Marketing strategies don’t grow on trees, and if they did, there would be plenty more rotten ones than good ones. It takes a lot of time and energy to create a great marketing strategy. To get in the right headspace, start by asking the right questions. Here are ten key questions to ask yourself when creating a great marketing strategy.
1. Who is my ideal client?
A great start is to ask yourself, “who is my ideal client?” It might surprise you, but many businesses don’t have a good grasp on this. Why? Because these businesses are often trying to appeal to a vast audience instead of focusing on targeted messaging. That isn’t to say that you can’t have multiple ideal clients – perhaps you work in an industry with various verticals and demographics. The important thing is to specify, for each audience, who this perfect client is.
Some useful considerations would be:
- How old are they?
- Do they identify as a particular gender? (if your product/service appeals to multiple genders, create a different avatar for each.)
- What’s their annual income?
- Do they live in a particular type of neighborhood?
- What kind of prior life experiences have they had?
- What sort of car do they drive?
- Which brand of clothing do they wear?
- What’s their current level of education?
- What’s their relationship status?
- Do they have children? Do they want to have children?
Get as specific as possible – you want to create a detailed description so that you can accurately target your marketing messages, increasing the chances that they’ll genuinely resonate with your audience.
2. What are their problems, and what’s my solution?
Now that you have a better understanding of your targeted audience, it’s time to think critically about the problems they may have and how your product/service provides a solution. Try painting a picture in your head or jotting down a mind map of what this client’s life looks like without your product/service. In many cases, fear and anxiety drive us towards solutions, so focus on what these may look like for your client and how your product/service can ease these feelings. Show them how life will get better.
This brainstorming will probably look something like this:
- An avoidable consequence
- Money loss
- Time wasted
- A better situation in life
- Financial security
- Time saved
3. Is my message clear?
When someone lands on your homepage, you have about five seconds to present what you’re offering, why they need it, and how to purchase it. That’s why it’s super important to think about your brand’s presentation and the message it conveys. If you’ve already taken the time to devise a branding strategy, refining it never hurts. One way of doing this is to find fresh eyes and give them a quick look at your webpage. Afterwards, ask for a three-sentence blurb about what you offer, why they may need it, and how they can purchase it. Their response will showcase where your branding needs some work. If you haven’t created a thoughtful branding strategy yet, now is the time.
One resource I found incredibly helpful is Donald Miller’s book, “Building a Story Brand.” In it, Miller talks about seven universal story points every person responds to. He also exposes what truly motivates client purchases, how to simplify your brand’s message, and how to create effective messaging across all marketing mediums.
A bonus – the book contains handy worksheets that you can fill out as you read. There’s even a digital copy available online, making it easy to share these with your marketing agency or team.
Canadian friends, grab your copy here!
US friends, grab your copy here!
4. What are my ideal social channels?
It’s next to impossible for a business to master all of the social media channels out there – there are just too many. Do some research to determine which social media channels you feel would be beneficial to your business. Which platforms are most popular with your ideal client? Which are you most familiar with and potentially willing to manage yourself? From here, you can decide whether there are certain ones that you’d like to outsource to a social media management professional.
Here are a few tips to kick off a bit of self-managed social media marketing. Facebook can be an excellent place to start as you’re likely already quite familiar with the platform – try posting about three times a week, sharing valuable insights and current updates to give your audience an insider’s look into your brand. If you’re a B2B, LinkedIn can also be a fantastic place to start. It’s quite established that videos perform the best, so setting up a YouTube account that you can use to create content that’s shareable across all platforms is highly advised. Lastly, here’s a great article that helps narrow down where your ideal client spends their time:
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5. What’s my marketing budget?
It’s important to determine a realistic monthly marketing budget before reaching out to agencies and freelancers. Don’t feel shy about sharing this information – keeping agencies and freelancers informed only helps them decide where to focus to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck. Also, remember to include the cost of the actual Google and Facebook Ads themselves. You could try to save money by learning all of the techniques that Google and Facebook ads use, but chances are high that you’ll lose more money than you’ll gain. If you have a small budget and want quality results, it’s best to invest in an expert.
6. Who are my top competitors?
Business owners often avoid this question because it can be intimidating to acknowledge other participants in a race that you really want to win. Face the facts and use this sort of research to your advantage. Being aware of your competition can help you:
- Use your differentiating traits as an advantage in marketing messages
- Choose the right keywords to boost your SEO and compete with competitors’ SERP ranking
- Advertise better offers
- Know what your competitors are doing so that you can do it better
7. What’s an offer I’m willing to make to capture new clients?
It’s great to already have an idea of what you’re willing to do to entice prospective customers. An exciting offer can make the difference between closing or losing a potential client, and that switch happens quickly, so the more prepared you are, the better. Feel free to get creative with this! Some examples are:
- Free consultation or strategy session
- Free webinar
- Free digital resource
- A discount on a first-time product or service
- A rewards program
- A contest
- A free gift after a first-time purchase or session
Knowing what you’re willing to offer can also help your marketing team craft the perfect message, one that will most definitely capture your ideal client’s attention.
8. How will I track my marketing ROI?
Marketing initiatives can often be quite costly and difficult to track. When dealing with an agency or freelancer, make sure you understand what type of reporting they can offer to clearly show your investment return. Typical questions that you’ll benefit from asking are:
- Do they have a dashboard where you can see your SEO improving? Maybe even a monthly report?
- Can they provide weekly reports on your ad performance, ones that show your cost per click and conversion rate improving over time?
- Can they provide reporting on your website traffic, showing which pages are performing the best?
- Do they have client testimonials or case studies showcasing that they’re talented marketing agencies/freelancers?
9. How many new clients can I handle per month?
It may sound too good to be true, but if you’ve created a great marketing strategy, then your ads may perform so well that you can’t keep up with leads or sales! Make sure to articulate to your marketing team the number of new clients you can handle onboarding, as well as the amount of sales calls your team can manage to book. They can then keep track of your conversions, and Ad campaigns can be paused until you are ready to dial things up again.
Acknowledging your new-client capacity also gives you a better chance of avoiding customer disappointment. You don’t want to lose a potential client when they fall through the cracks, have a poor customer service experience, or are left waiting for an appointment for so long that they forget about it or cancel. Plus, you gain the allure of exclusivity – so if you can only onboard a small number of new clients per month, include this in your advertising.
10. How do I plan to handle leads that are coming in?
Be prepared for the clients that you do accept. For example, if you want clients to book appointments, have a booking system already integrated into your website. If you’d prefer that your clients call you, include a button that starts a call when clicked. The fewer steps a prospect has to go through to reach you, the better.
You can also set up a form that needs to be completed before phonecalls or appointments can be made. This way, you’ll already have super helpful information before the first meeting. Before implementing this step, make sure to have a CRM system or a way to manage all of your client data – this is crucial, no matter your profession. You need a reliable way to capture and maintain client data to ensure the success of all future marketing campaigns you might want to run. A great CRM tool also helps track client satisfaction.
Creating a great marketing strategy takes time and effort, but you’ve already taken an excellent step by reading this blog. Now, start with question #1 and work your way through to #10, and you’ll be well on your way to implementing an awesome, and most importantly, successful marketing strategy.