With the importance of gaining a clear understanding of your marketing strategy, it’s hard to believe how many overlook this step.
Marketing strategies are incredibly important, yet, so many agencies only list them on their websites without actually making them. Let’s dive into some of the main reasons why that happens and how to build a strategy for yourself.
When it comes to choosing the tools for your marketing strategy, it’s crucial to consider the unique needs and expectations of your audience. We use our Customer Avatar Worksheet to help us with this section.
By using the right tools, you can also understand the audience’s behavior and better track the decisions they are making.
Differences Between Strategy vs Tactics
Before we get too far in, let’s define the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing tactic since we will be using these terms throughout this article.
- Marketing Strategy: A strategy refers to the overall plan or the approach we are going to take to achieve our marketing goals.
- Marketing Tactics: A tactic is a specific method that is used within a strategy to help obtain the goals.
That means that you can often have multiple tactics within a marketing strategy, and when we are working on a strategy, that’s exactly what we do. Rarely do we only use a single tactic to achieve our goals.
It’s important to have a well-laid-out marketing plan. If you don’t, you’ll end up shooting in the dark and never knowing what’s working or what’s not working. That leads us to set some goals so you can track all this.
Setting and Understanding Your Marketing Goals
Goals are important, everyone knows this. Yet, time and time again when it comes to goal setting, we all set unrealistic goals. There’s nothing quite like a marketing goal that has the likelihood of success as a New Year’s Resolution to join the gym and work out every day.
Surprise, that practically never works!
When we are talking about goals, we want to decide if we are marketing to enough people, whether are they seeing our ads, clicking on them, buying, etc. What are the realistic goals we can achieve?
Now, when it comes to goals and timelines, we have to talk about budget. In an ideal world, we would have an unlimited budget to put towards any campaign, but that’s not how real-world campaigns work. We need to understand how long the campaign has to run for, how much budget we can put behind it, and the real expectations of the outcome.
How do we track these? Just grab our KPI Cheatsheet to understand how to do this and have a handy tracking table to go along with it.
Researching Business & Industry For A Successful Campaign
When it comes to a successful campaign, the first thing to start with is market research. Believe it or not, not all products or services are accepted by the market. This includes yours. Before you go pumping money into an advertising campaign, make sure people want your stuff.
Once you’ve done your research and the market shows signs of accepting your product or service, it’s time to find out who’s buying. The answer is never “anyone and everyone.” There is an easy way to do this and it’s the Customer Avatar.
All of our marketing strategies revolve around the Customer Avatar. The Avatar is a central point to any marketing strategy.
When you build out your customer avatars or Avatars, you begin to understand the personality and persona you are going to target within your marketing strategy. You’ll start to understand how they talk, their pains, fears, and desires. You’ll learn what truly motivates them to buy.
When developing your Customer Avatar, it’s important to get all the basic demographics like age, gender, and location, but the more you understand who you are marketing to, their lifestyle, values, and what makes them tick, the better success your campaign will have.
Selecting The Right Marketing Tools
Now you know who you’re marketing to, you’ve done the research to find that they want your product, but now it’s time to see if the actual people’s behavior aligns with your avatar.
How do you do it? That’s where tracking comes into play. You have to track to get a true understanding of your customers, their behaviors, and what they need and desire. Tracking is an easy way to accurately find out this information.
There are so many tools and each does various things when it comes to tracking. I don’t want to endorse specific software since the way I use them and the market churns them varies so drastically, but there are a few things we can cover for efficiency.
- Analytics: Now, this one I will call out software. I use Google Analytics nearly exclusively on all my sites. It’s my go-to for all my analytic software. There are a few analytic software tools that I’ll occasionally supplement with, but this has been central to my analytics for ages now.
- Keywords: Keyword tracking software nowadays is a dime a dozen. Regardless of which you choose, there are a few with a proven track record. We use aHrefs heavily as well as SEMrush. However, there are alternatives like SEranking, BrightLocal, and many others that are great choices, but the list is nearly endless now.
- Call Tracking: This is another must in my opinion. You have to track where calls are coming from to find out if your message is effective. There is often a top-level tracking where you have one phone number for, say, all your ads. Then one for all your landing pages, etc. What I recommend is a new number for each of these so you can find out which landing page is sending most the traffic, or what billboard, and so on.
Now, KPI tracking can also be endless. There are high-level KPIs to track like the ones above. You also have things like ROAS, CTR, CTA, and on and on. Then there are also campaign-level KPIs, and anything else you feel would be useful data to track. Use the KPI Cheatsheet to make this easier.
The important thing here is don’t fight against the grain. If there is a tool that is going to make your tracking more effective, give you better data, and help you make better decisions on your marketing goals and successes, then it’s important to make sure you get the software that tracks it best.
Integrating Your Marketing Efforts
The entire point of getting the software to track your KPIs and measure your data is to be able to use that data. As crazy as it sounds, this is a spot that so many miss. Data alone means nothing, it’s when you incorporate it into your marketing that makes the difference.
When you spend some time and dive into your collected data, when you work on truly understanding the data, you learn what to look for. Why did one metric go up when one went down? What caused a spike in the analytics? Why were people clicking on this button more than that button? And so on.
You’ll begin to find the problems and mistakes in your marketing campaigns and take the actions required to fix them. Many of which you can fix on the fly and immediately see a change in your marketing. This can be rewrites, edits, image changes, or all-around messaging changes.
Each percentage gained from a positive change in marketing can account for tremendous value and profit coming back to your business.
Learn to make data checkups and operational checks regularly. If you aren’t staying on top of your campaigns, you have have a campaign fail before you even have a chance to find out why aside from a draining bank account.
Making Informed Decisions
We’ve talked about the research, we’ve talked about the tactics and strategies, and we’ve also talked about gathering more data with software. Let’s continue diving into this important topic to cover more of what goes into a strong marketing strategy.
Now it’s time to take all the data that we’ve pulled back and start making actual marketing decisions to go into our marketing strategy. I want to stress how important it is to make decisions off the data and not gut feelings.
Gut feelings sometimes work, but more often or not, they don’t work or they are lacking key information to make a strong strategy.
If the data is telling you to make a website, then make a website (not, this is often a staple in many strategies), but if it’s saying a website won’t do much, you may not need one. This is the same for ads, SEO, videos, and more.
Let the data guide you and your marketing with strength.
Regardless of the research and data, managing your expectations is still a keystone to your campaign. Let me explain.
More often than not, we have an idea and we believe it’s the best idea that has ever come into the market. We believe that everything will go off without a hitch, every marketing dollar will find it’s home and bring endless amounts of cash.
Well, usually not.
Media and “Gurus” make it sound like you’re going to be running 90% CTRs, get a 20x ROAS, and life is going to be rainbows and daisies. There is a painful reality.
Many campaigns fail.
In fact, many of them fail at first but become shining examples once they’ve been adjusted and this is the power of data. However, I want to make sure that you understand that campaigns evolve over time with data and adjustments.
Analyze the data, make adjustments, and then repeat.
Creating and Implementing the Plan
Now we’ve got through the setup, it’s time to create and implement the plan. This plan is supposed to be a detailed strategy guide that catapults your business and crushes the competition.
Well, let’s reel in our expectations again. The catapulting is right, but crushing to competition comes in time. Every campaign you launch should have a strategy that helps grow your business, smaller campaigns can have smaller strategies, but they should have them nonetheless.
The bigger campaigns should have a meticulously thought-out strategy that covers everything we discussed. Let’s talk about an example of what a section of the strategy could look like and how to build this out.
If your strategy calls for blog posts then what are some aspects of that?
- What blog posts will you write?
- What keywords will they be targeting?
- What are the headlines going to be?
- Where will they be published?
- Will they have videos in them?
- What will they promote?
- What will be the calls to action?
Cover anything you feel could be important and let data guide the rest. Then for implementation, it’s time to figure out your timelines and publications schedules to go along with this, and how you will leverage your team to make sure they go out on time and done right.
Don’t forget to add in your metrics tracking.
Now let those run for a little bit and then come back and revisit the data. How are they performing, are they performing as expected or underperforming? Take that data and make any changes necessary.
Keep the momentum going and continue to roll out your plan.
Each section that goes into your strategy should have all the key components as well as an implementation timeline. This goes for landing pages, websites, ads …everything.
To close this out, I want to say that it’s not always the best product that wins. Having the best product is definitely an advantage, but when it comes down to it, it’s understanding your customers and communicating your message to the market that wins.
You should always have a great product and great service, but that’s just the bar to entry in business these days. It’s the messaging that sells, it’s the messaging that wins.
Now it’s time for you to do it. Go, do your research, find your data, and build your strategy.
It’s time to win!