Simple Marketing Strategy in 5 Easy Steps
The old adage goes that if you don’t have a plan, you’re by default planning to fail.
When it comes to marketing, this can’t be truer. You don’t want to get involved in blatant advertising and straight to the face selling. (It does decrease the credibility.) Even that requires some planning upfront if you don’t want to get some results.
Planning is a compulsory step that when done right, it’s like accomplishing 50 percent of the entire work.
The benefits of a planned marketing strategy are numerous. Marketers of all levels of experience should appreciate a plan because when activities are in alignment with the company’s goal, they will achieve it easier and faster.
Informal knowledge and infield experience are important in the decision making process but without planning you may have overlooked some of the critical facts you need to achieve expected results.
In summary, a marketing strategy will help you define business goals and develop planned and structured activities to achieve them.
Develop a Clear Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps
Get your favorite notebook and pencil. Prepare your favorite beverage. Let your family members know that you don’t want to be disturbed. Find a quite place where you can think about your business for at least one or two hours.
Ready? Let’s go with the first step.
- Define your target market
Who is the target market for your business? If you want to get specific, who do you target with your product or service? An answer could be as broad as possible like a demographics segment.
Next, you want to narrow down the demographic into a smaller group of people you can really relate to with your product. Better still, come up with one fantasy figure that you target in all your marketing piece. Be as specific as possible. The more you describe about this figure, the better you know how to talk to him/her.
Later when building a web site, writing an email or sales letter, or even practicing for a networking or seminar event, you want to write as if you’re talking to this specific figure so make sure you are being clear to the point that you really know this individual.
- Come up with Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
All small businesses should have a USP. This is the competitive advantage that makes your product memorable and attractive.
This can be as easy as being the service business who provide the fastest turnaround for every project. A retail store may guarantee the cheapest price in town or money back. Fedex ensures that you can deliver your package to destination overnight. Hertz is the second largest car rental, so they have to “try harder.”
USP is important for a business. If you have a product or service that you want to market in competitive niche, you may also want to come up with one USP for each product or service.
- Jot down interesting features and benefits
What makes your products or services interesting to your audience? Different target market respond differently. For most, you will get better results by focusing on the benefits.
However, knowing the features of the products allow you to know in details what you have to offer in the products or services.
In some occasions, selling by features are required. This is especially true for market that consists of intellectual individuals. They tend to hate marketing talk. Straight list of features are enough to make them buy.
An example of this is high-tech machinery for engineers. They care less about the benefits because they know it all. But if you have one feature that’s only available in your product, they will possibly buy without second thought.
- Think about how you will position your product or service
Positioning is another critical factor of a product or service, so take time to think about it.
What’s the one characteristic that sets the product or service apart from competitors. This is like a USP but is different in that it describes the actual way on how you want the potential buyers see your product.
For example, for Volvo, it is “safety.” For McDonald, their positioning angle is “a fun place for kids.”
The process may involve getting into the mind of the customers and see what others have done in the industry. You want it to be unique it’s memorable.
- Identify various marketing methods
Based on your budget, identify some marketing methods that you can use to reach the target market you’ve defined in step 1 above with the message you created in point 2-4.
Marketing is an investment. While you can do it on a shoestring, there’s always a cost involved in doing it. If you want to save money, chances are you must invest more time to achieve the same results.
Some of the marketing tactics you can tap into is advertising on web sites and media buying, email marketing to in-house list or buying solo ads on other people list, joint venture promotion, search marketing, and so on.
Identifying the right marketing strategy helps you grow your business faster and on the right track. With a plan, you can avoid shooting in the dark by going right to the target.
These steps may seem to be easy but don’t overlook it by any means. Getting clear on the goal and work on a plan to achieve that is effective not only in business but in every part of your life.
With a clearly identified marketing strategy, you will feel more focused and get more things done, so set aside one or two hour and do it.
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