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As marketing has evolved, marketing strategies have become increasingly diverse and complex. There is no longer a one size fits all approach to marketing that will work for every business. Marketing experts are now focusing on creating marketing strategies based on individual needs rather than relying on a set of guidelines or templates. In this article we’ll discuss how you can identify your marketing goals and create an effective strategy to meet them, so that you’re able to compete with the best in your industry! This article outlines the basic steps for creating an effective marketing strategy for your business.

Step 1: Assess Your Current Situation

In this first step you will review certain types of questions like: What are you doing right? What customer feedback have you gotten thus far? Where are you lacking? What is your competitor doing that you could be doing to improve your market share? What are your current lead generation methods? Are you converting most of your leads? Are you retaining customers or receiving referrals?

Step 2: Set Goals

Before an effective digital marketing strategy can be effective, it is important to set realistic goals. How many leads do you want to obtain? How much revenue do you want to earn? How many employees do you want to hire? Are you trying to reduce operations and fulfillment times?

Based on these goals, an expert marketing strategist can lay out the framework of what specifically needs to be done to meet or exceed these goals. For example, if your business already has a plethora of leads, but needs to optimize its processes to reduce fulfillment times, therefore increasing customer satisfaction, your business will have an entirely different strategy than a business who needs to primarily increase their leads and traffic.

Step 3: Layout Framework of Strategy

The framework, as discussed, will be customized to your business’s specific needs and goals. This framework is designed to be a step-by-step process allowing you to grow and scale your business as the results start coming in. For a start-up business, the framework would look like this:

  1. Establish Branding and Brand Message
  2. Create a Digital Presence
  3. Lead Generation Efforts
  4. Sales Process Optimization
  5. Customer Satisfaction and Retention Efforts
  6. Increase Brand Awareness
  7. Measure, Analyze and Pivot

There are many facets within each stage of this strategy( may be creating another blog post covering these in detail-stay tuned). For example, lead generation efforts can be digital ads, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media campaigns, physical mailers, Email Campaigns, In-Person Networking, and more. The specific steps within each stage are dependent on your business’s needs and your target audience. Some businesses would not benefit from in-person networking, whereas other businesses may rely on it. However, regardless of what industry you are in-if you do not have a professional and modern presence online you are not set up for success. Digital marketing and SEO is a necessary component of any business. There is a lot of research conducted that states that a majority of online shoppers base their buying decision on a company’s website and their social media presence. No matter how beautiful and engaging your presence online is, if you are not found on the search engines, your efforts are a moot point. If you do not invest in SEO, the only people finding your site are those who know about it from in-person advertising, networking, and print media.

Step 4: Follow Through and Collaboration

A strategy is only as good as its follow through. If you do not work towards your goals on a consistent basis, your efforts lose momentum and efficacy. Any time and resources you have spent towards meeting your goals can go to waste if you do not continue your efforts. Every single day, your business needs to be working on steps within your framework to propel your business towards success. If you have hired a marketer to oversee and carry out your strategy, you still need to remain involved and communicate with your marketer on a regular basis because your collaboration is key to your success. You and your marketing team should be assessing and analyzing your efforts often so that you can make adjustments and pivot your strategy as needed. It is a huge waste of time and valuable resources to implement a strategy without proper oversight of its effectiveness. Always stay in tune with your target audience and customers. You should be anticipating their needs, evaluating their feedback and making changes accordingly along the way. No strategy is effective from beginning to end without making necessary changes and adjustments as time goes along. If you do not have a marketer that is in tune to your analytics, customer feedback and results than you need to find one who is. Constant communication and collaboration is one of the most important ingredients to a truly effective marketing strategy.

Step 5: Meet Goals and Set New Ones

Hooray, your efforts have all paid off and you have successfuly met all your original goals! Although a congratulations is in order, your work is never finished. Once you have seen that your business is meeting (or exceeding) its original goals, it is crucial to set new ones. Do not stay stagnant in today’s market because your competitor isn’t. You should correspond with your marketing team about what is next. Once new goals have been established, a new framework with specific steps, will be set in place.

Once you get to the mountaintop, you can see even further. When you meet your goals, your next mission may be extremely clear to you. However, if you need help figuring out the next steps you and your marketing team should ask questions like these: How can we further satisfy our customers? Can we extend our product line or service offerings? Can we improve profit margins? Can we save money on operations costs? Can we compete in a larger market (i.e Instead of regional, maybe statewide? Instead of statewide, maybe national? Instead of National, maybe global?)? Can we improve the quality of our products or services? Can we hire more people? Want to be able to retire and step away completely(knowing your business is successfully operating without you)?

Your digital marketing strategy is arguably the most important aspect of your business. It’s what separates you from others, and it will take a lot to get noticed in today’s saturated market. Every competitive business is listed online. It is up to you and your marketing team to leverage your business and what makes it unique, in order to stand out online. By using a custom and comprehensive marketing strategy with clear and concise steps, SEO, collaboration, and consistent efforts-your business is in the best position possible for it to meet (or even exceed) all of its goals!

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