As a startup founder, you will quickly enter the worlds of accounting, human resources, law, and marketing. You will need to make high-level decisions about things that are outside of your expertise — with the hope that your advisers and vendors are looking out for your best interest.
One major part of your launch and first year of growth is your marketing plan. The promotions you choose to invest in will determine the types of clients you acquire and how quickly word spreads about your business.
Your marketing strategies will change as your business grows, but once you have a set template to work from, you can make minor changes and still understand what you (and your employees) need to do. Follow this marketing strategy example to start developing a plan to promote your business.
Start With an Overarching Goal
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Marketing and promotions aren’t standard within every business. Brands have different reasons for promoting themselves and working on getting their products and services noticed. As a startup, your business is in a much different place than the more established companies in your industry, which means you can’t just mimic their promotional efforts and expect the same results. A few sample goals that you might work off for your marketing strategy include:
- Building up your name recognition so that more people consider trying your brand.
- Bringing people to your website and moving them into the sales funnel.
- Encouraging people to sign up to become beta testers to try out your product.
- Acquiring a set number of new customers during your first year.
By starting with an overarching goal, you can make sure that every marketing strategy, tactic, and asset ties back to your business’s big picture. Your brand won’t get lost in the details, and your team won’t get confused over the purpose of different marketing ideas.
Identify Key Strategies to Reach Your Goal
Marketing strategies address the “how” in relation to your goals, while the tactics you choose answer the “what.” As an entrepreneur who thrives on taking action, you may be tempted to jump right into the tactics of your plan, but considering your strategies can help you identify new tactics that you hadn’t thought of before. A few marketing strategy examples to consider (in relation to the goals above) include:
- Launching a brand awareness campaign to get your name in front of thousands of people.
- Developing high-quality content for the web and social media to bring leads to your website.
- Creating a referral and recommendation program that encourages people to sign up for your beta system.
- Training sales teams on customer retention in order to maintain levels of growth.
Each of these strategies is a little more specific than the goals mentioned before. The strategies give marketers ideas about what they need to do to help the team reach its goals. Writing out the strategies also helps teams prioritize their marketing efforts. They will know to invest in tactics that tie into key strategies and goals rather than focus on cool marketing trends that might not be effective.
Choose Top Tactics Related to Those Strategies
Once you have your strategies in place, you can develop tactics that fulfill your strategies and point back to your startup’s original vision and goals. This is where you can really start to get creative with what you do for your brand and how you do it. Each strategy you develop will likely have multiple tactics, with different budgets, timelines, and measures of success for each one.
Using the example strategy of developing high-quality content that brings people to your website from across the web, here are a few tactics that a business could try:
- Developing blog posts with targeted keywords to boost SEO.
- Creating surveys and reporting on the results to establish authority within the industry.
- Launching a series of how-to or explainer videos related to your industry.
- Designing graphics for social media that tie into your brand.
- Improving your product pages for greater visibility and better customer experiences.
All of these tactics are focused on high-quality content and tie into the goal of bringing people to the website and increasing awareness about the brand. The overall aim here is to ensure that your employees, contractors, and vendors always understand why they are doing the work and how their work helps the business move forward.
Back Your Marketing Strategies Up With Market Research
While your marketing strategies will mostly focus on what you want to do and why, each of your ideas and plans should be backed up with research. Market research looks into the effectiveness of certain tactics and the target markets you hope to reach with your promotions. If your goal is your introductory thesis to your marketing plan, then your market research defends your thesis to show it is achievable and important.
A few factors to consider with your market research include:
- Your target audience — who do you want to market to? Who are the decision-makers?
- How does your audience consume media or learn about products?
- What are the common marketing tactics in your industry, and why are they relevant?
- What are some key metrics and reasonable goals to set in regard to launching a new tactic?
Too often, brands develop marketing plans with their “gut instinct” driving their ideas. They see another marketing strategy example they love and want to pursue it without setting a reasonable budget or considering the customer’s needs. You are welcome to come up with ideas from your gut, but make sure you back them up with data to prove they will be effective marketing tools.
Almost every business has a unique marketing strategy template that they work off of. Some of the most successful marketing strategy examples are only a page or two long, while others span many pages and sections. You can develop a marketing plan for individual tactics or focus your written plan on your big picture goals.
The best marketing plans are the ones that actually get used, so find a format that you and your team love. This way, you can always keep a plan on hand for recent hires, new vendors, and anyone else who wants to review your promotional strategies.