How many times have you seen a killer marketing campaign and thought to yourself, "Wow, I wish I would've thought of that!"
We've all been there. The truth is, when you're just starting out, it can be tough to know whether your marketing strategy is as comprehensive and powerful as it could be.
To help ease some of that uncertainty, we've created this guide that'll show you step-by-step how to create a marketing strategy that leaves no stone unturned.
Let's dive into the critical components of a complete marketing strategy:
Build a marketing plan.
Create buyer personas.
Select the appropriate tools.
Account for existing resources.
Audit and plan media campaigns.
Bring it to fruition.
1. Build a marketing plan.
Wait, I have to make a plan for my strategy? What's the difference? Your marketing strategy provides an overview behind the reasons why your marketing team will need certain resources, take certain actions, and set certain goals over the year. Your marketing plan is the specific actions you'll take to achieve that strategy.
Not sure where to start?
The right template can help you build a marketing plan that identifies your budget for the year, the initiatives your marketing organization needs to tackle, and the marketing channels you'll use to implement those initiatives. And it will tie everything back to a business summary, to keep you aligned with overarching company goals.
2. Create buyer personas.
If you can't define who your audience is in one sentence, now's the chance to do it. A buyer persona is an example of your ideal customer.
Buyer personas have critical demographic and psychographic information -- including age, job title, income, location, interests, and challenges.
3. Identify goals.
Your marketing strategy goals should coincide with your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to have 50 new quality leads by the end of the quarter, your goal as a marketer should be along the lines of boosting Facebook Likes by 150% by the end of the month.
Other marketing goals might be to increase brand awareness or generate high-quality leads. You might also want to grow or maintain thought leadership in your industry or increase customer value. Whatever your goals, identify what they are and how your marketing organization can work to achieve them over time.
4. Select the appropriate tools.
Once you have your goals identified, make sure you have the right tools to measure the success of those goals. Most Marketing Tools integrate with Analytic software to help you keep track of your return on investment.
5. Account for existing resources.
Decide what you already have in your arsenal that can help you create your strategy. To streamline this process, think of your assets in three categories -- paid, owned, and earned media.
Paid media means any channel you spend money on to attract your target audience. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer paid media options that boost your exposure.
Owned media is any of the media you create -- blog posts, ebooks, images, and infographics that your marketing team has created are examples of owned media.
Earned media is another way to say user-generated content. Shares on social media, tweets about your business, and photos posted on Instagram mentioning your company are all examples of earned media.
Gather your materials in these areas and consolidate them all in a single vehicle so you'll have a clear vision of what you have and how you can integrate the three channels together to maximize your strategy.
Important: If you have resources that don't fit into your goals, nix it. This is a great time to clean house or identify gaps in your materials.
6. Audit and plan media campaigns.
Cleaning house segues straight into this step. Now, you must decide which content is going to help you. Focus on your owned media and marketing goals.
Next, look at your buyer personas and conjure up a content creation plan. The plan should include the title, goals, format, and channel for each piece of content. Be sure to include which challenge it's solving for your buyer persona.
7. Bring it to fruition.
At this point, your market research and planning should help you visualize how your strategy will be executed (and by which teams).
The final step is to bring that all together -- to put actions into your planning. Create a document that maps out the steps you need to take to execute your campaign. In other words, define your strategy.
Think long-term when creating this document. A standard strategy document is 12 months. This structured timeline should be the home base for your strategic marketing efforts.
Remember, your digital strategy is unique to your business, so the document should be, as well. As long as the strategy includes all of the necessary information, you'll be all set to take your company's brand from okay to "it's a doozy"!