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Why Do I Need A Marketing Strategy?

Marketing Strategy

You might think, “I’m just a small business with an even smaller marketing budget, why do I need a marketing strategy?” As a result of thinking you don’t need a strategy, you carry out marketing activities as and when you have time to do them or whenever you remember that you should be doing them. You spend time, effort and sometimes money carrying out your marketing without really knowing what you are hoping to get out of it or if it is working. Whether you’re a one-man band or a global corporation, this sounds like ineffective business planning to me.

Why do you need a marketing strategy?

Having a marketing strategy in place, no matter what the size of your budget is or how many people you have on your team, has a number of benefits to the way you run your business and sell your products or services. A marketing strategy helps to give you, your team and your business a sense of direction. Without one, it might not be clear what you are trying to achieve, what needs to be done to achieve it, and whether or not it is working. By defining goals and the strategies involved in achieving them, it will provide you with a better focus, so everyone knows what they are aiming towards and what they need to do to achieve it.

A marketing strategy also helps you to gain a better understanding of your business; what it’s selling, how it is different, who it’s selling to, who its competitors are, and more. Knowing all of this information will help you and your team to work more effectively, as they understand the needs of their customers and the conditions of the market. Essentially, a marketing strategy makes your business run more effectively, making it more successful at bringing in new customers, retaining them, and making sales. Plus, if your competitors have a marketing strategy, but you don’t, then this puts you at a serious disadvantage against them.

What’s the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is essentially an extension of your marketing strategy. Where the strategy outlines all of the factors affecting your business, the marketing mix you are going to implement, how you are going to communicate it, etc., the marketing plan explains how to put this strategy into action. It involves assigning more detail to the plan of execution identified in your marketing strategy, including specifics such as budget, timescales and who is in charge of what.

What should your marketing strategy consist of?

There are several areas you need to consider when creating a marketing strategy. One of the first things you should do is define your goals and business objectives, as these will shape the entire strategy. Next, you need to decide how you are going to achieve these goals; what marketing methods you will use, who you are going to aim your campaigns towards, how you are going to communicate with them, etc.

A good marketing strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of all of the factors which affect your business, both from within it and outside of it. Firstly, thinking about the business itself, what is it that is special about your business and the products or services it offers? What is your unique selling point (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP)? Essentially, you need to think about what you do that no one else in the market does, and what value you provide to your customers.

Understanding this also involves understanding your customers. If you know what your target market wants, what challenges they face, and what motivates them, then you will be able to assess what you provide them that solves their problems or meets their needs. From examining your customers’ behaviours, thoughts, etc., you will also be able to decide which marketing methods will be the most effective at reaching them, what platforms you should use to reach them, when you should communicate with them, and what language you should use to do so.

As well as your business and your customers, you should also gain an understanding of the market you are operating in. Knowing who your competitors are and what they do will also benefit you when identifying your USP as you can compare what you offer to what they offer, and see what the differences are. Being aware of your market will also allow you to identify any emerging opportunities that you might be able to take advantage of, such as a new technology or a competitor going out of business. This also goes the other way, as you can also identify emerging threats, such as a new competitor in the market or a decline in your customer base.

It’s important to regularly review your marketing strategy so that you can assess what aspects of it are working and which aren’t, and you can respond to any changes in the market and identify how to handle these. Remaining flexible and updating your strategy according to changing factors, both internal and external to your business, will help you to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Having a strategy in place for your marketing and a plan for implementing it will help your business to achieve its goals more efficiently, meaning more customers, more sales, and more profit for you. Find out how we can help you create a marketing strategy and plan. Get in touch.

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5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media

We’re all constantly working to try and grow our businesses, generate more leads, get more customers and more profits. It can be difficult, especially for small businesses with not much of a budget to spend on marketing. The key is to find the right marketing channels that work for your business, many of which can be done at affordable prices.

Social media is something that all businesses should be doing, regardless of the size of your business, the industry you’re in, or your budget. The popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are all free to sign up to, so it’s a great form of marketing you can use without spending any money. You are able to invest some money into social media for advertisements and promotions in order to boost your success, but again, this doesn’t have to mean spending the big bucks.

Here are a 5 reasons why you should be using social media marketing to grow your business:

1. Increase links to your website

Through social media you can post content with a link back to your website, encouraging people to click through and visit your site. This can be promotional content advertising specific products or services that you are offering or sales that you are running, or it could simply be interesting information about your business, such as how you formed, what you do, how you can help. If you have a blog or news page on your website, then you can share links to these. If you have your website set up on Google Analytics, then you’ll be able to track how much traffic is coming through to your website from social media to see how much of an impact it’s having. The more people you get clicking through to your website, the greater chance you have of generating qualified leads and making sales.

2. Gain authority

Through social media, you can share content that shows the level of knowledge and expertise that you have in your field. Share quick tips or pieces of advice that people may find useful or might not know. Share links to the latest news from your industry or your local area to establish yourself as someone who is in the know, and the first account that people think to come to when they want to read the latest news in this area. You can also help other users by looking out for questions they might be asking in relation to your field and answering them for you. For example, on Twitter, you can use hashtags to search for instances of people talking about a certain topic, #marketing, for example. When you find someone you can help, hit reply and answer their question. This helps you to develop trust amongst other social media users, making them more likely to buy from you.

3. Share your content

If you have a blog or other forms of content created by your company, social media is a great way to get it seen. This helps you achieve a combination of the above; sharing links to your blog page increases traffic to your website, and sharing useful, informative and educational content will help to establish yourself and your company as an expert in your field. It’s not just about you sharing your content, either; once you’ve shared it on social media, all of your followers and other users on the site will be able to see it. If they find your blog, or whatever it might be, interesting or useful, then they might want to share it themselves so that all of their followers can see it as well. This increases the amount of exposure your content receives and helps to create a lot of inbound links to your website, which boosts traffic and is also great for your search engine rankings.

4. Raise brand awareness

Social media is another way of getting your brand out there and making more people aware of who you are and what you do. First of all, make sure that each profile you have is tailored to reflect your brand; it should have an avatar and header image containing your logo and brand colours, the name of your company should be clear and any messages that you send out should be in line with your brand values. Keep this consistent across all channels, so that you are instantly recognisable no matter where someone comes across your business. Stay active on social media by posting regularly and also engaging with your followers and other users on each platform. The more you post, the more likely you are to be seen, but make sure not to bombard your followers with too much content. Try to get as many followers, likes or connections as you can to expose your brand to as wide an audience as possible.

5. Reach your target audience

With more than 2 billion active social media accounts across the world, it’s likely that your target audience are out there. Social media is an easy and cost effective way to reach your customers and potential customers. Which social media platforms you should focus on will depend on who you are targeting; if you mainly target other businesses, LinkedIn is a must, and we’d also recommend Twitter and Facebook. For businesses targeting consumers, visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram can be really effective, and others such as Snapchat, especially if you are targeting a younger audience. Twitter and Facebook are also good platforms for reaching consumers. You don’t need to use all the platforms you possibly can, but find out which best suit your business and really focus on building up a following on these.

It’s clear that social media is an invaluable tool for your business in helping it to grow and generate more leads and more profits. 

Speak to us today about developing a social media strategy to grow your business. Contact us.

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