Building a Marketing Strategy

IMHO, gone are the days when you could just be an SEO company. We have been moving for the last few years towards being an Online Marketing company, covering everything from the SEO from which we were born to PPC, Social Media Marketing and on into media production.

But with so many moving parts, it can be difficult to figure out where the focus should be. Is the first priority to expand the content on your site, or reach out to new influencers? Should more marketing dollars go to Facebook or AdWords? Are Pandora commercials a good fit for my services?

We’ve been working on this problem a lot lately. On the surface it seems like it should be pretty simple to solve, but invariably you run into something you didn’t expect with each campaign, so it’s never quite a one size fits all solution.

Here are the steps I’ve started taking:

Specific, well defined goals
This is where it all has to start. If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll end up just floating in the wind. It’s not enough to just say “do SEO” or “rank on the first page for these phrases,” there are just too many other variables. Define your success with something like “$10k in sales per month” or “10 phone calls a week.” Make it measurable and we’ll figure out the best way to obtain it.

Content strategy
Content is really at the heart of everything online these days. Knowing where you’re going with your content not only makes planning easier, it makes it easier to decided what avenues will be most effective. For example, if your content is geared heavily toward a b2b topic like corporate tax planning, LinkedIn is probably the best place to share it. If you are a very crafty company, you probably want to go big on Pinterest. Sometimes that decision is very obvious just from your industry, sometimes it only becomes clear once you’ve started down the path. Even if you already know the path you want to take, knowing ahead of time what content will be written when can help plan more nuanced strategies as well, like when to reach out to a specific blogger to start building a relationship. This also helps you establish your voice. Are you looking for heart warming or funny? That decision can have a big impact on the type of advertising you do.

Competitor and marketing channel analysis
Where are your competitors? Are they having a lot of success with Google Shopping ads? Conversely, is there a void that could be filled there? When I say competitor, I mean both the other company in your town who you’ve been competing with since before the internet, but I also mean the new guy a few states over who shows up for a lot of the searches you wish you could. Understanding the landscape helps you find where you need to fight for space and where there is a vacuum to fill. Obviously, sometimes a vacuum is there for a reason. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a lot of money on search ads if your product doesn’t have any search volume to begin with. In that case maybe you want to place display ads on specific sites where potential buyers who don’t know they’re looking for your product might come across it.

Break down the specifics into a plan
I’m adding this one because Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday this week is a perfect fit with this post. Once you’ve figured out your goals and an overall strategy, you can still give some of the finer points priorities. He has a lot of good stuff to say, both about prioritizing and about doing so without making everyone you work with mad at you. Check it out.

The truth is, I’m still building my process for this. I’ll keep you up to date as I refine and improve.