Business owners and managers need to keep coming up with plans to stay relevant in their particular market. They have to ensure that customers keep coming to them, while at the same time make certain that their competitors do not gain the upper hand. This is where marketing strategies come in. A business has to formulate these strategies in order to increase sales as well as gain an edge over competing products or services. If you need to create a marketing strategy for your business, then let this article serve as your guide. Be sure to download the sample checklists we have provided, too.
Whether you are trying to come up with a sample marketing strategy for the first time, or you are trying to improve an already existing one, here are some checklist items that you must include:
If you want to learn how to create a successful content marketing strategy, here are the few things you need to consider when you are developing your brand’s first strategy or if you are updating an existing one:
Before you get started on anything else, if multiple people or teams are speaking on behalf of a brand, then they are going to need clear directions regarding the brand’s voice, tone, and language. If you do not have something like a handbook or an outline of the brand’s guidelines, start by researching your competitors and take notes on whatever you learn that you can apply to your own brand. Then develop documentation and employee education resources.
Depending on the needs of your small business, you can have different key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals for your content marketing initiatives. It is even better if you take that a step further and and define the metrics for all of the different types of content you will be producing. The content can fall into different categories such as the following:
Determine which of your business’ goals are important to the success of your content. This should be both for short-term and long-term goals.
The point of marketing is for your business to reach out to both existing and potential customers, whether it is for a broadly defined group for a consumer brand or a narrower segment with one particular demographic of customers with specific behavioral attributes.
Document the people and personality profiles you want to influence and attract to your business. This should all be backed up with data that you have gathered and collected. Then create clear sheet summaries that you can use during marketing campaigns and hand these over to your customer-facing personnel. These sheet summaries can include demographic elements such as the following:
The sheet summaries should also include cultural and behavioral traits such as :
The most important thing is that you have to work to uncover a unique insight about your target customer that the rest of the competition have failed to appreciate or have overlooked entirely. This usually serves as the creative catalyst for a successful content strategy or campaign direction.
Research and data are the cornerstones of understanding customers. These can be historical data (website traffic, customer feedback, sales data, survey data, or any recorded interactions regarding the brand), original primary research, or third-part research. There will be a lot of cases wherein you will require a mix of all three.
Some of the informative (and hopefully unbiased) research can come from social media as well as third-party sources, which can then be supplemented by interviews and internal analytics.
Once your objectives are able to outline all of your wants, and when your work persona and research work are able to define who your customers are going to be, a journey map clarifies the specific needs of your customers and how you are going to meet them. An effective journey map draws the story arc of a potential customer (or persona) as they progress throughout their world and eventually interact with your brand. Although customer journey maps can be modeled off a traditional marketing funnel, they do not necessarily have to be linear. You can even add in overlays and new dimensions to a classic path-to-purchase model to make things more unique. A customer can jump from one stage to another, and this can all be based on various factors or triggers. They may even interact with some of your channels and touch points while skipping others completely. The journey map that you have to create must also cater to your customer profiles as well as how you are going to interact with them.
From a content marketing perspective, it is very important to understand your customer. It is also very important to understand the current state of your content within the industry as that will help you find the opportunities that can benefit your business. Here are the key questions that you should ask when it comes to how your content is going to fit the market:
By working through and answering these questions, you will be able to see all of the different opportunities that will introduce products, communicate with customers, and even develop guidelines for customer trends.
It is also important to pay close attention to the state of media behavior and content consumption formats. This would include the devices that your customers are currently using as well as visual trends.
Content marketing suffers from a definition problem. You cannot really define it, but you also know that you cannot market your product or service if you do not have it. The lack of clarity usually results in a lot of organizations wasting their precious resources. Identifying the content-market fit will allow you to determine the right resources that you are going to utilize so that you can adequately fund your programs.
Once you know the type of content you need to excel at and the publishing or campaign cadence, then you have to come up with the answers to the following questions:
Every effective content program requires an iterative workflow or process that lets your team focus on what is important—creativity—then translate it into effective content. You have to think about all of these to ensure that the process of creating your marketing strategy is effective.
Once you are able to come up with your goals as well as the plans and resources to make them happen, communicate your content plan and operating rules to your stakeholders. You should also communicate with your creation team and make sure that they are aligned with your marketing strategy.
If you would like to learn more about marketing strategies or anything related to the topic (such as how to use marketing strategy templates), then be sure to read our other articles.