The 10 Crucial Steps to Building a Powerful Marketing Strategy

Now that it’s a new year, it’s the perfect time to start developing a new marketing strategy.

The truth is, you should be revaluating and tweaking your strategy throughout the entire year—and not just at the beginning of the year.

But the start of the new year is as good a time as any to wipe the slate clean and start anew.

Ready to get started? Here are the steps that you should be taking to build an effective marketing strategy.

1. Analyze Your Existing Strategy

Before doing anything, take a good, hard look at your existing marketing strategy (if you have one). Make a list of the things that have been working and the things that haven’t been working. Hopefully, you’ve been tracking your KPIs and this step won’t be too difficult.

2. Set SMART Goals

Once you’ve analyzed your existing strategy, it’s time to set SMART goals. What wasn’t working last year that you want to improve upon this year?

Setting a goal to “increase lead generation” isn’t a good goal. And it’s certainly not SMART. Instead, your goal should be something like “Increase lead generation by 20% by April 30, 2018.”

3. Set a Budget

What was your Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA) in the last couple of years? While you want to optimize (reduce) your COCA, it’s reasonable to assume that your future COCA will be similar to your recent COCA. Your marketing budget should then relate to your goals.

If, for example, it costs $1,000 to acquire a new B2B customer, and you’d like to acquire 200 new customers, then your marketing budget will likely need to be at least $200,000 ($1,000 x 200) to acquire those new customers (not including the budget for indirect marketing efforts such as branding and management).

4. Determine Your Company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

What makes you different from your competitors? Why should your customers pick you over everyone else? What kind of value do you provide? How will you solve their problems?

Creating a value proposition isn’t easy, and you might even be tempted to skip over this step entirely. But don’t. Because your USP is the glue that binds your marketing strategy together.

5. Define Your Buyer Persona

How well do you know your buyer persona? If you’ve been basing your previous marketing strategies off of just a vague idea of who your buyer persona is, then it’s time to get to know your buyer persona a bit better. Your buyer persona should be as detailed as possible.

Not sure who it is? Create a survey or conduct interviews to find out. Your buyer persona should be based on research and not just assumed.

6. Analyze the Competition

What are your competitors doing well that you can imitate? And what are they not doing well at that you can improve upon?

For instance, if you find that your competitor has a lot of Facebook engagement, take a look at what they are doing. Are they using a lot of emojis or asking their audience personal, thought-provoking questions? Are they sharing a lot of videos? If so, what kinds of videos?

7. Determine How You Will Market

How you will market will depend on who your target audience is and of course, what your budget allows.

For instance, direct mail might work best for certain industries and demographics (generally older generations)—but not so well for others. Almost everyone uses email nowadays, so there’s a good chance that email will be a part of your marketing strategy. Ask yourself: What kinds of emails will you send out? Will they be text-based or image-based? How often will you send out emails? And what days of the week and times will you send?

Chances are also high that your audience is on social media. But the chances are quite slim that they spend time on every single network. Determine which social media networks your audience hangs out on. How often should you be posting and at what times of the day? This will likely vary with each network—and of course, will require some testing to get just right.

Will you build a chatbot to communicate with your audience? Or use any other form of artificial intelligence?

How often should you be publishing on your blog? Twice a week? Twice a month? You don’t have to publish a blog post every day, but you should be consistent in whatever you end up doing.

Then determine the other content that you want to be putting out there. E-books? Webinars? Podcasts? SlideShares? What type of content would your audience find particularly valuable?

Will you create an app? If so, what kinds of push notifications will you send?

What about SEO and paid advertisement?

And how are you going to speak to your audience? Will your tone be fun and playful or more serious? What kind of style will you use throughout your content marketing?

These are just a few of the things that you’ll want to think about when deciding how to market to your target audience.

8. Do a Website Audit

Your website is like the spokesperson for your business. And it’s often the first impression that people have of your brand. Which is why it’s got to be good.

For this reason, you should perform a thorough audit of your website. First get someone unaffiliated with your brand to take a look and share their thoughts on the usability and user experience of your site.

Then, do a thorough audit yourself. Are your landing pages optimized? Does your “About” page convey what your organization is all about? Are you being completely transparent? Is everything on your site easy to find?

Make a list of everything on your site that could be improved upon—And then take action.

9. Plan Everything Out

Ah, now the fun part starts!

Once you’ve determined how you will market to your buyer persona, it’s time to start planning. At SUCCESS agency, we create different spreadsheets: one social media calendar, another general marketing calendar (for all of our content that’s being published, like our blog posts, e-books and emails) and of course a spreadsheet to keep track of all of our KPIs.

Your monthly, quarterly and yearly goals should also be mapped out.

10. Revisit Your Marketing Strategy

And lastly, remember: Nothing is set in stone! The strategy that you develop now might need to change in a month or two.

So once a month (or at least once per quarter), you should revisit your marketing strategy. What seems to be working well and what isn’t working so well? How’s your engagement and lead generation? Are you achieving your goals? Make tweaks and changes as necessary.

For example, if your email open rates are low, you could try changing the send date and time. If your email click-through rates are low, you could try changing the layout or the content. If you’re struggling to get followers on social media, maybe you could create a user-generated content campaign or connect with an influencer.

The key is to constantly revaluate and think about how things can be improved upon. Test out different things to find out what works best.

Lastly, keep in mind that content marketing takes a lot of time and effort. You’re not going to make a profit overnight. But if you’re consistently creating valuable content that’s delivered to the right audience at the right time, that time and effort will pay off.

Need help developing your marketing strategy? Get in touch. We’d be happy to help.