If you’re posting regularly on social media, sending out regular emails and updating your website with new content, but you’re not seeing any results, it’s may be because you don’t have a marketing strategy in place. So, before you start posting content or implementing any other marketing tactics, make sure you have a clearly defined strategy, and then use it as a framework for all your marketing efforts.
What is a marketing strategy?
Your marketing strategy, not to be confused with your marketing plan, is your 'why?’. It should capture your marketing goals; i.e. what needs to happen for your brand, product or service to reach your target audience. It will help you (and your team) focus on who will get the most value from your offering, your unique value proposition, how you will reach you ideal audience, and what determines success.
As a creator, entrepreneur and business owner, you’re expected to wear many hats including marketing. Unless you came from a marketing background it’s unlikely you’re an expert, and you probably don’t have the luxury of time to become an expert. So, until you are in a position to hand over the marketing hat to someone else, by either outsourcing or hiring someone, here’s some basics to get you started. Luckily, marketing isn’t rocket science, so if you don’t have any marketing experience, and don’t know where to start, this 8 point step-by-step process is super-easy to follow and proven to work:
Define your goals and objectives
Have a clear idea of the profile of your target audience
Research your competition
Define your Unique Value Proposition
Craft your personal brand story
Select your marketing channels and allocate budget
Decide on messages & creative and how to implement
Assess how you’re going to measure results
1. Define your goals and objectives
Your marketing goals should be specific and measurable objectives that help you meet your overall business goals. This could be anything from increasing brand awareness, greater market penetration, or converting followers into customers. The more specific you are with each goal, the greater the success. If you are unsure as to what your goals are, start by thinking about what success looks like – where do you/your business want to be in a year’s time? What is the dream outcome? Once you have defined this, it’s easier to work out the steps required to make it happen. Then you need to ask yourself why you want it, and how it will make you feel to achieve it.
2. Have a clear profile of your target audience
Your target audience is the group of people who are most likely to buy your products or services. They are united by some common characteristics like age, geographic location, time zone, behaviours, interests, motivation, spending power, challenges etc. The more you know about your ideal audience the better you can understand where and how to reach them, what motivates them to make a purchase, and how to connect to them emotionally and intelligently. It’s important you take the time to carry out the research for this step, and not just go with who you think your audience is and what you think they want from you. You might end up being very surprised.
3. Research your competition
In a saturated industry like health and fitness it’s important to understand the marketplace by knowing who your competitors are, what products and services they offer, who they are selling to, and how. Researching your competitors isn’t about looking at what they’re doing and copying it, it’s a process that can bring about inspiration and innovation and help you establish a unique selling and competitive advantage. Identifying what makes your brand unique, differentiating your products/services from your competitors, is crucial to brand success and the best way to deliver your unique flavour of a solution to your audience. It helps you identify your strengths, recognise your weaknesses and find your Unique Value Proposition. (UVP).
4. Define your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Your value proposition is a clear and compelling description of the advantages that makes you, your products/services different to those of your competitors. In short, it’s what makes your brand better. When crafting your UVP, with your target audience in mind (point 2), make sure you have covered off these five points:
What are the pain points of your target audience?
How does your brand/product/services address these pain points?
What are the intangible and quantifiable benefits of your offering?
How can you articulate these benefits clearly and concisely?
Are you using straightforward and specific language your ideal customer understands?
5. Craft your personal brand story
Telling stories is powerful for building a personal brand, because people connect emotionally with stories and ideas rather than numbers and facts. If you can get your personal brand story across through storytelling, you’ll form a stronger connection with your audience. Build a narrative around why you started your brand, what’s the story behind it, how did you get to where you are today, what struggles have you encountered along the way, why are you so passionate about it? Ultimately being transparent about your journey, your struggles, successes, and failures, will provide context and allow you to connect emotionally with your target audience.
6. Select your marketing channels
To help you decide which marketing channels to use, you need to know where your audience spends the most time – what is their preferred social media platform, what online publications do they read, where else will you find them? Once you know where to find your audience, you can select the best marketing channels to reach them there, and when. If you’re not sure where your audience spends the most time, go back to Step 2 ‘Have a clear profile of your target audience’. Don’t guess or go with your preferred channel - there’s not much point putting all your marketing efforts, and budget, into Instagram if your target customer is on TikTok. Once you’ve selected your marketing channels, you can work on the marketing activities or campaigns to be used and allocate your budget to both channel and campaign level.
7. Decide on messages & creative
Now the fun part - working on the messaging and creatives. This step, however, still needs to be strategic; ensure you are crafting your messaging to solve a problem for your audience and keep in mind how they consume content and on what platforms. Your messaging should educate, inspire, or entertain and when planning the creative, aim to capitalise on emerging trends to ensure visibility in a crowded space, but still keep your audience in-mind. For example, short-form video continues to lead the way right now.
8. Measure performance
It’s essential to have a detailed way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities, so you know what works and what doesn’t, and where you should focus your time, effort and resources. If you’re not measuring it, you may as well not be doing it. As part of your marketing strategy you need to assess HOW you will measure the success of each campaign, and this will be driven by your goals. Whilst important, success won’t always be about how much revenue you have generated. Your goals might be based on increasing your engagement rate on Instagram, more views on You Tube, or increasing traffic to your website. Whatever your goal, each defined action to achieving that goal should be connected to a specific metric.
Once you've worked through these 8-steps and defined your marketing strategy, it's time to work on your marketing plan. Look out for Part 2 – How to create a Marketing Plan.
We hope you found this useful, but if you're ready to pass over your marketing hat to our team of marketing experts, we're here to help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org