Marketing strategy and planning is an essential part of any business online or otherwise. Without careful planning people often times end up all over the place in their efforts. Your strategy should be based around your products and services meeting the consumer’s needs. By doing this you can build long term relationships with customers and attain many new ones. But how is this achieved? Strategies that are easily adaptable will allow your planning to evolve to meet the needs of your customers.
What are the strengths of your products or services? Do you have a way to monitor your progress? These are some of the first questions that you should be thinking of when planning your marketing strategy. Today I’ll be going over ways to help you identify which customers to concentrate on and how to attain them. This guide will show you what objectives should be in your marketing strategy and how to effectively implement them.
Key Factors Essential to Your Marketing Strategy
Website visitors are all potential customers. Categorizing them in specific groups by identifying their needs will be one of the key factors in your strategy. You will be able to look at each group more closely and hone in on how to better their experience. By doing this you’ll also be able to concentrate on your strengths and apply them to your marketing strategy. If a certain group of customers are looking for competitive pricing then your marketing efforts for that group should follow suit. In this example you would make sure that your rates or prices are competitive. Make your focus known through call to actions and elements on your website. Make sure the customers know the point of the page they are visiting.
You can use this type of strategy in different ways such as advertising, public relation initiatives, and so on. Again just make sure your efforts have a call to action. There should always be a point that is clear to the customer. Some of these methods can be pricey so be sure and set a budget.
Often times efforts aren’t properly monitored. There is nothing better than raw data when trying to check your progress. Following any marketing strategy is a waste of time if you aren’t tracking your efforts. You need to be able to compare last month’s numbers to this months and so on. The basic way to track user experiences is through surveys. Simply ask them how was their experience. You can also entice visitors to fill out surveys and questionnaires. Things like free ebooks, 10% off next purchase, and free shipping offers are just some of the things that come to mind. Be creative when thinking of different ways to get feedback.
When you have your marketing strategy ready it is time to start planning. Think of ways to measure you success. This is a plan that you will keep reviewing and tweaking. With the internet and physical world there are constant changes in trends that will need to be addressed. Your ability to adapt your marketing strategy will be crucial for you to have success long term.
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
Marketing strategies are different for every business and website owner. You will find there are certain things you are very good at and certain things you aren’t. Your product or service will most likely strive in one thing and need work in another.
Write down the hard truth of what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you are having trouble ask a few associates and current customers. It is important here to blatant honesty. Fluff and cushioned opinions will hurt you here.
Some Strengths might be:
- great customer service that really builds consumer trust
- unique services or special features that your product or service offers
- in depth knowledge that makes you an authority in your niche
Some Weaknesses might be:
- small budget
- being new and unknown in your market
- low organizational skills
Some Opportunities might be:
- new untapped market with low competition
- new market found by use of the Internet (this still happens)
- product quality improvement through technological advances
Some Threats might be:
- new competition
- less expensive more efficient product or service offers from competition
- costs has gone up on your products or services
Think of each of the above sections carefully. The weight of each will be different for each company. Try and come up with at least 3 different points for each section. This is important because here you will get a written understanding of what to work on. You can also see what to focus on and can start tying this into your marketing strategy with customer groups discussed in the previous section.
Creating Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you have written down and evaluated your strengths and weaknesses you can put them to work. Once this is done you can begin a detailed marketing plan. This will show you where to put these strategies into play.
When creating your strategy ask yourself these questions:
- What changes are currently taking place in my field? Do they offer opportunity or threats?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What are my goals? Be honest and set realistic goals here.
- What are my customer’s needs? What are they looking for?
- Where is the most profit in my customer groups?
- What is the best way to target ideal customers? Can I target these groups effectively?
- When opening the lines of communication what are the best methods?
- Can my customer service be better? Customer service can really hurt or really help. This is where you build your relationship with your customers.
- By altering my product or service can I increase sales? Few products can stay the same and need to be updated to keep up with the competition.
- Should I offer more products or increase incentives on my current services? The customers you already have are easier sells than potential customers.
- What should be considered when pricing my product or service? Now a days its hard to be the lowest in price and often times isn’t effective by itself. Think about quality and building value when answering this question.
- How should I promote my product or service? Advertising, pr, and direct marketing are some good options.
- How will I know if my marketing is effective? Find out how your customers heard about your website and/or business.
Tips and Pitfalls
Before you try and go after new customers think about how to utilize the ones you already have. New customers are great but its more cost effective to use the customer base you already have. Try and sell to the customers you have before seeking new business. Think of ways to make improvements on their current services or how to offer them an upgrade on a product the already own. Always think outside the box and try and be creative. Opportunity is everywhere so keep an eye out.
Focusing on the market:
Your Marketing Strategy Needs To:
- address the needs and concerns of all of your customer groups
- know your markets niche and focus on your strengths
- concentrate your efforts on 20% of the customers that provide 80% of the profits
- have associates and other third parties take a look at your marketing strategy
- make sure your marketing strategy and marketing plan are in sync
- monitor your efforts and their effectiveness (constantly evolve your plan)
Things to avoid:
- assuming what your customer’s needs are
- forgetting about the competition
- only using price point as a competition tool
- relying on a limited amount of consumers
- expanding too fast
- just running through the motions and not being creative in your marketing efforts
Build an effective marketing strategy based on the above information. Remember that everyone’s plan will be very different. Focus on your strengths but be aware of your weaknesses. Constantly tweak your marketing plan and listen to your customers. Following this guide will help you get a better grasp on where you stand in your niche, how effective you are against your competition and how you relate to your customers.