7 Steps To Creating A Marketing Strategy You Can LoveMar 02, 2022
You’re not closing sales and revenue is down. But it’s the lost opportunities that are causing the most anxiety as you watch doors close, and prospects choose a competitor instead of you.
It’s exasperating to keep spending money on tactics that give unqualified prospects, and wasting time and money on marketing that is still not working.
You know you need to do something, but have no idea how to turn things around and move the company forward
Building a solid marketing strategy is a huge, multifaceted process that causes a lot of anxiety for small business owners.
We are here to help you through so that you can build a brand and marketing strategy that effectively generates leads and builds your business.
Your Marketing Plan is part of an overall Brand Strategy and always starts with crafting a clear and cohesive brand story. When you build a brand in the right order, you build a strong foundation and a simplified marketing strategy.
A powerful brand and marketing strategy is built in 3 steps illustrated in a tree metaphor below:
1) Clarify, 2) Captivate, 3) Communicate
The first point to see from this, is that your messaging comes first, and marketing is last.
That building a strong root system is paramount to that tree standing - that means marketing strategy is dependent on the message being clear and cohesive - that you have your brand story.
Here are 7 Steps to building your marketing strategy.
Start with the roots - your positioning and your ideal customer - and work your way up to the branches and leaves to your marketing strategies.
1) Emerging Your Power Positioning
Your positioning is how customers perceive your brand as different from other brands and is the first step in a powerful brand story and marketing strategy.
By taking control of the narrative, and crafting your brand story in a way that illuminates your superpower as it relates to what your ideal customer needs, you win.
Your power positioning is the ticket to a strong brand whose marketing will actually work because you have the language that lands throughout your marketing content - the same message of solving their problem everywhere!
Your website, your emails, your video marketing, your social media, your webinars - all broadcasting the same message.
"I think I can trust you." is what you want them to say after encountering your brand several times.
When you start with YOU, your company, your values, your ideal client naturally presents itself. That is why you want to start here - with your Power Positioning.
Most branding agencies recommend starting with your ideal client research. We don’t. It’s not that client research isn’t critical - it is. But if you start with them, and not you, you are at high risk of building a business you hate. You won’t be in alignment.
If you make this mistake, you will twist yourself and your resources into a pretzel to accommodate an ‘ideal’ client that’s not ideal, meaning they may or may not share the same values as you.
The question to ask first is “Why me? Over the sea of other professionals in this market, how can I stand out and make them choose me?”
Buyers don’t buy for the fun of it. They have a real problem that needs to be solved and bad things will happen if they don’t solve that problem.
It’s up to us to define the problem and show that we can solve that problem for them. We must make the reason they would choose us obvious, that I am the least risky choice. And unequivocally, I am the one most likely to solve their problem.
Figure out what key value you offer to customers and why they can’t find that value anywhere else. This is your power positioning: what makes your brand different and significant.
The 5 things key buyers want to see about you:
- You specialize in solving their problem
- You have a tried and tested approach
- You produce insights to help them see what they couldn’t see before
- You have helped clients just like them.
- You will make them look good.
Start with these questions:
- Who are you? What knowledge, gifts, wisdom do you bring? What is it about what you do that lights you up? What is your long term vision for 1 year? 2 years? 5 years? What is your superpower?
- What do you stand for? How are you unique? What do you want to be known for? What are your deep core values, what makes you and your brand tick? This is the driving force that connects you, your brand, employees, and customers.
- What unique value do you offer customers? What can you offer that nobody else has and that your customers truly appreciate? What value do you provide that no one else can?
Don’t skip this critical step! If you want some guidance, get free access to my Clear Powerful Brand Mini-course right now to uncover your Power Positioning.
2) Diving into Market Research
Now that you have handled the most critical piece, your Power Positioning, and hopefully went through the Clear Powerful Brand mini-course, it’s time to dig deep into market research.
Many people skimp out on research, not realizing that it is the basis for all of the following steps in marketing strategy.
Market research means collecting and analyzing data about the market you’re in. It is all about learning as much as possible about yourself, your target audience, and your competitors. If you don’t do market research, there’s no way you will be able to stand out in the market.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
1. Analyze Your Brand.
Look at your brand with an unbiased view - what campaigns have worked in the past, and which haven’t? Why? Consider…
- Brand awareness: do the people you want to target know about your brand?
- Brand loyalty: do you retain customers?
- Brand advocacy: do customers recommend your brand?
These are core questions that many business owners don’t think to review. Stay on top of your game and analyze yourself often.
Trust me, the insights are worth it.
2. Analyze Your Target Audience
To generate leads, you need a clearly defined target, and to know exactly where to reach them in order to build an effective marketing strategy.
Having a clear understanding of who your customer is as a person is critical in building a brand strategy that is specific and compelling for your target audience.
First, consider the Demographics.
- Marital Status
Next, the Psychographics will offer the most useful insights.
Why does your audience do what they do? What is their motivation behind purchasing what you offer?
- What do they really want? How do they want to feel?
Tap into the true core of the customer, learning what they need and want so that you can serve them better than your competitors.
- Where are your customers hanging out?
- Which channels can you find them on?
- Which social platforms are they most engaged by?
If you know who your ideal customer is but can’t find them, they’ll never know that your brand exists… Make sure your brand is visible by knowing where to place your content!
3. Analyze Your Competitors
You understand your power positioning, and who your ideal customer is and what problem they have you can uniquely solve.
Now you have one more step: Who are your competitors and how can you position yourself to stand out? Where can you fill the gaps where you competitors fail to offer value to customers?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your competitors’ strengths? How do they offer value to customers and what do customers love most about them? Check out their testimonials for clues.
- What are their weaknesses? Where could they improve to better serve customers? Notice where you excel where they are slack.
- How are you and your competitors different? This is the key to your power positioning and all your marketing content. Knowing this, you can position yourself as THE expert who is uniquely qualified to best serve your target audience’s specific needs. The obvious choice!
These three major analyses are key when it comes to market research but there is much more you can analyze for deeper insights into your niche market, and what we do when we take a client through a Soul Story Brand journey.
Consider hiring a brand strategist to help you ask the right questions and find reliable, accurate insights that can serve as the foundation behind a successful brand strategy.
3) Zeroing in on your Target Audience
When you understand the state of your brand, target audience, and competitors, you can start focusing on who you’re here for: your customers.
It is easy to get removed from the essence of the customer when building a brand strategy and think only of your brand. But at the end of the day, your company thrives when it offers amazing value to its customers, so your brand strategy needs to revolve around them.
- Focus on different target segments (categorized groups within your target audience) and create different target audience personas.
- Really dig into who exactly needs what you have to offer
- Know your customer inside and out and never forget that they are the lifeblood of your brand.
4) Building a Compelling Brand Story
The best tool that marketers have to deeply engage an audience is story. Stories are the bridge between your brand and the customer: a natural connection-point with customers that make your brand relatable.
Remember the goal at this point is :
- To build relationship through digital
- to be consistent with your message.
- To establish the know-like-trust factor.
Storytelling is a practice that activates the brain and gets their attention!
Because storytelling feels real, immediate and personal, it’s the perfect avenue for delivering your content - your brand story.
Story conjures the senses.
Story is the most powerful tool in the world to captivate an audience. It is an age-old practice over 10,000 years old.
Use the power of story to deliver your company’s marketing message so that it resonants and captivates your audience.
Essentially, a story is about a character (your ideal client) that wants something and is faced with challenges or problems.
In the midst of their challenge, they meet a guide (that would be you, the expert specialist) who gives them a plan and calls them to take action.
That action helps the character avoid failure and ends in success..
When you deliver your content in story format, the brain doesn't have to work to understand. others who resonate feel affinity to you. They are in alignment with who you are and what you stand for.
Once you develop an engaging brand story with customers as the central hero of the story, customers will start looking to your brand to help them solve their problems, leading to more conversions for you!
Your brand story should have sections like this:
- Your power positioning: your distinction & core values
- Your Ideal Customer: Description, Struggles, Desires
- Your Key Messaging: Your Power Statement
- Your Marketing Plan: Generative offer, Social Media, Email, Video Blog, Website Site Map, Customer Journey, etc
Remember: Good stories aren’t just heard, they are felt. Use feelings & benefits, not just features. Tell me how you are going to make my life better.
5) Building a Rich Content Library
With a clear, impactful brand story as your foundation, you can start to craft a content library full of messaging that lands with your customers.
All of this marketing content will be consistent with your brand story, creating a rich resource for copy ranging from powerful taglines to engaging paragraphs that drive home a point in your tried and tested process.
By having two documents, your Brand Story & Content Library, you and your team can pull messaging from the same place -- so all the marketing created will always be on brand and spark recognition and meaning in your customers.
Get started by working through my Clear Powerful Brand Mini-course right now to uncover your Power Positioning. It’s free!
6) Making Choices: Channel Selection
No brand strategy is complete without knowing which channels your brand needs to be active on. Remember the target audience market research from step 2?
You need to know exactly where your audience is hanging out so that you can effectively reach them and get your message across.
In this step you will have to consider your budget and which platforms will be the most effective use of your time. Choose just a few key areas where your customers are spending their time and don’t spread yourself too thin creating various content across too broad of a reach where it won't be seen.
It’s much better to be consistent than to overextend and not be able to meet your schedule of publishing.
Pro tip: according to Robert Rose, content marketing guru, “don’t build your house on rented land.”
Social media is great, but at the end of the day you don’t own your page - nor do you control the policies or connotations associated with certain platforms.
- Be careful about where you place your content and what you say. The last thing you want is for your account to be shut down.
- Have the goal of funneling your customers to your owned media; your website. (you do not own your social media pages)
- On your website you are in control of what your customers see and it's where your conversions will happen, so spend time making a quality website that is on brand, communicates value through your brand story instantly, and is easy to use.
7) Creating a Publishing Calendar
How to put it all together for a clear marketing strategy with an actual timeline? Create a publishing calendar.
Now that you have the building blocks for quality story-telling content and know where you want to place it, you can build a publishing calendar. This is a schedule with what you will publish, where, and when (excel works great) so that you can take customers through your designed consumer journey. This will keep you organized, consistent, and generating leads efficiently.
Philip Kotler, father of modern marketing back in the 1930's developed the 5A’s of the sales funnel: Awareness, appeal, ask, act, and advocate.
Build your publishing calendar in a format that strives to take your customers on the following journey using Philip’s 5A’s:
1) Awareness - start with building a basic awareness of your brand. Customers are introduced to the story!
2) Appeal - Customers are intrigued by your brand story. They want to know if they can be the hero and you can help them as the guide to solve their problems.
3) Ask - potential customers are now in the period where they research your brand, look at reviews, blog articles, videos, etc to see if what you offer is right for them. Make sure that all of the information a customer wants to find about your brand is quality, accurate and easy to find.
4) Act - This is where customers make the conversion. How are you asking customers to make the purchase? Are you actually inviting them to schedule a call or buy a program? What are you sending out to repeat customers and how are you rewarding them for their loyalty?
5) Advocate - After a purchase and experience with your brand, some customers will go on to be loyal brand advocates, recommending your products or services to others. Create opportunities for customers to share their experiences with others and leave reviews, other customers trust what fellow customers have to say about you!
Start generating leads now.
These 7 steps will set you up for building a marketing strategy that grows your business and revenue.
If it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone.
Building a marketing strategy is a difficult process that can’t be done in a day. Each step is intentional, designed to set your business up for success.
We get it, building a brand strategy by yourself is stressful and a lot of work.
If you need help, hiring an expert brand strategist is a great way to navigate brand strategy development without missing a step.
Supercharge your business by creating a powerful brand strategy that connects you with customers now. Stop missing out on lead generation for your business.
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