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How To Write A Marketing Strategy: A Framework

Writing a Marketing Strategy | Woman typing on a laptop

The role of marketing is to reach your target audience to let them know about your business and what it can do for them and encourage them to interact with you in some way. The role of sales is to get those prospective customers who do engage with you to actually buy.

More than ever, with the growth of digital marketing capability, the lines between marketing and sales are blurring. Ultimately, your business should have a marketing strategy that correlates and complements your sales process and vice versa.

When creating a marketing strategy, the following components should be included:

1. Objectives, Metrics & Measures

Any good marketing strategy starts by setting the objectives you want your marketing to achieve. You should consider your business objectives (e.g. increase number of clients, increase spend per client, increase frequency of sales per client) and then what the marketing needs to achieve in order to meet these objectives.

For example, if you want to increase the number of clients to your business, you need to drive awareness with more of your target customers, versus if you want to encourage existing or lapsed clients to buy again; in which case your objective would be specific to reaching that particular group of people perhaps directly, or through an email list.

Once you've set your objectives, you should also consider how you will measure the impact of your marketing activities to understand how effectively your marketing is working. Results from marketing should generally not be measured by sales conversions, but awareness and engagement metrics, including enquiries, signups and downloads.

2. Audience Avatars & Segmentation

Customer or Client avatars (aka 'profiles' or 'personas') help you to uncover your prospects' true motivations, needs, and behaviours so that you can determine where to reach them and what to say to them.

You can read more about the importance of creating a customer avatar in this article - "What's The Point of Creating A Customer Avatar?".

Segmentation is the activity of breaking up your prospective clients into different 'types' based on a common set of characteristics, behaviours and needs.

Segmenting enables you to more accurately target different types of client with alternative messages and marketing channels according to your understanding of that particular persona.

3. Competitor Understanding & Positioning

The alignment of your clients' needs to your business capability is not sufficient to position your business competitively. It's important when creating a marketing strategy to understand where your business sits versus competitors.

If you are a services business that operates (or can operate) online, then ideally you will be looking for either a national or global reach with your marketing. As such, your competitors will be really widespread and saturated! For Coaches, consultants and software or tech providers, amongst others, the number of competitive or similar offers to yours could be quite widespread. So, this part of your strategy is about getting a general sense of the way other businesses are offering and marketing their services and then looking to identify what you can offer uniquely.

Positioning is a very specialised area of marketing and one which I work most often on with my clients to ensure that they have an effective message to put through their marketing channels.

4. Channel Plan

Understanding the underlying mindsets and behaviours that drive someone from first hearing about your business to making the decision to engage and interact with you through to the decision to buy is key to writing a marketing strategy.

This model explains the five key stages of the purchase cycle and the behaviours that can occur at each stage. As you read through the explanatory guide below, think about the ‘places’ both physically and online where your customer will likely be. Consider the occasions when they will be most receptive to your message.

01. Triggers

Natural Triggers - all purchase decisions start with a ‘trigger’. Sometimes this trigger is a life event, such as having a baby, moving home, or simply using the last coffee pod in the box! Triggers in a business such as expansion, moving offices, change of management can lead to businesses needing certain services.

Forced Triggers - marketing can be used to trigger a trigger!! By highlighting and promoting an issue people face, but that they currently don’t know there is a solution to. Even when problems have no commercial solution on offer, human nature dictates that there is a ‘solution’ that society will have adopted to deal with it. As such, people are not actively searching for a solution.

Which type of triggers do your ideal clients experience? Are there some natural triggers? Or, will you need to use your marketing to ‘force’ the issue and demonstrate to people that there is a better solution?

02. Awareness & Research

Once triggered, your ideal client will start to think about solutions to their problem that are in their immediate awareness set. If they don’t know of any immediate solutions, they will enter the ‘Research’ stage. This often means that they head for Google, but it can also mean that they ask for recommendations on social media, or talk directly to friends, family and other business owners.

Does your business have enough brand awareness with your ideal client?

03. Engagement & Removing Apathy

Following the research stage, your ideal client will have found a set of businesses who can provide the solution they seek. We call this their ‘consideration set’. They will typically now go and engage with each business further to see whether they will be the right fit. This could mean they look at a website, explore their social media pages, go into a physical store and connect directly with products, speak to you on the phone, send an email enquiry etc. the list is endless.

At this stage of ‘Engagement’, it’s important to provide something to prospects that helps them engage with you. It could be about creating a phenomenal user experience on your website, offering free products or downloads, free shipping, a free consultation. Again, the list is endless.

During the engagement stage, multiple touchpoints will be explored to help a prospect decide whether they want to ask for a quote or purchase now (depending on your type of offer).

What do you have in place to engage with your ideal client? What are you going to tell your ideal client that will make them engage with your further? How can you help them think about the 'pain' they are feeling now, and set them a vision for how they will feel after working with you?

Between the time they engage and when they convert, it helps to make it as easy and fast as possible to get them across the line to a sale. Otherwise, you risk ‘apathy’, where the prospect’s initial enthusiasm starts to wane.

What's your approach to reducing apathy and driving momentum with your ideal client?

04. Conversion & Experience

Once they convert and become a customer, they will ‘experience’ your product or service and this will be the moment of truth as to whether they will want to continue using your service or buy from you again in the future.

Do you know what your current clients really think about the experience you provide?

05. Loyalty & Advocacy

If the experience is positive, then customers will not only return, but also become loyal to your business in the long-term. At the point of a positive experience, this is the moment to get them to give you a review or agree to becoming a case study. There are also tactics you can use to encourage them to become advocates.

Advocacy is the end goal for any marketer. Advocates do your marketing for you at no cost, so the more you can create, the more awareness your business will receive.

How many advocates do you have? How actively do they advocate for your business?

The above provides a framework for writing a growth marketing strategy for your business.

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