I was talking to a friend who’s starting at a new marketing job, fresh into the industry. I realized how much there is to know and how complicated it can be. I wrote up a rundown on where I would start if going from the ground up on an organic or paid marketing strategy. Once I was done, I realized it would be a great thing to share here too.
If you’re looking for a rundown on marketing strategy, look no further. Let’s get right into it!
Who owns marketing strategy?
First things first, marketing strategy is usually set and owned by whoever is in charge of marketing. In newer organizations, it can be hard to determine exactly who this is and it’s not uncommon for a lack of accountability to occur.
What’s the goal of marketing?
The main goal with organic social (aka earned social aka not-paid-for with marketing dollars) is to push your social media audience to your website so that they convert aka you sell them something and make $$$. You do this by building trust with the audience and standing out as meeting their needs. The goal is usually to get their email via a form so that you can email them further. Read all about this more in Marketing Automation is About Timing.
The in between of someone who is visiting your website and someone who is being followed up with via email or something other lead nurturing tactic is usually a “lead magnet.” A lead magnet is generally “gated” content; meaning that the content is held behind a form that a person has to fill out with an email address in order to access. An example of this might be a longer video that your audience would find more valuable than your average free content.
Where to start?
The usage of lead magnets is highly dependent on the situation of your organization. Every organization is going to have different goals. For example, for us, we’re all focused about conversations aka a lead talking to our sales team on the phone or via email. But it will depend on the business. For a different business, the CTA (call-to-action) might be something along the lines of “learn more on our website” or “take advantage of this special” as opposed to “download this guide.”
Organic social posts should be both educational and salesy, depending on the audience and the goal. It’s all about balance. The content should both drive your audience towards behaviors that indicate sales-readiness while also educating the audience in a way that they will find valuable. The name of the game trust and building it with your audience so your brand is top of mind and also well-respected and valued.
Now let’s get into some basics on how to build a strategy.
1. Customer information
Customers should lead the way for pretty much all strategies as far as marketing goes. The basics include: what is the age and gender of the average customer? What services are most popular? What is your customer looking for in their experience? What are they worried about when they’re shopping for your product? What social media platforms are the most popular with this demographic group?
If you’re looking to learn more about this process, here are some customer journey and persona worksheets that the Net-Results team put together last year to give you a starting point for reference. They’re really some of my favorite worksheets for how easy they are to follow — but also how dang useful they are.
Back to the basics of demographic customer information: all those data points can be gathered through a variety of ways. A customer database information put directly into a spreadsheet and some pivot tables is a great place to start. Surveys of customers and communications with the sales teams are options. In a fully-fledged sales organization, the CRM will be the bible for this kind of information. It’s also not uncommon to be guessing about some of this in the beginning, especially if there isn’t a plethora of sales history to pull from.
It’s honestly very possible to get super granular here. Those are the basics, but then you get into the rabbit hole of keyword research, testing, programmatics, and the list goes on!
Once some of those answers are readily available, start to create content tailor-made for the group that you’re trying to reach. Start planning out content and testing out some different ideas with both organic and paid marketing. Here is a content calendar template to help you!
2. Competitor Analysis
Another way to start to create a strategy is through competitor analysis. What are the competitors in an industry doing and what’s working? Does their audience base match yours? What can you learn or avoid? What seems to get a high engagement rate? Then test it on your own audience!
3. Evaluate performance.
Marketing is a constant of looking at the data, making a hypothesis, testing it out, looking at the data, making a hypothesis, testing it out, forever and ever amen. Once some content (ads, whitepapers, whatever) are out there in the world of reporting, trends from the data will start to emerge. Some super basic examples: what gets more clicks to your website: a youtube video or a Facebook video? What’s more effective, an ad that’s funny or informative?
A few ways to look at performance more closely — most content platforms have some reporting built-in. Start to build a super basic “scorecard” that you fill out each week. Maybe track how many followers there are on each platform. The CTR for your posts will allow you to see how your efforts are improving over time.
Super basic version of reporting: a quick way to start proving value from organic social is by using your posts to push towards your website. A link.tree or link shortener like bit.ly or something along those links is an easy way to track clicks from organic social. Your CTA would be one of those links, which then push traffic wherever you want, like the specials of the month or something like that.
Intermediate and advanced: another way to track direct performance of organic and paid social is via UTM which generally requires access to a higher-powered reporting platform like Google or Net-Results Marketing Automation. Here’s this blog post about UTM if you’re curious!
What should you track?
The big metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) will vary depending on your goals as a marketer, but a great place to start is CTR (click-through rate). Your mileage will definitely vary depending on what your goals are. Eventually, having some sort of conversion tracking is ideal, so you know which of your efforts are directly contributing to the bottom line of the business.
And then, here’s the kicker: you’re back to the “hypothesis, test, data, repeat” for the rest of forever.
And that’s it! The absolute basics of marketing strategy. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and ask any questions over there. We’d be happy to help!