There is a lot of confusion on exactly what marketing is and how you can use it to generate more customers for your business or blog. That’s why I wanted to share my ultimate guide with you! I will help you understand what exactly marketing is and what implementing these marketing strategies can do for your business.
By Rachel Fredrickson, Marketing & Branding Coach.
Marketing Strategies: Creating a Framework.
Marketing is essentially the means of finding your ideal customers and influencing them to check out your business and offerings. Whether you are a product or service-based business, it doesn’t matter. The basic principles of marketing in this guide absolutely apply to you.
The best way to begin using marketing is to create a marketing framework that helps you understand who your customers and audience are. The reason this is so important is because this framework helps you realize what your audience actually needs to hear. You’ll understand the questions they are asking and what they need help with.
Once you answer these questions and help solve some problems, they will see you as an authority figure. Even better, this framework also helps you create your sales strategy.
Once you figure out your framework, you can use this to create the strategies that will help you reach your audience. Think social media strategies, email strategies, etc.
Marketing Strategies: The Basics.
There are two key parts to a Marketing Framework: the Buyer’s Journey and Buyer Personas. Without these two parts, your Marketing Strategies will be disjointed or unaligned with your audience.
These two parts also build the platform for all of your Marketing Strategies. It makes building new strategies simpler than ever before.
First, let’s define what exactly the Buyer’s Journey is:
This is the path that your customers will take to buying your product or service offering. The journey consists of these stages: the Awareness Stage, the Interest Stage, the Consideration Stage, the Intent Stage, the Evaluation Stage, the Purchase Stage, the Loyalty Stage, and the Advocacy Stage.
To understand the journey your customers will take to purchasing your product, you need to understand what each stage really means. Once you know what each stage really is, you should be able to decide what content will best help your specific target audience in each stage.
In this stage, your buyer will realize that they have a problem.
You know when you start feeling sick? You might get a headache, some weird bumps may show up on your skin, and maybe you get a fever. If you’ve never had a sickness like this, you will start going online and searching for answers.
This is exactly what your target audience is doing for their specific problem. They are searching for the “name” of their problem. The Awareness Stage is when your buyer first realizes they have a problem.
Leads can be generated in this stage. At this point in their research, your target audience may come across your business while they search for answers. This MAY lead them to contact you in some way. Other times, they may just bookmark your website for later.
During the interest stage, your leads have now begun to compile a list of potential solutions to the problem they are experiencing. They will focus on finding more details about how the product or service you offer could solve their problem.
Next is the Consideration Stage. At this point, your buyer or ideal client has actually put a name to their problem through all their research. Your customer is now at the point that they are making a list of strong contenders for the best solutions they have come across so far.
If you make the list of potential solution providers, you have just earned yourself a Marketing Qualified Lead. This just means they are far more likely to purchase than before.
Your prospect has shown that they are interested in your product. Furthermore, they are actively comparing your solution against the other few that have made their shortlist. At this point, they will likely be contacting you for more information or accessing many pages on your website detected to the product or service they need.
Showcasing the full benefits of using your product or service is very important at this point. Even more, you will want to show how your product or service shifts your customers’ quality of life.
Your lead has now reached prospect status.
Your prospect is about to make their final decision on what solution meets their needs. Basically, this is your last moment to truly showcase why your product or service is the best one on the market.
Case studies, reviews and testimonials are often a great way to sway this decision. There are many studies that have shown people tend to trust the solution that has been used and approved by many people.
Congratulations! Your prospect is purchasing your product or service. You’ve won yourself a customer. But we aren’t finished, yet! The funnel is actually a never-ending series of stages.
The reason that this stage is included is for one simple reason: happy customers create loyal customers. Loyal customers become repeat customers.
Your goal here is to create loyalty through providing amazing customer service, loyalty programs or any other incentives that make your customers want to seek out your company again and again.
The advocacy stage is all about creating advocates for your business! As previously mentioned, spectacular customer service goes a long way. However, there are many other ways to create advocates for your brand. Product or service check-ins can be another great tool for creating advocates. This just means checking in with your customers to make sure your offering is accomplishing what you said it would. If it isn’t, make it right.
Advocates spread the word about your business to friends, family and even strangers. This is how you drop more leads into the top of your funnel!
Buyer Personas are representations of your target audience as a sort of fictional character. Generally, you will want to create a write-up including a photo of your buyer personas. This gives you a clear person to speak to in any marketing that you do.
Your write-up should include their behaviors, their likes, dislikes, what job they hold, what items they purchase, what they like to do for fun, etc. Get detailed in your writing because this will help you really get to know your target audience members well!
The most important part of this exercise is to capture what your target audience members’ pain points are and how these pain points affect their lives. This is because you will want to communicate how your offering helps your target audience solve their problems and will change their lives.
Marketing Strategies aren’t the individual marketing tasks that you perform. They are the actual plans you create to reach your target audience through various marketing platforms or “channels”. These plans are then made up of tactics which are the individual tasks that you perform each day.
So far, we’ve talked about having a marketing foundation, strategies and tactics. How does this all come together? A marketing foundation, or framework, tells you who your marketing is targeting and the path your audience will take to becoming a customer. Your marketing strategies define HOW you will reach your target audience based on everything outlined in your framework. Finally, your marketing strategies will outline your marketing tactics broken down by specific tasks you need to perform. That seems like a lot of planning, but all of that planning is what creates leads for your business!
Right audience + right time + right content = lead generating marketing.
The only way to get there is by creating a plan! Now, let’s break down the marketing strategies you could and should be using below.
You don’t need to use each and every one of these strategies. Just the ones that will draw in YOUR target audience!
Before we start with the actual strategies, you’re going to need a positioning statement. A positioning statement is just one sentence (or two) that describes who you serve, what problems you solve for them, and how. The reason this statement should be created is because it helps guide all of your Marketing Strategies to complete the same tasks.
You are reminded of who you serve, how, and why. All Marketing Strategies should help to show this to your potential customers.
1. Physical Marketing (“Collateral”)
While physical “collateral” marketing isn’t as widely used as it once was, many industries still use it as a staple in their marketing plan.
Think business cards, posters, flyers, brochures, and more. They are physical sources of marketing that you distribute among potential customers. Many service-based businesses like insurance agencies and real estate agencies use this type of strategy.
The point with this type of marketing is to stand out in some way. Many times, this type of marketing will result in thrown away flyers and business cards. Focus on being different or offering something through your collateral that other businesses aren’t. This will insure your collateral stays in their hands and sends leads your way.
2. Social Media
Next in this guide, let’s dive into social media.
Who is obsessed with Instagram? This entrepreneur sure is!
Social media offers several platforms where you can answer questions, provide tips and tricks, and give advice. It also gives you the chance to connect with your audience quickly and easily.
Let me give you permission to not be on every platform. Being on every social media platform isn’t necessary. However, you will want to be on the platforms where your target audience engages the most, and you will want to be on the ones you enjoy.
Marketing isn’t always work! It can be fun, too!
3. SEO & Website Strategy
Websites are yesterday’s business cards.
Your website helps you appear right away when potential customers search for solutions for their problems. Websites allow you to write about terms, or keywords, that your target audience are searching. Optimizing your website to show up in Search Engine Results Pages using these keywords is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
This means you get to show up where potential customers are in real time. Even better, you get to showcase your products, services, and other offerings all in one spot.
The goal in having a website is to showcase what you do, the problems you solve, and who you are. Also, remember that you can host blogs and other materials on your website that help you gain authority by answering your target audience’s questions.
4. Email Marketing
Social media accounts can be inactivated. That means that your follower list can go poof overnight. However, there is one list that no one can take away from you: your subscriber list.
An email list allows you to share relevant content and offers with your ideal customers. It also allows you to nurture new subscribers into paying customers. Eventually, you’ll build a list of raving fans through your efforts. The key is to remember that you should be sending them helpful and relevant content.
You won’t want to share salesy content through your newsletters or nurture emails every single time because that may lead to a high rate of unsubscribes.
5. Video Marketing
A large portion of the content we consume every day is video content. That’s because it is easily consumable through social media, it entertains us, and can help us learn and grow. Even better, shorter videos fit within our ever-decreasing attention spans.
Video marketing is a strategy that helps you build connection with your audience by letting them glimpse the person behind the business. You can also share product demos, quick tips, and secret strategies through your videos.
Any topic that is engaging and helps your target audience solve a problem will increase your odds of creating a fan base. Once you earn yourself some fans, you will begin to see that these fans begin to purchase from you or fuel your business revenue.
Uploading videos to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are easy (and free) ways to reach your target audience.
6. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth Marketing is exactly what it sounds like. It is a strategy that generates positive buzz about your business that spreads to more and more people over time. This buzz leads to lead generation.
The easiest way to create positive buzz is to constantly focus on serving your customers and audience. Create plans for excellent customer service, great content, and customer support. Loyal fans will create positive buzz for you in no time if you focus on helping them in every way that you are capable!
7. Event Marketing
Event Marketing is a strategy that focuses on, well, events! Events can include meetups, trainings or even concerts!
The key to a perfect event that generates business and leads is to deliver excellent value and spread the word for your event as far and wide as possible! Be sure that you are advertising this event where your target audience is. If they don’t know that it is happening, they won’t show up!
8. Content Marketing
Content marketing is honestly the most important type of marketing. The reason is because content is in absolutely all other types of marketing and so getting this piece of the puzzle right is essential.
Content should be valuable, consistent, and relevant. The goal of content marketing is to help solve problems or help your target audience. Your audience will then begin to see you as an authority in your industry and trust you to help them through your offerings.
The main thing to remember is that you just need to help your target audience.
So, what platforms and channels can you deliver content through? Social media, podcasts, blog posts, and videos are a few great channels.
Similar to social media platforms, you are often able to use hashtags on your podcasting platform of choice to attract your target audience. You will want to use hashtags that are related to topics that your audience are searching for. Podcasting is so popular because people can listen on the go. You can bet that your target audience members are listening to podcasts!
Also, podcasting allows you the freedom to stay off camera because it is simply audio based. So, if you like avoiding the camera, this may be a very great option for you to connect with your target audience!
You’re on a blog right now, so you probably already know how useful blogs are for lead generation! Blogs help nurture your target audience. They establish your authority in your specific industry, help your audience solve some problems, and also allow them to interact with the person behind the business. This means they will learn to trust you and be more likely to buy from your business!
Even more than that, blogs aid in establishing your SEO rankings on Google and other search engines. This means that your target audience will be more likely to come across your website when searching for problem solutions online.
And that’s a wrap on Marketing Strategies!
Developing a solid marketing framework with strategies and tactics means the difference between having a chaotic and unhelpful marketing plan and having a marketing plan that brings you leads! Feel free to print this post and hang it up somewhere. This is a great outline to begin drafting your complete marketing plan!
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