An effective marketing strategy is the Google Maps of business.
Input your starting point and your destination, select the route you want to take, and Google Maps will show you how to get there, down to every last turn.
An effective marketing strategy works the same exact way. It doesn’t have a fancy app (yet), so it may take a tiny bit more effort upfront, but that’s what I’m here for.
So in this blog post, I’m going to show you the map on which you’ll draw your marketing strategy route on. Then next week, I’ll guide you through drawing the route. This route will be unique to your business, dictated heavily by who your ideal client is and what she’s mentally craving.
By sticking with this two-part guide to creating your marketing strategy, you’ll end up with a turn-by-turn marketing strategy, created to attract and guide your ideal prospective client to becoming your ideal paying client.
So this map.
I call it the Marketing Web and it looks like this:
Notice I have two separate webs working apart from each other – the Online Marketing Web and the Offline Marketing Web. You guessed it – one offers your online marketing options, while the other offers your offline marketing options.
But don’t be fooled – they don’t always work apart from each other. There are certainly situations where a business’s marketing strategy leverages parts from both webs.
And if you look closely, you’ll notice that if you were to place one web on top of the other, each individual piece of one web relates directly to its matching piece of the other.
For instance, at the very center of the Online Marketing Web is the website. At the center of the Offline Marketing Web is the physical brick-and-mortar store or office. These two things work similarly in their own spheres – acting as the only place online and offline the business owner truly has ownership of.
As you continue around the webs, you’ll see that online Social Media relates directly to offline Word of Mouth. Online Email Marketing relates directly to offline Phone Calls to Warm Leads, and so on.
Now that you see how the two separate webs relate to one another, let’s dig in further.
Here’s what each of the Online Marketing Web’s pieces means in layman’s terms:
As you may have noticed, your website is at the very center of the Web. It acts as the “hub” of your online presence, much like your real-life store or office would. This is where your ideal client goes to do business with you directly.
When building and updating your website, remember that this space of yours on the Internet should welcome your ideal client just as if you’re welcoming them into your store or office.
Your website should be the most accurate, on-brand space you utilize online. It’s also where actual transactions can go down. Where the money is ACTUALLY made. Pretty important, eh?
To that point, consider your website “owned land.” It’s the only thing on the Internet that you actually truthfully own.
All of the other platforms discussed in the Web are pieces of “rented land.” Someone else owns those. And therefore, a business should never (I seriously repeat, should never) build their online presence solely on the rented space of any of the other platforms.
Why? Because you wouldn’t build your dream house on a piece of land that you don’t own, right? The truth is, if you don’t own the land you’re building on, that land could be sold to someone that changes the rules and says you can’t build there anymore, regardless of how much work you’ve already put in.
Building your online presence solely on a social media platform, for instance, is a serious liability to you and your business for this very reason. Facebook, Instagram, any other platform that you don’t own, could change the rules TODAY and all of your hard work put into those platforms could be scratched immediately.
If you have a website, though, these changes you have no control over don’t affect you as much. At least your ideal client can still find you and do business with you on your website that you have complete control over.
As we’re all probably familiar with, social media platforms are a main driver in online marketing strategy these days.
Why? Because that’s where the people are!
Think of social media platforms as you would a real-life party, event, or conversation outside of your store or office.
This is where relationships start. This is where your ideal client is often most apt to have a conversation with you and where you can begin building trust and repertoire with him.
Done right, connections on social media then point the ideal client to the direction of your website – where the real business gets earned and real money gets transferred.
Read more about creating a Social Media strategy here.
When we’re talking about email in this context, think of the emails that are sent via an emailing system, emailing many people at once – commonly referred to as an “email blast.”
Showing up in someone’s email inbox is much like calling a “warm” prospect at their home or office, but much less interruptive.
This potential client has made it to your website at some point in time and opted in to receive your value-packed emails. They’ve been exposed to your business before and therefore, are a “warm” prospect.
Now that you have their email address, you may show up in their inbox with even more value to add to their lives and every once in a while, a call to action to become your paying client/customer.
Again, this is just like ringing their telephone, but without the abrupt interruption. You wouldn’t call them every single week giving them 14 different reasons they should pay you their hard-earned money, would you? (Hope not.)
If you’re going to call or email regularly, you’d better have something of value to give them – usable information, a free tool they can use right away, an honest suggestion that will help them move the needle forward. And then, eventually, you may have earned enough trust that they then will take you up on your every-so-often-offers to open their wallet.
Read more about creating an Email Marketing strategy here.
By (my) definition, advertising is marketing that you pay for. So, if you pay any amount of money to publish information or place something anywhere on the Internet, consider it advertising.
Placing an ad somewhere online is just like placing an ad somewhere offline, such as in newspaper or magazine. BUT the one key difference is that online advertising is usually highly trackable compared to offline advertising.
When you place an ad somewhere offline, it can’t be clicked. You can’t track what the person does having just seen your ad.
Online, however, you often can. They click the ad, for instance, and go straight to your website. Not only is this incredibly simple and easy for the person doing the clicking, but it’s also like a referral tracking gold mine for you. You know exactly which ads are generating the most traffic to your website and the most revenue to your business.
Read more about creating a Paid Advertising strategy here.
Search Engine Results
To “search engine optimize” your website means to improve its find-ability, should your ideal client type in certain keywords into their search engine (i.e. Google).
Think of SEO like you would a sign outside your store or office. Your client is trying to find you, they spot the sign and think, “YES! That’s what I’m looking for!” and swing into your parking lot.
If your website is search engine optimized, your ideal client is looking for what you have on your website so they type in some keywords into their search engine, you show up “high” in the search results, they think, “YES! That’s what I’m looking for!” and click over to your website.
For everything SEO, I recommend speaking with Amalia Biro, SEO, Google Analytics, and Google Adwords Queen.
And read more about creating a SEO strategy here.
Influencer marketing is often overlooked by small businesses (and honestly, medium and large businesses) online, so listen up. You can utilize influencer marketing by identifying someone or some business that already has the attention and trust of your ideal client and collaborating with this influencer to “get in front of” their audience.
Online influencer marketing is much like offline public relations (PR). When you leverage PR, you’re essentially piggy-backing off of someone else’s success/audience/outreach to become “trusted by association.”
Your ideal client already trusts this influencer. Then they see you being associated with and trusted by said influencer. It’s only natural that your ideal client, having seen this collaboration, will be more apt to trust and work with you too.
If you or your business operates in a specific industry to provide a specific product or service, you may find that there are trusted places online that list providers like you. Sometimes getting on these professional listings is free and sometimes you have to pay to be listed, which would be considered “advertising.”
For instance, if you’re a paid member of your local Chamber of Commerce, you will then be listed on the Chamber’s website as a provider of your service in your local area.
Another example – if you’re a wedding photographer in Philadelphia, you can pay to be listed on TheKnot.com, a national, highly-trusted resource for everything involving weddings.
One more – if you’re a certified QuickBooks Accountant, you can be listed on the trusted, global QuickBooks website as a certified QB accountant, searchable by local area.
Either way, think of these professional listings like being listed in the phone book but with a higher trust factor involved. Your ideal client may go first to this website they already trust (i.e. Chamber website, (TheKnot, QuickBooks) and THEN search for you, as opposed to searching on Google and praying they find someone legit.
Just like the rest of the platforms listed, a mobile app may or may not be something your business needs to offer. Mobile apps usually are valuable for a business to have when they either:
- a) Have to provide immediate customer service, or
- b) Provide a web-based tool their client can use online
Therefore, think of a mobile app acting as a direct customer service line and/or access to a specific tool only the business can provide to its client.
For example, Geico’s app provides a direct line to their customer service department that can then provide immediate roadside service or help filing a claim or pay a bill.
Another example is Buffer’s app. Buffer allows its users to schedule social media posts. This is a valuable online tool.
While the app’s primary function is to provide customer service or a tool, they become marketing platforms when the app owner markets their other products/services on it. For instance, you’re filing a claim on Geico’s app but you’re also seeing a small banner at the top of the screen asking you if you’d like to view other coverage options.
Now that you’re familiar with all points on the Online and Offline Marketing Webs, next week I’ll guide you through mapping your unique marketing strategy – the one that’s going to guide your ideal prospective clients into ideal paying clients.
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