Let’s Start With The Basics – What Is A Marketing Strategy?
If you don’t understand what a marketing strategy is, you won’t understand it’s purpose or why you should spend the time on it.
I GET IT.
It’s hard, I know. I have been there. When your year hasn’t been great or you are just starting out, strategy is normally the last thing on your mind. It should be the first. Thinking about what you want to achieve in 2019, you create a strategy that will deliver the right message at the right time.
Here are a few descriptions to what a strategy is to help you understand what one is:
- A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
- A high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.
- A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
- An action that managers take to attain one or more of the organisation’s goals.
- A general direction set for the company and its various components to achieve a desired state in the future.
“Having a clear direction allows you to focus on the things that move you forward.” Mary Cushen
Why Is It Important?
These are just a few reasons to why I think having a strategy is important. This includes all strategies, not just a marketing strategy.
- Just having a goal doesn’t give you direction. It let’s you know where you want to get and maybe some steps but no clear plan to how you will achieve your outcome.
- Resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited. By having a clear marketing strategy, you will know what content you are putting out when and therefore see when your busiest times are. You don’t want to be having to create six blog posts at your busiest time of the year without help.
- It sets a framework and clear boundaries within which decisions can be made. Knowing where you are going and what you are going to achieve, gives you a base to make sound business decisions. When you are offered an opportunity, you can look at your strategy and see if it fits. If it doesn’t fit, you can say no with confidence and move on.
- Gives you the drive to perform at your best and take the business to where you want it to be. Having the direction helps to keep you on track and pushes you forward. You are more likely to complete something if you can see where it fits in the overall success of your business.
- Can generate new ideas and opportunities for the business which you may not have identified otherwise. When plan it all out, you can see things you may not have realised before. Getting it all down and in front of you, opens your eyes to more opportunities and savings.
‘A strategy is only any good if you follow through with positive, relevant action.’ Mary Cushen.
So What Goes In Your Marketing Strategy?
To create a marketing strategy that really works for your business, there are a few things you must know. If you don’t know these first, you run the risk of creating content that doesn’t appeal to your ideal client, doesn’t give the message you are trying to achieve and confuses everyone to what your brand is all about.
- What your overall, ultimate goal is.
- What your 90-day goal for the period you are looking at is.
- Your ideal client, inside and out.
- Your one/two marketing platforms.
- The message for the relevant months (or 90-day period).
‘The perfect strategy starts with the detail about your business. Know this and your marketing will be easier’.
These are the main elements to a yearly marketing strategy that works.
Each of these are to be included for every month you plan:
- Money Goal. Do you want the same amount each month? Is leaving your full or part-time job top of your list? Will you need staff?
- Offering. In each 90-day period think about what you are going to offer your clients.
- Message. Your message should reflect your offering, but not state it. Talk about who you serve and the pain point you alleviate.
- Opt-in. How are you going to grow your following and increase the know, like, trust factor. What opt-in are you going to use for this period?
- Holidays. Do you have any holidays booked? Are there any days you cannot work (either by choice or not)? Having these in your plan helps you create a plan of action to cover the periods you are not around.
- Days of Interest. Valentine’s Day, Mental Health Week. These are both days of interest. Find ones relevant to your business and your ideal client, and get them noted down. This can also be useful for planning content for PR purposes.
- Target Market. Each 90-day period will have a slightly more targeted ideal client. It may be people who have purchased from you in the past or new clients. Someone with a very specific pain point for a specialised service. This helps in the long term as, although your content will always appeal to your ideal client, they won’t feel consistently sold to.
- Content Planning. The overview of the content you want to put out. Albeit four Facebook posts and a live a week. A blog a week. The purpose of this section in your yearly marketing strategy is to commit to how much you are putting out there. It needs to be consistent throughout the year. The 90-day planning is where the detail comes in to play.
It may sound like a lot but it isn’t.
You should already have the basics for all of these if you have done the business basics (if not, give me a shout). The content planning section is just what you are planning to deliver that month, for example, two blog post, Instagram post daily, 3 x Insta-story daily. When you do your 90-day planning (ideally at least a month before it starts), you build out your content plan, adding titles, subjects, ideas, ready for the creation.
‘Stay organised. Time-block effectively. Your time is precious so spend it wisely.’ Mary Cushen.
Need some help with your marketing strategy?
It can be hard to craft an effective marketing strategy if you have never done one before. Finding the right template and guidance online is a minefield as every niche is different.
As a business coach specialising in marketing and strategy, helping business owners create solid foundations is my passion. Getting to know them and understand what they get out of bed for every day is a privilege. I love guiding and training owners to success. Showing them the art of the basics. Letting them see their full potential.