First and foremost let me apologize for the delay on this piece, there was more research I wanted to do and that led me to attending the 2021 Immigrant Entrepreneurship Summit this weekend where I networked with some amazing Entrepreneurs and participated in all the breakout sessions revolving around Digital Marketing.
I had fun and learned a great deal, much of which I aim to share as we discuss how to properly utilize social media and your foundation to build a basic digital marketing plan so that your platform can begin to achieve success.
The following blog will discuss the basics of creating a digital marketing plan.
What is Marketing and Why is it So Important?
Before we can begin to build a fundamentally sound digital marketing plan, we must first understand what marketing actually is. Marketing refers to the acts a business or organization takes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. It can also be the act of building awareness of your business or organization/brand to potential customers/fans.
It is important because consistent marketing and branding helps establish trust with your customers/fans and this, in return, increases sales. It is the quintessential channel to reach your goals and it brings in sales leads.
The Buyer’s Journey
As discussed in Part II, in today’s internet-focused society, to build your platform it is extremely important to create what is called “The Buyer’s Journey” – this is the figurative path the customer takes to purchase or act based upon your funnel. You must see your platform from your buyer’s perspective. In this path, the buyer will go through 3 different stages: First, they identify a problem or need they have. Second, they go and research the problem or need – this can take on many forms from searching google to browsing Twitter, to making phone calls – regardless of what form the research takes, the point is the buyer is actively looking for a solution to their problem/need. In the end, the buyer will make a decision or indecision based upon what they found.
With so many established platforms already creating their own funnels, and all the noise cluttering people’s feeds, it takes a bit more work these days to get prospective buyer’s/fans into your funnel; typically it takes between 7-10 touches – a touch is when the buyer/fan sees or interacts with your content – before a sale is made. The saying goes that only 20% of any market is ready to buy immediately, the rest need much more time to make their decision. As such, it’s important to understand that social media campaigns take up to 6 months before the poster sees any significant results – marketing is a consistent marathon, never a sprint (unless you’re willing to pay thousands upon thousands to be boosted).
The trick is providing the prospective buyer/fan with the content needed at the right time in the sales process and to understand how sales and marketing work together and how to align them
Understand the Difference Between Sales and Marketing
It is important to understand the difference between sales and marketing. These skillsets are two sides of the same coin and go together like hitting and throwing go together in baseball; mastering one may help your performance in that area but it will always be detrimental in the long run to neglect the other. You must learn both.
- Creating Interest
- Lead Generation and Nurturing
- Sales Support (Proposal, flyers, etc.,)
- Direct Client Support
- Scoping Projects
- Closing Sales
- Reporting and Evaluating Sales
Sadly, for most creatives, they’ve been trained and taught in neither skillset, which is why many so often struggle to build themselves a platform and be profitable in their passions. Without these skills and understanding the differences, it’s very difficult to build an effective marketing strategy.
What is a Marketing Strategy and How do you make one?
A Marketing Strategy is the lifeblood of a successful business system – it defines clear, realistic, and measurable objectives to avoid spending money in the wrong places and keep marketing efforts consistent and relevant. With a marketing strategy, the objectives must be clear and measurable, have reference points to determine how the company is doing, and allow the business to be proactive instead of reactive to events and opportunities.
A fundamentally sound marketing strategy will always use the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats/Risks.
Strengths: Understand what you’re good at, even if it’s something as simple as reading and writing. These can be leveraged to generate and promote content for your platforms. Figure out how you’re different from your close competitors, what do or can you offer that they do not? Lean into that to set yourself apart as a more optimal alternative. What are the main benefits the customer is getting? What problem/need/or want are you fulfilling?
Weaknesses: What areas are you lacking in and how can these areas be avoided in your marketing strategy (or remedied). Billionaire business mogul Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, once got on ESPN’s “First Take” after taking issue with comments critics made about NBA Superstar Lebron James (in his prime mind you) in the 2011 NBA Finals (Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks) after they were stating that the athlete was succumbing to pressure and anxiety. Mark Cuban vehemently corrected them, proclaiming the success of the Mavericks came from making sure their players constantly moved and shifted to positions where Lebron would not be successful should he try to leverage his strengths.
You must make sure you’re putting yourself in positions to be successful. Don’t waste your efforts and resources on a skillset an expert or tool can do in a fraction of the time, don’t waste your resources on a platform your core audience is not located, don’t spread yourself so thin that organization of your organization becomes an issue.
Opportunities: A smart Marketing strategy will always keep itself open to opportunities. Within your marketing strategy, what current event, trend, crowd, organization, or influencer can be reached to enhance the goal and results? These can be found by utilizing keyword analytics and doing research at what people, especially your core audience is talking about.
Threats/Risks: What could deter your marketing strategy or become an obstacle? What is your competitor doing that may interfere? What is the worst case scenario and how can this scenario be avoided and/or remedied?
Understand, marketing strategies are constantly changing and evolving and you should be consistently fine-tuning your strategies based on the results.
Create Your Marketing Strategy
To create a marketing strategy, determine your marketing objectives. (I’m going to get X followers on this platform. I’m going to convert X people into sales) Make your business and sales goals realistic, while obtaining a million followers overnight would be great, that rarely ever happens no matter how good your content is.
Make your goals measurable, you should be able to see your progress daily so you’re never lost in the process. Have a set timeline for when you want that goal to be reached- a metaphorical timeline will only lead to ill thought out strategies and ineffective production. Set a timeline and stick to it. Finally, evaluate the performance of your marketing strategy so that it can be studied, adjusted, fine-tuned, and performed again even better than the last time.
Remember, a good campaign takes 6 months before it sees significant results, be patient and observant. Consider paying and boosting your posts for visibility, but don’t stretch yourself thin across too many platforms. It’s better to hyper-focus on one and build out from there.
In conclusion, a marketing strategy isn’t optional for a business to grow effectively, it’s an absolute necessity. With the right plan formed and tailored for the platform(s) you’re on, you’re bound to see growth so long as you follow your plan and are consistent. Still, while the formation of a fundamental marketing plan is good, you still need to pin down exactly what your brand and audience is before you can launch.
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[…] discussed previously, if a marketing strategy is the lifeblood of one’s platform/business then the brand is the skin […]