Finding new clients is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business. It requires regular communication to ensure you are being seen by the right people in the right places, so when they are ready to buy your products or services, they will know where you are. Keeping in touch with your potential and existing clients will help to make and keep your brand visible and attract new business opportunities. To create a successful marketing strategy, the key is to start with the end goal and work backwards, hand in hand with your business goals. Here are a few steps to consider when planning your marketing strategy:
1. Do your research
Work with what you know. Look at what your potential customers are looking for and how they communicate. Web traffic analytics is a good starting point to understand your audience’s interests and behaviour. Depending on the data available, look at the return on investment on your previous marketing activities. Marketing can be expensive, so it’s important to know what are you getting for your money. Not only cost per opportunity but also cost per lead is where your focus should be – some sales life cycles could be lengthy and you won’t be seeing an immediate impact.
Look at what worked in the past and what didn’t – in case you don’t have the information, talk to your peers to learn what works for them and do your online research. Different things work for different businesses so be objective and pick the ones you feel most comfortable with.
2. Define your value proposition
Businesses start because of great ideas. The ones that succeed are those who are able to sell their great ideas to their clients. Your unique value proposition is what identifies your business, without it your clients have no reason to chose you over your competitors. A value proposition is much more than a tagline or business description – it’s about articulating the issues you solve and what makes you the right one for the job.
A good value proposition is easy to understand, communicates specific results your clients should expect and explains how your business is different. As a general rule, your unique value proposition should be clear enough to be read and understood in 5 seconds.
3. Define your go-to-market strategy
First of all, be clear on who are you marketing to. Demographics are key, but that doesn’t mean you should exclude those who are not on your top list. People move up in their careers and often it is those that remember you from the old days that will turn to you for help. Create your potential buyer personas and analyse how they buy – what are their key pain points, how do they communicate and what drives them.
Once you know who is your audience, focus on why should they care about your business. Buying behaviours are driven by trust, so look at success stories you can share and results you can show. Once you have their attention, it’s all about building credibility.
4. Tell a story
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to attract people’s attention – no matter if your audience is a small child, clients or a group of friends in the pub. The latest neuroscience research confirms that irrespective of the way we present the story – words, gestures or pictures – our brains create connections with the specific people and their feelings in the story. This connection is much more intensive compared to facts and data and our memories are more intensive and last longer.
Storytelling in business creates a competitive advantage – helps to create an effective marketing communication strategy, triggers interest with potential clients and strengthens loyalty with your existing ones. Sharing stories allows us to connect with people in real life, create emotional connections and trigger our listeners’ attention. We all know how to tell a story, but what makes a difference is being able to tell a good story and tell the story well, making it relevant to the audience. And marketing is just about that – telling a good story, so it is remembered and shared for a long time.
5. Segment your audience
One message doesn’t fit all, so be clear on who you are communicating with. Define the key demographic criteria and the interests of your target audience. Analyse their key pain points, look at what motivates them and how do they communicate. These factors will impact the messaging you use and the way you distribute the message. Equally important is the stage of their buying journey as it impacts the level of education required about your products and services. Defining your key buyer personas and their standard behaviours will enable you to create targeted communication strategies that deliver results.