Taking your competitors head-on and conquering new markets is every entrepreneurs dream. Even more fulfilling is starting your business from scratch to a point whereby it is generating enough cash flows; to help you afford better living standards including buying a home, get a loan for your car and take holidays a broad among others. However, to get to that point whereby you are operating in a blue ocean away from the murky waters full of competition and limited growth, you will need to meet your customer’s needs better than anyone else.
Having a concrete marketing plan therefore becomes a necessity for your business right from the onset when you are developing your start up and growth strategies. As opposed to the traditional marketing strategies which mainly involved mainstream media marketing through newspapers, radios and television; today marketers are turning online to reach their target audiences there. With high internet penetration across the world today, most people are spending more hours looking for information, news and entertainment online. It is therefore futile to invest heavily on offline advertisement while most of your customers will be found on different online platforms at any given time of the day.
Reaching out to your target customers online can however be a big challenge due to the noise found in the internet. To successfully maneuver through the noise in the internet and get your marketing messages across to your customers much effectively you will need to plan ahead and execute your marketing strategy in a systematic manner. One of the successfully proven strategies to launch your marketing plan includes three phases starting with strategic market positioning, followed by blogging and finally advertising.
Phase 1 – Strategic Positioning
To aim your guns in the right direction during an assault, you will need to be positioned in the right place and at the right time. Strategic positioning of your business within the industry therefore comes first even before you start developing your marketing content and designing your marketing materials. You first have to define who exactly your customer is and why they should buy from you and not from your competitors. Having a specific market segment that you are targeting helps you to refine your value proposition for them and customize your products for them such that you are able to deliver a compelling sales pitch to them at ease.
After establishing your strategic position, you need to accumulate enough ammunition and protective gear before you launch an assault. As a business owner, you will need to develop unique branding for your business in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Your business name and your business logo must all communicate the values that your business stands for. Most importantly, your business name and logo should resonate with your customer needs and the solution you are providing for them. Making both attractive and easy to remember will give you an edge over the rest of the competitors.
Finally, to ensure you are ready to start your live marketing, you will need to create an online presence by developing a website. Gone are the days when your website used to be an information centre about your business; today, your websites needs to have more functions such that your customers are able to interact with it and even transact business without your physical input in the process. The key thing to consider is having excellent user experience on your website.
Phase 2 – Blogging
Much on information, news and entertainment is found online and people are spending increasingly more hours in the internet nowadays. Having a social marketing and communication strategy will help you reach out to this online audience much faster and more efficiently than using the traditional methods of marketing. To kick off your marketing after developing your brand and online presence, you will have to invest in an excellent blog that sets you aside as a thought leader in your products, sector, industry and the markets that you operate in.
To support your blogging initiatives, you will need to launch digital PR and partnering in order to also monitor conversations about your brand, word of mouth and online reputation that your business is creating over time. Using viral videos and guerilla marketing will also drive traffic to your online site and you stand a chance to convert the traffic into customers. In addition, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and link-building will increase your visibility incredibly within the noisy and congested internet environment.
Phase 3 – Advertising
Building on the already established online presence and the growing online traffic and brand recognition through blogging, you can now venture into the final step of advertising. This will take different forms both online and offline; but you will definitely need to invest first in online advertising channels such as Google AdWords among others. Strategic PR campaigns through the mainstream media such as TVs and radio will at this point perfectly compliment your established brand name and create massive offline awareness of your brand and products. Other silent advertising strategies involve speaking at conferences or in media interviews in order to establish yourself and your brand as an authority in whatever business you are in.
Essentially developing and executing a successful marketing plan by following the above three phases should take you about 18 to 24 months; but the resulting brand loyalty will help keep you ahead of your competition and generate rising profits for your business, hence growing your wealth in the long run.