Six Steps To Creating a Successful Marketing Strategy

Most entrepreneurs and executives know that in order to be successful, they will need to have a plan or strategy.

Whether your business is service or product based, you are going to start off and continue to have the same question:

“How are we going to get people to know about, care, and potentially buy into our business?”

couple-shopping-social-media

This point is where many businesses lose momentum, time, and spend a lot of money.

To identify what a successful marketing strategy looks like, first you must identify what a successful marketing strategy really is and what are the expectations behind campaigns.

Wikipedia has defined marketing as: communicating the value of a product, service or brand to customers, for the purpose of promoting or selling that product, service, or brand.

So if we are going to communicate the value of something in order to educate someone to take an action, then we must first understand who we are communicating to (your ideal audience).

The fact that many business owners tend to forget is, not everyone is interested in what every business has to offer.  Some customer might not want to engage in a conversation with you or your business, at least not initially.

To give you an illustration: If your company provides pool cleaning services, you are probably not going to market to people that live in an area that doesn’t have pools.

Pretty logical, and yet, many business owners, marketing managers, and PR firms are doing exactly that when they pay for blanket advertising or content on social media sites.

You will spend a lot of money attempting to be everything to everybody, that’s why it is vital to make sure you know who your audience is, where they hang out (on the web), and what is the proper message to get their attention.

Here are 6 steps of how to structure a successful marketing strategy:


Step one: Why are you in business?

Many business owners become so excited that after months of building, hiring, and organizing, when they are finally ready to present their business to the world, they forget to truly identify why they decided to start the project in the first place.  What needs does it fit?  What problems they solve, and for whom?

It’s not always about what you do but why you do it.


Step two: Create detailed profiles about your buyers lives.

Be honest with yourself, your product is not for everybody, and not everyone will be a fan (at least in the beginning).

It is important to identify your early adopters, potential brand ambassadors, and loyal customer, then develop your brands voice to match their day to day, their likes, dislikes, and what matters to them.


Step three: Start a dialog on the appropriate platforms.

We here countless times in our interview process, “we NEED to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vimeo, Youtube…. Yes, those are ALL popular websites that people congregate to, but are they the right people for your business?

Once you have identified YOUR appropriate audience and understand their interests, now it is time to identify where they congregate, what they are reading, what websites they frequent.  

Once you know where they are, now you can plan on how to engage with them on a human level by finding out if you can guest blog, contribute a story, or at least comment in an educational and appropriate fashion.


Step four: Be useful, helpful, and relevant.

Make sure what you write/share is educational and helpful to those in the audience listening and reading.  Approximately 75% of any website are spectators and are just there to read, it’s your job to make sure they like what you are offering them.  Don’t just talk about yourself, your business, tweet your specials, and ignore conversations happening about your brand on the web, or worse, customers asking for help.

Remember:  Give (first), and ye’ shall receive!


Step Five: Set goals and put a value on your customer acquisitions. 

In order to justify doing anything related to your business, there has to be some accountability or intrinsic value to where your time, money, and efforts are going.

Understand what the true value of each customer is:

  1. What age do they start buying from us?
  2. How many friends are they going to tell?
  3. How long/how often will they buy from us?
  4. How often and what methods should we use to continue the relationship?

Over all, this equation should give you a lifetime value of a customer and give you an idea of how to properly scale your marketing and advertising efforts to accomplish your personal growth plan. 


Step Six:  Track your efforts.

Unlike marketing and advertising efforts of the past, digital marketing provides analytical tracking and abilities to identify

  1. Who is listening?
  2. Where do they live?
  3. What are their likes and dislikes?
  4. Who are their friends?
  5. How often are they engaging with your business?
  6. What messages are they relating to?
  7. What are their buying habits?
  8. What else are they interested in (potential for spin-off products/services)?
  9. Are their other businesses that they like that you can partner with?
  10. How else can your business relate/help them in the future?

Think about what your looking to accomplish and identify key questions for your business.  

In conclusion:

Take your time identifying what is the core of your business.  Once these steps have been taken, you will begin to see your marketing efforts beginning to get attention.  This will help your company grow to the vision you had when you first started down your journey.

Need Help With Your Next Successful Marketing Strategy:
Contact Us For a Free Consultation

Read More

Create a Complete Content Marketing Strategy

Content is King

When Bill Gates made that statement nearly 20 years ago, little did he realize that it would become the single most overused and often misapplied phrases in the history of the Internet. “Just write it, and they will come!”, claimed many marketers.

Two years later, Google was founded, and rapidly it became more challenging for brands and businesses to get found on the web. SEO and keyword ranking have played their part, followed by PPC ads, white hat and black hat methods for generating page views, as well as mass content distribution to every media format that a business could get their hands on. Even today, this is still a standard procedure for many companies attempting to reach customers on the web.

In a day and age when there is more noise than ever, how effective is this strategy? If content, SEO, paid placement, and page views are in place, is this what a complete content marketing strategy looks like?

The answer, for  most brands and businesses, is no.

What happens ‘before the click’ can open a world of opportunities for your brand, helping you to increase affinity, conversation, and potential interest from customers. Where are these customers? On social networks. If you know who they are, what they need, and how to communicate with them, you can turn likes into leads, and fans into buyers.

 

Attracting Customers To Your Business

Complete Marketing Campaigns For College CoursesAs an example, let us look at the topic of education, and educational marketing.

With employment challenging to obtain, many current and prior college graduates are choosing to go back to school.

Many are seeking to further their education beyond the standard bachelor’s degrees through highly specific programs including high tech, medicine, legal, and more.

With this global increase in demand for higher education, there is much more competition for universities and specialty programs to encourage potential students to attend.

Each student is making a serious life decision: to dedicate time, money, and resources to a new career path, ideally, one that will lead to a better future.

Are these students strictly making their decisions based on what they find in a Google search, blog post, or banner ad? Likely not. Information overload can be just as dangerous as no information, and weeding out what is accurate from what is not can be a challenge.

Because of this information overload, and based upon the experience of their friends, family, and peers, many life decisions (read: large purchases)-whether it be a car, a home, or a new career or advanced degree-are substantially influenced by word of mouth. Word of mouth, and conversation, are happening every second of every minute of the day on social networks. Your brand can create these conversations, too, but how you do it matters just as much as with whom.

A blog post or infographic may not turn into sales right away, but what it can do is educate, empower the reader, and position you as an expert within a particular field. In like manner, social media can provide you with real time opportunities to be helpful to your potential customers, to share the successes of current customers and colleagues (students, faculty, employees, etc), and to provide value to the viewer/reader. You can, in effect, become part of their life, but being present, relevant, and consistent is key.

 

Using Social Media To Complete Your Content Strategy

In addition to sharing your business’ story through websites, blogs, back-linking, and PPC campaigns, a properly structured social media strategy can be used to complement, enhance, and reflect a personality behind your business. The more human your brand can become, the more likely it will attract other humans.

If “Content is King,” social media, as a marketing medium, is “The Queen.”

Here is how it works:

Your content is created to spark the interest of and answer questions for potential customers.

Social media helps build the relationships with those customers and encourages them to organically share the content that you have worked so hard to produce.

A successful content strategy allows social media to:

  • Get the attention of new visitors (brand awareness)
  • Develop long-term relationships with existing customers (brand loyalty and advocacy)
  • Rinse and repeat the process

Like all relationships, you’ll need understanding, communication and patience.  Businesses must understand the needs of their target audience, and how they fit into their life, before sharing how they can fulfill that need.  Unlike paid media or other direct sales channels, social media requires a big-picture mindset, because the goal is to build relationships-not expect an immediate conversion.

 

Here are 8 steps to structuring a complete marketing strategy

  1. Identify your brand offering
  2. Get to know your audience
  3. Create an authentic brand voice
  4. Clarify how you can help that audience
  5. Create content that speaks to them
  6. Identify the appropriate channels to distribute this content
  7. Share this content, as well as other topics, that your audience is interested in
  8. Never forget that people relate to people, not businesses!

Overall, the best strategy is one that includes well structured content marketing plan with SEO, promoted placements, and complementing social media strategies.  People look for a business they can trust, the more consistent the voice, the more convincing the message.

 

Contact us today to discuss structuring a complete content marketing strategy for your business

 

Read More

Using Twitter Chats And Parties To Drive Awareness For Your Brand

How To Turn a Twitter Event Into A Lasting Relationship

For many brands, the most important aspect to growing brand awareness and educating potential buyers starts with getting a sample into their hands and mouths.

This is usually accomplished during industry conventions or consumer tasting experiences, but after the show, the demo, or the party, you still need to keep your brand top of mind.

What about all of those that passed by your booth, didn’t turn down that aisle, or forgot who you were? All is not lost! You can still connect, and people can still get to know and love your brand.

Empowering consumers can even help you obtain or increase distribution. We know, because we’ve made it happen.

 

Everyday, millions of consumers ask questions on social media like:

  • What’s the best city for a foodie vacation?Twitter-Chats-Parties-&-Events
  • Where should we eat when we get there?
  • What should I make for dinner?
  • What is the best cocktail recipe to serve at my party?
  • Which wine should I buy?
  • Which cheese goes with it?
  • Where can I find a unique gift for that someone special?

 

These, and other lifestyle choices, are asked, researched, and answered all day long in conversations with friends, family, and social connections on Twitter, Facebook, and many other socially engaging websites. Timing is everything, and opportunities are all around you.

 

Consumers are reaching out.  Is your brand part of the conversation?

 

Old school marketing companies will tell you that there’s no ROI on social media. This simply isn’t true, if you understand how to use it, and measure accurately.

 

On the web, you can see up-to-the-minute details about how many people retweeted your last hashtag, went to your website, or talked about tasting your brand. (“It was delicious!”) On the web, and in particular on social media, you can engage with them directly. You can be helpful. You can be awesome. A print ad can’t talk back.

 

Here is an example of analytics from a one hour party on Twitter for Earth Day:

#EarthDay-During-BevChat

An engaged consumer is a future sale waiting to happen.

 

twitter chats and partiesTogether, our team regularly generates over 40 million impressions for our brand partners, reaching over 400,000+ accounts…that’s just on Twitter.  Through proper planning and coordination, events like Twitter Chats and Parties can generate months and even sometimes a years worth of advertising exposure, and the best part is, it is all done during a live conversation.

 

Consumers want to to hear from you, about you, and share you. Help them do that, in the #1 way they’re communicating – on the web.

 

Word of mouth has changed, and moved into the digital age. Suzy Homemaker is now Susan Successful, and she is Tweeting, Pinning, and Insta-video’ing about her life. Where does your brand fit into the mix?

 

Consumers are ready to be empowered as your loyal brand advocates, especially when you are helpful with your content. Instead of spewing about how awesome you are, give them something they can use. When you do that, magic happens. One of our clients, a leading beverage brand, told us that a single social media campaign reached their team goals-for the entire year. The reason: they were helpful, instead of just tooting their own horn.

 

You aren’t alone on the web. The internet is a ‘sandbox’, and friends and brand partners can help you to achieve great success.

 

Host Your Own Trending Social Event!

 

Read More