It has been over a month since I have posted. Things have been very hectic here over the last four weeks and I have really found it difficult to find the time to write more posts. This is a problem that all small business owners have of course, trying to find time to write about and market your own business can sometimes seem like a luxury when you have so many operational, day to day tasks that have to be done. However, if we do not market ourselves , then we will never grow and will always be chasing price rather than getting good margins.

During this month however, it has really opened my eyes to some web design services that some companies buy into without understanding the consequences. I am going to start a series of posts shortly on this subject to help small businesses ask the right questions when engaging a website designer. Please keep an eye out for these, as they may just save your business and a bunch of money.

I have also received a lot of questions about “Content Marketing” and so will also post soon on this very important subject that I know is baffling a lot of small business owners. However, on with the real purpose of this post…How to create a marketing strategy AND linking it to your Digital Strategy.

If you haven’t read the introduction to this subject then please take a look at ;  then come back here…

There is a huge amount of published information  that you can read that will educate you on the specifics of how to develop a marketing strategy. There seems to be no value in me purely replicating what you can read from authors with far more experience than me on the subject. Therefore what I have decided to do here is focus specifically on the major aspects of a Marketing Strategy that effect your website design and digital endeavours. In this post I will cover the “Analysis” phase only and cover the other phases in subsequent posts.

The development of a Marketing Strategy follows four distinct phases..

1) Analysis

  • what business are you in?
  • why would customers buy from you?
  • who are your competition and how good are they?
  • what is the size, growth rate and profit potential of your chosen market?

2) Strategy

  • market segmentation
  • how to target
  • product / service position
  • setting goals

3) Tactical

  • creating the marketing program
  • setting the price
  • sales support material
  • campaign plan

4) Measurement

  • compare
  • customer behaviour
  • return on investment

Phase 1 – Market Analysis

 What business are you in? may seem like a strange question! of course you know what business you are in ” you sell houses” or “you provide singing lessons”. But is the Estate Agent selling a house? or are they “providing a service that enables people to start a whole new life”? and is the singing teacher “enabling the celebrity dreams of their clients?” Hopefully you can see that defining this question has serious consequences as to how you will design and run your business. If you define it too narrow then you potentially exclude yourself from profitable markets, define it too broad and you risk over extending yourself or running into competitors you should really avoid.

Let’s take the example of the singing teacher. If they decide that they want to focus purely on singing lessons to children, then their website design would look completely different to the teacher that advertised their abilities to make a performer of you and link you into agents, bands or shows etc.. Not only would the marketing messages be different, but so would the whole “look and feel” of the website AND the Social Media links. The critical element is that of CLARITY, the better you define the scope of your business then the easier it is to get your message across in your website AND get found by key searches in Google.

You really, really need to spend a lot of time thinking about this question because it is the corner stone for the rest of the analysis, get this wrong and the rest of the process is wrong. But, never be afraid to keep coming back to this question if you feel it needs more thought.

Once you have defined this question, then you can compare yourself against your competition, define your winning edge and calculate the size of the market you feel is yours for the taking. Always look for some kind of differentiating feature, something that your digital strategy can get a “hook” into so it can be exploited through website banners, landing pages, social media or your blog. It is my belief that too many businesses rely on “fluff” or “smoke and mirrors” in their business development plans. Really focus on CONTENT and VALUE  and be CREATIVE in your thinking, your customers will love it and reward you for it.

I will sign off for now, hopefully this has helped you and stimulated some thought..