Create A Marketing Strategy That Works In Five Steps

Marketing Strategy Planning

When working with a new business, I’m always asked about how I create a marketing strategy for my clients. Inquiries typically revolve around account customization. Can branding plans be adjusted to meet specific corporate needs and if so, can a tailored strategy be ROI producing?

The answer to both questions is always yes. It is absolutely true: no two brands are alike and each requires a dynamic marketing strategy that meets short and long-term business goals. While this unique information will heavily influence the individual details of a strategy, it doesn’t exactly define a clear, effective plan of attack. The specifics will vary by company, but at the macro-level the best marketing plans tend to always follow the same five steps.

The foundation of any winning marketing plan starts with defining what one is ultimately hoping to achieve through digital marketing efforts. For online storefronts this is obvious —  the focus is on acquiring as many Internet sales as possible. For businesses that are not e-commerce based, objectives are typically those that encourage ROI-producing behavior.

Examples of successful conversions include:

  • Booking an appointment.
  • Making a reservation.
  • Scheduling a consultation.
  • Downloading a PDF of other type of document.
  • Filling out a contact form.
  • Signing up for a newsletter.
  • Calling for more information.

Clearly establishing marketing goals at the beginning not only shapes the calls to action you’ll later implement on your website, but will also set a defining level from which you can determine a campaign’s overall success.

After defining goals, it is important to closely examine the past and current status of your company’s brand online. For clients with pre-existing websites, I always start by taking an in-depth look at all metric tracking mediums available (think Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools). Performing an initial benchmark analysis allows one to effectively determine whether marketing efforts have actually resulted in positive growth.

For clients launching brand new websites or without previous modes of data analysis, I implement methods of tracking to their website right away. After a period of a month, I perform the benchmark analysis. In this case, it is important to keep in mind that having as much data as possible is key. Only after a period of time (ideally months or more) will you truly have an accurate look at your website’s performance.

Once defining your brand’s past and desired future, the next step is to create content (both on your website and off) that accomplishes two primary objectives:

  • It is unique and demonstrates value, establishing your business as an expert in your given field.
  • It prompts website visitors to do something. Whether it is to schedule a consultation or signup for a monthly newsletter, it is far more likely for a visitor to turn into a paying customer when they have direct, obvious opportunities to contact and get in touch with a business.

A combination of textual copy, imagery and video produced regularly over time will go a long way to establish residual value online — with human visitors and search engines alike.

A month following my initial benchmark analysis (and every month thereafter), I perform a data analysis for each client.* These reports, compiled over time, will help determine if a marketing campaign is working. If it isn’t, this information will also shed light on what parts of a campaign need to be changed.

Each report will closely examine data pulled from a variety of sources, including:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Conversion Goals
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Website Contact Forms
  • Google Adwords Tracking
  • Call In-Take Reports

I find immense value in using several data tracking mediums when analyzing a client’s website. No one source can truly portray impactful marketing alone — instead it takes input from a variety of reputable sources that indicate specific ROI-generating action taken online to know if your marketing goals have really been met.

*It is important to note that while one can review a website’s analytics at any time, I encourage webmasters to look at it over a more significant period of time to get a more accurate picture of its success. Diving into data any more frequently often results in getting caught up in the unimportant details and missing the bigger picture.

Once a baseline of data is established, the next step is pretty straight forward. The data will point out what marketing efforts are working, which need to be changed and which should be expanded upon. No matter the course of action, it is important that one allows the data to guide the ongoing campaign.

After recognizing areas for improvement or room for growth, one must act upon it. Not getting the traction to your blog you wanted? Create a monthly newsletter and encourage people to signup for alerts. Notice you’re getting significant traffic by pushing your links on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram? Share more content (and do it often)! Basically in short, making a move (in one direction or another) is paramount to maintaining and growing an effective marketing campaign.

The only thing left to do from here? Start over and repeat.