer persona the more effective your marketing strategy will be.
Establish Marketing Goals
The third step in creating the most effective marketing strategy as a small business is to establish goals for your marketing strategy. Setting goals is essential because it allows you to understand if your methods are working if you need to go back and re-evaluate your strategy, and how you can continue to improve your strategy based on the goals you’ve set. While each business will have different types of goals based on the type of business that they are, the goals ultimately serve to assist in the advancement of the business. These goals can be monetary, based on awareness, or a specific result among other things. If you are a subscription-based service this may look like seeing a 15 percent increase in subscriptions after a marketing effort. In another instance, it might look like seeing a five percent increase in sales after implementing your marketing strategy.
No matter what type of business you are it is important to set goals so that you know whether or not your marketing strategy is effective and working properly towards the aims of your business.
“One of the best ways to sabotage your content is to not tie it to your goals. Know why you’re creating content.” –Ellen Gomes, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Marketo
Research Your Market and Competitors
Finally, it is important that you do research on your market and your competitors so that you can better understand the trends that are informing your market. Knowing what your market and competitors are doing is essential as it allows you to stay plugged into the realities of the market that you are trying to reach.
Knowing who your other competitors are and how closely they might relate to your audience is important to understand when you want to create a successful marketing strategy. Make sure to take the time to do a thorough investigation of your market and competitors as the information can go a long way in informing your own marketing strategy.
“Design like you are absolutely right, then optimize like you were wrong from the start.” –Jordie van Rijn
Begin Your Marketing Efforts
Now that you understand the basics of building a marketing strategy it is time for you to begin marketing. The only way to truly understand and grow your marketing strategy as a small business is by marketing.
The implementation of your marketing strategy begins with the new process of creating a marketing campaign. While this will require much work to be done you have already made the process much easier by creating a marketing strategy. By assessing your business, understanding your audience, establishing your marketing goals, and researching your market and competitors you will be able to create effective marketing as a small business.
Rosemint Media specializes in the creation of Social Media Marketing strategies that help businesses achieve their goals, while still giving them the time to work on their business. If you are interested in working with us, contact us today.