If you have an online business of your own, you already know that the competition is fierce. There’s always another similar business out there that is constantly looking for ways to “Usain Bolt” its way right to the finish line, leaving you behind in a cloud of dust. As unpleasant a situation that may be to be in, you can zoom your way out of it if you have a kickass marketing strategy.
Contrary to popular belief, coming up with a marketing strategy does not always require spending of big money and weeks and months of meticulous planning. In fact, if you’re taking that approach, you’re doing it wrong. You always have to be super-fast because that’s how the online business world is. Truth be told, you shouldn’t spend more than an hour in devising the perfect marketing strategy for your business! Let us show you the eight steps to creating the most effective marketing plan right here, right now.
We promise it’ll take just an hour for you to have a ready plan!
1) Give about 2 minutes to know your customer base
Every business has a target customer, and so does yours. The first step though would be to know whether your business follows a B2B or a B2C model. Only after this will you know your exact target customer base. Some factors you should keep in mind while analyzing your ideal customer are – the age, gender, income level, location, online habits and buying patterns. Knowing the psychology of your customer will give you knowledge of their sweet spot, which you can use to come up with a customized strategy.
2) Devote the next 10 to defining your marketing goals
Also, put a number on it. If you’re a small business, it’ll be wise to set around 3-4 goals as being overambitious will only lead to burning out. You need to be realistic, which means less of experimentation and more of setting specific goals. Besides that, you’ll also need to ensure that every goal you make has some purpose such as increasing brand awareness, customer engagement or the like. You can achieve that by evaluating your present situation and setting a deadline for your goals.
3) Three minutes is all it takes to know your competitors
Okay, you may think this will take a long time because many other online businesses are doing the same things that you do but trust us, it won’t. You don’t need to know about all of them. Your concern should be just the top 5 (or 10 at the most) who are in the exact same game as you and within the same geographical circumference. Knowing your competitors will help you in two ways – one is that you’ll learn how they market themselves; and two, you can use this knowledge to outsmart them.
4) Take 10 minutes out to check out the latest trends
Now all the knowledge you gain and all the planning you do will be pointless if you make use of the marketing methods of yore. Nobody will be attracted to your site this way, and you won’t get any leads or conversions. So what you have to do is pick up a site from the list you just made of your competitors, read their content and find out what’s trending. But that’s not enough. You should also check up on what’s getting the maximum number of likes and shares on social media platforms and use them as concepts to gain some traction for your site.
5) Give another 10 to find out which marketing activities you need to focus on
This will be entirely dependent on the goals you set out for your e-commerce business in point number 2. Right now it’s time for you to put your thinking caps on and make a list of all of those activities that can help you achieve your goal. If you want to be featured on the first page of a Google search that focuses on the products you sell, your focus should be on producing more and more SEO content. Just remember not to pick up too many activities and then being left in a position where you cannot complete any of them. Keep the number manageable. Around 3-4 activities that coincide with your goals will do.
6) The next 10 minutes will go in determining what’s best about your product
Marketing as you know is all about selling your product. Now, you really need to believe in your product if you want to sell it, which means you have to show the customer what’s good about your product and why it is the best of its kind in the market. So brainstorm and list down all the things that come to your mind in the next 10 minutes. This will help you in selling your product the right way. For example, if you’re a fashion store for women in their 50s and are selling clothes that hide unwanted bulges, explain how you’re doing that. This will help you in establishing a connection with your audience.
7) Key performance indicator (KPIs) will take another 10 minutes of your time
KPIs, which are also known as key performance indicators, will help in ascertaining if the strategies you have employed for marketing so far have been a hit or a dud. You see marketing is all about numbers. So if you have good numbers, you’ll know the ball is in your court. However, before you arrive at that conclusion, you’ll need powerful software that will put the analytics for you in order so that you know how and which strategies you have employed have helped you achieve success.
8) The remaining 5 minutes will go in task allocation
At this stage, all the planning and market analysis should be out of the way. This means that you’ll only have one task left to do and that is putting your plan into action. Taking the size of your team into account, assign 5 minutes of your time to allocate a specific task to each member as per his talents. Try to give your team members complete autonomy over the tasks they have been assigned, but ask them to get their ideas approved by you. This is the time for you to set the ball rolling.
All said and done; there are certain marketing strategies you should consider employing such as –
- Press releases – A press release is like an announcement that can offer your product a lot of visibility and credibility.
- Blogging – Good quality blogs can get people hooked and increase the daily number of visitors to your website, which can lead to customer conversions pretty soon.
- Referrals and endorsements – Another great marketing tool, endorsements, and referrals can help you attract a huge customer base. All you have to do is associate your business with a trusted brand from another field.
- Article marketing – This is also known as guest blogging. Here you write articles on popular topics that offer quick solutions and value to the reader, and you get it published on a popular website as a guest blog. You can get a lot of engagement this way.
There are quite a few other tools out there too such as publishing a book or a newsletter, email marketing, podcasting, radio advertising, video blogging, custom writing and more. Try to use as many of them as you can.
Remember to be flexible. Your marketing strategy is not supposed to be static and should evolve with changing times due to various factors such as a change in the market, your employees leaving, altered goals and new technology, etc. So make room for all of these and take the change in your stride as it comes.
Also, if while creating your strategy, you get stuck at a particular point, leave it and move on to the next. The entire process will become much easier as you progress and you’ll get a clear picture right in front of you. Moreover, it’s a good practice to make your marketing plan as fun as you can so that you and your team can carry out it with zest and energy, and lead your business to the heights of success.