When it comes to marketing your business online, there are two things that your business needs to have: a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.
A marketing plan and a marketing strategy are two things that can be easily confused as being one and the same, but they aren’t. Your marketing strategy consists of the goals you want to achieve via your marketing efforts. Your marketing plan states how you are going to achieve the goals that you’ve set in your marketing strategy. Whether your marketing globally, nationally throughout Canada, or locally in Ottawa, you need both to succeed in your efforts.
Creating a Marketing Strategy
There are a number of different questions that you’ll want to answer in order to help develop your marketing strategy. These questions include:
- What will a successful strategy look like for you?
- What kind of individuals and organizations will you look to serve?
- What kinds of products or services will you provide?
- Where will you offer your products or services?
- Where will your business compete?
- How will you create value for your customers?
- What kind of capabilities need to be in place?
- What type of management systems need to be instituted?
You’ll also want to be as honest as possible with the strengths and weaknesses of your business so you can figure out how it will affect your marketing. For example, your company’s strengths may include the benefits provided by your product or your customer service. However, your weaknesses could include a lack of an established reputation or limited financial resources. These are things that will need to be considered when developing your marketing strategy.
Building a Marketing Plan
Once you have a marketing strategy in place, you can begin focusing on how you will execute that strategy. This is where you should begin developing your marketing plan. Your marketing plan should contain the tactics that you will use in order to reach the goals that you set in your marketing strategy. The following are some of the reasons that you shouldn’t dive into a marketing campaign without a plan.
Build Team Confidence
By having a marketing plan in place, you’ll have everybody on your marketing team feeling confident. They see that there is some kind of order and roadmap and that their leader knows exactly what he or she is doing. The marketing plan itself can be incredibly motivating for your troops.
Map it Out
If your marketing strategy is for a long-term marketing campaign, then you’ll want to ensure that everything is written down in a marketing plan from day one. This way, your original vision is never lost – and neither is important information. Remember, employees can leave your company during the middle of a campaign and new people could come aboard as well – you’ll want the marketing plan in place as a guide to remind everyone of what they are doing and to bring new members up to date.
Know Where You’re Going
Without a marketing plan, you won’t know how effective your marketing efforts are. How can you judge the success of your marketing strategy without a plan in place? Not to mention that you’ll be able to adjust your marketing strategies if it becomes apparent that parts of your marketing plan aren’t working as they were expected to.
When creating an effective marketing plan, there a number of key things to work towards.
Pinpoint Your Focus
Every marketing plan should have a content marketing strategy. What you need to decide is whether content marketing is going to be your primary focus or if it’s simply going to be one component of many. If you decide that content marketing is your primary focus, then all of you marketing will reflect this, everything from your email newsletters and direct mail to your website and social channels.
You’ll need to assemble a team of individual experts in order to execute your marketing plan. For example, you’ll want website designers, content creators, graphic designers, customer service representatives, social media experts and more. Marketing, especially online marketing, consists of many different strategies, from content marketing to SEO to social media and more.
Know Your Goals
Obviously, these goals should reflect or help accomplish the main goals you’ve set in your marketing strategy. The goals of your marketing tactics can include increasing the traffic to your website, developing your company as an authority, generating more leads, nurturing your leads, establishing customer loyalty and trust, building brand awareness and more.
Figuring out your buyer persona is an absolute must – you don’t want to market to consumers that aren’t part of your target audience as this is a waste of resources. Your buyer persona includes information such as average age, gender, income level and more.
As you can see, both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan are necessary to every business looking to market their brand.