What you want your family picture to say: “We’ve got it together. We’re humble yet successful; we are effortlessly attractive and stylish, and we happen to be the rare family that never fights and has respectful teenagers.”
What your family picture, year after year, actually says: “We don’t own an iron; our kids can’t sit still for five minutes; and no, we don’t, in fact, use a hairbrush very often”
Family holiday photos are a lot like marketing strategies. Those companies that look like they have it completely together? They planned it that way. They went to great lengths.
In those other families, it’s not that their kids get along or that they are more successful than you. They simply worked harder, planned more carefully and care more about what they’re telling the world about their family.
Your marketing strategy is much the same way. Those companies that nail their brand messaging with consistency, every time, do so because they planned it carefully through a meticulously developed marketing strategy.
So, how can you create a picture-perfect marketing strategy? Good news: it’s waaay easier than taking a perfect family holiday photo. Here are the steps to a successful 2021:
Know Your Brand: The first step is knowing who your brand is. This may sound obvious, but it’s one of the most common missteps for marketing plans. You need to know what makes your brand unique among your competitors. Maybe you’re always the low-price leader, or maybe your brand lends a bit of sophistication to your product. You may be known for your high quality or your ability to know every customer by name.
Conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis with an experienced marketing specialist is a great way to drill down to what makes your company special.
Next, you’ll create a brand strategy, which is not just your logo and colors, but every part of your identity, from the “voice” you use in your communications, to your brand personality and the feel of your website, videos and other content.
Know Your Target Market: Once you know who your brand is and you’ve developed a solid brand strategy, it’s time to get to know those most likely to buy your product or service. You’ll need to know more than the age and gender of your audience. You need to know what kinds of jobs they work in, their hobbies and interests. Are they passionate about the environment or have a soft spot for animals?
Once you’ve identified your audience, divide them into smaller groups. Develop a buyer persona for each group. For instance, a woman between the ages of 20 and 35 that tends to buy organic, exercises regularly and that loves to spend time outside provides a buyer persona that you can visualize. Give her a name and develop a habit of marketing directly to that imaginary person.
Dividing your target market into subsets allows you to personalize your content, as well as match your content strategy to your goals.
Develop Measurable Goals: Before you create your content and attempt to connect and engage with your audiences, it’s important to know what you’re planning to accomplish through your strategy. A few common goals include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Improving lead generation
- Increasing conversion rates
- Boosting organic traffic
For each of these, there are metrics that you can use to determine whether you have been successful in achieving your goal. For instance, you can measure lead generation pretty easily, but you also need to determine which audience behaviors tend to improve your lead generation. You may want to measure shares of social media content or subscribers to your email marketing as a way of gauging an increase in lead generation.
Create a Content Strategy: If 2020 taught you anything, it’s that you need to be highly in tune with your target market and bring plenty of authenticity and flexibility to your marketing plan. That trend should continue in 2021, with lots of push towards digital marketing options that allow you to pivot as needed, as well as add in a lot of authentic connection with your audiences.
It’s a good idea to put some thought into the content you create:
- Develop content that matches well with different stages in your buy cycle.
- Develop content appropriate for the channel you’re using. If it’s developed for LinkedIn, it should have a distinctly different feel than a piece developed for Facebook, for instance.
- Make a variety of formats, such as videos for a personal connection, as well as white papers to dig in deep on a technical topic, plus blogs for discussion of current hot topics in your industry.
Determining which channels to distribute your content through should also include some considerations:
- When it comes to social media, think about where your audience spends its time.
- Look at where your competitors are posting; you don’t want to shadow them, but it’s a good idea to see what’s working for others in your industry.
Consider the types of content you’re creating, and which platform or channel best supports them. White papers or more in-depth articles for B2B marketing fare better on LinkedIn, while those in more visual industries may favor Instagram.
Measure and Refine: It’s December 1, and you’ve sat down with your photographer to see your gallery. It’s time to decide if they captured any great shots of your family, worthy of a holiday card. Before you even get started, you’re going in with an assumption: a lot can be fixed with editing. A stray flip in your hair? Edit it. An almost-perfect pic with one kid’s eyes closed? Edit it.
This is what you do with your marketing strategy, as well. It’s unlikely that you’ll have to pitch your whole strategy; you’ll make adjustments along the way to keep pinpointing that connection with your audience, and, hopefully, a resulting growth in your sales.
At SJC Marketing, we understand the disconnect between how you see your company and how hard it is to get that message perfected. Contact us for an initial consultation. Let’s see what your company is currently doing and what we can bring to the picture to make your brand shine.