Having a single integrated communications strategy is essential for any business, but especially for small businesses that may not have the extra man hours to allocate to strategy. The first two editions of this book focused on online and offline strategies separately, but in today’s digital world, those edges are blurring. In this book, we will explore how to develop a cohesive and effective strategy using online and offline tactics, as well as the tools and platforms available to execute and monitor that strategy.
Put Your Strategy into Action
One of the major challenges of any strategy is putting it into action. Simply having a strategy isn’t enough. You need to get out there and use the tools to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Developing a solid online strategy is relatively easy. You’ve got your brand, your product or service, and you’ve got a target market. The more challenging part is implementing it. That’s where a lot of businesses fail, and it’s totally avoidable. The truth is, you can’t control how others will behave and react, but you can influence it. You can put in place the right environment for the kind of customers you want to attract and keep, and you can train your employees to consistently offer a quality experience to your customers whenever they contact you via phone, email, or the internet. When those three pillars – brand, product or service, and target market – are in place, you can move into the implementation stage and take your strategy to the next level.
For years, HubSpot has been the leading provider of inbound marketing software and platforms, and with good reason. Their implementation approach focuses on developing the right environment for their customers, and they make this very clear in their guide to online marketing.
- Understand your target market.
- Align your content strategy with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Measure the success of your strategy.
From a sales perspective, an effective strategy will almost certainly include at least some form of online marketing. The easier and more efficient you can make a business’ online presence, the greater the chance of attracting the customers you need to sustain your business.
The Importance of Building a Data-driven Business
In recent years, big data and business analytics have become essential for any business, regardless of its size. This is primarily because businesses have realized the power of having all the information they need, when they need it, rather than having to piecemeal the information together as they go along. Thanks to the digital world opening up all kinds of data and insights, from email marketing to web and app analytics, social media monitoring and engagement, and CRM and sales intelligence tools.
The question is: do you have the people and the in-house capabilities to analyze all this data and integrate it into your decision-making processes? A successful business built on big data and analytics will answer “yes” with a resounding “yes.” Big data and analytics can help you develop insights about your target market that you can use to your advantage in various ways.
What Does Successful Integration of Online and Offline Strategies Look Like?
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already well into the process of developing or executing your online and offline strategies. You’ve taken the time to think through and define your objectives, and you’ve determined the kind of customers you want to attract and the actions you’ll take to achieve those goals.
Now that you’ve got a concrete plan in place, it’s time to measure your progress. Look at what you’ve achieved so far and decide whether or not you’ve reached your target. Are you seeing the results you hoped for? Have you encountered any obstacles?
From here, you can either continue to develop and optimize your strategies, or you can level up and take your business to the next level. For more information on this subject, check out our blog post,
15 Must-Have Apps that Will Help You Market Your Business
How to Execute and Maintain a Successful Marketing Strategy
So you’ve decided to take your strategy one step further, and you’re looking for ways to actually put it into practice. Great! Now that you’ve got a clear picture of what you’ve accomplished so far, it’s time to strategize the next steps. How do you intend to continue to grow and expand your business?
Depending on your answer to this question, you’ll need to consider what’s next. Do you need more staff? More office space? More funding to grow and expand your product line?
Whatever it may be, there’s only one way to find out; ask yourself. That’s the best way to get everything you need, and it will enable you to develop a clear picture of what you’ve accomplished and what’s left to do.
To give you an idea of what to do next, let’s look at the previous steps you’ve taken to get here. What worked for you and what didn’t? What steps can you take to improve your odds of success?
Branding is one of the essential elements of a successful marketing strategy. You can’t have one without the other. Your brand will represent you throughout your marketing efforts, from creating a website to analyzing marketing data. Make sure your branding is consistent, and use the same name whether you’re marketing online or offline. When customers see you as being consistent, they’ll be more likely to believe you when you say you’re using trusted methods to market your products or services. So, make sure you’re using the same logo, color scheme, and design templates across all channels.
Product or Service
Your product or service is your core business. What makes you different from the competition? What will you offer that your customers want or need?
It’s important to look at your product or service from the customer’s perspective. What do they want? What are their needs? What do they expect from your product or service?
If you can provide those answers to those questions, you’ll be able to craft the perfect marketing strategy for your business. To get the most out of your product or service, you’ll need to look at all the different forms it can take; online, mobile, social media, etc. Consider all the different platforms your product or service can exist on and make sure you’ve got a plan in place for each and every one of them.
Your target market is the audience you’re marketing to. Who is most likely to buy your product or service? That’s the question.
Use online platforms like Google Analytics to find out who’s visiting your website and engaging with your content. This is usually where you’ll start, and it’s the place you’ll return to time and time again to figure out what’s working and what needs to be changed. Don’t forget to look at your social media accounts as well, as you may find that highly engaged audiences are often the best prospects for your business.
When developing your target market, it’s important to think beyond your current customers. Who else should you be considering as a buyer? What are their needs, wants, and expectations?
Thought leaders are highly regarded for having rich media content that is both engaging and informative. Developing and following a thought leadership strategy can help you become a go-to person for those seeking knowledge on your specific area of expertise. The more you can do to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, the more likely you will become a sought-after source of information for your target market.
Like branding and product, your content strategy is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. However, it’s often the least thought of, and the most difficult to get right. Why? Because we’re bombarded with content every day, from social media to email to website content. It’s easy to get distracted by the volume of content and lose focus on what’s important; creating engaging content that will drive action.
The first step to crafting a successful content strategy is to consider the kind of content you’ll need to pull on to achieve your goals. That could include anything from email marketing to social media. When developing your content strategy, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not just creating content for Facebook or Google, you’re also creating content for email marketing, websites, and more. Each of those channels and platforms will have its own distinct audience, and you’ll need to consider that when deciding what content to create.