Approaching a marketing strategy can be confusing, especially when starting it out. I’m breaking down the main components of a marketing strategy and some tips to help you get started with composing your own strategy.
Marketing 101: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!!
The core of any marketing strategy is understanding who you are talking to. Who is your audience, whose attention are you trying to reach? What problem are you trying to solve for them?
Speak directly to your audience and do whatever you can to make them talk back to you/get a reaction.
With most marketing, there is certainly a number component involved, whether that is number of followers, number of page views or number of subscribers. We want to grow our audiences, and that is an indication of if your strategy is working BUT don’t get too wrapped up in the numbers.
The numbers matter less than the engagement and the “buy-in” of those audience members. Having large numbers of people not interested in what you are selling is the opposite of a successful marketing strategy. The true measure of a successful marketing strategy is who is taking action (which includes buying but also other actions like subscribing, sharing, commenting, etc.).
Your focus should always be attracting the right audience not just the numbers.
Major Marketing Channels
A Marketing strategy is not one single channel, and all of these components work together to create your marketing strategy. It’s more of a web than pillars when you think of a marketing strategy.
You might create a blog post (content), that post also includes a worksheet opt-in (content) that you use to drive people to your email list (email marketing), you then share that to your audience on Facebook & Twitter (sm marketing), you might buy a Facebook ad to drive people to that post (paid marketing), and then those people who sign-up are pitched your new service via your email list (email marketing). Additionally, maybe you reach out to your biz friends to share that blog post (networking), and that further expands your reach.
Content marketing is defined by The Content Marketing Institute as:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Content can be anything you create of value for your audience. The most common one that comes to mind is creating blog posts. It can also be podcasts, webinars, workshops, videos, opt-ins, etc. Content allows you to share your knowledge with your audience, establish your expertise within your industry, and educate your audience to understand what your offer.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) is defined as:
“Social media marketing (SMM) refers to techniques that target social networks and applications to spread brand awareness or promote particular products. Social media marketing campaigns usually center around: Establishing a social media presence on major platforms.” —via Techopedia
“Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Social networking websites allow individuals, businesses, and other organizations to interact with one another and build relationships and communities online. When companies join these social channels, consumers can interact with them directly.” —via Wikipedia
Some social media channels include:
Social media is the opportunity to expand your reach with your content and reach a wider audience. I actually prefer the Wikipedia definition because any social media marketing strategy should include engagement (that interaction).
I like to think of SMM as the hook in the ocean. You are dangling your content, knowledge, inspiration out there to attract your tribe.
Here are a few resources on the following networks:
Email marketing is defined by Techopedia as:
“Email marketing is the targeting of consumers through electronic mail (email). Often associated with data mining, email marketing can be used to impact consumers in a variety of ways. In general, email marketing is a more evolved, digital form of traditional direct mail marketing. Email marketing is also known as direct email marketing.”
Email marketing is your audience that has taken the first step to “buying” into what you are offering. You have a direct line to them through your email marketing service.
Networking is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:
“The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”
Networking can be online or in-person.
Hanging in Facebook groups is networking if you are doing it in an intentional way. Remember when approaching Facebook groups are you networking with peers or with your target market? One mistake often made is that you are hanging out in groups of your peers and not in groups with your audience/target market. However, it’s also good to hang out with your peers as well since they might have similar audiences and to get insight into your industry.
Collaboration, the other side of networking is not just networking with clients directly but also with people who share a similar audience/market.
For instance, if I sold baby shower invites than anyone else selling baby related or pregnancy related products/services might have a similar audience than me.
Ask yourself what other services or products would my ideal audience/client be in search of or use? This can be a great way to find collaboration and other networking opportunities.
While paid advertising may be on a social media network like Facebook Ads, I am putting it into a different category. You may pay for ads on sites like AdWords, reach out for sponsorship opportunities or even engage in a bit of paid network marketing with offering affiliates or referral fees.
When you get into paid advertising, there is generally an established strategy for maximizing reach using that method and can be another new skill to learn and navigate. Paid advertising can be that assistance you need if you are struggling to reach your audience organically.
I recommend you establish your strategies for all the above channels before moving into paid advertising. It’s important to know your audience well to get the best bang for your budget.
Want a simple focused plan to help you get the key components of your marketing strategy up and running? Sign-up below and get your Simplified Marketing Plan started.
Download the workbook, watch the video for each section as I walk you through crafting an example plan and for my Trello fans, there is a template board that mirrors the workbook to help you organize your strategy.
Marketing Advice You Should Know:
There is no magic formula:
There is no magic formula or “have to’s”, if this were true we would all use the same formula no matter what. But that is simply not the case. There are best practices to follow, and following a strategy is better than nothing but don’t get too wrapped up in the should’s.
Marketing like everything else in your business takes time to figure out and requires experimenting. Just make sure you are experimenting smartly by tracking exactly what you are doing, doing it consistently, and recording results.
If it doesn’t fit quit:
If a formula/channel/medium does not fit you, then try something else. If you really hate doing something, then it’s going to be super hard to do it consistently or make it be genuine.
Just like if you bought the most beautiful dress that was 5 sizes too big, even though the dress is beautiful you are not going to feel beautiful and wear it confidently if it doesn’t fit, pretty much defeating the purpose of a beautiful dress. The same goes for a marketing strategy that doesn’t fit you.
Don’t do it all. If you are just starting out, start only with a few strategies, build your processes for those, and then you can start adding more on. Trying to do #allthethings when it comes to marketing is a great way to do all the things half-assed, which leads to poor results. Bottomline do what you can do with the time available to you to do them well.
How To Get Started
Get your list started. Your email list are people who have taken at least one extra step to getting to know you and saying “yes” I’m interested in what you are dishing out.
You need an Email Marketing Service (I started without with ConvertKit), an opt-in/freebie to entice a visitor to sign-up, and a plan to stay in touch with those people.
Establish a schedule and what kind of content you will share with your audience via email. Do not work to get people on your list without a strategy to keep them interested.
Social Media Marketing:
Choose 2 to 3 Social Media channels to focus on when getting started.
I do highly recommend you establish a Facebook Page, even if Facebook is not a channel you are going to focus on growing. If you are going to do any kind of networking in Facebook Groups, you really need a Facebook Page too. Read this post for more on that.
Pick one main form of content marketing. It might be written blog posts, videos, or maybe even a podcast. Establish a schedule for how often you will produce content and get started. Do not try to start different content areas all at once. Choose one and figure out your process and schedule first, then you can always expand.
One of the fastest ways for people to like, know, trust you is to become a real person and show you have real connections. Getting yourself out there with your audience and with your peers is only going to help grow your business and will probably make you a happier entrepreneur.
Make a schedule of how you are going to make contacts. In-person or online.
This post includes affiliate links meaning I get a small payment if you purchase through my link, it’s no additional cost to you. These tools are the exact tools I use and I would share them with an affiliated link or not.