If you’re creating for the first time – or updating – your Marketing Strategy, knowing where to even start can be a struggle. Part of the challenge is knowing or learning exactly what you’re supposed to know in the first place. So how can you ask the right Marketing questions when you don’t know what you don’t know?
Well you’ll no longer have to wonder what you need in order to produce – and maintain – a great Marketing Strategy. Go through this process, find the answers, then ask even more questions! But these will, at the very least, get you started:
Who is my customer?
Interestingly enough, there are a couple of ways you can go about this. One way is to define it based on your personal experiences and choose it yourself. While this may work at the very beginning, your personal knowledge and experience is often biased so this route may not be ideal. This is especially true in the long-run if you maintain the biases and don’t check in with them.
Another way is to validate your business idea via asking them during market research. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to be sure to evaluate the industry you’ll be getting into. From the demographics to the geographies to their lifestyles, find out everything you can about them and what their needs are.
Typically, though, your customer tends to change over time. As long as you evaluate your numbers, get feedback, and adapt that is. So you’ll want to be constantly asking your customers what they need, if they enjoy what they’re getting and why/why not, what’s most important to them, or even why they bought or didn’t buy in the first place.
What is my brand voice?
What even is a brand voice? Well it’s a personality your company has when portrayed on social media. If you are the brand, then this one is easy! What makes you, you. What are your core values, what style do you have in video and texts?
Ask yourself these types of ‘marketing questions’ to start: Are you/is your company a young 20-something male who loves dogs and the color red? Are you/your company a 40-something non-binary person who advocates for non-discrimination and understanding of all races and preferences?
The reason you should be answering questions like these are because in order to interact on social media – and you’ll need to interact – you’ll need to know who, what, when, and where to do so. If your brand voice a 30-something professional woman who helps small sustainability-focused companies then you want to interact with others that have the same values.
These kinds of definitions can help you or your Marketing people know exactly how they should write, who they should interact with (follow, comment, etc), and what colors and images should be used.
These nuances will have an overall impact on how your company is portrayed and received on an often subtle level but people will pick up on inconsistencies. So set up that identity to maintain consistency throughout.
Why do I have to do marketing?
This may be a bit strange for a Marketer to say this but….you don’t technically have to. *GASP*
What it comes down to, is if people trust you. If you have a massive network already with the people you want to buy from you – and are buying – and don’t want anything more, then no need!
However if you’re looking to reach new people to get more clients or customers, then yes my friend, you get to do some Marketing. And yes, “get to” because without it, where would small businesses be? How would large companies have gotten so big otherwise?
This is the trick, you can’t start and stop these things. Once you’ve committed to an avenue, you want to go all in to find out if it’s going to work. Whether it’s a social media platform or a full membership site. You don’t have to marry it forever, but you have to be fully ‘in’ for a specific period of time if you truly want to know if it works.
Part of being full in on a Marketing channel requires deciding one in the first place. So ask yourself: “Where are my ideal customers?” Where do they “hang out” digitally? You’ll learn bit more on that below.
What should I ask of my Marketing?
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Marketing also has no silver bullet. Ultimately it takes a great deal of time and energy to launch and market a business, so be patient with the results. This is especially true if you don’t have immediate access and trust within your target audience.
Another important aspect, as the elephant in the room, is a budget. You’ll need to be willing to make your money work for you – especially when first starting out. This can mean either hiring someone, running ads, or simply purchasing the tools you need that will suit you and your company best.
Another important aspect to note (again) is consistency. Part of the “all in” strategy I mentioned before is in line with this because if you’re not consistent for a certain amount of time (typically 2-3 months depending), you won’t see any progress. This also goes for consistency in your brand and social media – do people get the same help and type of information from your Facebook messages as they do your website contact form?
Where/how am I supposed to market?
Research, Research, Research.
There is a lot out there already that can provide you with insights into who does what and where online. Check out Statista as one of your resources to find out some general statistics on how many people are on what platform, etc. They provide an extremely large amount of useful data for free and even more with upgrades.
Another question to ask yourself is ‘Why did I start the business in the first place?’ Who needs it and where do you typically find them online? What marketing questions can you extract from this information? For example, if you see that 10 million people are on Pinterest, who are those people and are they my ideal customers?
Let’s say you started a company that sets up chat bots because you found its automation to help your other business(es). You want to tell people about your new business so you go to LinkedIn and begin networking and posting like crazy.
Why LinkedIn? Because if you want to reach out to professionals, this is the appropriate place to do it. It’s also a great networking tool if you have a premium membership so you can email people you don’t know yet. Remember, even B2B marketing is people-oriented so building relationships and trust are crucial.
Is my Marketing working?
Oh data…some people’s best friend; others’ worst enemy.
Whichever side you’re on, it loves you! In fact, if you listen to it, it can actually help you learn and understand so much more than you ever dreamed. Yes this job is a career on its own, but if you’re small or solo, learning from the basic numbers will help you immensely.
Once you’ve set up your Google Analytics, here are a few things you can look for in your data to get you started (besides actual sales of course):
- Number of followers if you’re just starting out
- Engagement rate: Divide your total number of likes and comments by your follower count, and then multiply by 100 to give you a percentage
- Website visitors – How many are looking at your site each week or month?
- Website source of acquisition (where they found you) – This will tell you where to focus more of your time on!
There are many things you can learn from your data and it varies by company of course. The important thing is that you evaluate it with a point of view where you can learn from it. Trusting them is key to understanding what your customers like (or don’t like) and beginning to consider how you may improve your website and/or services to adapt to their needs.
What should I do once it’s working and growing (or not)?
Keep doing it! Marketing is a never-ending process of learning, growing, and keeping in front of your customers.
Of course there is a catch…you will constantly need to evaluate/analyze what’s working and what’s not (ideally) every 3 months. This way you’ll be able to ensure that your audience is not tiring of your content, you’re not losing followers or engagement, or that your website is no longer converting visitors into sales.
If you do find that sales or traffic are decreasing, it’s also a perfect time to experiment a bit. When you see that sales or engagement are starting to falter, try out something new!
If you’ve never done a Facebook live, try one out. If you don’t have an Instagram account, but your content is beautiful and your audience is perfect for it – start one. Get creative if you’d like and re-ignite some excitement for your brand.
Lastly, you can ask someone to help you with all or part of this plan to ask the right marketing questions. If you would like to set up a call with me, I’d love to see if I can be that person!