Advanced marketing strategy: Your ultimate guide

Possibly most of the marketing strategies today have a digital angle in them too. Because without that, most businesses are set up for failure in the coming days. Consumers have turned to the internet for buying and most businesses have also started selling online, keeping up with the times. One’s best bet is to observe their online behavior in terms of where their time is spent. 

The digital landscape is changing constantly and when one is growing a business, this bit can become increasingly overwhelming. At the helm of a business, there are many tasks on the ground to be taken care of and to top that, getting one’s hands in the digital game can swamp anyone. 

The digital marketing domain demands a chunk of time; notwithstanding creating, fine-tuning and maintaining a strategy consistently and efficiently.

Improve and grow your digital presence by understanding what it is first.

  • Marketing strategy: A marketing strategy is a business’s overall game plan for reaching a specific goal, mainly converting prospective leads into repeat customers. It sets objectives and compares it what is being done well to what can be done better to achieve targets.
  • Content marketing: A content marketing strategy has two components, a strategy and a plan. This maps out the implementation process to the distribution channel of your brand’s content marketing plan. Also, it creates a calendar that organises your content that has to be implemented in an orderly fashion.

How to create a foolproof strategy for your digital marketing efforts.

  • Build your brand’s buyer persona: First and foremost, for a marketing effort, you need to know who is the buyer that you need to target. To create a detailed report of the suggested buyers, there is a level of research, surveys, interviews, etc. required. It is always real-life data versus assumptions as that could put the target audience strategy started off in a completely wrong direction. Here are some demographic points curated to help you start- 
  1. Location: This helps you identify what specific locations you want to target and also where your website traffic is generated from. There are multiple tools available to help with this like web analytics tools.
  2. Age: if age is of relevance to your brand, then this can be a gamechanger. You can identify trends of your prospect by gathering data and contact databases.
  3. Income: Not everyone is willing to part with sensitive information like their income; hence the best way to gather this information is through personal research interviews rather than online contact forms.
  4. Job designation: This one is only of relevance for B2B companies and can be gathered roughly from your existing database.
  • Identifying goals: Goals have to be set at the onset of any company’s base. To increase your business’s revenue by a certain amount, you have to set target goals to achieve at least 50% more than the previous year to make it more realistic. Whatever your goal may be, you have to use tools to measure the success rate of your strategy consistently and the web is full of tools that will bring your marketing and sales data in one place. This aids in seeing what works and what doesn’t.
  • Digital assets and portals evaluation: Look at the bigger aspect of your strategy and identify what you need to use to achieve the set goals. You don’t have to utilise everything at the same time. It is imperative that you understand what comes at what stage of use for maximum results. Not everything is a good fit for your strategy and one has to categorise between paid, owned and earned portals and use them effectively. 
  1.  Owned: Imagery, website, social media handles, blog content, etc., anything that is owned by your business and can be used freely to promote your brand with complete control is “owned’ media. 
  2. Earned: The oldest and a surefire marketing strategy in the world is “word of mouth” publicity. It ranges from posting on other websites such as offpage blogs, guest posts, etc. to PR work and customer experience. This is when people recognise and laud your efforts and are “well earned”. 
  3. Paid: As the word suggests, paid media is when you pay to get your target audience’s attention. Native ads, Google AdWords, paid social media posts and other such to get maximum exposure to your product is what paid media does.
  • Owned media planner: Content is more often than not, owned media and as oft said, content is king. Content is a very broad term and covers a lot in terms of your website social posts email marketing and ebooks and many more. Content management is very essential as it helps convert the website visitors into customers and then, into repeat customers. This boosts your online presence and when SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is also implemented, it improves your search and organic traffic. Some points to consider are:
  1. Analyse your existing content: List your owned content and make a parallel list against that to identify what all was used in the previous strategy if any. Then, identify what worked well and what didn’t. Plan accordingly as to what to include further to enhance your course of action and what to discard as per your goals. 
  2. Determine the cracks in your content: There will always be some gaps in your strategy that will have to be looked at constantly and filled up according to your buyer personas. Content audits need to be done and evaluated and accordingly, you need to make landing pages if required, for example. Similarly, an e-book or a webinar may be the answer for some other strategy.
  3. Content creation planning: To meet the set goals, you need to create a content plan based on your searches and the cracks that you have managed to fill. Now is the time to make a concrete plan on how to set things in motion. There should be a title, format, promotional digital channels, set KPIs and goals, the reasoning behind each piece of content and the level of priority. It can be on a simple spreadsheet although there are a whole lot of free templates available online. Besides this budget planning and timelines are also very important. 
  4. Bring all of the above together: Now that you have a vision of your end goal and how to achieve it, the only thing left to implement it, is tunnel-focus on your buyer personas, specific goals on different channels, an inventory and an audit of all your different channels whether they are owned, paid or earned, a content plan and you are good to go.

One last thing: Sales funnel

A sales funnel that has been planned thoroughly is of utmost importance. The thought processes, challenges and decisions of your target audience are what you need to get into and the sales funnel provides great insights into that. Also, one can never have a flat-out strategy for all their customers as they will be in the different funnel stages. This impacts your marketing strategy greatly too. 

Also, it is crucial to know the if and why the audience is failing to convert Or at what stage of the funnel are they dropping out. This information is valuable to decipher what change is needed and at what stage in the funnel. 

Each stage of the funnel needs to be looked at minutely and changes have to be made accordingly to ensure a smooth buyer journey and a consequent conversion. You never want to send out the wrong signal.

A sales funnel is not like one size fits all type of approach; instead, it is a very targeted and tailormade model. Each brand will have its own functionality that will need a different strategy although overall it will remain the same.

For the initial stage to become a buyer and a repeat customer, it takes five critical moves:

  1. Awareness – Most probably, the buyer may have never heard of your brand before. In that case, the buyer is researching online and thus, finds you, if at all as the competition is real and huge in every field. You have to ensure that you rank high in the SERPs and for that, you need to have relevant content that is being ranked highly due to the right keywords and tags, etc. This can result in a purchase even immediately.
  2. Scrutiny – Now at this stage, the customer knows what they are looking for and what problem they are facing around it. They have found you as the solution but will compare prices and do a refined search and research. At such a point, you need to be able to communicate in a helpful and informative way. Help your customer make an informed decision logically. Different types of consideration tools have to be used at this juncture such as webinars, presentations, pricing lists, etc.
  3. Result – Time to buy, the prospective lead may have narrowed two to three brands down and you are one of them. What is it that you can provide at this stage to clinch the deal? Value for money has been the best solution for one and all always. That and great customer service. To convince them why they should choose you, testimonials and reviews have been the best bet. Product demos, FAQs, discount coupons, competitor parallels, free trials, etc are also great options. 
  4. Retention – This is the stage where the transaction has been made and now you want to ensure that they keep coming back. In order to retain your customers and make them repeat customers, you have to strengthen the bond between the brand and the customer. It is a fact that it is cheaper for marketing efforts for repeat customers rather than new ones. Focus on quality customers rather than the number of customers that can be retained. Follow up with them via calls and email marketing as well as get feedback so that you can build brand loyalty and subsequent customer retention. Have an onboarding process in place if the product or service needs help. This is a sure-shot way to keep them coming back.
  5. Assistance – How about turning your now loyal customers into the voice for your brand? Once you have their buy-in, the same customers will advocate your brand if they are fans of your product or service. Word of mouth has been the most effective way of advertising always. If you have managed to turn your customers into fans, they will tell their friends and family and that is a big growth opportunity. For this to happen you have to provide great customer service and one of the biggest markers is personalisation. Keep it real, offer discounts and referral benefits, and ask for reviews and testimonials. When you have reached the advocacy stage of the funnel, more than half your job here is done.  More likely than not, you will get only honest feedback and great reviews. Time to start an email marketing campaign to get constructive feedback even, to utilise it to better the areas that need work. You will be able to provide better service with the insight you receive.

Conclusion

When you start a marketing strategy, it is imperative to factor in the five SMART goals. These markers help you understand whether your strategy is in line with your goals or not. The SMART method is in conjunction with setting goals and objectives successfully. The definition of SMART is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Set ambitious goals but also realistic, achievable and time-effective. It can be demotivating for you and your team if you set impossible goals. That being said, hope this blog helps you set off in the right direction.

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