Marketing is not limited to a marketing department or specific people, it’s all the communication associated with your business; and the principles are exactly the same as in any communication – you will be judged on your appearance and actions.
When setting a marketing strategy, the key is to start with the end goal and work backwards, hand in hand with your business goals:
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 their interests and behaviour. Depending on the data available, look at return on investment on your previous marketing efforts. Marketing can be expensive; so it’s important to know what are you getting for your money - not only cost per opportunity but also your cost per lead.
2. Define your unique value proposition
It’s important that your audience understands what it is that you do and how does it link to their needs and wants. In the competitive market, you need to differentiate yourself and make your business stand out. It’s all about buyer focus – what benefits does it bring to them, what terminology do they use and what would make them stop looking for similar products and services elsewhere.
Keep it simple. You only have their attention for a limited period of time so make the most out of it.
3. Think about 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. Create your potential buyer personas and analyse how they behave – what are their key pain points, how do they communicate and what drives them. Once you know who they are, 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. Get your messaging right
Common language starts a conversation. By understanding the terminology and tone your potential customers use you will be able to connect and form relationships. Make it easy for your audience to understand your message and use clear calls to action. It will eliminate any confusion and make it much more likely that your audience will respond. There is no universal call to action – think about specific communications and adjust it accordingly.
Sometimes you will find that businesses use all the right words, but missing the “so what” element. It’s important you not only communicate the message but also include how it impacts the recipient.
5. Tell a story
Stories naturally create interest and are proven to sell. If you have successful project stories, use them. Even if you can’t disclose the client's name, focus on the scenario and outcomes. It will help your audience to learn about real life situations and it will stick with them for longer.
6. Segment your audience
One message doesn’t fit all. Segmentation will take you further. With prospects, you should be focusing on getting their attention and keeping it for as long as possible, whilst with clients you want to mature the relationship. There is a great advantage in knowing your client and therefore being able to tailor your activities around their needs.
By Petra Urhofer, EMEA marketing manager at AchieveForum
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