Starting a business is exciting, and one of business owners’ favorite activities is marketing because it allows them to flex their creative muscles. However, to create an effective marketing campaign, you need more than just creativity. Your marketing plan must ensure you can connect with customers and help them find you online and in person.
Every strategy will vary depending on factors unique to their business and its customers, but there are several must-haves to help you take your marketing to the next level. Must haves in your marketing plan include the following:
1. Brand Development
Does your brand have an identity that makes it stand out from the competition? Brand development is crucial for all businesses because it helps you begin forming relationships with customers and improves overall brand recognition. Your brand development should consist of planning documents, including messaging frameworks and brand guidelines that touch on key messaging and design elements.
2. A High-Converting Website
Whether you’re an e-commerce or B2B website, you need a website that performs. Your website isn’t a banner ad across the web; it can be an effective sales and marketing tool to help you connect with customers and create lasting relationships. Every business needs a great website that’s attractive, easy to use, and has everything you need to convert visitors into paying customers, whether they use inbound or outbound marketing.
If you don’t have a website or you have a poor website with bad design, customers are far less likely to trust your brand. Therefore, having a high-converting website with the best UX and UI elements can help you convert more customers who land on your site. Of course, you should ensure your domain matches your business name to ensure it’s easy to find and have a clear conversion path to help lead your potential customers through the buyer’s journey.
3. Search Engine Optimization
It’s highly likely that everyone you know uses Google or another search engine when starting research or looking for products and services. However, if you aren’t actively engaged in search engine optimization (SEO), you can’t attract customers to your website organically and will have to invest in paid ads. SEO allows you to reach customers at the right time. When someone is interested in a product or service similar to yours, they’ll perform an online search. If your business isn’t in the top results on search engines, you’ll lose potential customers to the competition. It’s that simple. Every business needs SEO.
4. Promo Items
If your goal is to attract as many customers as possible, you should never stop focusing on the top of the funnel. Brand awareness is crucial for finding new customers, and one way to improve your brand awareness is with promotional items. You can invest in everything from hats and t-shirts to water bottles, magnets, and pens to ensure individuals will use your promo products in public and help promote your brand whether they know it or not. Everyone loves getting free stuff, so your customers will be happy to use your promo items wherever they go. If you have promo items, you can send freebies out with every purchase or hand them out at industry events to start generating buzz about your business.
5. Social Media
Whether you run an international or local business, you need social media. While customers may not be searching for your business on social media like they would on Google, it’s an effective marketing tool that’s free to use if you choose not to run paid ads. Of course, since organic social media is becoming increasingly more challenging as platforms opt to show users fewer posts from brands and more from friends and family, you should invest at least a small amount of your marketing budget on paid advertising to attract more customers.
6. Paid Advertising
There’s a lot of organic competition out there, and if you haven’t started SEO or organic social media marketing, you could fall behind quickly. Paid advertising allows you to stand out from the crowd and ensure your content is seen by potential customers. There are several types of paid advertising, including print and digital advertising to help you reach your customers. Of course, you should choose what works best for your business. If you’re unsure what types of ads will perform best, you can allocate a small budget to several different strategies and compare them against each other.
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is both an inbound and outbound marketing strategy that allows you to reach your customers and find new ones. Of course, you should be careful when cold emailing contacts because you must ensure they’ve permitted you to communicate with them. Once you have a contact’s consent, you can send them offers or email sequences to help them convert to paying customers.
8. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been proven effective for many industries because influencers are thought leaders generally trusted by their audiences. Unfortunately, brands are no longer trusted like they once were, so you can use influencer marketing to leverage someone else’s authority and reach their audience through strategic partnerships.
Of course, influencer marketing comes with some caveats, including the fact you must be able to determine the right partners to work with for your brand. One thing to keep in mind is the engagement rate. While someone can have thousands of followers, if they have a low engagement rate, their audience isn’t commenting or liking their posts, making them less likely to convert.
9. Lead Management
If you have a form on your website you use to collect leads, you must have some way to manage your contacts. You can use CRM software to help you effectively organize and target everyone, from potential customers to long-term partners. Lead management consists of everything from how you capture leads to how well you can nurture them to convert them into paying customers, allowing you to communicate effectively at each touchpoint for better results.
Before you can start adding these marketing strategies into your overarching plan, you should have a planning document prepared. While your marketing strategy can touch upon the different tactics you want to use, every strategy should have detailed goals and methods to ensure success and keep your marketing staff on the same page.