When most businesses set goals to grow, they immediately jump to the tactics they think will make an impact. Seldom do business owners or leaders of companies start by developing a strategy that drives all marketing tactical pieces first.
Refreshing your logo, updating your brochures, enhancing your website, posting more on social media, and sending more emails are all important tools. However, you shouldn't go down those paths without a strategy to guide you along the way.
Check out this video from our Co-Founder, Laura Laire, about marketing strategies and marketing plans:
What Is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy refers to a business's overall game plan for reaching prospects and turning them into customers. This is the overarching reason for how your marketing efforts will help you achieve your goals.
Marketing strategies address the following questions:
- What offerings will you deliver?
- Who will you deliver it to?
- How will you deliver it?
- Who are your competitors?
Answering these questions and writing down a set strategy will help you make the most of your investment, keep your marketing focused, and measure your sales results.
Some mix-up marketing strategy with a marketing plan, which are the specific tactics and initiatives you will use to execute your strategy. A marketing strategy informs a marketing plan so it is important to develop your strategy before thinking about marketing initiatives on a tactical level.
Benefits of Marketing Strategy for Your Business
When you have a thoughtful marketing strategy, you can rest easy knowing your day-to-day marketing decisions and actions are informed by research and driven by your company goals. Learn more about the top advantages of a solid marketing strategy.
When your branding, messaging, and goals are clearly defined in your marketing strategy, it simplifies your daily execution of marketing tasks. Every marketing and sales tool in your arsenal is there for a reason, your team knows what to use it for, and the use of each tactic is deliberate.
Aligning your marketing strategy with your overall company growth goals ensures all of your marketing efforts and dollars are contributing to further developing your business. Your marketing strategy will inform your marketing team where to spend the most time, where to allocate the most budget, and who to focus your messaging on for the highest ROI.
Having a clearly thought out and informed strategy helps filter out the distractions of less effective tools, tactics, and personas so you can stay competitive in your market. Abiding by the guidelines of your marketing strategy helps your marketing team stay focused on your brand's mission, vision, values, and goals.
When you thoroughly research your market and current best clients, you can boost your marketing efforts by engaging more qualified leads. Your messaging (content) is more meaningful to the right people (personas) at the right time (context). Make it easier for your customers to take the next step in their buyers’ journey.
How to Create a Marketing Strategy
The key to effective growth planning lies in implementing a solid marketing strategy. And to develop a robust strategy — subsequent tactical decisions — you must first conduct thorough research on your business's competitive advantages and target audience.
In other words, before you make a single graphic, code one line on your website, or publish one social media post, make sure you understand your market, your clients, and their wants, needs, and pain points.
Here at LAIRE, we help clients in developing a strategic foundation through what we call the Marketing Action Plan (MAP) by LAIRE®. This customized plan focuses on five foundational areas of your business:
- Company goals
- Buyer personas
- Persona pains, problems, and challenges
- Solutions aligned with those persona needs
- Company "remarkables"
1. Setting Company Goals
Your goals may be tied to the addition of new team members, growing into a new market, or launching a new product or service. But in most cases, your business goals are normally tied to top-line revenue.
This is how we gauge our success as growth marketers and set our strategy to help businesses reach their fullest potential through digital marketing.
To reach your goal of top-line revenue dollars, how many sales need to happen? How many leads do you need to close in order to produce that revenue?
2. Researching Ideal Buyer Personas
After you've identified your goals, it's important to identify who you want to attract — and ultimately sell to — in order to reach them.
A "buyer persona" is a semi-fictional representation of your target customer. Ideally, you should develop three to five buyer personas and understand what’s really important to them as they go through the different stages of your buying process.
How to Create Buyer Personas
We have found that actually interviewing your clients to learn about what's important to them is the best way to develop the right buyer personas for your company.
Based on information gathered from these client interviews, create personas (or characters) with names, backgrounds, and habits that best represent who you ultimately want to attract. We also recommend asking which online channels your clients use so you know where to focus your marketing efforts.
Buyer personas are really what drive your overall marketing strategy to attract more and better-qualified leads who you can convert to clients.
These personas can change over time as your business grows and evolves, so it is important to continuously update your buyer personas to achieve maximum results. Strive to analyze and update your list of personas at least once a year if not more.
3. Identifying Persona Pain Points
Once you know who your ideal client personas are, identify their pain points and challenges. These are the needs that your current clients voice as they go through your sales process. Because you've identified your ideal client personas, you know that these needs will be similar among your new prospects.
4. Connecting Pain Points to Solutions
Next, take your clients' actual statements about their needs and create strategic messaging to attract more clients just like them. Target your ideal prospects with questions they identify with, and then offer your business's unique solution as the answer.
For example, say your persona’s main pain point is spending too much time manually entering data. In this case, your messaging around solutions may be something like, "With our custom software integration solutions, your manual data entry time can be cut in half!"
Now, your messaging is catered to your buyer personas and the problems they are having. If you use this method, you will be seen as an expert in your field and an attentive ally to your clients. You can then use this messaging for:
- Paid advertising like Google or Facebook ads
- Website headlines and calls-to-action
- Social media posts
- Fliers and brochures
To reiterate, once you have your buyer personas' pains and messaging flushed out, you can align your services, products, and offerings as helpful solutions. With each persona pain statement paired with your solution, your business has an awesome "road map" for any prospect to follow through the content you've created.
5. Highlighting Your Company's "Remarkables"
A "remarkable" is a key differentiated, competitive advantage. It's what sets you apart from your competition.
Seth Godin's book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, gives our agency's favorite definition of a remarkable. According to Godin, a purple cow is "worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting." If you drive by a field and see a bunch of cows, what stands out more: a brown, white, black, or purple cow?
What are your purple cows? What makes your business stand apart? Identify your key differentiators, and ultimately translate those into messaging to help your prospects make a decision to work with you and feel safe about it.
Marketing Strategy Example
Now, we'd like to share an example of a marketing strategy that we've implemented.
One of our financial services clients was having a difficult time benchmarking their leads, improving website conversion rates, and tracking their marketing ROI.
Using an inbound marketing strategy, we implemented a website redesign focused on increasing lead generation efforts and a monthly content marketing strategy. We also improved Hubspot integration, marketing automation, and reporting. Our strategy delivered excellent results including a 261% increase in website visits!
Read the full case study here for more details.
Strategy Development Before Tactics
Having a marketing strategy for growth and a plan for reaching the right people online, you can now outline your content plan for the next week, month, quarter, and year. This is where the tactics we mentioned earlier come into play.
The most important thing our agency stresses to our clients is to align your tactics with a solid marketing strategy — and that strategy comes from having a thorough marketing plan designed and developed specifically for you and the way you do business.
Your business' marketing strategy helps ensure you are making the most of every resource, every dollar, and every minute you put into your marketing and advertising efforts. So make it count, take the time, and invest in a marketing plan for your business or company.
Interested in having a third-party expert review your website brand position and overall presence on the internet? Look no further! Our team of experts at LAIRE can start you on the path to revenue growth with intelligent marketing. Schedule a marketing assessment today.