Marketing Playbook: Building Your Marketing Strategy & Growing Your Business
Marketing is a complex topic, where there may be multiple ways to achieve the same outcome. The goal isn’t to trick people into buying something they don’t want. It’s to let people who have the problem you solve that you can help them with it. It tells your story, creates awareness, and moves them closer to making a purchase.
Many times purchases are based on emotion then rationalized after the fact. Keep this in mind when creating your messaging. Focus on the benefits they will see instead of going on and on about features.
Types of Marketing
Email Marketing / Newsletter:
Keeping in touch with your previous customers is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and keep you top of mind. For some businesses, the emails can be a simple reminder that it’s time to schedule again, for others it can be a newsletter that teaches customers and prospects subjects that help to let them make a more informed decision. Such as an article on the importance of gutter cleaning from a home service company. If there is a sale coming up soon, it’s a great way to get previous customers back to the site.
Pro tip: don’t overuse this. If you end up sending an email every day, people on the list will quickly unsubscribe. For best results, add value in your emails - don’t always be selling. Email marketing is as much about boosting revenue as it is for building a relationship.
Some people may say that there’s no reason for their company to have a blog - but it is so important. As an owner, there is so much information you know about how everything within the business works.
It builds the trustworthiness and raises the level of professionalism of the business. The articles can help potential buyers understand why they may need the product, how to evaluate potential providers, what to look for, etc. It helps them make a more informed decision.
Search engine optimization. It can be a technical process, however, the overall concept is fairly simple. Search engines want to provide the most relevant and authoritative results for a search. With SEO the goal is to build the authority of your website so it ranks higher for key results your customers are searching.
The technical details are outside the scope of what we can explain. For an in-depth look into this world, consider reading Moz’s guide to SEO.
Video used to be reserved for commercials, now it can be used in many ways. It can be used to entertain and educate core customers.
Similar to videos, some companies use podcasts as a way to teach people in their target market. Teaching on a subject that boosts their authority and allows people to become familiar with them. It should be treated as more of a branding activity as podcasts should not be used solely for driving revenue.
Search Engine Marketing:
Most commonly known as Google Ads or Bing Ads, they are classified as a PPC (pay per click) channel. When you pay them a certain amount of money, you will return at the top of search results. This in collaboration with SEO can do a lot for your business.
Google Ads don’t just stop there, their display network goes pretty far along with product listings (if you sell products). This allows you to do some cool retargeting. Including if someone has done certain searches, has visited or taken certain actions on your website, among several other advanced topics. YouTube marketing ties in with Google Ads, allowing you to target based on previous searches.
If you sell products on a marketplace, they most likely have sponsored products and allow you to pay extra to show up as the top product.
Social Media Marketing:
With the numerous platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, Twitter, or what is popular at the time, you need to use the one where your target audience spends their time. And each platform has a different format that works best, so tailor your content to fit.
There are two ways to use social media marketing. The first is through organic reach and posting. The second is using paid ads and targeting the ads based on demographics and behavior. Let’s take a deeper look at each.
For the organic approach, you can make a content calendar and plan out when you are going to put out what content. Distributing content your audience will find helpful and useful; moving them closer to buying from you because they know, like, and trust you.
For the paid approach, you can go about it in several ways. If your end goal is awareness, you can use videos or other content to tell your target audience who you are and what you’re about. If you are trying to drive sales (it can be inconsistent), you can create a compelling offer that drives people to a landing page where they can get the offer. However, some of the most ROI positive advertising you can do will be retargeting ads. This can be if they visited your website, then you show them a certain message. If they were on a product page or checkout, you can show them the product again. This is effective if someone is considering buying from you, and it acts as a gentle reminder.
Reviews - Social Proof:
As things have become more digital, online reviews have become something customers at looking at more closely. Reviews can even become a part of your marketing strategy. It provides social proof to others that customers like your company and you are great to deal with.
The goal should be to humanize your brand. Behind everything in the business, it’s owned and operated by people that care. Sell the experience your product or service provides. They already expect perfection at an awesome price, so you can compete on those alone.
Think about the last time you were looking for a restaurant or buying something on Amazon, after looking at the food or product, did you look at the reviews to determine if it was good enough to get? I bet you did, we all do. Reviews have become almost as highly weighted as a recommendation from a friend. If there are two service providers, one has five reviews with about a 4.2-star rating and the other has over one hundred reviews with a 4.8-star rating, which would you choose?
This focuses on customer loyalty and long-term customer engagement instead of short-term goals such as customer acquisition and individual sales. It’s easier to keep a customer than to find a new one - making relationship marketing not only the right thing to do, but also a good use of the marketing budget. If you have holes in your bucket, it doesn’t matter how much water you add.
The reality is that relationship marketing helps to develop strong connections with customers. This can be done by maintaining communication after the sale is done. Something as simple as a thank you follow up or even a full sequence. The focus is to enhance their experience with your company.
Levels of Awareness:
Buyers will go through several phases when deciding to buy. In the digital marketing space, they can be classified as cold, warm, and hot - depending on the level of trust between the business and the consumer. Below we look at the levels of awareness buyers go through when considering a product or service.
Potential customers don’t even know they have a problem
Realize they have a problem - start to do some research on how they can solve their problem
Finds potential solutions - filtering to determine which is best for them
Decides to go with a product - confident because of their research
Becomes an advocate for the product or company
With each channel, there are effective strategies as well as ineffective ways to go about it. To get the best result, take into consideration what mindset a consumer is in when they are using the platform. Are they wanting to talk with friends, are they just browsing the web, are they searching for answers, or are they searching for solutions? Let’s take Google and Facebook for example. Someone searching on Google is either looking for an answer to a question, something you can help solve with articles, or they are looking for solutions for their problems and your business comes up as a solution. Compare this to the behavior of a person on Facebook. They most likely are wanting to interact with friends, not buy something. The messaging and strategy needs to be adjusted to fit the mindset of the consumer in each of the channels.
This brings up another point. Some channels are best for direct response, where the customer will buy then and there. Others may be used to move the customer through the buying process, moving them one step closer to buying. Make sure your expectations are set accordingly.
Integrating Marketing and Product/Service Design:
Marketing and design individually are important to driving revenue for the company, they can be even more effective when combined. Building notoriety into the product or service will make it easier to market. Creating something remarkable will attract customers through word of mouth.
Building Your Marketing Plan:
With this information, how do you go about implementing it?
Nailing down your target market is a must to get started. Know who your ideal customer is and what their tendencies are. From there you can identify the best channel to reach them.
In practice, we’ve found it most effective to explore then exploit (not in a bad way). Initially trying the most channels possible to see what works. Then once you get some feedback, double down on what is doing the best for your company. Shift to 80% of what works best and 20% for experimentation. Something that works today may not be as effective a year or two down the road. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you rely too heavily on something else.